We’re nearing the time of the year where every AP or IB student is on the edge: exam time. Time to put all that hard work to test for the sweet reward of college credit. Whether this is your first year of exams, or you’ve faced these beasts before, here are some of our suggestions on how to slay the exams.
1) Get familiar with the formatting
AP and IB exams are formatted differently, so if you’ve only tested in one before and are now switching, you should take special note of this. AP exams, in most subjects, have two parts; the first section is multiple choice, and the second is free response. IB exams are a little different. Actually, a lot different. IB exams vary from subject to subject, and include both external and internal assessments. You should be familiar with this already if you’re taking an IB exam, because, good news, IAs are out of the way! All that’s left is sitting for the exams.
2) Time yourself
Both IB and AP are timed exams, so get use to working under time constraints. If you haven’t done a timed writing in class yet, set aside sometime on your own to give this some practice. A good tip for timed writing is to take a minute to jot down the points you plan on addressing, that way you aren’t stuck half way through.
3) Get familiar with the mark schemes
This is best done through checking out released exams. Remember, the tests are timed. For AP exams, unlike the SAT, multiple choice questions do not lose points for being wrong. You’ll want to guess if you get stuck or start running out of time. IB exams rarely have multiple choice portions, instead they’re primarily free response questions. Each question shows how many points it’s worth. A good strategy is to answer questions worth higher points first.
4) Study a couple weeks in advance
You’ll do no good trying to cram. Hopefully, you’ve started exam review in your class, or will soon be starting. You should still study out of class every day for 10-15 minutes in the week leading up to your exam. By spacing it out, you won’t overwhelm yourself, and you’ll be less likely to get distracted. Still feel the need for a hardcore study session? Here are some tips and foods to get you through it.
The day before your exam, don’t study. As counterintuitive as this may seem, follow it. If you’ve studied like the tip above, then you’ll do great. Nothing’s going to magically make sense the day before the exam. Walk away from those flashcards, hide the textbooks, and go have fun. Meet up with your friends and fellow AP or IB students and go have fun.
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