August is now here! This month, students across the country will start gearing up for the new school year. After the recent post on awesome AP teachers, I’ve now decided to tackle another key to having the best school year ever…awesome students. Here are 6 ways to become the best student you can be and earn college credit along the way:
1. Find Intrinsic Motivation. You won’t be even half as successful if you don’t have your own reasons for taking the class and learning the material. It’s great if you want to make your parents proud and gain admission to a top college, but you’ll do way better if you have a deeper reason to dig into the material.
2. Cultivate a Creative Mind. The challenging nature of AP courses necessitate creative and critical thinking. Make sure you tend to this side of your brain as much as you can. Practice brainstorming and sketching out your ideas. Pursue an art or write creatively on your own time. Read the classics. No matter what, try to stretch your mind and skills as much as you can. Think of it like exercise, but for your brain.
3. Take the Prerequisites. You don’t want to enter a class for which you aren’t prepared. Even though AP students are some of the best and brightest, skipping a prerequisite will not set you up for success. Remember that these requirements are in place for a reason. Skipping a class might seem like an impressive accomplishment, but few students are ready to take on the challenge of self-studying an entire class worth of material.
4. Design a Balanced Schedule. Don’t overload yourself. You’ll want to be able to immerse yourself in the material and ask the “big questions” about your AP subject. Being pressed for time will not allow you to do this, even if you think you do your best work under pressure. Most advanced students feel that they have to join every club, play every sport and take 6-8 AP courses. Try to resist this pressure and create a schedule that works for you.
5. Collect the Right Materials. Yes, you need enough pens and paper to take notes and make study guides. However, you also have to find the right guides and textbooks for you. Some AP courses have a multitude of quality texts available, while others do not. Increasingly, more companies are developing digital guides and text tailored to AP courses. Be sure to do your research and if your assigned textbook isn’t working for you, go out and find supplementary materials. Take the initiative!
6. Make a Sustained Effort. As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a passing score on an AP exam. Waiting until the final hour to study or complete assignments is not the way to go. Instead, make a sustained effort. Study a little bit over the course of school year, rather than cramming the evening before big assessments. Your future selves will thank you.
So we’ve now covered 6 ways to become an outstanding student in your AP courses this school year. Best of luck to all AP students, teachers and parents this year! Got any additional tips for success in AP courses? Tweet them to @omniguides!