Greetings Students and Families,

This is my third blog in a 4-part series on AP Exams.  As you know, there are three different rounds of exams this spring- your high school will have already determined the dates students will sit for exams.  This can be a stressful time for students who haven’t prepared and don’t know about many available resources to aid in preparation.  AP exams are going to take on a greater role (sadly) in college admissions as the SATII subject tests were recently eliminated

The College Board has several excellent resources for review and there is also a series of live review sessions for students to review course content.
More about AP changes here
AP Live Review Sessiosn Here
As you think about your exam preparation, keep in mind your balanced college list and whether AP Scores will be a necessary part of your college application now that SAT Subject Tests have been eliminated..
Remember- there’s no penalty for postponement—if you aren’t physically or emotionally well on the day of the exam, please have a parent alert the school of your absence, and plan to take the exam on a designated make-up date.


If you’re planning on taking an AP Exam, it’s best to begin your preparation with plenty of time to feel confident and prepared. If you look at the typical review book, there’s 15 to 25 chapters of content. Aim to complete your review of all course concepts with 2 weeks minimum to spare- that roughly means 2 to 3 chapters of work each week starting in the middle of March.
It can be immensely helpful to form a small group of 2-3 students committed to regular AP exam review- study groups are the norm as an undergraduate—it’s a skill to learn a practice to embrace during high school.
  • Use the AP Daily Videos at the College Board, these are designed to cover content and skills in every AP course
You’ve learned much this school year and I encourage you to spend your time focusing on review of the topics you know best and carving out manageable time to tackle the topics that were a challenge perhaps as far back as September (perhaps forming peer-study groups or even retaining a tutor).
Some students inform me that the curriculum hasn’t yet been completed and some teachers anticipate there won’t be time for review. Please– I truly encourage you to bring your game face to the table!  The exams will take place and it’s up to you to be prepared! If you don’t do as well as you might have done if circumstances in our world were different- it’s ok too.
If you’re a junior getting ready to begin college applications–or a sophomore over a year away from that process– AP exams while still not a required component of your college applications are going to potentially be the only standardized test you take. However, if this isn’t your finest hour- you just have to let it go and look forward!
The world is in an uncertain space– and no one should wonder if the exams of May 2020 or May 2021 changed the course of your life ahead–they won’t! That doesn’t mean you don’t give it your best try– you should always aim to do your best in every setting but know when to let things go.
A few last minute exam tips:
  • Reiterating: Cramming on your weaker topics is less effective than reinforcing the topics you know well.
You can become easily frustrated and waste valuable time trying to learn something new.
Use the time towards maintenance of your confidence of how much you know.
  • History exams – review your outlines for the finite number of anticipated short and long responses. (see grading rubrics below)
  • Science and math exams- review applications of important formulae – predictably by exploring older exams (see below) you know what to anticipate on an exam.
  • If your teacher didn’t share AP rubrics, you can Google grading rubrics and see previously graded AP exams. This can be an eye-opener!
Here are a few of interest:
  • That said- these are rubrics for the traditional format- the 3-hour exam.
Scroll through the many helpful links to:
  • Change your calculator batteries!
The display of bright vibrant digits is refreshing.
  • Pack high energy protein snacks and back-up pens and pencils to scribble on notepads for the exam — just as you would .under normal circumstances. Of course, if you are digital- you still should plan on working out answers on paper.
  • IF YOU ARE physically or emotionally unwell or your ALLERGIES are overwhelming on the day of your scheduled AP exam, do NOT take the exam. Illness includes “exhaustion”, headaches, stomach cramps– truly please don’t take AP exams if you don’t have your “game face” on the morning of exam day!!! You studied for 9 months- if this isn’t your day- there’s no shame here in taking the make-up. Please do not take an exam when you aren’t well.
  • YES there is even a set of make-up days in the odd world we are in – this year- it’s in JUNE– round 3 is being used for this purpose!




Discover and Explore with College Advisor Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. Guiding her clients to define and realize educational and career goals. With over thirty years experience as a university professor and admissions committee member, you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities.   Have a wonderful day!


Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. Educational and College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus  – Cornell University Alumni Rep

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