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Best Guide On How And When To Study For AP Exams

Best simple guide on how and when to start studying for the Ap exams.

Best Guide On How And When To Study For AP Exams

Through the Advanced Placement (AP) program, you can obtain college credit while still a high school student. Most of the time, you have to get a high enough score on an AP exam to be eligible for this credit.

Even if the majority of students enroll in the equivalent AP course in school, you can still take the exam on your own. You should still schedule a time to study for the actual AP exam, even if you’re not enrolled in the course that corresponds with it.

Since the AP examinations are quickly approaching, it’s time to put together an effective study schedule. The accompanying AP Study Guide can help you prepare for your AP examinations and get the highest marks possible, whether you’re seeking advice on studying or resources to aid your studies.

How to Study for AP Exams

Make sure you follow through on your study plan to maximize your chances of achieving your examinations. Examine the following advice on preparing for the AP exam:

1. Arrange your study resources using the CED: The CED, your notes from class, previous quizzes and tests, and review videos from YouTube or AP Classroom are the resources that will most assist you in your studies. Arrange these materials according to the CED’s unit order so that you may easily meet the requirements for the AP test.

2. Check old materials: Go over the content you have already finished in class to start. Every evening, set aside about 15 minutes to go over previous work. The greatest way to study effectively is to often refresh your memory.

It is important to assess your understanding of each topic by using your previous quizzes and tests when going over the CED. To be properly prepared for the AP exam, it’s necessary to brush up on all the content, but take extra time to go over the ideas you didn’t perform well on.

You could comprehend the material better if you hear it presented differently. If you are taking the AP exam without having completed the course, allow more time in your study schedule so that you can take notes from the review videos and do a practice test to determine which ideas require more attention.

3. Keep the AP exam in mind when approaching new material: The final test of the year will be the AP exam. Spend a few minutes taking notes on new material as you learn it so you may refer to them later to review for the AP Exam.

While the lesson is still fresh in your mind, highlight the key topics and make a note of the places where you found it difficult.

4. Don’t depend too much on your high school teacher: Your teacher’s role is not to assist you with studying but to make sure that all of the information is covered.

Frequently, there isn’t enough time in class to cover the subject matter in detail AND conduct a full review by May. Reviewing key material quickly and affordably can be done with our 6-hour AP Cram Courses.

5. Purchase an AP study guide: You can review key material, become familiar with the format and question types of the test, and get ready for the big day with the aid of an excellent test prep book. For practice exams, drills, and crucial test-taking tactics, check out our AP Prep series.

6. Practice: Make time in your calendar to complete one or two in-depth practice exams before the actual exam day. Try to replicate the actual test-day situation when taking a practice exam by:

  1. Test yourself in a peaceful setting free from interruptions.
  2. On exam day, do not refer to any notes or information that you will not receive.
  3. Set a timer and complete each section within the given amount of time, only pausing in between.

Get expert AP help: Our AP tutors are great at helping students get ready for their exams. Whether you need extensive planning or just a little more assistance in a few areas, we can help! You can be sure you’re ready by going over the material regularly.

How To Create an AP Exam Study Plan

Make an AP exam study plan before you start studying so you can stay on course. Keep your timetable flexible to ensure that any alterations won’t interfere with your academic objectives.

It is more crucial to decide what you want to achieve each week rather than each day when creating your study schedule. Schedule one to three hours of study time per day, three to five days a week, depending on how many AP tests you will be taking.

Use the Course and Exam Description (CED) for each course as a reference while planning your study schedule. The CED divides learning concepts into units for each course.

Calculating a study schedule is as simple as dividing the total number of units in the CED by the total number of study weeks. Don’t forget to factor in time for practicing AP-style problems.

Check out some instances of eight-unit course-specific AP test study plans:

2-Weeks AP exam study plan

Although two weeks is not the best amount of time to prepare for an AP exam, if you did well on evaluations during the course and require little to no review of the material, you can make this time framework.

During these two weeks, you should prepare for free-response questions and take comprehensive practice examinations. The topic review you should concentrate on in the days leading up to the exam can be determined by the questions you failed to answer during practice.

You should schedule at least four hours of study time each day, five days a week, to ensure that you are properly prepared for the AP exam with this study plan.

1-Month AP exam study plan

You will need to study for more units in less time if you only have one month to prepare for the AP exam, but you still need to give yourself enough time to take a practice test.

