Your Bi-Weekly Rant: 5 lies AP students tell themselves

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Allison Neal, Co-editor

You lie to yourself. This is a fact. At some point, when it’s past midnight and you’ve stared at Twitter for an hour instead of revising your essay you’ve told yourself you have time to do it in Panther Plus, or that you’ll wake yourself a half an hour early and pound it out over a cup of coffee. These are lies, and you, the rational student, know this. You will sleep through your alarm and will work through lunch when the bell rings too soon, and you will not blame yourself for the little white lies that preserve your sanity.

But now it’s AP test season. And if you want a 5 you’re going to have to buckle down and be honest about your study habits (or lack thereof.) To begin, it can be helpful to identify some of the lies you’re used to telling yourself:

1) “I have all my old notes. I can just look over those.”

Really? You have all of your old notes? If you are like many the AP student I know, somewhere in the middle of second tri you ran out of paper and had to write on a spare handout or in another binder, or simply took your misfortune as an excuse to doze off for the rest of the period. You lose things. That’s just a fact of life. Don’t panic. Check Canvas, ask your friends, and if all else fails Google what you have missing. You should be able to Wikipedia together what you’ve missed.

Additionally, looking over your notes can quickly turn into a glazed over summary of the course that leaves you with few specifics and the vague thought that if you did that practice problem two months ago you can definitely do it now. Go to review sessions if your teacher has them. Buy an AP approved review book. Actually redo the old practice problems you have in your notes.

Review notes, but don’t be lazy about it.

2) “I have plenty of time.”

You procrastinator you will find all the excuses in the world to put off your studying until the last minute. This goes double if your AP class was two trimesters and ended a while ago. Start early and study in short bursts. Stop if you’re losing focus. Be realistic about how much you can cover in a period of time. If you do have to cram, look at what concepts are going to be most important. Study how to take the test if you can’t review all the material. If you know what the AP overlords are looking for in an essay, even if you’re wishy washy on the prompt you’ll know how best to fake it.

3) “We’ll get so much more done if we study altogether!”

Don’t get me wrong, study groups can be helpful, but in my experience APUSH quickly dissolves into lunch. If you’re going to tag team your studying be wary of distracting locations. The public library is great for quiet group space but, unfortunately, is in close proximity to restaurants and shops that can derail your review.

4) “I’ll remember my AP number. I don’t need to write it down.”

Write it in your phone or take a picture. You will lose the little slip of paper and come July you will be in a panic while your more realistic minded peers will be logging in and accessing their scores.

5) “I’ve got enough pencils.”

Don’t lie to yourself; you will be in a mad dash AP test morning looking for enough sharpened pencils with erasers. Remember that College Board discourages the use of mechanical pencils. This goes for all study materials. Put everything you need in advance. Bring extra batteries for your calculator, and by all means show up on time.
Some AP tests are harder than others. Make sure to set realistic goals for yourself and don’t lose your head over a bad score. Follow the College Board Twitter for tips and reminders. Do your best and quit lying!