Advanced panic

Helpful tips on stressful tests

Craig Eddy

More stories from Craig Eddy

Craig Eddy
May 15, 2020

Vinny Graczik

Fetsch helping students with their work, answering questions and solving issues. Each new lesson learned throughout the year come back to fruition on the end of course exam.

Sleepless nights, countless hours of studying, stressful mornings. The signs from many students that Advanced Placement tests are on the horizon. But these tests don’t have to be the cause of all the panic. All that is needed is some simple steps to get on track for success.

With AP tests coming up and students’ morale coming down, many students are losing hopethat they will succeed, and to combat that, have increased studying and gotten into bad studying habits. In order to help her fellow students succeed, senior Laurel Ammond has come up with a couple helpful tips for success.

“Be sure to manage your time, as in, make sure you’re looking at the time that you started, because they’ll write it on the board, and figure out how much time you have,” Ammond said. “And don’t cram. It sounds stupid, but just don’t cram because the only thing you do is stress yourself out. You just have to study smarter and not harder. Study for more efficiency in less time, over a bunch of hours where you’re just doing stuff that will help figure out what you need to know what you don’t know.”

These are all extremely supportive, and a big reason for that is the fact that Ammond has taken 6 different AP tests throughout her high school career. For a different perspective, junior Catherine Analla expresses her comments and concerns as she prepares for her first AP test.

“I figured that I [would hear more] about AP tests, but people really haven’t talked about them that much, which is surprising to me. I have heard people being stressed about their scores, I haven’t really heard anything about the test itself, i guess, because people probably feel prepared for it,” Analla explained. “[My english teacher] has us take multiple AP tests and take a lot of time grading them and I feel like through doing these over and over kind of feels like a habit and I’ve gotten used to the way of looking at them, the way of analyzing them, and I now feel prepared for the AP test.”

You just have to study smarter and not harder.”

— Laurel Ammond

Along with Ammond, the staff was asked for simple tips and tricks to help prepare:

“Utilize all of the review tips that teachers give you. If they have optional practice exams, take them, go to them for one-on-one discussions of how you can succeed on the exam. If you’re struggling with a certain topic or concept, talk to your teacher for one-on-one help, because they want you to succeed just as much as you yourself want to.” – Gabby Buchholz

“When deciding to take an AP test, do it, it’s probably worth it. AP tests give you a shot at getting credit for a class in college (even if it’s just an extra credit) at a much cheaper value than it would be if you took it at a college. Exceptions to this are if you know college isn’t right for you or if you already know the college you’re going to won’t take the score. At the very least, you’ll probably get out of taking the final for the class.” – Abigail Tarleton

“For written tests, leave spaces at the end of each paragraph so you can go back and add more information if needed. Start with the easier multiple choice passage or questions that you can answer immediately.” – Jessica Fults

“Do the AP exam reviews because they will help a lot. Keep calm while taking the test and make sure you manage your time well since AP test are timed. If you don’t know an answer to a question skip it and move on and go to the next questions, and come back to the question if you have time.” – Payton Amlong

“It’s not as bad as it seems before you take it, most your fear is from false expectations.” – Marcus Falcomata

Along the same lines as AP tests, end of course exams (EOC’s) can be a handful to deal with. Either the tests are difficult or the stress is overwhelming, EOC’s take a toll on the students, either physically or mentally. Although he doesn’t give them out, science teacher Mr. Patrick Reed has been noticing things about his students during these exams.

“One [tip] for me, trust your gut. You always want to read the question and think what you would think the answer is before ever looking at the choices. That may not work out based on the way they wrote the question, but it’s a good first rule of thumb. There’s also the traditional stuff, like make sure you’re eating well, getting a good night’s sleep,” Mr. Reed explained. “You don’t need to have high anxiety for EOC tests, just do the best you can. I see a lot of stress during EOC just from the general frustration that comes with tons and tons of standardized testing.”

The main point about EOC’s that should be made is that while they are important, as long as you have paid attention during the class and study well, but not too much cram, you should do just fine.

The staff was also asked about EOC tests, and the tips given were around the same lines:

“My biggest tips would have to be reviewing materials from class and asking teachers what to expect!” – Aayushi Shah

“Just relax and remember that it’s not the end of the world.” – Holly Whaley

“Use quizlets/flashcards for a review of the unit, and try to go over units/concepts you first struggled with. Use any study guide given, even if it isn’t mandatory.” – Chloe Bockhorst

“EOC’s aren’t usually very challenging at all, that said, you should still take them seriously. The school wouldn’t take two solid weeks out of the year to take these tests if they weren’t important.” – Abigail Tarleton

“Mostly review things from first semester to re-familiarize yourself with material you’ve forget over time.” – Sylvia Wilcox

Overall, both AP tests and EOCs can be a troublesome period of the school year, but with the right testing and studying strategies, they can be a walk in the standardized park.