3 Months to the APs: What your preparation should look like

The AP Exams are one of the most overlooked parts of the college preparation process. A second thought to many, the APs have a rewarding characteristic that should instantly make it a priority to high school students: They get you ahead in college.

That’s right. Virtually all universities award credit and enable you to skip introductory courses based on your AP Exam scores. That allows you to advance straight to higher level college courses without having to retake classes you took in high school.

Because of that, preparing for the APs is a somewhat unique task. Unlike the SAT and the ACT, it is directly based on a specific high school course and strictly covers content related to that subject. On the other hand, it is challenging to many students because every teacher runs their AP class a bit differently—so sometimes the test doesn’t look exactly like what you experienced in the classroom.

We are currently 3 months away from the APs, with the first dates scheduled for early May. With that in mind, our professional tutors who specialize in teaching for the APs wanted to share tips and strategies that are particularly effective when studying for these tests.

And because we know each student is at a different stage in the preparation process, here is a look at what your 3 months should look like—based on where you are at now:


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If you haven’t started studying

  1. Decide which AP Exams you want to take — based on your current and past AP courses, areas of interest and even intended college major.
  2. Work with a professional advisor and tutor to create a study plan that focuses on your specific needs and goals.
  3. Apply the personalized study plan to your current routine and start studying as soon as possible.


If you already started studying, but could use additional prep

  1. Evaluate your priorities; what are you focusing on that takes time away from studying for the APs? What’s more important? Check out our Executive Functioning eBook to learn how to prioritize better.
  2. Break your objective into smaller goals—it is easier to accomplish things one step at a time.
  3. Remember the importance of having a growth mindset. Don’t get discouraged if things seem complicated, just believe in your potential as a learner and get additional support if you need it.


If you already feel prepared

  1. Take practice tests—there is no better way to evaluate where you stand, and you’ll get familiar with the APs’ length and format.
  2. Work with a professional, 1-on-1 or in a small group setting, who can take you to the next level; it can be the difference between scoring a 4 or a 5.
  3. Once you have a solid handle on the general content, start working on specific areas of concern and topics where you haven’t mastered yet. Practice tests will highlight areas you could improve!

Now that you know what your next steps should be, go execute! And if you have any questions or would like some extra assistance, contact one of our dedicated academic advisors.

We’re here to help!