Common sense will tell us that cramming just isn’t smart. If students try to overwhelm themselves with information the night before a big exam, chances are they are much more likely to forget information rather than retain information. While students should prepare wisely for the short-term, the same goes for their long-term goals. Parents and students should think ahead. Should an elementary school student start thinking about which colleges they want to attend and their college entrance standardized test scores? Probably not. However, what is important for students of all ages to consider is how their trajectory is affected on a daily basis. Academic success is a cumulative process and getting into a highly selective college depends on benchmarks that start sooner than most parents and students realize.
At any grade level, a student’s performance – in math, English, science, and foreign language – determines which classes they can take the following year. This effect compounds over time, so that some seniors are in Trigonometry while others are in AP Calculus BC. You can take action to positively influence outcomes at any point in your child’s academic career.
Always think ahead! Students planning on taking an AP exam this spring shouldn’t wait until April to start preparing for the APs. It’s difficult to believe that it’s already time to start preparing for the APs now, but here are 5 reasons why students shouldn’t wait:
1. They’re not easy.
No need to sugarcoat anything here. A student who is struggling now, will only find preparation to be increasingly difficult as time passes. These college-level tests are both broader and deeper in scope than any other pre-college/high school aptitude test students face. Plus, they’re cumulative! AP exams consist of an entire academic year of material including essay questions to assess a student’s true understanding of the material. Cramming for the AP in one to two weekends will prove futile.
2. They matter.
A passing AP score constitutes real college credit, hence saving money on tuition and giving your student the fundamental flexibility to study abroad or change majors and still graduate in four years.
3. Every student requires unique preparation methods.
Students should take advantage of every opportunity to discover which preparation method works best for them. There are many options for AP Prep including working alone or getting outside help. There are even test prep centers to help students maximize their test score. Determining ideal preparation methods for APs is a process that will take some time. Not only does starting early allow test takers more time for improvement, it also provides the best opportunity to discover an effective approach to academic planning and preparation which will help your child in the future.
4. AP Prep will also help improve overall class grades.
What’s the point in studying and slaving away only to achieve a 2 on the AP exam and a B in the class? Seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? Spending extra time with an AP teacher at school or preparing with a tutor will help ensure a high grade in the class AND potential college credit! High marks in the most challenging high school courses hold up to 50% its weight in the college application process.
5. No Do-Overs.
One and DONE. Most AP test takers are juniors, who are also busy prepping for the ACT/SAT. Consider this: the SAT is offered seven times yearly, while each AP subject exam is offered on one day in early May each year. That’s it. It’s recommended that students enrolled in an AP class take the AP test the same year, while the knowledge is still fresh. Students should be sure to create a testing timeline based on all of the exams they are planning on taking over their high school career.
It’s never too early to take the time to make a plan especially with difficult advanced placement material. Students shouldn’t just look at key standardized test dates – they should look at their whole workload including commitments from school and extracurriculars. Most students have access to guidance resources at their school, but one free resource most students and parents aren’t aware of is Revolution Prep’s Academic Advisors. Anyone can call Revolution Prep and speak with an expert testing advisor for free, without any financial commitment. Revolution’s Advisors review a student’s academic goals, past test history, class schedule and workload, and make recommendations on how to best plan for the exams. Revolution Prep’s advisors can be reached at (877) 738-7737.