Stressed for the Advanced Placement test? Fear not students!

Since spring break just ended, I know it has been a bit challenging to keep up with the days, but in case you have not noticed it is April now. And you know what April is? The month before May. And you know what May is? Oh you know what May is, but I’ll say it anyway. That is right, SBAC testing. Oh ya, and more importantly, those little inconsequential tests that we have only spent an entire year of classes preparing for: AP tests.

Frightening, I know. But there is a way to tackle the challenge, surmount the insurmountable, and arrive on test day without having spent the last 24 hours curled in a fetal position asking yourself why you did not abandon school for the much more enticing and far less stress-inducing hermitude months ago (we have all been there). How do we avoid said depressing fate? Well, take a five-minute study break as I lay out the five steps to a successful avoidance of a mental breakdown prior to AP testing.

Step one: Breathe. Cheesy, but a few deep breaths to calm the nerves, balance the spirits, become one with nature, etc., can go a long way. If you want some more intense breathing exercises, yoga is the way to go (seriously, pop in one of those Gaiam DVDs, and you are on your way to a more blissful AP experience).

Step two: Get some sleep. I know as high school students in AP classes, the idea of sleeping a full eight hours sounds a lot more like a fairy tale we were told as kids than an actual reality. But for AP tests, make the effort to fit it in. A few more hours of sleep will do you a lot more good than a last-minute cram session. There are many smart people who have done studies to prove this, I promise.

Step three: Eat a good breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But really it is. I know on the day of, it is easy to forget in the chaos of trying to make sure you have five perfectly sharpened pencils (because logically speaking you will run through the first four by the time the exam is over), your ID card and that watch they make you bring even though there is an enormous clock in view (but you comply every year anyway because it is College Board and you do what they say, they are basically the gods of the AP world, always threatening to smite you–or worse, cancel your scores).

Step four: Show up early. To avoid aforementioned scrambling, make sure you are on time and ready to go the day of. There is nothing better than sitting in a stuffy gym for an hour more than you need to. But seriously, better safe than “sorry your scores got cancelled.”

Step five: Be confident! No one knows this stuff better than you. Yes, really no one. You have to believe that, it is all part of this confidence thing. So go in there, strut your stuff, and get a five, or anything else works too. Anyway, confidence. It works.