Students go extreme lengths to prepare for AP exams


Photo by Jake Dolan

Junior Souvik Kar practices for his AP AB Calculus exam at the beginning of class on Apr. 29.

With AP exams starting this week, students have been taking various approaches to study for the exams. AP exams are graded on a scale from 1-5, with a 3 or above being a pass and giving the student college credit for the class. Due to this, students will study extreme hours to review the course material and secure college credit. 

Every student has their own study strategies and will spend different amounts of time studying. Some students won’t study, meanwhile, others will begin studying months in advance. Junior Souvik Kar has been studying since the beginning of winter break with the hope of getting 5s on all his exams. “I study for AP exams by buying study books and doing them, getting help from teachers, doing a lot of practice tests and making review sheets. Overall, I have studied at least four hours per day since winter break,” Kar said.

But not every student takes as extreme of an approach as Kar. Junior Sureena Atwal has only been studying since the beginning of April, both in-class and out of it, with the goal of passing all of her exams. “I review all my notes from the beginning of the year, as well as have study groups with my friends and have been doing this since April,” Atwal said.

Senior Mia Mikowski has also only been studying since the beginning of April and is aiming for all 5s on her exams because her college, Northwestern University, only accepts 5s on AP exams for college credit. “I started studying once all the units were finished, about two weeks ago. I study three to five hours per day, and my strategy is to take a full MC or FRQ section, go over it, then take a second one to see improvement,” Mikowski said. 

Regardless of the approach, all three students feel confident that their study methods will be enough. Mikowski has seen drastic improvements in her scores on practice exams, which has motivated her to keep studying. “My studying is definitely working. I see the scores going up, which is encouraging,” Mikowski said.

However, studying isn’t all smooth sailing. It can take copious amounts of time as many students are taking several AP exams. For example, Atwal and Mikowski are both taking four AP exams this year, while Kar is taking three. “I am taking the AP Language and Composition, Computer Science A and AP Calc AB exams. Taking three APs has made it quite difficult to cover all the material of all the courses prior to my testing dates,” Kar said.