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 Sep 09, 2020
6 Resources to Help You Study for AP Exams

Even though the school year has just begun, you may find your teachers telling you to buy books, flashcards, and other resources to help you study for your AP exams. But because there are hundreds of tools out there, from YouTube channels to teacher-produced websites to DVDs, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Should you be studying from a select few materials, or should you buy as many study tools as you can? And…which ones should you choose? In this blog, we take a look at 6 valuable resources that are bound to help boost both your skills and your confidence so that you can be well prepared on test day. 

1) Quizlet 

A fantastic (and free!) virtual source for making flashcards, Quizlet allows students to repeatedly practice and perfect their vocabulary skills. Not only does Quizlet offer a variety of vocabulary games to help you strengthen your lexicon, but it also places more emphasis on words with which you struggle based on your performance. This is especially useful if you’re taking a very vocabulary-heavy AP course. In fact, many students find that their skills automatically improve when they either make their own flashcards or use flashcards that have already been made by past students. Because Quizlet has hundreds of thousands of flashcard sets, it’s definitely worth a look – you may just find exactly what you’re looking for! Click here to get started.

2) Crash Course

This infamous YouTube video channel by John Green and Hank Green has something for everyone. No matter what AP course you’re in – whether it is English or U.S. History or Chemistry or Calculus – Crash Course has videos that not only explain, but also entertain. Though each video may be lengthy, it will walk you through a topic in great detail while also providing numerous examples (and humorous anecdotes!) along the way. So, if you learn well by watching videos, Crash Course is for you! Click here to start watching.

3) Heimler’s History

If you’re in AP World History, AP U.S. History, AP Government, or AP Macroeconomics, then listen up! Heimler’s History is a great resource to help you understand a topic or brush up on a course’s curriculum. Not only does the Heimler’s History YouTube channel cover topics ranging from aggregate consumption to steam engines, but it also explains how to crack essay questions on the AP exams. But that’s not all! Its website also offers exhaustive review packets covering every unit of AP history courses. Although these packets do cost money, they are well worth the investment – especially if you are in need of a clear yet compact study guide with key points and tips.

4) The Princeton Review

No matter what AP class you are taking, I highly recommend purchasing a prep book from The Princeton Review. Each of its test prep workbooks generally contains an extensive summary of the topics you should have covered in school (plus more!) as well as a few full-length practice tests so that you can see where you stand. Along with this, you will also find detailed answer explanations, test-taking strategies, and general exam information. You can get these books at most bookstores, on Amazon, or on The Princeton Review’s website

5) Barron’s Flashcards

If you study best with a good old set of flashcards, then you should consider purchasing Barron’s flashcards. Sold in compact yet convenient boxes, each set generally comes with around 400 to 500 flashcards, each with important vocabulary words and/or concepts that you should know for your AP exams. From AP Psychology to AP Biology to AP Human Geography, Barron’s has flashcards for (almost!) every AP class! You can purchase them at Barnes and Nobles or on Amazon. 

6) Fiveable

Fiveable is more than just a resource – it’s a community. A community of students, educators, tutors, experts, and more. On Fiveable, you can access resources for AP math, science, world language, and social studies classes. Each subject comes with an arsenal of videos, discussions, practice problems, study guides, and slideshows so that you can get quick clarification on topics for which you need a little extra help. While some subjects certainly have more resources than others, there is still something both useful and informative for every student. As a bonus, you have access to extra information about the AP exams and specific strategies for cracking the tests. And best of all, it’s completely free! To get started, visit Fiveable’s website

These are just a few of the resources that teachers and students alike tend to favor. Although you certainly don’t have to invest in or use all of the above options, I advise that you start thinking about what would be best for you. If you’re a flashcard fanatic, go for Quizlet or Barron’s flashcards. If you would rather learn from videos, consider Crash Course or Heimler’s History. If you’re in your element when you read and take practice tests, buy a Princeton Review Book. And, if you want to do a mix of all of those, take a look at Fiveable! No matter what you decide, what matters most is that you find something that works for your learning style. When you do that, you will be setting yourself up for success.

Trisha Bhujle is a former Brilliant Prep student with the goal of answering your questions about high school, standardized tests, and everything in between. Having received a 36 on her ACT and a 1560 on her SAT, she now actively works to inform students and parents alike of how to prepare for not only these tests, but also other high school hurdles. In her spare time, she likes to experiment in her kitchen, conquer DIY projects, and most of all, write!