A Student’s Guide to Surviving Testing Season


Hannah Wallace, Reporter

The school year is almost over, but before it is, it’s time for testing! For students, the next few weeks will be stressful, as they will be filled with AP and IB testing. AP tests will be held from May 6 through May 17 and IB tests will be held from May 2 through May 24. Here are some tips for surviving the maddening month of May.

Before the Test

  • Study Buddies
    • Need to get some last minute studying in? Create a study group with some friends, or even a teacher, to go over test material. Even if you don’t know every single piece of information about a course, it is important to know the content of the test. The Princeton Review, Khan Academy, and Barron’s AP Review are just a few resources to help you prepare.
  • Know the Test
    • Knowing what is on the test is important, but equally as important is knowing how to take the test. Each of the tests will have multiple choice and free response questions with different point values for each section. By knowing how the test is structured and scored, you can be better prepared to study for and take the test.
  • Take Practice Tests
    • Before you go into an AP or IB test, taking practice tests will help you to not only get a feel for the structure and questions, but also to find test taking strategies that work for you. Whether you read passages fully, skim them, or don’t read them at all, as long as you have a strategy, you can be successful. For multiple choice and/or free response questions, some people like to do the more difficult questions first, while others choose to do the easier ones first. Again, as long as you have a method that you know works, you can ensure the best possible score for yourself.
  • Eat Right, Sleep Tight
    • The most important thing to do is to actually take care of yourself and prepare your body in the best possible way. Before you arrive at school for testing, be sure that you get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast.
  • Try to Relax
    • Even though having so much information in your brain might be driving you insane, it is important to try to relax in any way you can. If you are taking every AP and IB test or just one, pampering yourself with face masks and a bath bomb is a great way to relax before the exam, or to reward yourself after. Take advantage of all opportunities to relieve stress. During first lunch shifts throughout May, Ms. Yinger is offering “Stress Less Sessions” with yoga, crafts, or just venting. Remember, even though AP and IB tests are scary and important, they are only tests. It isn’t a life or death situation, so just try to relax and breathe.

During the Test

  • Pay Attention!
    • When you are in your testing room, listen to your test proctor for important instructions and any changes that may occur. It is also important to pay attention to details in the questions on the test. Be sure to read and reread information that the test may give you and the questions that it asks.
  •  Divide and Conquer
    • Before the test begins, make sure that you know how much time you have and how many questions there are. This way, you can divide your time to know approximately how much time you should allow yourself to spend on each question. If you find yourself stuck on one question for too long, skip it and come back to it at the end.
  •  Check, Check, and Check Again
    • If you have extra time once you complete a section, do not close your test booklet without reviewing your answers. You won’t lose points for wrong answers on AP tests, so make sure you answer every question to the best of your ability. Be sure to go back and look at the questions again, especially any that were particularly difficult.
  •  Use Your Resources
    • If you can’t find the answer to a question in your brain, you may be able to find it within the test. Some questions might give you hints or answers to other questions. Additionally, if resources, such as calculators, formulas, or passage explanations are provided, use them! Use every resource you have to ensure the best possible score.
  • Use a Strategy that Works for You
    • There are so many test taking strategies that you could use and it is important to find the one that works best for you. For passages, you can read the whole passage, skim it, or look at the questions first. For multiple choice questions, remember that you can use process of  elimination, look for keywords, go with your gut, or make an educated guess. For essays, some people create an outline and some just start writing. Whichever you choose, have a plan in your head and stick to it. If you veer too far from your plan, you could end up rambling, running out of time, or not answering the question.

Advice from UHS Students

Question: “What are some tips for preparing for AP or IB tests?”

“I think that the best advice for taking an AP test is to make sure you know all the content and take plenty of practice tests.” – Sri Nallaru, 10

“Work hard and try to find what motivates you, because if you procrastinate until the last minute, you will end up regretting it.” – Aizah Usmani, 10

“For me I like to look through notes and use AP review books, but while taking the tests themselves I find that it’s important to get good sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast.” – Alexis Yim, 10

“[I] study a lot before the test but then relax some the night before and drink coffee. Also, [it helps to] have something to look forward to after the test, that will make it less painful.” -Abigail Crosby, 12


Testing Schedules

AP Testing Schedule
IB Testing Schedule