When my teen signed up for five Advanced Placement (AP) classes her senior year of high school, she really had no idea how much work would be involved. She thought the classes would be similar to other high school courses. What she didn’t expect was the daily homework and weekly tests that keep her busy six or seven hours each night.
Since most teens take AP classes to boost college eligibility and waive some lower division class requirements, maintaining a “B” or better is critical. Here are a few homework tips that my teen uses to help her manage a heavy AP class load in high school while keeping her grades high too.
AP classes mean gobs of homework, papers, and special projects that come flying at you from all directions. With this amount of work, you can’t rely on your memory to keep track of assignment due dates which is why it’s important to track everything in an organizer or some kind of planner.
Do assignments early
The best way to stay on top of the AP homework is to get it done immediately instead of waiting until the night before it’s due. Not only does it get the assignment out of the way, the day’s lecture is still fresh in your mind making the work easier to understand.
Start homework immediately
My teen used to decompress for a couple of hours after school before starting her AP homework which often meant that she didn’t finish until well past midnight. Starting earlier avoids the late nights that can leave you dragging the following day.
Take many small breaks through out the evening
Instead of one or two long breaks throughout the evening, your brain will function better with numerous small breaks. A tip that helps my teen is to take a 10 minute close-your-eyes-and-lie-down break for every 90 minutes of study time to help recharge her brain.
Rotate between easy and hard assignments
Another helpful tip my teen discovered is to alternate the heavy assignments with the easier ones. This avoids tiring the brain out before the work is done.
Don’t wait until the last minute to study for tests
Cramming does not work with AP classes which is why it’s important to start studying for those tests early. Most students will have at least a week’s advance notice of a test which gives them plenty of time to review notes during the weekdays, and re-read the chapters on the weekend.
Watch your health
With these kind of hours, a teen’s health is very vulnerable. Eating properly, getting enough sleep, and including some daily exercise will keep you healthy. For teens that don’t belong to a gym or play sports, taking a Lifetime fitness class at your school will provide you with exercise without taking away from study time.
Find time for socializing
No matter how much homework you’ve got, it’s important to create some free time on the weekend to socialize, visit with friends or do something fun. It doesn’t have to be much, even just a few hours on Friday night and several hours on Saturday will make a big different in boosting your spirits while giving your body — and your brain — a chance to rest and relax.
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