Tips from an Irvine AP Tutor: 5 ways to start prepping for AP exams


Advanced placement exams are not held until May, but fortuitous students will start studying long before the big day. AP classes take up a lot of a student’s time because there’s a ton of extra homework and regular research and review required. However, the most important goal is for students to achieve a score of 3 or higher on the exams (some schools require a 4 or 5). When students try to cram for these exams, they become overwhelmed and are unable to study efficiently. This can lead to a whole lot of unnecessary stress that makes spring semester difficult and unproductive. Students who want to avoid this type of stress should start studying now – our private Irvine AP tutors are here to help you succeed.

1.  Refine writing skills

Regardless of which course students are taking they can all benefit from refining their writing skills. Writing for an advanced placement exam should be concise and to-the-point but also describe or argue in adequate detail. This can take a lot of practice and require several suggestions from a teacher, study group, or tutor. Many students forget about the importance of writing skills if they are not currently enrolled in one of the English or literature AP courses; however, it’s important to be an excellent and skilled writer regardless of the content of a course a student is currently taking.

2.  Work within the time limit

A universal issue is dealing with academic content within the time allotted. Many students can write an excellent essay or solve an ultra complex mathematical problem given enough time; however, AP exams provide students with a very limited amount of time to answer a large number of questions. When students get used to the amount of pressure and anxiety they’ll feel when the clock is ticking, they have a chance to deal with the stress in a healthy way before the big day.

3.  Flashcards and review

Review is critical when it comes to AP exams, especially courses like history or math that require a lot of memorization. One of the best ways for students to remember all of this content is to review in small intervals on a regular basis, perhaps half an hour twice a week, in addition to any new content they’re mastering. Good old fashion flash cards are also a great idea when it comes to review because students can make them once and use them several times. These days, students can make flashcards in a tangible or digital format making it easy to study on the go or at the spur of the moment (READ: AP Test Without the Class?).

4.  Formulas and memorization

When it comes to advanced placement math courses students will need to memorize a lot of different multi-step functions and formulas to score well on the exam. Some students have great memories while others will need help from a tutor to figure out what helps them recall large amounts of information, so it’s better to start early and get a ton of practice before the actual test day comes along.

5.  Vocabulary and reading comprehension

In addition to memorizing vocabulary terms and phrases, students will need to focus on their reading comprehension skills really. The AP exam passages are not necessarily user-friendly, and so the reader will have to determine which keywords will help them answer the questions as well as understand the author’s point of view, tone or mood, and style. This is another thing best learned through ample practice, so the sooner students start working on reading comprehension, the more likely they’ll be to score a 3 or higher on exam day.

It’s never too early or too late to start your private Irvine AP tutoring. Call us today for more information!

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