How to Begin Preparing for AP Exams Over Winter Break

Winter vacation marks the midpoint of the academic school year. And while you may be tempted to spend your entire vacation sleeping or watching television, the benefits of studying for your AP tests can be tremendous. To make the most of your approaching winter break, follow these three AP-focused steps.

Review sample responses for open-ended exam questions. Many AP exams contain a combination of multiple-choice and free-response items. While multiple-choice questions have one correct response, free-response questions can be answered in a variety of ways. For this reason, AP students may feel uncertain about how to approach open-ended questions.

[Read: Plan Ahead to Self-Study for AP Exams.]

Reviewing sample responses is the best way to gain a sense of what the College Board looks for on these question types. The College Board provides a handful of sample responses on its website, which are free to view.

See these examples for AP United States History, for example. In addition to reading these responses, students should also review the College Board’s commentary about the responses. All sample responses include the grade the student earned, as well as an explanation of the response’s strengths and weaknesses.

Revisit first-half concepts you struggled with. Winter vacation is also the ideal time to review tricky concepts from the first semester. Note, however, that you should pay special attention to those topics that will be built upon in the second half of the class. For instance, the scientific method would be one such core concept for any science course.

Revisit difficult material using whichever method is best for your learning style. Auditory learners can listen to YouTube tutorials, while visual learners can create images on flashcards.

[Read: Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes When Prepping for AP Exams.]

If you do not know how to begin reviewing, start with the questions you answered incorrectly on past homework assignments or exams. Focus on the topics assessed in those questions first.

Build a library of resources to use for later study. Compile a list of study resources that you can consult from January to late April. Finding study resources over winter vacation will ensure that you do not have to scramble to find materials in the spring.

For well-rounded review, ensure your study collection includes a variety of learning modes, such as written guides, videos, images and other types of materials. The most obvious resource for online practice questions is the College Board website. Certain high schools also make their study guides available via the internet.

[Read: How to Juggle Multiple AP Exams.]

However, since free online resources are limited, you may wish to purchase a printed AP workbook with full-length practice tests, like this one for AP Literature and Composition.

Winter vacation is quickly approaching, and this important time should be utilized to begin your preparation for end-of-year AP exams. A little groundwork now will make both your spring semester and your AP tests go more smoothly.

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How to Begin Preparing for AP Exams Over Winter Break originally appeared on usnews.com

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