AP test preparations

May 2, 2016



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1. Avoid last-minute cramming

A study by Indiana University of Pennsylvania found 99 percent of their students admitted to cramming before a test or assignment. However, a study by Nate Kornell, a student completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles, established that studying proved more effective for 90 percent of participants. According to BBC, cramming allows your brain to be familiar with something, but when trying to recall the information at a later time, it does not work. So, instead of pulling out review packets the night before the test, try studying every night weeks before the test to ensure you fully understand the material.


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2. Eat a whole and hearty breakfast

According to The Wall Street Journal, eating high-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oatmeal are best before a big test. Not only is eating breakfast the morning of a test helpful, but eating healthy the week before is as well. This gives the brain a chance to store more energy than usual. Spend an extra 15 minutes for breakfast to make sure it is filling and healthy. Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 2.05.48 PMart by Ava Hughes

3. Increase exercise to increase performance

Studies published by the British Medical Journal suggest 10-40 minutes of cardio can help the brain’s concentration and mental focus, therefore increasing performance on tests. In addition, studies performed by researchers at Dartmouth College found that people who had improved test scores had exercised throughout the month and the morning of their tests. During the weeks of studying for a test, try to fit in some time to exercise.

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4. Attend review sessions

Some AP classes have been reviewing material for weeks. These review sessions consist of taking notes on material that was not fully covered in class and looking through past AP tests. According to the Association for Psychological Science review sessions allow students to digest and clarify material on the exam.

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5. Get a good night’s sleep

Staying up all night cramming the night before a test can impair memory and reasoning for up to four days, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sixty percent of college students still practice all-nighters, trying to pull off a grade. According to a 2008 study on 120 students conducted by Pamela Thacher, associate professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University, these all-nighters are associated with lower grades. Make sure you get into bed at a reasonable time to allow nine hours of sleep, which is recommended by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


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