Thursday, May 10, 2012

AP Testing: A Half-Hearted Retrospective, aka, Confessions of a Study-Plan Hypocrite

Sweet, glorious freedom was once again mine at 11:35 am this morning, as I closed the AP English Literature and Composition testing booklet, and headed outside with my friends, into the sunshine. Well, not exactly the sunshine: the weather around here's as ready for summer as we are, but still seems to be subjected to some kind of regulation, like we are, so it's stuck in springtime mode (like we are). Anyways, the last AP test of my high school career was today. Now I'm all done. And as I data-wiped months worth of now-useless information from my brain (jk, there was nothing there in the first place :) ) I realized that I could actually read books again! Hooray!

Wait a second, I thought to myself. That sounds familiar.

It was definitely what I talked about in my post-AP test blog post, just last year. (read it here )

After the fact, I realize I messed up a little when it came to AP Prep... but not taking my own advice is probably the most embarrassing mistake. However, I am another year older and another year wiser, and I can definitely tell you that there are quite a few more things that I would have done differently. Which means it's time for my AP Advice, Part Two! (Feel free to participate as is applying to your level of apathy and actual free time. )

1. Read. Read like the Wind! aka, How Your Learning Style Affects Your Score.
I learn best when reading. That's why I got such great scores on my AP US History and AP English last year: I could get by on reading the material and the study guides, studying review sheets, and hand-writing a lot of notes. However, numbers, and how to interpret them, has never been my strong suit, which is why, when it came time to study AP Calc and AP Chem, I was thoroughly overwhelmed. Both of my teachers in those sections operate using a lecture-type method, with minimal handouts or take-home notes. I realized that if I had started taking notes from my study guide alongside the lessons we learned in class, it would have been easier to review the material. Woops. Moral: Study the way you can best benefit from it.

2. Google Counts as a Bosom Friend, aka, Utilize and Be Familiar With All Possible Resources.
There's your textbook, duh. Your class notes. Any other study notes or handouts you get during class.  Study guides available at the library, bookstore, and often, with your teacher. Online databases. Additional notes you can take outside of class. And let's not forget that all of the past free-response questions are available online, too. You just have to take the initiative to explore every possible avenue of prep.

3. Robots Would Be Happy, If They Could, aka, When It's Okay to Stop Caring About Anything but ABC Family Original Movies and Not Studying for AP Calc
There's a point when, if you continue to study, you simply have no room in your brain. Try any harder, and you may start forgetting things, like your address or middle name. This is when you just need to step back, take a breather, and watch mind-numbingly bad TV to make the headache go away. My recommendations? SyFy's Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, or anything on The CW.

Learn from me!

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