With the AP Calc exam approaching, you’re probably starting to feel a bit nervous. This is totally normal, but we want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for the May 5th exam. Here are a few tips to remember on the day of the exam.
1. Find a good review book
Make sure you’re using an up-to-date review book that is filled with practice questions (and make sure to do all of the practice questions). It’s also a good idea to time yourself as you go.
2. Know what’s NOT on the test
You know the exam is going to be hard, so don’t waste time studying material that isn’t even going to be on the exam. As the topics covered tend to change frequently, be sure you have researched what will and will not be on the 2016 exam.
3. Do not waste time erasing
You are already going to be in a race against time, so why waste it erasing? If you make a mistake, cross it out and start writing underneath.
4. Eliminate multiple choice answers you know to be wrong
Sometimes it’s advantageous to guess. If you are stuck on a multiple choice question, try and eliminate the options you know are wrong. Even if you leave it down to two, your chances of getting it right are higher if you’ve thought about each option.
5. If you use a calculator, be sure to write out your work (including the equation)
Showing your work is the most important part. If you’re using a calculator, be sure to write out the formulas you’re using as well as all the work that comes after.
6. Make sure to time manage
Going back to #3, time is of the essence. Hopefully, you’ve done a mock exam and timed yourself prior to the exam. It’s hugely beneficial to create a schedule for yourself, so you know how much time you should be spending on each section.
7. Do not round numbers before you reach the end of the problem
This can majorly affect the end result. Be sure not to round numbers as you go. If you’re working off of a calculator, this can be an easy thing to forget, but remember not to round until the very end. Write the full number on the paper if you need.
8. Read each question through twice before answering
You would be surprised how often students mis-read a question and give an entirely different answer. Be sure to read each word of the question carefully before answering. Highlight or underline key words if you need.
9. Even if you don’t know part (a) of a question, still try and answer the rest
The AP Calc examiners want to see you show off what you know. Just because you can’t answer the first part or parts of a question, doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If you can answer any other parts of the question, go for it. Sub in a number that you think is appropriate and show off your work!
10. Show all of your work
Finally, (and I know I’ve said this already), show your work!!! The examiners really want to see whether you know the material or not. They care far less about whether the number that comes out at the end is correct.