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Tips from AP Teachers: How to Pass the AP Exams

[su_spoiler title=”Gail Pells, AP Language Teacher” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]

Multiple Choice:

  • Wrong answers do not result in a penalty, like on the SAT test, so answer all questions even if you are unsure. Use the time wisely because you will have little more than a minute to do each question.

Free Response:

  • 120 minutes for three essays and 15 minutes for reading.


  • Read the sources quickly, but carefully, come up with an opinion and see if each source agrees or disagrees with that opinion.
  • Use third person as much as possible.
  • To earn the highest score, use your own ideas on the subject of each source.

Rhetorical Analysis-

  • This essay is an objective response, so do not us “I”.
  • Address the question, but do not worry about
  • Careful with spelling and grammar.


  • Memorize the steps for an argument essay and read the prompt carefully.
  • Make sure you answer the question
  • Make your point, but acknowledge the other side of the argument.
  • Read sample essays from AP Central.


[su_spoiler title=”Tim Phipps, AP U.S. History Teacher” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]


  • For history, organize your notes in chronological order from start to finish and see if you can connect important events together.

Studying Skills:

  • Do not put studying to a last minute cram session because it will not work.
  • After organizing your notes, get an idea of what you are comfortable with and what you need to review more, and then study in sessions of twenty to thirty minutes for the week before to give yourself a better chance to retain information.

Test Preparation:

  • Get a good night for not only the night before, but for a couple nights before the test.
  • Eat a good breakfast with little carbs.
  • Swap your morning caffeine for lots of water to avoid crashing during the exam.


[su_spoiler title=”Jill Blasi, AP Biology Teacher” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]

Practicing Before:

  • The test and quizzes are modified AP exams, so if I give an essay, the question would be from an old exam.
  • They were given about the same time for questions that they would be given on the test to prepare for the time limit, so they feel prepared and less frantic.
  • We practice with College Board practice tests and work through questions in class.

Test Taking Tips:

  • Read questions carefully.
  • Look for important information in each question.
  • Read all answers on the multiple choice, think it through, but answer quickly.
  • Look at essays and jot down quick outlines

Test Preparation:

  • Stay calm
  • Get a good night sleep, eat a good breakfast, and snack for break.
  • Try to stay healthy and not get sick by being too stressed


[su_spoiler title=”Nancy Manning, AP Literature Teacher” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]

Studying Tips:

  • Review the notes and strategies of the year
  • Limit the list of works we read
  • Take notes from the year and turn them into index cards to study the night before.

Test Taking Strategies:

  • Review how to answer multiple choice questions
  • For the essay, have a good introduction with a hook and thesis. Support in the body paragraphs using literary devices like diction, language, and tone.
  • Do not just summarize, make sure to sound intelligent, and analyze within the essay.

Test Preparation:

  • Go to bed early and get a good night sleep. After the test, if you can go to bed early and relax.


[su_spoiler title=”Christopher Tomlin, AP World History Teacher” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]

Studying Tips:

  • Break everything down into periods while studying.

Test Taking Tips:

Multiple Choice:

  • Find key words in the question, and then work through it.
  • Eliminate the answers that are wrong because for the multiple choice, the four answers will be broken down into most correct, nearly correct, and two that are not correct.


  • For the AP World exam, there will be a compare and contrast, a DBQ, and continuity over time question.
  • Know what the question is asking

Test Preparation:

  • The night before the test, AP World has a boot camp where they study until 6:00
  • The night before, try to get a lot of sleep and do not think a lot about the exam.



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