AP Exams: How to Prepare

Alexis Peterson, Coeditor

It’s that time of year again, the dreaded Advanced Placement exams are upon us. No need to fear- Alexis Peterson, your trusty Senior co-editor- is here to provide some advice (which is also applicable to finals).


  1. How to stay focused for a long time

Wednesdays should be a go-to day for making up missing classwork, but, if you have time, it’s also a great day for studying for those exams.

The night before a study day, plan it ahead! For me, I have four exams this year and need divided times for each study period. I will write out a time table and deliberately plan out every portion, including breaks, so I can keep track of what I need to do.

You can do the same! Write out your schedule, here are some tips:

1. Study only 30 minutes at a time

It has been proven that you can only focus 30 minutes at a time! Take a break for 10 minutes between each interval. During this break, don’t stay on your phone because it will distract you! Instead, make puzzles, draw a picture, get some study snacks.

2. Eat snacks

Every few hours, take a longer break to eat meals. Otherwise, eat a few snacks during your study day! Evade foods that are greasy or sugary because they will make you sleepy. Instead, resort to fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, granola, or a handful of nuts or seeds. These will help you stay alert and awake, especially if paired with a coffee or tea. Do try to avoid too much caffeine to avoid burnout, but also enjoy just a bit to help you become alert without the jitters.

3. Make breaks fun

Every 10-minute break can be fun! Take time to do things you enjoy. One of my favorite things to do every 3 hours of a study day, I will take a half-hour break to relax. Take these longer breaks and do something more time consuming- I’d recommend a shower, perhaps going for a run or bike, or treating yourself to a sweet treat. For the ten-minute break, you can do a short cardio session, too.

2. Set up a study space

Many people wonder why they can’t focus while studying, but, they haven’t set up the proper space. I have learned that having consistency really assists the focus an individual can have while studying. Here are some tips:

1.  Make sure you have a mixture of lighting

This is merely to make studying easier on your eyes! If possible, sit somewhere where natural light is an option. My go-to spot is at my desk, which is by a window I keep open and unshaded.

2. Evade technology and set up a focused “tech-free” space, if possible

You can listen to music ( I recommend instrumental music, such as Lo-Fi, or classical music), but use Bluetooth capacities on your speaker or earbuds. Putting away technology helps you focus without the distractions. If you need to use a computer or your phone to get resources for your studying, set it on “Focus” mode, which blocks all other apps. But, if you can help it, don’t use technology

3. Sit somewhere no one will bother you

Pro tip: most “study” times with friends turn into “conversation” times. If you can, avoid sitting next to or across from someone to insure they don’t try to get chatty while you are getting into the studying focus zone.

When you get to the test, your study time will be worth it! I know you will do well and look forward to hearing about the results. Most importantly, be confident in your abilities and all the work you put into the exams! Best of luck to everyone!