Effective summertime preparation

Proactive students ensure their success next year over the summer

Ever+since+the+AP+exam%2C+sophomore+Anish+Tennepali+utilizes+the+free+time+during+his+3rd+period+AP+World+class+to+study+for+his+AP+European+History+class+next+year.
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Effective summertime preparation

Ever since the AP exam, sophomore Anish Tennepali utilizes the free time during his 3rd period AP World class to study for his AP European History class next year.

Ever since the AP exam, sophomore Anish Tennepali utilizes the free time during his 3rd period AP World class to study for his AP European History class next year.

Eren Parla

Ever since the AP exam, sophomore Anish Tennepali utilizes the free time during his 3rd period AP World class to study for his AP European History class next year.

Eren Parla

Eren Parla

Ever since the AP exam, sophomore Anish Tennepali utilizes the free time during his 3rd period AP World class to study for his AP European History class next year.

Eren Parla, Online News Editor

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The overcrowded halls of McLean High School are a benchmark differentiator for the school, accompanied by the at times overwhelming academic pressure students face. When walking through these hallways, it feels as though it is always possible to hear someone asking how many AP’s you’re taking, a question asked so frequently that it may as well be a haunting whisper that follows students everywhere.

No matter the extracurriculars or sports a student does, AP participation is an unavoidable part of the McLean culture.

“It’s honestly very annoying,” said sophomore Aaron Bremser, who is a star player on the school basketball team. “I wish I could focus the most on basketball, but I also have to figure out how to balance that with the AP’s I’m taking next year.”

Every student feels pressured, no matter their capability, to be perfect.

“Honestly, I feel more pressured to take AP’s than anything else,” Bremser said. “Not basketball, not peer pressure, nothing. All the pressure is in what your schedule looks like.”

With this pressure, students find every opportunity to alleviate the rigorous workload that they have to deal with. Although many students revert to cheating during the school year, certain students are proactive and prepare over the summer.

“A majority of AP classes will have a textbook to take notes from,” sophomore Rakib Anam said. “These reading notes are the most labor-intensive aspects of AP, and are also the most important as that is how you learn the information; it’s all mostly self-taught with further learning in class.”

Because of the nature of reading notes, it is possible to take these notes over the summer. All that one needs to do is to buy the necessary textbook(s), which is possible through book selling services like Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. This can get very expensive, but these booksellers offer cheaper second-hand textbooks that one could buy for a cheaper price.

Getting the textbook is only the first part of the summer preparation process.

“Buying the textbook is easy,” Anam said. “Then you have to effectively take notes, rewriting the entire textbook onto your notebook is just painful.”

Thus, there is a widespread new form of note-taking that facilitates concise and effective notes called star sentences.

“To write a star sentence, you go paragraph by paragraph,” said sophomore Zeyad Khadih, who takes AP Physics 1 and AP Calculus BC. “After reading a paragraph, I write a sentence for each bit of important information and make bullet points for details underneath.”

Although a student does not have to follow these steps directly, it will always be beneficial for a student to be able to paraphrase information into single sentences with supporting details underneath.

“AP curricula tend to focus on the ability to know objective facts, and how to apply them into concepts, and vice versa” social studies teacher Lindsey Fisher said.

Considering the fact that much of the readings assigned in AP classes require the memorization of certain facts, effectively using flashcards is a necessity when studying.

“It’s insane how much more practical flashcards become when their color-coded,” sophomore Anish Tennepali said. “I have been color coding my flashcards for AP European History according to people, nations, ideologies, and inventions. The colors have helped me remember and distinguish between all of them.”

At the end of the day, despite all preparation for a class, overall understanding and the weaknesses of a student will always be best identified through an exam.

“I’ve already bought the textbook for my AP European History class next year,” Tennepali said. “Due to the fact history is not my strong suit, I have also bought prep books with practice AP Exams. This will allow me to figure out the topics I know the least and study those even further.”

In fact, these prep book companies have prep books that can serve as pseudo-textbooks that attempt to cram the course content into a 200 pager. Study aids that condense the course content are good places to start taking notes.

“The Princeton Review’s ASAP Review series was extremely helpful in my course selection,” Anam said. “I was having a hard time choosing between AP Chemistry and AP Biology, and after reading the ASAP book for both realized that AP Biology suits me better.”

Although all these tools are available, the hardest resource to come by is motivation.

“It’s not easy, taking notes for an 800-page textbook,” Tennepali said. “Whenever I want to give up, I think of why I started: to work hard over 3 months to reap the benefits during the rest of the year.”

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