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How to Prepare for AP Classes

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Are you a high school student planning to take AP classes next year? If so, this is the blog post for you. Click through to find out how to best prepare yourself for the academic undertaking to come.

AP Classes and You

Taking AP classes, especially for the first time, can be quite the educational challenge. You'll experience college-level academic rigor, a long, difficult examination, and your test result will have the potential to significantly impact your college career. No sweat. Or, at least, less of a sweat if you're prepared. These tips will teach you how to use the summer before the school year to start preparing for your AP classes in the fall.

Buy Your Test Prep Books Now

Often, students rely quite a bit on test prep books to help them prepare for their AP exams in May. Get ahead of the rush by buying your test prep materials, whether online or on site in a bookstore, now. You can even take advantage of the fact that this year's AP tests have recently ended and buy some books secondhand from AP students who will be all too happy to get those heavy things off of their desks. Having the materials now will allow you to start studying at the beginning of the school year and follow along in the books as you learn.

AP test prep books

Become Acquainted with the Beast

One of the best ways to be prepared for the unknown is to try and anticipate what you'll most likely be facing in a new situation. To that end, we recommend doing your research about the AP class and test experience. Talk to people who have taken (or even taught!) the AP classes you're going to take in the fall in order to find out what material you'll cover, what kind of homework load you'll have, what will be the pace of the instruction, and so on. Take a look at AP practice tests and official sample tests - knowing the beast can help you tame the beast.

Two high school students talk about AP classes

Preview the AP Topics

In addition to familiarizing yourself with the type of learning and test-taking experiences that await you, it'll be to your advantage to preview the academic material. Flip through your textbooks and test prep books and preview the AP topics at hand. You don't have to teach yourself the material, or try to achieve any sort of mastery before classes start, but exposing yourself to the topics and vocabulary words may help you feel more prepared and less lost once classes get going.

AP classes in the fall

Establish a Goal

Our last tip is to establish a goal for yourself before you start your AP classes. This will provide you with something to work toward and keep you on track during the year to come. Whether you goal is to pass all of your AP tests, get a 5 on one of your tests, or simply make it through the school year without freaking out, knowing what you hope to achieve will help to give you a sense of focus even as you brave the potentially overwhelming AP classes to come. Like those students who came before you, you'll make it through - we're rooting for you!

For more information and resources related to AP classes, check out this resource on Study.com

By Daisy Rogozinsky
May 2019

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