It would be preferable to divide an eight-unit course into three weeks of units, and then leave yourself one week to prepare for the test.

During the first three weeks of content review, practice answering multiple-choice and free-response questions if you have the time. Make time to study for at least two hours five days a week to get the most out of this study plan.

3-Month AP exam study plan

Plan to study one unit from the CED each week if you have three months to study for an eight-unit course. Use the final month before the AP exam to complete practice problems and full-length mock tests.

Make time to study for one to two hours every day, three days a week. Remember that the amount of time you need to study can vary depending on your study habits and that if you begin taking extended practice examinations, you may need to raise the weekly amount of time.

This strategy has the advantage of giving you more time to practice AP-style questions, create flashcards, watch review videos, and review any concepts you missed to better prepare for the test.

Best Guide On How And When To Study For AP Exams
Best Guide On How And When To Study For AP Exams

Monthly AP Study Plan

You can alter and combine the stages in the list below to create a more compact schedule. You’ll be shocked to learn how much of the recommendation review you have already finished as you read.

This calendar is just meant to give you a general idea of when you should begin certain activities when studying for the AP exams. If you’re reading this in March and the exam is in May, don’t panic! Although you might be getting a late start on your review, there is no reason you cannot adjust the calendar to fit your needs.

Keep in mind that this timing is ideal.

1. First Month(August): August is the time to get oneself ready for a great academic year. Numerous actions you do today have the potential to significantly improve both your final AP scores and overall grades.

As your educators will undoubtedly inform you, maintaining organization is essential. If you’re taking any AP subjects, you might want to go a bit crazy with the school supplies.

It’s a good idea to prepare the following during the first week of classes:

(a) For every AP course, make sure you have a college-ruled notebook. Combining topics into one book is unlikely to work this year because you will be taking a ton of notes.

(b) A few note card packs so you may prepare for your initial exam. Make sure to create digital flashcards by creating an account on Quizlet, or any other online flashcard provider, if you’re not the type of person who likes to write things down by hand.

(c) To color code your notes, get three or four different colored highlighters.

2. Second Month(September): Now that you’re organized, it’s time to establish and follow a study schedule. You’ll discover that reviewing course material regularly is the key to studying for the AP tests. Make thorough notes during every class period. Don’t forget to record any important names, dates, and formulas that are written on the board.

When working with numbers, put the values down on paper before providing any context. Read through your class notes after each week, then type up a weekly review sheet. Take out the key takeaways from each day.

3. Third Month(October): Make sure your notes are thorough and your binders are all kept in order. Creating an AP study group in pairs with a friend or two is also a smart idea at this time. For each AP course you are enrolled in, you should have at least one study partner.

Do you recall how you registered for Quizlet? This is the time to use it. You can assign the job to your buddies and share the outcomes when it’s time to review and create flashcards. Just make sure that each person is contributing fairly. Freeloaders are disliked by all, particularly when grades are involved.

Joining a study group will help you become more comfortable with reviewing for AP classes as soon as you get the hang of it.

Additionally, you’ll discover that the collaborative environment helps you stay on task and bridge any gaps in your subject-matter expertise. Your study partners will support you if you miss a day of class.

4. Fourth Month(November): Make sure you attend your weekly AP study session and go over your course notes. It’s possible that your peers saw things differently than you did and took note of details that you missed.

It’s also time to buy an AP review book for every AP course you are enrolled in if you haven’t already. They are available from a variety of retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and numerous independent local bookshops.

Make sure you haven’t missed anything by comparing your weekly note compilations to the content in the book as you work through the curriculum.

Ask your teacher if you will be covering that content in class if you see any gaps. If not, most teachers offer one-on-one tutoring before school on specific days. Make arrangements to go to one.

5. Fifth Month(December): You should have no trouble studying for any tests at the end of the year because of your continuous, diligent work this semester. Keep going through your notes, and focus in class. During the lecture, fight the impulse to text, go to sleep, or give in to any other distraction.

6. Sixth Month(January): To avoid falling behind, it’s a good idea to review your notes from each class at least once or twice throughout the winter break.

Even though the school year isn’t quite done and you haven’t studied enough to take a complete mock AP test, you should start practicing with the questions in your AP review books and on the College Board website. You can practice your process of elimination and guessing techniques.

