Advanced placement (AP) courses offer college-level learning content to high school students. Over 30 AP classes ranging from AP Microeconomics to AP Chinese Language and Culture provide college bound high school students with the opportunity to challenge themselves academically while preparing for college. If you’re taking an AP class you can earn college credits for completing the class, but only if you score high enough on the AP exam. Scores range from one to five with a passing score of three. Individual colleges determine what score(s) they will accept for college credit, typically a four or five. That’s why it’s important to study and do your best on the AP exam.
Each AP exam consists of a multiple-choice section and free response section. The multiple-choice question and answer section tests content knowledge and analysis while the free response short answer questions examine your understanding of a specific concept or topic as explained in your own words. Select subject tests, like World History, include short answer and long answer sections as well.
Exams are offered the first two weeks in May, and you’ll want to start prepping one to three months before the test date. Use these five resources to knock your AP test score out of the park.
AP class syllabus: Your class syllabus provides an overview of subject content that will be tested. Review each topic and circle, star, or underline the ones you’re not as comfortable with. Focus on these topics while you study.
Class tests, quizzes, papers, and notes: Collect all of the class tests, quizzes, papers, and notes you took throughout the year and use these materials to study. Sort them by content area and consider creating flashcards or other study materials. Quizlet offers an online platform to create and study flashcards.
AP course and exam description: CollegeBoard posts three resources for each AP subject: a course description, free response questions from a previous exam, and updates and new resources for the current year’s exam. The course descriptions are lengthy, 60-200 pages depending on the subject, and date back five plus years. They offer detailed information on the class, including learning objectives, content outline, and skills. The last section of the course description consists of AP exam overview, exam components, a practice exam, and scoring rubric. Two to four sample free response questions from the 2018 exam provide an opportunity to practice the short answer portion of the test. Updates and new resources for 2019-2020 incorporate course updates and common units taught, as well as exam updates with targeted performance objectives for each free response question.
AP prep books: All AP prep books are subject focused, and many include practice questions and diagnostic tests. These books provide a more condensed way to review the full course before taking the AP exam. Barron’s is a reliable brand that has a study guide for nearly every AP exam, such as AP Calculus and AP US History.
Practice questions: It’s always a good idea to answer practice questions and feel more comfortable with the test format. CollegeBoard and the AP Practice Exams website offer practice questions for each subject.