Yeah, yeah, sorry it’s been so long since my last post/video, and no, I don’t know when the next one will be. Also, sorry for any typos in this post.
Now that we have that out of the way…I want this to be a slightly more businesslike post. So today in APUSH we were talking about the test we took yesterday, and I thought I’d post some testing tips. Please read the rest of this post, no matter if you’re in APUSH, or any AP classes at all. A lot of what I’m gonna say may be geared toward APUSH students, but you can apply a lot of the tips to pretty much any class.
APUSH stands for Advanced Placement United States History. Yes, I’m a freshman (what it says on the sidebar of my blog is very outdated and I don’t know how to change it) and I’m taking this class. As with all AP classes, you have to take the AP test/exam at the end of the course (May 5th for 2017, this year) in order to get credit for the class. So if I refer to the test, that’s what I mean. If I refer to a test, I mean not only that one, but the regular tests you take at the end of chapters/units/whatever.
Before the Test:
- There are two types of studying: gradually reviewing what you learn as you learn it, and cramming a month’s worth of information into your head the night before a big test. Both can be helpful–and by that, I mean you should try and study as you learn, but really get down to business the night/a few nights before a big test, whether its the AP exam or what. Obviously, if you;re reading this and have a test tomorrow, you can’t really do the first part. DO NOT allow yourself to procrastinate!
- Make flashcards of all your vocab words. Even if there are a million of them. Write out each term and its definition–this will help you remember them. Flip through them. You can also add your own words if you think they are important, or if you have trouble remembering them. Again, making flashcards can be time consuming, but it’s a great study technique.
- Go on Quizlet. This is a site with flashcards already there, and you can make your own or practice with other people’s. Again, this is a good study method. If you want to find a good definition for a word,let’s say Manifest Destiny, you’re learning in APUSH, a good formula to type into Google is “manifest destiny apush definition.” Quizlet will almost always be the first thing to pop up, and this is very helpful.
- Watch Crash Courses. These are put out by John Green (the author of The Fault in Our Stars) and some other people ans are pretty informative! He talks fast, though, so putting on eh subtitles might help you retain more of what he says. My teacher actually has us watch these as we learn about those topics. Here’s the playlist for them:
This channel also makes Crash Courses for other topics, such as Biology, etc. Check them out!
- Watch Adam Norris’ videos. These are only for APUSH students, but are EXTREMELY helpful and informative! Also, here’s a link to his website: http://www.apushreview.com/. On his site you can find eh Powerpoints to his videos, worksheets you can print and fill out, etc.
- Do practice tests. These will really prepare you for the AP exam, and the more you practice, the more prepared you will be. You can find some of these in the Princeton Review APUSH book. (More about that: my AP teacher has each of us buy that book at teh beginning of teh year, off of Amazon. We use that instead of the actual APUSH book. It is very helpful! (I’m overusing that word, but whatever.) It not only covers teh info you need to know for each unit/time period, but it has lots of tips and info about the APUSH exam, as well as, like I said practice exams.) Link for teh 2016 Princeton Review book: https://www.amazon.com/Cracking-U-S-History-College-Preparation/dp/0804126275/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1489013489&sr=8-2&keywords=princeton+review+apush Link for the 2017 book (I;ve never read it, but I assume it’s pretty much the same as teh 2016 one, which is what we use in school): https://www.amazon.com/Cracking-U-S-History-Exam-2017/dp/1101920033/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489013489&sr=8-1&keywords=princeton+review+apush If you want to take a practice test, go to a very quiet, well-lit area where you can work and not be disturbed. Turn off your phone or just leave it in some other room. Set a timer for the amount of time you will actually have when you got to take the actual APUSH exam, and then work. Practice answering all the types of questions–yes, even teh DBQs and LEQs. Learn what teh requirements are to earn full points for each type of written-response question.
- Look over your notes, worksheets, etc. Review what you’ve learned.
- TAKE good notes. If you have your own copy of the Princeton Review or any other book or reading or whatever, highlight and annotate it! Make sure you will know what you mean later. Focus on teh main points of what you are reading, without either obsessing over or forgetting too many of the littler details.
