Only One Thing Stands Between You and Summer: Finals

Like a cold, concrete wall, finals stand between you and the bliss of summer. We understand the struggle; we’ve been there before. But what if we told you finals don’t have to be that way. With a productive study schedule, and resources such as a private Orange County tutor from TutorNerds, any student can do well. Did we mention resources? What about a FREE resource? You’re already on it. That’s right, our education blog is a free resource for students, parents, and teachers. Further, we wish to bring you the most relevant and helpful content, so let us know what you would like to see on here in the future. Until then, let’s discuss finals; particularly AP finals.


One of the most popular AP course series include: World History, European History, and US History. Many of you are taking the final exams for these courses in the next couple of weeks. Below are eight tips to the perfect, last-minute study guide. Good luck, Orange County!

  1. Make a Timeline – Stop by your local office supply store and get yourself a couple pieces of poster paper. Write down the various different cultures or events (depending on your subject) at the top and draw arrows to the other events that affected each other through time.  For Example, World War 1- 1914 (Franz Ferdinand) ———– Germany/terrible economy——–Rise of Nazi Party———- World War 11 (1939 Europe/1941 USA-1945). Keep your notes basic and use key words to help trigger your memory of each important event on the timeline. Using too much detail can be overwhelming if you are studying last minute, so keep it simple at this point.
  2. Use color coding – If you’re doing World History, choose a different color for each culture and mix together if necessary to show a blending or separation of cultures. For example, Russia could be green, and then the various new countries formed when they became separate from Russia could be blue and yellow (blue + yellow = green). Color coding can be a really useful visual tool to help understand how different cultures or events related to each other.
  3. Order a study prep book and have it shipped overnight – A test prep book can be enormously helpful because it breaks down the information into simple parts and highlights what you really need to know, as well as suggesting which topics will be heavily emphasized on the exam.
  4. Get a study group together ASAP – Call up your friends and arrange a few group study sessions at your local coffee shop or library. I bet that most of your classmates have the same questions that you do, and answering them together can help make the concepts clearer.
  5. Arrange for a private tutor to come to your home a couple of times before the exam – Because there won’t be much time, be sure to have your questions prepared in advance so that you can make the most out of those few hours. Many of our Irvine in-home tutors have taken AP courses in the past, so they’ll empathize with your situation.
  6. Go through the chapters of your text book and make a list of all of the major events that were discussed – Write one paragraph about each chapter that sums up the key events. Making a list ahead of time will ensure that you don’t miss anything. This will also help you not lose time on irrelevant material. Also, sites such as offer great AP flashcards.
  7. Look in the glossary in the back of your book and write down any words, phrases or terms that you are unfamiliar with  Find the definition or relevance of each and write them down on flash cards. Carry them with you to school and study for 10 minutes each morning and each night. Try to memorize as many as you can before your exam. It’s tempting to add words you already know to the stack, but you’re only wasting time if you do.
  8. Write a practice essay – Even if you have done this in class many times before, it will be really helpful to be 100% comfortable with the essay portions. Who knows, maybe the essay on the actual final will be similar to yours.

The AP exams are just around the corner, so make sure that you spend these last few days wisely and give yourself the best chance at a 3, 4 or even a 5 score. You got this.

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One last thing, summer doesn’t mean an end to learning. In today’s competitive world of college admissions, it’s crucial students spend the next few months improving and catching up. What better way to do that than with a private summer tutor? We work with student’s schedules so they can still have fun.

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