Column: Study tips to ace upcoming AP exams


Kalyani Rao

Set together, junior reporter Kalyani Rao’s three study books for the U.S. History, AP Art History and AP Spanish Language and Culture exams are pictured. Study books, although not free, are not very costly. Amazon offers many at decent prices.

I have experienced the nervous breakdowns and anxiety that comes with preparing for AP exams. For an inexperienced AP student, AP exams can be terrifying. As someone who’s scored 5’s on all of the AP exams I’ve taken, I’ve found both free and paid resources online that will help increase your confidence on your AP exams. So, here are some ways to ease that anxiety, so you can walk into your testing room next week with confidence – and ace your exams.


YouTube is a fantastic resource for AP students who absorb information better from comprehensive videos than reading materials. Experienced teachers of AP classes often have YouTube channels with short study videos going over units from different classes and important things to remember. Channels such as Heimler’s History (which reviews AP World History, AP U.S. History and AP Government) offer free review packets and playlists on YouTube. The channel also has videos going over practice essays and other writing elements of AP exams.

Crash Course is another well-known YouTube channel, which has an entire World History, European History and U.S. History series lead by author John Green. When I studied for AP Human Geography and AP World History, Crash Course was my favorite online resource. Crash Course also has different series for science courses and AP Psychology. John Green’s videos are engaging and funny, while also being really useful for remembering content from different eras.

Study books

Study books, although not free, are not very costly. Amazon offers many at decent prices. Princeton AP Review books are my personal favorite, although other brands are also offered, such as Barron’s.

Study books provide multiple practice AP exams, as well as a large selection of multiple-choice drills, essay question reviews and a section dedicated totally to content review. The week or two before exams, I usually spend a few hours flipping through the content section – I’ve found the combination of a study book and YouTube to be the easiest way to remember content.


Less known AP classes, such as AP Art History, doesn’t have as many comprehensive YouTube resources. In that case, Khan Academy is your best friend. Khan Academy is a non-profit organization “with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” through study guides for different subject areas.

For example, Khan Academy has an entire free online course for AP Art History, with a list of all required materials – each of which contain an entire article analyzing and explaining the topic, along with website links to more information. The information is sometimes linked in to Smarthistory, which partners with Khan Academy to provide AP resources for students who don’t have the money or time to read study books.

College Board

College Board itself also has an abundance of resources for AP students – they’re just less well-known. Some teachers inform students of the practice assignments and review videos on there, but other students have no idea.

If you go to AP Classroom, teachers can release a ton of multiple-choice question practices, quizzes and AP review videos by teachers in all 50 states. After April 18, College Board offers daily live review sessions on their YouTube channel.

Overall: Don’t procrastinate. But if you did…

It goes without saying that procrastinating makes studying harder. But it’s difficult to avoid, and as a junior myself, it’s hard to balance school life with AP exams and extracurriculars – or even a job if you have one. If you end up not studying until the last minute, you’re not doomed. Even if you haven’t studied by the time you read this article, there’s still hope. The night before my first AP exam, I read through all 300 pages of the content review in my study book, and I got a 5.

If you have the motivation, there’s no real deadline for success. As long as you make an effort – even the day before – you’re better off than if you had given up entirely.

You can do this.