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The Curse of Tippecanoe
The Curse of Tippecanoe
February 15, 2024

Advancing to the Advanced Placement Tests

Previously published Mar 20. 2021
Advancing to the Advanced Placement Tests

Previously published Mar 20. 2021

Author’s Note: This article contains a little bit of helpful advice for those who are worried for AP exams like I was in 9th grade.

Advanced Anxiety from the Placement Pressure?

Well, we’re almost there, folks. The AP tests are in about two months, and many have begun preparations. Although, one thing that not many people can prepare for is the pressure of these exams. Seconds before taking tests is when many students can best relate to the verse, “palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” It’s essential to embrace this stress and remind yourself of how hard you’ve prepared. Ultimately, the test is just a measure of your performance, so think of it as a chance to show off your hard work to the test graders. Here are some tips to become a better test taker and focus during quarantine so that you can feel more confident before the test.

Practice Tests!

After taking these tests, thoroughly analyze your mistakes and make sure you understand why you were wrong. Don’t focus on finishing a book or test; focus on where you are lacking and make an effort to improve.

Take the practice tests in the testing environment.

Also, take these practice tests in a non-testing environment: Prepare for the worst-case scenario, especially for at-home tests. What if your neighbor is mowing their lawn? Or the internet stops working? Make sure you have backup plans for these situations. I recommend simulating a few of these situations when you are taking a practice test to don’t panic as much if it happens on the real one. You won’t panic much even if these scenarios don’t occur because you know that you’re prepared. For example, you could play coffee shop sounds in the background or ask someone to disconnect the internet randomly during one of your practice tests.

Attend Office Hours

There’s nothing to be ashamed of, not everyone understands everything, and it hurts more when you know you could have asked for help, but you didn’t and received a score you aren’t happy with. Prepare your questions or concepts that you need help on a day in advance and go to office hours. One common mistake is that when teachers explain the idea again during office hours, some still don’t understand and don’t express a lack of understanding. Believe it or not but teachers want to help you, so don’t be shy and ask away until you understand.

Don’t Burn Out

You need to take breaks, planned ones. If you don’t take breaks, eventually, your mind will be looking for any reason to lose focus. Don’t torture yourself; you should understand the information, but you also need to like the process of learning. There are many methods of preventing burnout. You can utilize the Pomodoro method to allocate a fixed time to study that includes a specified break time. For example, you could study for 60 minutes and take a 10-minute break. You could adjust the timings to your liking and train yourself to go a long time without breaks. Although it might seem like it’s better to study throughout, you do eventually lose efficiency the longer you work, especially if you haven’t trained yourself to focus. Keep in mind that you should be disciplined rather than reliant on motivation. If you find difficulties keeping yourself on track, you could always conduct a quiet study session with your friends or work while watching a looped study with me video. You could also consider taking a test to find out your studying strengths before starting your preparation. For example, I am a kinesthetic and visual learner, so I utilize many graphs, pictures, and videos when studying. You might be an audial learner and be using the wrong teaching style, which is causing you to defocus.

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Mahati Manda, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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