April Showers Bring May AP Exams Stress


Coping With Stress Strategies made by Katie Kracke

With the beginning of May this year, comes the looming stress of AP exams, and for our lucky juniors, the SAT and the ACT as well. Although this time can be overwhelming and feel impossible, with a barrage of tests including finals outside of AP exams themselves, there are many different ways that have been proven to help one cope with stress in healthy ways, as well as help to study and prepare for this stressful time. If these sound like things you may need help with, stick around and learn about some tips for how to keep a positive mindset, studying, and healthy ways to take a break! 

A positive mindset creates a more positive and productive studying environment, which is why taking care of yourself should be a top priority during this time. One activity that will help with a positive mindset is exercise. Exercising is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind, and will actually improve your mood. It is also a great way to engage in an activity different from the ones that are causing you stress. Another tactic for maintaining a positive mindset is slowing your life down. Our lives tend to be so busy with responsibility and tasks that it is important to slow down, and find small ways we can achieve this. One way to do this is to break down big jobs into small ones.

For example, instead of trying to study for all 4 of the AP Exams you are taking in one night, only focus on a few units from one of them. Sometimes looking at the big picture can be where a lot of overwhelming emotions come from, but when these huge tasks are broken down, they can feel a lot more manageable, and can decrease the risk of burning out. Thirdly and lastly, making time for hobbies is a surefire way to make life more enjoyable, and bring down your stress during the trying times of AP exams.

You must set aside time for things you enjoy whether that be reading, doing an art project, spending time with your family, or playing sports. Try to do something every day that makes you feel good, and it will help relieve your stress.

— Katie Kracke

Even 15-20 minutes of a hobby you enjoy will do the trick, and work wonders for your outlook. While it is important to take care of yourself and your mental health, it is also equally important to prepare to the best of your ability for the upcoming exams. According to the Princeton Review, here are three of the best ways to study for AP Exams. Firstly, be specific with your studying plan and go as far as to write down what day of the week you will study, what time, and for how long. This will give you a better chance of actually sticking to your study plan, which will help prevent the stress of cramming right before all of your exams.

Next, investing in an AP prep book is a great way to review essential content, introduce you to the questions and format of the exams, as well as provide you with help you practice. Prep books can create a more structured way to study for exams than simply trying to review all the content you had learned during the school year in a concise way, with practice questions to accompany the content. Finally, creating a perfect study place for you becomes a delicate balance. For some this means working at a desk, while for others it is at a local coffee shop. Regardless, your environment is of the utmost importance to the productivity of your studying, and the length at which you will be motivated to stick with it.

When studying has become too overwhelming and draining, it is time to take a break! However, how you take a break is important to consider, and can affect how well you are able to resume your task after your break has ceased. Taking a walk and getting some fresh air is a great way to get your blood pumping, and to rest your brain from the intense task of studying.

Rest is also crucial to productive studying, which is why taking a 15-20 minute power nap can be just what you need in between rounds of studying. One more helpful tidbit is  “The Pomodoro Technique,” a popular studying technique supported by a study by DeskTime, which found that a 52 minute focus and 17 minute break is the perfect balance between working hard, and taking breaks. 

All three of these aspects of you as a student; study habits, mindset, and breaks, are things that with the right balance can help you have the best possible outcome in tests, and even just life, as well as mitigate stress as much as possible! Good luck!