Emily Xie
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Academic Blog

Academic Blog

18 things I learned from taking 18 AP tests

1. I realized that procrastinating is very bad when it comes to studying for a ridiculous amount of tests. While you can learn a lot of stuff in one night, you can't learn enough for one AP test in one night (even though I'd love to argue that you can). I wasn't crazy enough to actually do that, but I got pretty close, and let me tell you, it is exhausting. 2. Highlighters are your friends. Although highlighting everything in the book will not help you, my APUSH book would beg to disagree. Honestly, I've come a long way. I used to highlight literally every word that was important in the book (in other words, I highlighted all of them).

3. Sleep is also your friend. There comes a point at night when cramming will not help you and staying up later will only make you too dumb to do well the next day. Keep this in mind if you do Macro/Micro and you learn about marginal cost and benefit.

4. You will become "famous". An example of this is: walking down the hall, all of a sudden some random person walks up and goes, "hey, you're the crazy girl taking like a million AP tests, aren't you?"

5. Taking breaks and taking naps is the most amazing thing ever. There were some days I fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

6. I have more homework to make up than I thought teachers could assign over the course of the whole year. Needless to say, I'm exhausted, and still not done working.

7. A lot of the AP tests overlap. All of the sciences have some overlapping material, and so do all of the histories. By taking a lot of tests, I had to actually study less than if I took them all very far apart, believe it or not. Also, by studying for so many, I learned what was really important (the things that overlapped over many subjects) and I learned it well (especially after reading it about 50 times).

8. It's easy to get burnt out, and hard to get motivated.

9.  I probably learned more "fun facts" than I ever thought I would. I'm not very passionate about history. In fact, I've always struggled with history classes more than any other class/subject. I am terrible with names of living people, and even worse with names of dead people. I can't remember what today's date is. How am I supposed to remember what day the French Revolution was? That being said, after hours upon hours of reading and memorization, I can tell you that the French Revolution began in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille. How helpful will this be later in my life? I guess I'm not really sure, but I'd rather be informed than be dumbfounded when someone is talking about historical events and I have no idea what is going on.

10. Having an open hour helped more than anything else. It was so nice having one less class to worry about and an extra two hours to cram and study and do homework.

11. It's not that abnormal to leave an AP test and feel pretty bad about it, but you learn to deal with it (Art History and Physics C E&M). Plus, usually when you feel like you failed, everyone else in the room did too. Odds are you didn't do as bad as you think you did, and even if you did, you can drop your score and pretend it never happened.

12. You start to have a favorite spot to take tests and favorite position to do so. My favorite spot: right in front of the clock on the comfiest chair I can find (no matter how squeaky it might be) My favorite position (not that kind of position, gross): sitting criss-cross-applesauce on my chair in my big fuzzy socks and slippers

13. Taking APs gets lonely, you learn to meet random people and make new friends.

14. It's hard to stay comfortable and awake for hours upon hours of testing. It's also hard to drink coffee and not have to leave to go to the bathroom halfway through the test.

15. You memorize your AP student number after you run out of labels. Writing it in is rather unfortunate; however, having it memorized is helpful. You also memorize the entire script that the proctors have to read before every single test.

16. Taking tests becomes second nature to you. After taking 18 AP tests, I feel like I learned more about test-taking and bubbling in sheets than I did about the stuff on the tests.

17. There are like a million resources to help with self-studying (here's one of them). Self-studying is a lot easier than you might think, because there are so many resources to help, especially the released College Board questions.

18. You learn not to regret anything. I took 18 tests and some of them I felt fantastic about, some of them I felt a lot less than fantastic about, but at the end of the day, I learned more in the past few months than I have ever learned in my life. Even if I failed every single test I took (which I honestly hope I didn't), I learned more about life and about all of my tests than I ever expected to, and I don't regret it one bit (even though I didn't get any sleep for about three weeks). Even after Art History (which did not go so well), I have a new love for art. I never really thought art was that interesting, even after going to the Louvre in Paris. I just thought it was "boring" and "pointless", but now I realize the history and meaning behind a lot of the pieces and it gives art a whole new meaning. I'll definitely be back at the Louvre sometime in my life, and I know for a fact I'll appreciate it a million times more, because I actually know about the pieces.