How to Navigate the Confusions of Taking an AP Test Freshman Year


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Nolan Chapman, Editor-In-Chief


We all know the feeling of dread that you get before a test. Whether it’s finals or just your average test, we’ve all experienced that sense of pre-emptive failure that makes us think we’re going to fail regardless of how much we’ve studied or prepared in other ways. However, for those students who are just entering high school and choose to take AP Human Geography, the AP tests represent a daunting new chapter in life: the very serious tests. I remember very vividly the feeling of hopelessness at the idea of a test that would affect my college experience. For me, that feeling was only a year in the past, and I was a tad bit worried about it.

Honestly, the best way to prepare in advance for the AP Human Geography test is to read your textbook. Trust me, as tedious as it may seem to read for those that don’t like to read, it is well worth reading it as it will lead to fully understanding the content that you are expected to know. However, I will admit that I had some advantages; because I read a lot, I already understood a lot of the background of the content as well as some of the actual content of the course. Essentially, the more well read you are, the better you will understand the material of AP Human Geography. This rule generally applies to most of life. It also applies even more to the next section of the AP Human Geography Test: the FRQ’s. An FRQ is an abbreviation for the words “free response question,” and this is where you really need to know your stuff. An FRQ can be over any specific topic in the entire course, and requires you to explain a concept taught in AP Human Geography. You need to know the real word examples to help explain the concepts, however you still need to do your best with what you have regardless. If you feel completely lost during an FRQ, you have to remember to just go with what you do know instead of making up random facts, as doing so will result in you losing more points.

Now, don’t stress about it until the second semester. It is not worth the stress when you aren’t even six months from taking the test. There are things that you can do in those sixth months to prepare, but there is no need at all to worry about it. The best way to study for and take the AP Human Geography exam is by keeping your cool. If you’re studying the night before, don’t, and I repeat, do not stay up late before the exam trying to cram information. For one, because of the effect of sleep deprivation on the brain, you won’t be able to remember that info anyway, so you’re wasting your time. Also, while you’re taking the test, it can seem very boring, so if you’re tired from your night of cramming, you won’t be able to concentrate on the test. As a runner, one of my favorite ways to keep myself calm during a test is to grab my water bottle and drink whenever I come to any problem that gives me any amount of anxiety. It helps me to focus on things other than the test and keeps you hydrated. Additionally, if you don’t drink water, you will get dehydrated, which can heavily affect your brain’s ability to think critically.

However, the key thing to remember when taking the AP Human Geography test is that it won’t affect your grade in the class, or your GPA, so it is perfectly acceptable to fail. In fact, well over half of people that take the AP Human Geography Test end up failing it. So, just remember that the only thing it affects isn’t that important and it isn’t something to destroy yourself with anxiety over, and I’m sure you will do the best you possibly can on the test.