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How to Self-Study for AP Classes

Studying on your own for AP classes may be simpler than you expect, with these helpful tips.

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As stated in my last article, Learning Science Online: Pros and Cons, I attended a school that did not have many resources. Therefore, I found that I had to study on my own in order to achieve goals in mind.

Last year was my first time studying for AP classes, but I was able to receive a 5 on each test that I took. Although I did not attend a class or have a specific teacher help me, I found certain important resources and ideas that motivated and supported me along the way.


1. Go online. The first step should be to search for any possible resource and any informative articles or spreadsheets that will be useful to your AP process.

2. Go to your College Board account. College Board has already posted free-response questions, sample exam questions, and more on its website.

3. Get prep books. Whether this is by buying or borrowing them, this is an important step, as prep book writers will often have tools, tips, and years of experience.

4. Email teachers. I emailed teachers in my school district in order to have some of my questions answered regarding which books are used in their curriculum, etc. Please do not do this frequently, and email them only if you feel as if you have already exhausted this previous list of resources.

5. Take a class online. Studying alone can be very tiring and time-consuming. Luckily, there are AP classes that are fully online or supplemental programs that you can simply use to aid and guide you in your process. This will be very helpful when you feel rather lost or confused.


1. Use a planner. This can take many shapes and forms: making a to-do list in a notebook, typing deadlines onto a Google Calendar, or buying a calendar and marking certain dates. Personally, I write my deadlines on a calendar, then write my short-term and long-term goals onto a planner.

2. Find a wonderful, comfortable study space. To some, this may be a library. To others, it may be one’s own room. This differs depending on your personal experience and needs, so feel free to search and experiment.

3. Make learning fun. Match your study schedule to your learning style and habits, and make sure that you are engaged in what you are learning. Turn on your favorite playlist while working, draw little cartoon characters to represent key concepts (this works best in history and science), and watch informative, funny Youtube videos that will stimulate your mind and summarize the key information you need into sizable chunks.

4. Take breaks. Personally, this was hard for me to implement at first, as I am someone who can concentrate on my work for long periods of time and often forget my surroundings. However, I’ve found that eating snacks, taking walks, or just admiring the scenery outside can really renew my energy and give me fresh motivation when I resume my work.

5. Do whatever you can to not procrastinate. Whether this requires setting early deadlines, turning on timers, or blocking social media sites, this is the most important part of studying for AP classes. Working at a steady pace will benefit you in the long run and help you to retain information better. Therefore, try to save yourself the stress of doing everything last minute and create practical, workable plans to eliminate procrastination in your daily life.

2 comments on “How to Self-Study for AP Classes

  1. lydiahopelee

    Reblogged this on Site Title.


  2. Pingback: Reasons to Self-Study for AP Classes – The Student Scientist

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