May 11th marks the first day of online AP testing, a two-week period where students will log onto the College Board website to test in a 45-minute window. With only a week left, there are many measures to take in order to be ready for the tests, calling for a new type of studying and practicing to accommodate for the new tests’ content.
To prepare, students should learn and practice similar testing settings and content before the actual test. This means utilizing the optional practice questions on the College Board in a replicated timed setting in the same environment where students will take the actual test. Do this as much as possible until completely comfortable answering the question types within the allotted time. AP students also should practice different ways to submit a response, whether it is through downloading a typed document, taking a picture, or copy-and-pasting the text. Going over submission will also help to gauge the time needed for forming a response and any quick edits. It is highly encouraged for students to go through the demo, especially when deciding how to submit their answers based on time and convenience.
Of course, there is more than just preparing for the writing and time management. Courses that are content-based, like history, math, and science classes, are limited to a few units, so students should focus most of their time studying the covered units that will most likely be on the test. While reviewing the courses, time shouldn’t be wasted on detail-heavy resources that easily bore people, especially if you focus too long on the small events rather than the big picture. Instead, many useful resources can be found online that both teach the concepts and entertain viewers in order to effectively keep the content on students’ brains. Most of these resources are Youtube channels like CrashCourse that keep audiences engaged if they pay attention and focus on the important content.
Once students have studied and practiced enough for the test, there are still last-minute tips to improve their testing situation. Before the day to test even begins, get every resource together in one place. Before the test, keep notes, paper, and calculator close to prevent any scrambling; already have the AP ID number on a chosen document and, if typing, have the two window setup before logging onto the College Board website. Finally, clear your chosen testing spot so resources do not create obstacles during testing. During testing, test-takers are allowed to use the internet, but if searching for something takes longer than a minute, do not use it. Searching for information will only waste time on what will most likely be useless information that will not break your grade. As well, the College Board has stated that they may post misinformation online and using the internet may cause students to fall into their trap, so limit searching time and resilience on the online information. As well, the College Board has highly recommended using Microsoft Word or Google Docs when typing. Using these applications will be very beneficial for a speedy spelling check, especially if the response is riddled with misspelled words due to fast typing, saving time in the end. Because the testing setup does not use lockdown software, students are technically given an extra five minutes to submit a response, but this small window does not prevent you from continuing your writing. Use this time for any quick edits, spell check, or finishing a final thought. Just make sure that you do not waste too much time in order to get your response submitted, even if there are errors.
Finally, though, just relax and answer to the best of your ability. Even a half-formed answer is better than none, so don’t worry about the small mistakes or missing information because you can still get a high score without writing a complete essay or short-answer response. These changes are completely far from what we have been preparing for this school year, so you shouldn’t feel bad if your work is not perfect. Putting in an effort, no matter the payback is much more rewarding than putting no effort in at all.