5 Tips for Getting a 5 on Your AP Exam







These are all feelings you could be cycling through due to the AP tests this spring. But don’t fret, because with the right preparation, a 5 will be within your grasp.

If you are feeling prepared already, then those emotions may not apply to you. Even so, the following information could be helpful in potentially getting you that A.

So without further ado, here are 5 tips and tricks to get a 5 on your upcoming AP tests.


Number 1- Be overprepared.

There is a LOT of content in AP courses, but not all details will be covered in a single test. You have no idea what specific parts of the content will be covered when it’s time to take the test, so be overprepared.

Thoroughly study all the content, so you’re confident in your overall knowledge of the course. Often questions will give you a little bit of background knowledge and an explanation, and you will need to know how to apply what you know to a specific situation.

Feeling overprepared can reduce potential test anxiety as well, because you feel ready and prepared.

There are workbooks and online sites that can aid you in studying for your AP exam as well. Practice tests are a great resource for practicing time management and testing how well you know your stuff.

Number 2- Answer every question.

If you do not know the answer to every question, that’s perfectly fine. There is so much content it’s expected that you might have to use your better judgment to answer a few questions.

Make educated guesses by eliminating choices that you are confident are incorrect and do the best you can from there!

There is no penalty for picking the wrong choice other than not getting the point, so make sure you answer every single question! A 25% shot is better than no shot at all.

Number 3- Manage your time.

You must be extremely careful with your time when taking an AP test.

If you’re stuck on a question or a set of questions, move on and go back to it. Don’t let a few questions set you back. Better to guess on one than run out of time and have to guess on the last few because you’ve run out of time.

Work as quickly as you can without hurting your accuracy. If you have extra time, you can go back and check on any you felt rushed answering.

For the free response questions, time management is VERY important. Guessing at an open-ended question is more difficult than filling in a bubble, which takes all of one second, so organization and swiftness is key.

Prep Scholar Blog explains, “quickly jotting down your thesis and the main ideas of your paragraphs will help you write the essay faster, make your argument stronger, and ensure your essay is better-organized and more coherent.” They highly emphasize planning out or thinking about your essays BEFORE you start to write them.

The article even advised bringing a watch (no digital ones, of course, or any that make noises/have alarms) and having time targets in mind for when to finish each essay question; these are both ways to pace yourself during the AP test.

Number 4- Take care of your health.

Be sure to sleep up and be on a regular sleep schedule a few days before the test. Taking a test when tired is not a good combination. Rest is vital for recall, focus, and time management.

Additionally, bringing a water bottle and a high fiber/protein high snack is also a good idea. There is a break in the middle of the test, between the multiple-choice and opened ended sections; that is an opportune moment to reenergize.

Number 5- Be positive.

Don’t let yourself get in your head. Students can suffer from test anxiety, especially when they are feeling a lot of pressure.

Make sure to keep thinking positive.

You might struggle with some of the questions, but don’t spend precious test time beating yourself up about it. Letting the stress get to you will only make the test harder to take and cause you to lose focus.

Keep your head in the game.


Remember: the amount of importance you put on receiving a 5 on your AP test is, frankly, up to you. Just always make sure to be kind to yourself no matter the outcome. And hopefully, by using these tips and tricks, that outcome will be a good one.