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How to Ace the AP Exams as Told by NMSI Teachers

AP exam season is upon us. While students make last minute preparations and review their materials one more time our NMSI teachers are here to impart their best AP tips to reassure their students right before the exams. 

“My past students who have been successful have told me that working as many practice problems that are from past AP exams has been the most helpful.  When they got to the actual test day, they were not panicked when they read the questions. Diagnosing what the question is asking, is a major hurdle for my students and modeling how I would analyze and solve the problems, then getting them to verbalize how they know what the question is asking before they try to solve anything helps them.” Kevin Stansbury, AP calculus, Zachary High School, Baton Rouge, LA

“Instead of always assigning independent reading, this year, I used mind maps and allowed students to analyze non-traditional text and present them in unusual formats. This makes the text relatable for them.  One student analyzed the syntax, diction, theme, and so on of a video game and voiced over clips from it on YouTube.”  Dawn Henderson, AP Language and Literature, Carrick High School, Pittsburgh, PA

 “Note taking is a must, as it engages students.  Assessments must involve problem-solving -- no ‘plug-and-chug’.  I expect my students to spend, at minimum, one hour a night in doing their assessments, reviewing, rewriting their notes, convincing themselves of proofs, and so on.” Thomas Webber, AP Physics, Oakleaf High School, Orange Park, FL


“The hand trick is a great way to help students' remember the special trig values they need to memorize for the exam.  Being trained in how to grade the AP test has also greatly increased my understanding of what I should be teaching my students.  I have taught AP Calculus for 11 years but I feel that I have learned more about AP Calculus and how to teach it than I have known in the previous 10 years.  Thanks NMSI for making me a better teacher.” Mary Lawhon, AP Calculus, Desert High School, Oakland, CA.

What is your best AP tip? Tell us on social media.