What should I do to study for these four AP exams?

So I have about a month and a half left before AP exams and I procrastinated a bit in regards to studying for my upcoming AP exams. I’m taking four AP exams: AP Computer Science Principles, AP World History, AP Calculus AB (self-study; about 65% done with learning the course), and AP Psychology (self-study, haven’t started learning it). I was kinda lost as to what to do to get a 5 on all of these (I really really want a 5 on all of them because I’m shooting for HYPSM) as I haven’t taken an AP exam before (I’m a freshman). I have prep books for all 4 of them but I don’t know how I should use those or if they’re very reliable. Does anyone that has taken these exams know what I should do to study for them (I know I’m probably going to have to cram for them but I can devote a lot of time to them)? How much time should I spend preparing for each, with less than two months remaining?

Crash course helped me alottttt with world/european/ushistory. There are also websites dedicated for certain ap tests, I believe there is a computer science principle website where you can practice javascript and python exclusively. Most importantly, don’t stress out about it, you’ll be fine :slight_smile:

@jamesewing Thank you so much! I’ll make sure to check out the Crash Course for World History, Also, my class uses Snap (it’s like Scratch, but UC-Berkeley made it, not MIT) for our programming, so I don’t know how useful that website would be. If there’s one exam I’m really worried about though, it’s APCSP because our class is a joke–we don’t learn anything at all.

Does anyone have any more suggestions as to how to study for my AP exams?

I would take a practice test (timed, etc.) for each to get a sense of how much more you need to do. You may find that you are already scoring a 5, in which case you can back off, or maybe for Calc or Psych you’re only scoring a 1 or 2, which may not leave you enough time to close the gap. Then spend the next two weeks focusing on the concepts that you didn’t answer correctly.

Also, please, please do yourself a favor and don’t just focus on HYPSM. You may very well end up with 15 5s on AP exams and still not get in to those schools. So please look into a wide variety of schools that you can afford, and where you could be happy. Good luck!

@mjrube94 Thank you so much for the reply! That’s what I’ll likely end up doing for all of the exams. Will reviewing the practice exams and the mistakes I make (and then reviewing the concept) be enough for each AP exam? Also, I wanted to clarify that I’m not just focusing on HYPSM. I definitely have my options open and I have a long time before having to decide which colleges I would like to apply to (I do have a general idea of that though).

Barron’s Guide AP practice tests. Do as many of these as possible.

@damon30 Thanks for the reply! I have the Barron’s book for AP Psych and AP World, but there isn’t one available for AP CSP. Would doing the 5 steps to a 5 practice test for that still be useful? Also, about how long do you think studying for each AP exam takes?

Sorry, I don’t know about APCSP. But, honestly, I think that one is the least important of your AP exams. Very few schools offer any kind of credit for it.

For your second question, you should be able to either devote a week to each test, or study for them all at the same time. It’s really just taking a timed practice test, reviewing the answers you missed, taking another one, etc.

If you are earning A grades in the associated AP courses, and prior year students earning A grades in those courses have earned 5 scores on the AP tests, then it is likely that just continuing to do well in the courses will be enough preparation.

@damon30 I agree with you that CSP is the least important. Also, I agree with the study schedule you provided, but do you think that reviewing using a review book in addition to taking practice exams and reviewing the answers I missed would be beneficial? Or would it be a waste of time?

@ucbalumnus I have As in the two AP classes for which I’m taking AP exams (and I obviously don’t have a grade for the two I’m self-studying), but I don’t really think that the class is very similar to what is on the AP exam. In AP CSP, we barely learned anything all semester and in AP World we focus much more on the little content details (like exact dates) than general trends (though we do cover those as well). That’s why the AP exams are a bit of a concern for me.

@skompella9892 Don’t take the psych exam. You haven’t taken a course in it and you haven’t started your self study. With three other AP exams, you aren’t going to have time to master the material.

IMO, you should only take AP exams for the two courses you are actually taking. You are a freshman. Two is plenty. You haven’t mastered all of the Calculus material yet through self-study either, so why put that pressure on yourself?

Two 5s is better than Four 3s. HYSP are not impressed with self-study AP scores.

@skompella9892 I agree with the above advice to focus primarily on the two AP exams for which you are taking the classes. Time permitting, yes, study the review sections in between taking the practice tests. If you have already signed up and paid for the self-study APs, then I don’t see any harm in taking the exams, but don’t let them distract from your classes or the more import APs.

@mamaedefamilia @damon30 Normally, I wouldn’t take the psych exam, but I have already signed up for it and bought a review book. I’ve already finished Calculus and right now I’m just reviewing some AP CSP through a review book. What I’m planning on doing is finishing up my studying for CSP by tomorrow and spending the rest of my spring break (which is up until April 28) studying psych. Then, after spring break I’m going to study for AP World. Do you think this study schedule will work?

Sure, that sounds fine. Good luck!

@skompella9892 Since you asked, I don’t think that 10 days of cramming material that you have never studied previously is likely to lead to a good outcome. If it were me, I’d take the financial loss and do something else with those three hours. But you seem determined to try. Let us know how it turns out.

As I’ve said many many times, the plural of anecdote is not data. That said, In terms of psych, while not a strategy I’d recommend, having never taken a psych class, I self studied it over a weekend with Barron’s and got a 5 (which is sorta why colleges don’t put much stock in simply self studying for an exam).

Note that I share this not as a humblebrag, but to give my opinion that the AP Psych exam is mind-numbingly easy. I think every AO knows this and it is one of the main reasons Dartmouth eliminated AP Psych credit.


@damon30 @mamaedefamilia Thanks for the replies! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

@skieurope Thanks for the reply. One of the reasons why I even decided on self-studying AP Psych is because I had heard on CC about how easy the exam is and that you were able to self-study it in one weekend. I was wondering if you had any tips for studying it while using Barron’s and if you could tell me what you did to be successful on the FRQs.

Memorize the vocabulary and review old exams.