In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and scare all over the globe, the Advanced Placement Exams instead of standing canceled will be held remotely this year. All you need to appear for exams is an internet-enabled device to allow you to mark your responses. While this is good news for many, a lot of you might feel jittery about taking the tests online.
Now before you start fretting about the changes, let’s take you through some key facts:
- Advanced Placement exams will now take place from May 11th to May 22nd
- Exam timings may vary depending on your geographical location
- The makeup exams are scheduled for early June 2020
- You can take AP exams from any device with internet-enabled, for example, a desktop, laptop, smartphone, etc.
- This time, the College Board will be unable to provide subscores for certain exams taken in May
- The exam will include only free-response questions
- Each AP exam will be only 45 mins long
- Exams will be open-book/open-notes
AP Exams 2020 by Local Start Times
Image courtesy: AP College Board
For course-specific information, including timing, question or task descriptions, and links to download resources you’ll need on exam day (for example, equations sheets for physics exams), go to AP Exam Schedule 2020.
The changes to AP exams 2020 were sudden and unforeseen, hence the College Board has decided to allow a free of cost cancellation. But before you take up that option, take a deep breath and trust us, you can make it through despite the online testing format.
Here are some quick tips to help you do your best in this year’s AP exams:
1. Practice using free resources, get accustomed to the pattern
There are a lot of free resources available online that can help you prepare for the AP exams on your own. These resources have been developed to include all new changes to the testing pattern. One such good resource is a video tutorial on how to prepare for the exams.
We recommend that you make good use of online learning materials: free practice tests and good Youtube channels on AP exams prep.
2. Follow the College Board guide and leave aside trivial worries
When it comes to understanding the nuances of AP Exams, we suggest you must follow the official guide. You can access it here. It has all details pertaining to the format, your admission ticket, what to expect in the exams, etc.
The board has also provided some quick tips on the open-notes examination which may be a new format for you. It’s advisable to go through the whole guideline document and other information on the official College Board website. Don’t miss this!
3. Use first principles to solve any question
Always remember, using logic and first principles to solve any question in any subject is the best way out. Rely on your reasoning skills more than on cramming. Learning course material verbatim might not help in an open-notes examination.
Often higher-level thinking and analytical skills are tested in such exams. Review all concepts and make sure to give special attention to topics you find tricky to deal with.
4. Organize your notes like a pro
In an open-notes examination, it’s needless to say your notes will make all the difference. While we all may have the same set of notes, we may still end up with very different scores. Reason? The organization of notes is what really matters.
You wouldn’t get time to ransack through tomes of your subject. Instead of wasting time flipping through random pages, you can do the following to keep everything organized:
- Make your notes with two different ink colors, highlight all headings with say red, and then write the details in blue
- For existing notes, use a highlighter to mark key topics, words, phrases, titles, etc.
- Your class notes will serve you best and not internet-based printouts (the College Board has also stated this in their tips section)
- Apply concepts from your notes rather than re-writing from them
- Use Post-its to keep key points in your line of sight while taking the exam (you can jot down top 10-20 points and stick near your desk)
5. Get professional help – it’s never too late!
It’s never too late to get professional help to make you wade through the whole new format faster. Sign up with Talentnook to discover the right AP Exam tutor for yourself. You may be surprised at the impact a good tutor can make especially in the hour of such uncertainty. Speaking your heart out and getting some pep talk to boost your exam performance doesn’t hurt either!
6. Maintain equanimity, practice concentration and other softer skills
And lastly, it is a set of softer, unseen, and intrinsic skills and abilities that differentiate the winners. While hard work and preparation form the plinth of the edifice of success, softer skills like calmness, stress-handling, etc. form the essential pillars too. Use our tips to perform better on this year’s AP exams:
- Avoid last-minute cramming, instead trust your preparation levels
- Stay clear of friends who speak negatively of the new format, focus on only the positive aspects of online testing
- Familiarize yourself enough with the new testing interface by going through tutorials. Navigating between questions on the exam day will then become a breeze
- Keep your test-taking space clean and remove all distracting objects
- Make sure to ask your family to keep all noise out during the 45-minute exam slot
- Practice pacing and time management beforehand
Apart from these tips, all that you need to do is breathe! Remember, winners, thrive in uncertainty and a pattern change is nothing too daunting if your preparation and core concepts are strong enough. Feel free to speak to a tutor if you want to discuss test-taking strategies, key concepts, or even just random thoughts that become the cause of unnecessary jitters!
The last word of a caveat: Do what it takes to make your preparation more robust, but steer clear of any form of collaboration while taking the exam. You could be penalized for violating exam security rules if you’re found using the work of others, exchanging or sharing information on exam topics, collaborating via the online platforms, or soliciting tips for problem-solving approaches (the College Board website clearly calls this out).
The AP exams are almost here and this is now your final sprint. Are you looking for last-minute guided practice to help you improve your score?
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Talentnook wishes you all the best for your AP exams!