Summer Study Tips From an Irvine AP Tutor
AP students have a large amount of work to complete over the summer, much of which is due the first day of class in the fall. To add to the pressure, many AP teachers hold a pop quiz (surprise!) or a full-length exam during the first week. Sophomores and juniors who are taking their very first AP class may easily underestimate the amount of work they have to complete over the summer, or they may not fully understand the parameters of the assignments. Although all students, regardless of their course level, deserve some rest this summer, it’s important to realize that AP classes are really college-level courses taught in high school. Students are encouraged to get started with their summer study ASAP instead of leaving the work until the last minute. Here are four tips from an Irvine AP tutor to help you get a head start.
All AP students will need to read through a text book or two, but students in AP English Language and AP English Literature will be assigned several novels and short readings in addition to their textbooks. It’s a good idea to get started with that reading right away and leave some extra time in case the student needs to contact their teacher to clarify assignment details (what exactly is a ‘close reading’?) or call in a tutor to help analyze (the author’s point of view is what?). On the other hand, students who leave reading assignments until the last minute may find that they simply can’t complete all of their assignments prior to the first day of class and, in some cases, may have to drop their AP course altogether (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Mastering AP English Language”).
AP students who spend a few hours reviewing last year’s related classes often find that the fall term is much easier. It’s also important to keep in mind that some AP classes are related. For example, reviewing last year’s AP European History will certainly help with this year’s AP US History and last year’s AP Literature will help with this year’s AP English Language. Students should keep all of their notes from previous classes and spend an hour or two going over any concepts that eluded them in the past.
3. Meet your study group
Forming a study group for an AP class is essential, especially for sophomores taking an AP for the first time. Taking a college-level class is no easy feat and students should take all the help they can get. When forming a study group (or joining one) new AP students should look for members who are committed to their education and plan on taking the course seriously. Students can also ask their tutor to help organize or lead the study group from time to time to help keep things on track, especially as the end of summer approaches (READ: “AP Test Without the Class?”).
4. Take a practice test
Taking a practice test the summer before the course even starts seems a bit crazy, right? It isn’t. If a student is unsure of how much work will be required and how much time will be spent during the year, a practice test will certainly set them straight. Students can obtain a legit practice test from any reputable test prep publisher. Remember, to get college credit, a student will need at least a 3. In addition to providing a wake-up call, a practice test will help new AP students understand why certain aspects of the subject matter are important and why their teacher will emphasize certain assignments (READ: “Ask a Nerd! Grades and AP Class”).
Although school doesn’t start for a few more weeks, AP courses are essentially held year round. Students are encouraged to complete their summer assignments sooner rather than later so that they can be adequately prepared to participate in the class this fall.
Plan on taking AP courses this coming school year? Book your Irvine AP Tutor today!