7. Seventh Month(February): Keep taking thorough notes and going over them often. You are still going to receive a ton of new knowledge, so this is not the time to get lazy.

Seek support from your friends or study group members if you’re feeling down. Since you’re all in the same shoes, you may support one another’s success.

8. Eighth Month(March): A large chunk of the content that will be tested has now been covered by you. To continue honing your pace, take one of the practice exams found in the AP review book you purchased.

To help you become accustomed to the examination environment, treat the practice exam as if it were the actual thing. Allocate a morning and spend it without interruption.

9. Ninth Month(April): Try your hand at another practice test. As your teacher will only be going over everything that will be included on the AP test, you should be able to breeze through the multiple-choice questions by now.

Consider practicing timed writing tasks if you will be writing essays on the test. Most likely, you’ve finished a few in class already, but ask your teacher if there are any more that you could complete. It is best to practice more.

10. Tenth Month(May): Finally, test time is here! There’s no need to cram because you’ve worked hard all year. The day before every exam, try to avoid doing any test prep at all.

You’ll just end up worrying yourself silly. To prepare for the big day, you should take the day off, go do something enjoyable, and unwind.

Even while it’s best to get started as soon as possible, if you work hard and remain dedicated, you can start implementing the advice for note-taking, study groups, AP review guides, and more at different times and still get good results.

How To Study for Multiple AP Exams at Once

It’s crucial to start studying early and plan your study timetable with your test dates in mind if you’re taking several AP exams. When creating your study schedule, consider these questions:

  • In what days, weeks, or months are your exams?
  • When is the greatest time for you to study effectively and concentrate?
  • How much time do you plan to spend studying for each exam each day, each week, or each month?
  • When are you going to prepare?

You will have less time to prepare for each class if you cover more courses in a week, thus it is advisable to create an AP test study plan that reduces the number of units you must review each week, like the three-month schedule previously mentioned in this AP study guide.

It is simple to become stressed out or burn out when studying for several tests because there is so much material to cover.

The following should be kept in mind to assist in preventing this:

  • Don’t forget to schedule a one- or two-day study break per week.
  • To improve concentration when studying, break up lengthy study sessions.
  • Take extended breaks between studying multiple classes and limit your attention to just one course at a time.

Consider studying for one AP exam on one day and another on the following day, or studying for one AP exam during lunch or a break and studying for another AP exam after school. You’ll be able to concentrate more on a particular topic and retain more information with this strategy.

How To Study for Multiple AP Exams at Once
How To Study for Multiple AP Exams at Once

The Best Way To Prepare for AP Exams

When it comes to AP exam preparation, the quality of your study surpasses the quantity of time spent studying. To help you concentrate, study in an area with few distractions; if you find it difficult to stay focused, take a break.

When you can only focus for thirty minutes, studying for three hours straight loses time that you could use for more useful activities.

You will not get anything from this ineffective studying. Take a break, stretch, go for a walk, or engage in some exercise when you find studying is no longer beneficial. Then, try again at a later time.

Additional methods to enhance the caliber of your study habits are as follows:

Instead of wasting time on study techniques that haven’t worked for you in the past, use ones that have.

Spend no time on ideas that you already know.

Instead of requiring rote memorization, the majority of AP exams focus on concept application and connection. By instructing colleagues in a study group or creating mind maps, which are diagrams that visually depict these relationships, you can modify your study habits to establish these connections. You can increase your retention of the information by using these strategies.

Examine how you intend to take the test in advance. When taking practice exams with a time limit, skip questions that will take too long to complete and return to them later when you have the time.

AP Exam Study Materials

You should use the materials that will best prepare you to get the best score on your AP tests when you’re studying. Make use of the following tools to assist you:

The Course and Exam Description (CED)

In addition to example AP questions, the CED offers information, practice techniques, and study themes that will be examined on the exam. It is a fantastic tool for planning your AP exam study schedule and offers superb flashcard material.

Free-Response Questions

For every exam, the College Board offers free-response questions from prior years along with scoring standards and sample answers from students. These are helpful resources for comprehending the kinds of free-response questions that you’ll encounter on the AP test.

You can learn how to be more detailed in your replies and gain a better understanding of the task verbs used in each question by practicing free-response questions with a study group.

