Succeeding in an AP science class may seem to be a daunting task to many students, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be impossible! If you’re brave enough to sign up for an AP course, odds are you’re bright enough to ace it, too. But before you dive right in, check out these simple tips for succeeding in an AP science class.
1. Know the Basics
Before you bake a cake, you've got to have the basic ingredients- sugar, flour, eggs, etc. Likewise, if you want to succeed in an AP science class, you've got to have the basics down! Certain AP classes such as Chemistry and Physics are strongly rooted in math. Talk to your counselor about what prerequisites you need to pass an AP science class before you sign up. AP Biology is less math-based, however it's a good idea to have already taken regular or Honors Biology before you plunge right into the AP world.
2. Form a Study Group
Everyone’s brain works differently, which means while you might breeze through one chapter of notes, you might struggle through the next, yet your friend is the exact opposite. You should take advantage of this contrast in brain chemistry and form a study group with all of the brainiacs you can! Each of you will bring something different to the table and will strengthen each other so that you succeed throughout the year!
3. Pay Attention in Labs
AP science classes require that you complete certain labs throughout the year. It's easy and tempting to slack off throughout the labs and let your partner do all of the work, but if you really want to do your best, you need to pay attention to the labs. Nothing beats hands-on learning, so stay as focused and involved as possible on lab days.
4. Come Prepared to Class
Lab days require more than just your focus, they require certain materials, too. Make sure you always come equipped with close-toed shoes and a hair tie on days when you're doing labs, so that fire and chemicals aren't too much of a threat. Additionally, you'll need a lab notebook, calculator, and anything else your teacher requires you to bring. If you don't come equipped to class, you can't participate in the lab, which means you'll be a step behind all of your peers.
5. Take Detailed Notes
You’re lucky if science is your passion, because staying focused will be relatively simple. However, if you’re like me, sitting in an AP science class for an hour or two basically sounds like a snooze fest. Boredom shouldn’t hinder your learning experience though. In order to stay focused, make sure you take detailed notes, that way you’ll stay engaged in the lecture and have actual substance to study later.
6. Make Flashcards
Science classes are like foreign language classes to some; the teacher lectures in some alien tongue you hardly understand, but need to master. Well, as in foreign language classes, flashcards can be your best memorization tools! Need to memorize a formula, equation, or set of terms? Make some flashcards! Color code, highlight, or draw pictures on them; do whatever it takes to become fluent in the language of science.
7. Do the Homework
When I say do the homework, I really mean do it. Don’t copy it from a friend, don’t fake it because you know your teacher won’t thoroughly grade it, do it! Put your best effort into each task your teacher assigns, because even if it’s busy work, it won’t hurt to complete it. Doing every homework assignment will lead to greater success on tests and quizzes throughout the year and ultimately a passing AP test score!
If you’re about to embark on a year of an AP science class, I wish you the best of luck! But you’ll need more than luck if you want a passing AP score in May. How do you plan to succeed in your AP science class?