Stress less for AP tests

Students+Briana+Ortiz%2C+left%2C+and+Samantha+Goodman+study+their+vocabulary+words+for+AP+Language+and+Composition.+

Haley Lomas, The Freelancer

Students Briana Ortiz, left, and Samantha Goodman study their vocabulary words for AP Language and Composition.

Haley Lomas, Staff Writer

Preparing to take an AP exam (or a couple for that matter) is one of the most stressful times of the school year. But it’s important to not let the stress get to your head.

“Stress is really bad for you,” says AP Psychology teacher, Mari Foster. “It’s the number one killer of Americans. It can lead directly to heart disease.”

So, in an effort to prevent heart disease and stress-induced comas, here are some tips on how to stress less over the AP test.

Review

“My advice would be just review everything you’ve learned from the first week of school in AP to now. Just keep reviewing because you’ll be surprised at how much information you really know,” says AP English teacher Shelly DeSimone. Reviewing is one of the most important parts of avoiding stress, so dig out your papers from the beginning of the year and look at key information. Once you’ve gotten a grasp of the material, you’ll feel prepared and confident in your ability to ace the test.

Ask for Help

If you are unsure of any of the material, simply ask a teacher. They are there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask to review some of the material from the beginning of the year just because you don’t want them to know you were dozing through it in class. They won’t get angry (if they do they’ll at least try to hide it). Just remember, it’s best to ask early rather than wait until the last minute. This will give you adequate time to make sure you understand all the material and don’t have any more questions.

Manage Time

Keep in mind studying requires a real effort. Your life isn’t a movie, and you can’t expect to crunch hours of studying into a 40-second montage while “Taking Care of Business” plays in the background. Try to find a free hour in your day to put away any distractions, put on some music in the background (or don’t if it’s too distracting), and review your notes. Start reviewing as early as possible so you aren’t trying to cram as much information as you can days before the test.

Organize

In order to review efficiently, you must be able to find all your information, which is why it is important to organize your materials. High school students are not known to be the epitome of organization, so this might require some major overhauling on your part. Clean out your backpack and sort your papers according to the class. Make flash cards, reorganize your binder, and use a planner to plan out your day so you can carve out some time to crack open your textbook and review your lessons.

Breathe

Most importantly, don’t let the stress get to you. If you’ve been staring at the same page for an hour trying to memorize the information and you can feel your eyes burning in their sockets while drool is starting to dribble out of your mouth, then you’re not studying, you’re turning into a zombie. If your dreams are haunted by Richard Nixon from studying too much for AP US History, or you’re rocking back and forth in the corner muttering “mitosis” because of AP Biology, it might be time to cut back a little and relax.

Taking some time to relax is important as it helps you keep up your energy and keeps you from burning out. So go take some time for yourself, do something you enjoy. Re-read your favorite novel, play with your pet, knit a scarf, blast the “Blues Brothers” album (go John Belushi!), or go plop yourself on the couch and watch an episode of Breaking Bad or Seinfeld (bonus relaxation points if you shout “Serenity now!” while you watch). Anything to help you relax and build motivation to tackle your studying later on without resorting to the “overworked student” fetal position.