When to Start Studying for AP Exams

The material covered in AP courses is equivalent to that of introductory-level college courses, and months like August or September are the ideal time to begin preparing for the AP exams.

But, this does not imply that you should concentrate only on the AP exams. Instead, you should begin studying the subjects and abilities that the AP Exams will assess.

Like other high school standardized tests, the AP Exam requires two to three months of preparation to succeed. As a result, it is advised that you begin studying in February or March for the AP exams. You ought to have mastered the majority of the material and exam-related abilities by now.

You have a hurdle ahead of you if you are studying independently for an AP exam. You’ll have to study for the AP Exam as well as master the material of a college-level course. Decide how you’re going to study this content during the summer before the AP Exam.

When Are AP Exams?

May, as the North American school year is coming to a finish, is when AP exams take place. Usually, they take place in the first two weeks of May.

There are make-up exam windows later in May, but there are restrictions on when you can sit for them. Everybody in the world takes the same subject on the same day for a certain AP exam.

Since AP exams are meant to be taken around the conclusion of the related AP courses, the majority of students will have had nearly a whole academic year to study for them.

However, not all schools especially those with block scheduling will offer these courses as full-year courses. As was previously indicated, some students do take the AP Exam in place of the course.

Why Should I Take AP Courses?

AP courses are a significant undertaking. If you do not have at least a few on your transcript, very selective colleges have been known to barely look at your application. However, you should aim to study and succeed in these foundational courses for reasons other than just getting into a top university.

AP classes make you a better student

You acquire new ways of thinking, problem-solving techniques, and research abilities that you might not have on the academic pathway.

Digging deeper into topics you appreciate will allow you to uncover the foundations of knowledge. Even if the topic isn’t your thing, the depth of information offered can frequently make you at least start to understand the discipline.

AP courses’ demanding curriculum and emphasis on teamwork also help you get ready for college.

Even though it might be challenging right now, you’ll be grateful when your freshman year of college rolls around and you have an easier time adjusting to post-secondary education than your classmates who completely avoided AP classes.

How Do AP Classes Impact My College Applications?

Because of the way college admissions offices are organized, there is usually a regional manager on staff who exclusively reviews applications from specific regions of the nation.

This helps them get a thorough understanding of various places and schools, so when they read your application, they do so contextually.

However, your application may be viewed more favorably than that of someone who only took the same classes at a different school if you live in the middle of nowhere, USA, and your high school only offered AP Chemistry and AP United States History. This is because, theoretically, you seem more ambitious due to the unique circumstances of your school.

Best Guide On How And When To Study For AP Exams
Best Guide On How And When To Study For AP Exams


The knowledge and abilities you have acquired over the academic year leading up to May are summarized in the AP Exams.

These three-hour exams have the potential to be quite helpful (saving you money on college courses or allowing you to start on higher-level subjects sooner), as they can result in college credit or placement. Knowing when to study for the AP exams will help you achieve your best possible score.

You may find out everything you need to know about other colleges’ and universities’ Advanced Placement course policies by doing a quick internet search for “X AP,” changing “X” with the name of your school. This will bring up a list of all the requirements.


What is the best year to take AP classes?

Junior Year(2): This is the appropriate time for you to enroll in your core AP courses. If you want to go to a very selective school, take three to five; if not, take two to four. Keep in mind that a lot of students say this year is much harder than previous ones.

When should I start studying for the AP chemistry exam?

It is highly advised that you continue your studies after class. Review as soon as possible in April. Utilize your own or the teacher’s study arrangement to concentrate on the ideas and abilities that are most likely to be examined. Make every attempt to attend tutoring sessions if your teacher gives them.

What is the youngest age to take the AP exam?

As early as the tenth grade, students are eligible to sit for AP tests. The 38 courses that are available for study are all open to you, and you are not limited in how many AP examinations you can take in a year.

What year is the best to take AP Chemistry?

To guarantee that potential institutions assess the grades and test results during the application evaluation process, students typically finish the course during their junior or senior year. One of the harder AP subjects is chemistry.

How hard is it to get a 5 in AP Chem?

On the AP Chemistry Exam, just 10% of students receive a 5, but with the correct mix of applied learning, excellent study techniques, and purposeful practice, you may too.

Imran Lawan

I am a professional researcher whose focus is around engaging and knowledgeable information for students.

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