Don’t stress out preparing for the IB or AP exams: It’s not impossible, just have a plan

Don’t stress out preparing for the IB or AP exams: It’s not impossible, just have a plan



As an IB student, I’ve been hearing about the IB exams for the past two school years as my teachers have taught my classmates and I what we need to know in order to do well on them and explained to us what they entail. Now, it’s almost time for the testing to begin, and all the buildup of hearing about it so often for such a long time makes the weeks leading up to the exams very stressful ones.

Like many other IB students, I’m hoping to score well enough to earn college credit and scholarships, and while that can be a motivator to study hard, it also adds to the pressure and stress that many students experience because it creates the sense that something important is at stake.

If the exams are daunting, the process of reviewing for them can be similarly so. But the reason it’s such a big task (that the content for any given class spans two school years) is the same reason it’s so important. It’s often difficult to retain skills and information from a long time ago, and reviewing can help you remember more content, better preparing you to do well on the exams.

I write for my school’s student newspaper, and I recently decided to put together an article featuring exam preparation advice from teachers as a way to support other students at my school who are also preparing for exams. I feel it is valuable information, and I would like to share it with other IB students who may be uncertain where to begin or how to review. This extends to AP students as well, whose exams carry a similar challenge and weight.


Here is what the teachers I interviewed had to say:

  • Develop a strategy and a schedule for reviewing: what you’ll do when and how much time to spend on each subject or topic.
  • Make a plan for how much time you’ll spend on each subject and topic.
  • Don’t try to relearn all the material; identify what you know, don’t know, and need to know, and review accordingly.
  • Determine what you’ll need help with and where you can find that help.
  • Spend your time and energy where it will be most productive. It’s often better to spend time refreshing your memory on multiple concepts that only need a small amount of review than it is to spend the same amount of time trying to learn a single concept that you hardly remember at all.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to everyone taking IB or AP exams this spring!


Anna Janowski is a teen (grade 12) volunteer at the Beaverton City Library. Outside of school, she likes to read, write, play softball and the trumpet.