3 Reasons to Study for AP Exams
By Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed.
Studying for an AP exam can be a daunting task. The tests are very long, in-depth, and cover a year’s worth of material. Especially as “spring fever” sets in, your child may be tempted to study a few times here and there or cram at the last minute, then wing it on test day. But there are three good reasons to study well for your AP Exams. Discuss these with your child and ask how they plan to prepare for test day.
#1. Passing an AP Exam Can Save You Thousands of Dollars
You probably already know that passing an AP exam gives your child college credit, but have you thought about the amount of money that could save your family? In Virginia, in-state students spend an average of $500-800 per credit hour on college courses. Passing just one AP Exam could allow a student to test out of a 3-credit class, saving you between $1500 and $2400! If they attend an out-of-state university or private college, the savings can be even higher.
#2: They Can Kiss That Frustrating Subject Goodbye
If your child dislikes the subject of their AP course and doesn’t plan to use it in their career, they have another compelling reason to study hard! If they don’t pass, they’ll likely have to take a similar course all over again just to fulfill general education requirements in college. Don’t let all that hard work from this year go to waste! Any frustration with the class should drive students to put in the extra effort now so they can say goodbye to memorizing dates or practicing quadratic equations once and for all.
#3: They’ll Have More Opportunities in College
The more credits a student can get through AP exams, the fewer requirements they’ll have to fulfill in college. This frees up their schedule to double major, do an internship, hold a part-time job, take random classes that sound interesting, or even graduate early! College is an exciting time to explore, learn, and prepare for the future. Passing AP exams now will give your child more opportunities later.
Here’s What You Need to Know If Your Teen Is Taking an AP Exam
Now that you know studying for AP Exams is well worth the effort, what’s the best way to prepare for test day? Here are a few tips from our leading AP Coaches:
• Put test day on your calendar now. You can click here for this year’s AP timeline from College Board. Pay special attention to testing days and the tip on using AP classroom resources.
• Start preparing now. AP exams cover a LOT of material. Last-minute studying is stressful and ineffective. We offer 8-hour AP Tutoring programs spread out across the semester to help students prepare.
• Devote study time to every subject. If your student is taking multiple AP exams, we recommend a unique AP Tutor and 8-hour plan for each one. Remember, each test could potentially save you thousands of dollars, so every subject is worth the effort!
• Get a coach. AP Exams are different from any other exams your child has encountered thus far. They will have to go beyond memorizing facts and learn how to connect big concepts in a new way. Knowing how to identify the big idea for the science exam or answer document based questions (DBQs) for the history exam requires a new approach to studying and practice. Plus, students will need to develop strategic study guides to use on the exam and practice answering free-response essays in timed settings. Our coaches help students review the materials, create a study guide, and practice with the new testing style so they can achieve their best possible score.
• Don’t rely too much on the open-notes concept. AP Exams have allowed for open notes for years, and they still require a lot of studying. Having an open-notes exam makes creating a good study guide all the more critical. If the guide is too long, the student will struggle to find what they need in a timed setting. If the guide is too short, they may leave out important concepts they’ll need to reference in the test. That’s why our AP Coaches help students compile a study guide that will be most helpful on the test.
Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc. and author of Homework Made Simple. For more info, visit ectutoring.com.