Junior Michael Bargenda just wants to get this out of the way – “There’s nothing I can say to make you magically good at AP tests. You just have to study.” That studying can be done in a variety of ways, such as by attending review sessions, getting review books, or taking practice tests.
Bargenda has really bought into the AP system, as he is taking 6 AP tests between May 6th-17th. Taking so many AP exams yields two things; first, a LOT of studying, and second, a boatload of college credit on the line. The 11th grader usually attends class reviews in lieu of reviewing by himself, but when he does, he’ll “get a review book or something like that.”
AP Physics and AP Physics C teacher Mr. Wells, advises students to not cram content because “looking over answers to questions isn’t as helpful as looking at what the questions are asking about and how they are being asked.”
Mr. Well’s students can prepare the right way by going to his study sessions in the weeks leading up to AP testing. During these sessions, students will take two practice tests and go over the concepts they struggled with. Mr. Wells believes that “AP tests also offer a ton of partial credit, so knowing how to start problems and process the work is a very valuable skill,” making attending study sessions all the more relevant.
Mr. Wells didn’t take any AP classes in high school, but he points out how curriculum (for physics at least) remains pretty stagnant, as to looking at older AP exams. However, Wells explains that AP is in the process of reevaluating many courses. “Physics 1 is quite a bit different than the old counterpart Physics B” while Physics C is “changing to involve more calculus,” Mr. Wells observes.
AP classes are great for students to have on their high school transcripts: not only because they are attractive to colleges, but they can also offer college credit. College is expensive nowadays, and receiving credits for simply taking a test for credit is both a big money and time saver. With the average credit cost weighing in at just under $600 per credit according to studentloanhero.com, $94 for each AP test (which is equivalent to one college credit) isn’t too much to ask for. Some AP credits also allow for students to knock out university undergrad requirements, saving a lot of time. Not to mention that APs “allow students to push themselves and learn more at a better pace for them,” Mr. Wells adds.
What is Mr. Wells’ biggest piece of advice for AP students come test day? “Try and get all the questions right,” he jokes.