AP Classes. You take them because they look good on college applications, right? Or you take them because you’d like a challenge. Or maybe you just take them because you’re a fan of self-torture. Hey, I’m not here to judge. Whether you take Advanced Placement classes to get into college, test your mind or inflict some sort of self-punishment, here are five things you need to know to make it through your year.
#5: Come in with background information
Don’t just waltz into AP U.S. History with minimal background knowledge on how the great country we call the U S of A was founded. You’re required to write D.B.Qs: Document Based Questions, in which you’ll barely make a 70% if you don’t add in other knowledge outside what the question gives you. Now, I’m not saying go read the entire textbook over break. But do make sure you retrieve that entire year of history you took in 5th grade from the dark recesses of your mind.
#4: Don’t skip class
I think that one would be pretty self-explanatory. With the block schedule we’re on, your teacher is likely to cover a lot in a day. Make sure you’re there to get it all.
#3: Take notes
For the love of all things holy, don’t just doodle cats on your paper while the teacher is giving a powerpoint presentation. Take notes. Color-coordinate, draw a picture of what’s going on, do anything that you know will help you remember those notes! AP chapters tend to cover a lot in one section, so take all the extra help you can get.
#2: Study with friends
Get a study group together with your friends who are in the same course. This is a great idea especially before that big scary AP exam. Meet at Starbucks or Panera and study away. Quiz each other, go over past tests and FRQs or DBQs, and make sure to take breaks in between to eat or throw coffee at each other (but don’t get any on your notes).
AP classes are heavily based off the textbooks you purchase at the beginning of the year, and chances are most of the questions on your tests and quizzes will come straight out of the chapter you’ve just read. Don’t let yourself get behind. It is nearly impossible to read three chapters of an AP textbook the day before your unit test. Without the base of knowledge that the chapter reading supplies, any notes or discussions you have in class will have absolutely no meaning to you and will not help you when that big, scary AP exam comes.