School Life

Test Taking Tips from Senior Wolves (feat. AP Season)

Seniors offer their advice on exam-writing and future AP exams!

By Michelle Lin

It’s June! It’s that time of the year again! Dark circles, espresso shots, all nighters… Exams can be a lot to handle sometimes. Especially with COVID still around, the ability to manage stress becomes extremely crucial. I decided to ask a couple of questions to our senior wolves to get some of their insights and tips on AP classes and other exams! 

Firstly, our most amazing spirit council prefect/ first responder- Justin Jia 

JJ’s APs: Human Geo, Psychology, Biology, Calc BC and Language and Composition 

JJ’s biggest tip to younger students: 

Balance out your classes! He has witnessed the pain and stress that his fellow peers had to endure when they took WAY too many APs in grade 11. JJ on the other hand, opted for a less stressful route of taking only 1 AP in grade 11 (Human Geo). In grade 12, he took the other 4 APs and he thinks that the courses were definitely challenging which is why it’s essential to split them up. 

Hardest class: 

AP Calc BC! But in general, AP Physics 

Best studying material: Barron’s books

Secondly, our very talented MUNer/grouse house captain – Stephanie Hai

Stephanie’s APs: Human Geo, Comp Gov, Econ 

Steph’s tips:

  • Take APs that share similar content at the same time so you can transfer and apply the knowledge of one to the other (i.e. Comp Gov and Human Geo). 
  • Time management and work habits are super important! If you don’t have good study habits, don’t take an AP 
  • Ask for help from the teachers when you need it
  • Start studying 3 weeks before! 
  • DON’T take more than ONE Lu class a year! (I’ve heard that he gives a lot of quizzes)
  • Create a plan and follow through with the plan. If you don’t sticking to it, punish yourself 

Favourite class: content wise, Comp Gov (but she loves Lu so Econ as well)

Hardest AP: Human Geo (… nothing makes sense?)

Best studying material: ONLY Princeton Review or Barron’s 

Thirdly, our very fabulous debater/writer – Annushka Agarwal 

Annushka’s APs (be prepared, there’s a lot): Comp Gov, Stats, Comp Sci, Calc BC, Language and Composition, Human Geo and Econ

Annushka’s tips: 

  • Get started on studying as soon as possible! (don’t cram) 
  • Don’t let studying be hindered because of a lack of resources (you can always ask teachers for more materials e.g. Lu gives out more questions for practice) 
  • Math and science APs – do the practice tests a lot and pay attention to the overlaps
  • Do past questions and exams because applying what you know to the real AP is very helpful  
  • For Calc and Econ, if you don’t understand something in class, firstly ask the teacher for extra help but Khan academy is a great resource

Favourite class: Language and Composition in terms of content. This class teaches you to apply the language skills in real world and not just do analysis like what we usually do in English classes 

Stats because she loves Lu as well

Hardest AP: Calc BC “I spend more time on this than all the other APs combined.” 

(not the content itself but there’s just not enough time to apply every formula to the questions) 

Best studying material: Princeton Review but don’t use the practice tests 

Last but not least, our extremely well rounded debater/MUNer – Ethan Jasny 

Ethan’s APs: Comp Gov, Human Geo, World History, Physics C, Calc BC, French, Sats and English literature 

Ethan’s tips: 

  • In World History class, take detailed notes 
  • Making them in themes and sub topics is very helpful 
  • For Stats and many other AP courses, Khan academy is very helpful 
  • Specifically for Lu’s classes, don’t pile up the quizzes 
  • For AP physics, has short videos explaining difficult concepts. Ethan finds that those videos improve his understanding
  • When it’s content based, use charts 
  • When it’s skilled based, do a lot of practice questions and tests
  • Don’t ever leave studying until the last minute! 
  • Don’t do APs just because they are APs. Take the courses and tests because you are actually interested in the topics 

Favourite class: AP World History because it is very applicable to MUN and Debate!

Calc BC because once you get the hang of it and how to use the formulas, the course becomes quite interesting 

Hardest AP: AP French because it’s not a course that you can cram and study then simply ace. French and languages in general need time to sink in and the exposure to of languages can help a lot. 

Best studying material: Princeton Review 

A big thank you to all the senior students who were willing to share their insights on AP courses and exams! I hope these tips are helpful for you guys when you decide to take AP courses in the future. Lastly, I wish the best of luck to everyone taking exams this year! 

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