Rishi’s Reflection: Advice for Tackling AP Exams


Rishi Saran

As I sat in the empty chair, I stared into the deep abyss that laid before me. My eyes peering into the emptiness, dreading what was to come. The impending doom was slowly, but surely creeping up on me, and everyone around me. Lips were glued together. No one dared to utter a word. None of us wanted to know the future, and we were beginning to realize that our futures may be darker than we had thought. And as I sat there in front of the first of many practice tests to come, contemplating, the subconscious clock still ticked. 124 days, 7 hours, and 42 minutes … until I had to take the real AP World History Exam.

This happened about two months ago – and now, with thirty-seven days left, my Kaplan World History prep book is still neatly wrapped in plastic in my bedroom, completely untouched. I have no doubt that countless sophomores are sharing my trepidations at this very moment. But never fear, my apprentices – experience and expertise are on my side. You may be skeptical of my credibility, but remember, any advice is better than no advice.

Behold: tried and true, the R.I.S.H.I. Method. Patent pending.

The method starts off with R: revise and review course material. This is one of the most important steps, as establishing a fundamental understanding of the content is a prerequisite to a good score. Looking at major content areas, your class’s syllabus, and the AP course exam description can give you some direction before you start your studying.

Next is I: implement a plan and schedule. I is often the hardest step of all, as it goes without saying that many of us haven’t even begun honing our skills of time management. However, make sure to allocate time wisely – one hour for World History, one hour for Biology, but also add in time to be your lazy self. Compensating for our lethargic state whilst planning, despite sounding counterintuitive, is very pragmatic.

Afterward, we reach S: search for resources. Having great study material and the willpower to use it is what leads to a great score. Luckily, we have the internet on our side. Sadly, I’m not being plugged by any test prep company (yet), but review books from Crash Course and Princeton Review will definitely provide an advantage, in my limited experience. Making your own flashcards or using online Quizlets can also go a long way.

Next on the list is H, having practice exams. As you go through the process of rigorously studying, practice exams are essential, especially in diagnosis of and reflection upon what you know and don’t yet know. Not only do they highlight areas of weakness and strength, they provide guidance in this voyage to a five on the exam.

Finally, we reach I, the impending clock of doom. Being aware of your exam date; progression is imperative. You can’t get stuck or hung up on one problem or content area. However, contrary to popular belief, stress can be a good thing in our situations. It’s what prompts us continually to resolve our stress, either by studying, taking tests, making flashcards, or burying one’s face in a pillow and screaming. This impending clock of doom is our own biological mechanism attempting to slap our inner-procrastinator and wakes us up. With the clock in mind, the terrifying AP exam becomes inescapable, forcing us to study.

So, lets review:


  • R: Revise and Review
  • I: Implement plans
  • S: Search for resources
  • H: Have practice exams
  • I: Impending clock of doom


Now expecting anyone who reads this article to take action may be too optimistic, but there are only so many hours until our eventual demise. Unless of course, you decide to employ the R.I.S.H.I. method, my simple and effective way of preparing for the exam. Plus, it has a really cool and catchy name. So rather than sitting and pondering about the disaster that is to come, let’s open our textbooks. If you’ve come this far, you’re already doing better than most test takers. Carefully picking out a plan and pursuing it is the best way to prepare for these exams. Granted, I probably won’t start studying for another 2 months, but that’s a me problem.

Go forth and conquer, Rishiites! The clock is ticking.