How to Prepare for the AP Exams

AP exams usually occur in early May. Students should study some every day for at least a month prior to the test. Basic information you need to know about the tests:

Each of the 38 exams has its own unique requirements; however, almost all the exams have several things in common:

  • Most exams are two to three hours long. Be prepared to tackle a challenging exam with limited breaks. Eat a good breakfast and, if you're taking more than one exam on the same day, pack lunch and snacks to keep you going.

  • The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions. You will choose one of four or five answer choices for each question and use a pencil to bubble in your choice on your AP answer sheet. Your total exam score on the multiple-choice section is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. You won’t receive or lose points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.

  • The second part of the exam usually consists of free-response questions that require you to generate your own responses. Depending on the exam, your responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, or a spoken response. In most cases, you’ll be writing your response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.

  • Your AP teacher will go over the exam format with you in class. You can get detailed information about each exam at the AP Courses-page. You can view sample questions from actual exams using the Exam Practice links on the Preparing for the Exams page on the Collegeboard website.

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