- If you’re cramming, calm down. Don’t panic. Force yourself to concentrate so that you can actually absorb information. Look over notes, watch Adam Norris videos or Crash Courses, etc. Focus on big, broad ideas first. Then, if you have time, reread your notes or whatever and absorb more of teh details. DO NOT STRESS. Also, (and you can hate me for this), teh next time you fell like putting off studying, remember what it feels like to be panicking and staying up to all hours of teh night the night before a test, and force yourself to study.
- If your teacher (or another APUSH teacher at your school) is holding review sessions for the AP exam, go to them! If they’re not, suggest them! Be that annoying kid that always wants to do better!
- Once you take a chapter/unit/whatever test, go back and see what you did wrong and what the correct answers are–and not just of tests, but on any assignment, even if it was only worth a few points. If your teacher doesn;t go over it in class, see them after class or whenever you can.
- If you’re struggling with something, ask for help. I know, I know, it can be embarrassing, but I’ve found that teachers actually have more respect for you if you have a bad grade in their class and ask them to tutor you than if you have a bad grade and just never ask them for help. I;m not saying you have to obsess over your grade, but know when to ask to be tutored. You can also ask a friend in teh same class, a parent or sibling, or do your own research with Crash Courses or whatever.
- Ask your teacher what the test will be like, both little tests and THE test.
- My bio teacher says something like this: “A little bit of fear is a good thing.” What he means by that is this: don’t be terrified of teh AP test, but have a healthy fear of it. This healthy fear should inspire you to work hard and do your best. It’s kinda cheesy, yeah, but it’ll get you places.
During the Test:
- When you go to take the AP exam or just a regular test or quiz, you should follow test-taking strategies. Some of these you;ve probably been told since about teh third grade, but not all of that will help you. For example, I liek in Pennsylvania, and for our state-standardized test, the PSSAs, you pretty much have all teh tme you need. Let’s say you’re on a math day of the test. You;re given, I think, about 2 hours to take the test, but if you need longer, you’ll be taken to your school library or another location until you complete the test. NOT SO ON THE APUSH EXAM! You only have a certain amount of time for each section. You’ll need to learn to work quickly and still perform well.
- All of the multiple-choice questions on the APUSH test have a stimulus. This means that there’s a paragraph or something you have to read, and then a question(s) that goes along with that. Lame example: You might have an excerpt from Washington’s Fartewell Address, and then a question like “Based on the excerpt above, what would Washington have felt about (this or that issue)?” and then however many answer choices. TIP: NEVER READ THE STIMULUS FIRST. ALWAYS READ THE QUESTION FIRST! You may already know the answer without having to spend an extra minute or so trying to read it and figure out what it means.
- Use the process of elimination. If you know an answer isn;t right, cross it off.
- Keep track of time without constantly worrying over it. On the AP exam, I think you only have about a minute for each multiple-choice question. Also, even for our unit tests in APUSH, my teacher makes them similar to that–50 multiple choice, in about 50ish minutes of class. If your regular tests for class are not times, maybe time yourself on practice exams.
- If you have no idea about the answer to a question, make a little mark next to that number and move on. You should (hopefully) have a couple minutes at the end of teh times session to go back to these questions. If you run out of time, fill in an answer for each question–it;s better than leaving some blank.
- This is still technically before teh test, but…make sure you have plenty of sleep and a good breakfast the day of a/teh test. Try to eliminate any distractions you can (hunger, being tired, having to go to the bathroom, etc.) ahead of time, so that you can concentrate.
- Don’t rush so fast that you do a poor job of it.
- DO YOUR BEST! Even if you don’t get a 4 or a 5, you did what you could.
After the Test
- RELAX! You did your best. Don’t stress about it!
Okay, so my next post, whenever it is (I’m busy, even if I don;t have much of a life) should be more interesting, but at teh same time I’s like to do more posts like this.
Please leave a comment below–a tip I forgot, or just to say hi.
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