AP Study Tips

AP Exam season is just around the corner, and the stress (at least for me) has started to set in. AP courses are very heavy in material, take a long time to complete, and are very easy to mess up. But, if you are determined to do well, I have no doubt that you’d be able to do it. Here are some study tips to help you get started:

E-Book Textbooks

Exam season! The time for stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. I’ve got to start studying this weekend so I had to lug all of my textbooks home. My teachers were so shocked at the weight of my bag, as if each textbook doesn’t weigh a ton.

I understand the need for textbooks, okay? I know they’re important, and I understand why they’re so heavy. We have so much stuff to learn they couldn’t possibly make a textbook that isn’t heavy, unless the writing is miniscule.

Of course, publishers could print multiple volumes of a textbook, but that just becomes cumbersome and adds unneeded responsibility on the student.

Rather, the solution should be ebooks.

At enrollment, parents can choose whether they want to pay for all the needed textbooks in print or in e-book version.

The school could provide students with e-readers instead of iPads or similar tablets to minimize unwanted, distracting activity. Or, the student could bring their own e-reader if they already have one.

The school would still make money from selling e-readers and e-books, albeit a little bit less. Families would save a lot of money on unnescearily expensive textbooks. Students would be spared the agony of carting textbooks to and from school and classes. Most of all, it’s much more environmentally friendly.

Many schools in my area have started transitioning to e-books. They atarted with one or two at first, but eventually just transferred all the books.

My school is a little less progressive. We still use regular old paper and ink. If a student manages to find an online version of the textbook, he or she is allowed to bring their iPad to class, but the school does not sell e-books.

This is slightly better than schools where the only thing they’re allowed to use is the textbook administered by the school.

But why not move over to e-books? They’re much more affordable, they’re portable, students are able to carry all their books at once, etc. The pros greatly outweigh the cons in this case, if you ask me.

Useless Skills

Ah, education. What a wonderfully important thing for young children to have. All those years spent in a classroom must be beneficial in some way, right? Of course there are some things that school teaches us that we use in everyday life. But then there are those things that nobody needs, ever.

Do you remember when you were I the third grade and for some reason you were learning to play the recorder? Did anyone actually learn how to play the recorder?

School curriculums fill our brains with useless information, like prime numbers and how to drop an egg off a roof without breaking it.

How much of what we learn in school is actually what we need for real life? I would say around 50-60%, including material from grades 1-12.

That means there is at least 50% of useless knowledge floating around my brain. Imagine how much more productive we could be as a society if we taught our students things they actually need to know to live a successful life.


Who honestly needs to know how to make a paper snowflake? Who sits down at age 40 and says “oh, I wish I could remember the midpoint formula of a line”. Absolutely nobody, that’s who.

Almost everything is accessible online. Instead of forcing students to memorize a formula, focus on teaching them to apply it. Instead of teaching kids to follow a certain template of what a good student is, teach them that individuality is important and valuable.

The education system as a whole needs a makeover. Our generation needs to be the ones to do it.

Teach younger children a simpler, more efficient way to solve a problem. Let them do things in a way that may not seem ordinary to you. As long as the work gets done, who cares how it gets done?

Don’t break their spirits the way school seems to have broken ours.


Time Management

Students are busy, right? This is a universal truth. But complaining never does any good because we’re always met with comments like “time management is key!” or “you’re not kids anymore!”

Admittedly, I do have a problem with time management, and I know my classmates do as well.

This does not dismiss students’ claims that their workloads are too heavy, but I do agree that time management is important, not only in school but also once you enter the work force.

A few blog posts ago, I wrote about goals. Setting goals is essential to time management. It helps organize your thoughts and prioritize your tasks, which is possibly the best way to get things done. Less important things should always be left for last.

Organization helps prioritize as well. Personally, to-do lists work best for me. A new one every day is how I organize my tasks. Creating a weekly or monthly schedule could also help. Play around with a few different methods and find what works best for you. Let it be fun. The more ‘you’ it is, the more likely you are to enjoy paying attention to it.


Just because you now have a schedule does not mean you have to follow it rigorously. Allow time to relax for a few minutes or be open to schedule changes. At the same time, be realistic. Don’t switch out studying for your SATs for decorating your bedroom, for instance.

Avoid procrastination. As the poster child for procrastination, this is quite difficult for me to admit: procrastination can only be detrimental in the long run. As we advance in life, our tasks need more attention and often take much more time to complete than our 7th grade English projects did. Procrastinating might’ve flown under the radar earlier on in life but it doesn’t anymore.

Overall, time management is deeply specific to each and every one of us. We all prioritize different things and so I can’t give you an exact outline to follow. Advice I can give is that life shouldn’t be all about work. Leave some room for play.