Friday Five: Ways to relax before APs


Vika Gautham

For some, the feeling of stress helps motivate them into studying more. For me, it’s a ticking time bomb that’s ready to explode at any moment, which is why I look for ways to relax and reduce any nervousness.

by Vika Gautham, Co-Features Editor

Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Standardized exams that quantify how well you’ve mastered certain content pertaining to a specific subject. To me, a nightmare that I don’t want to think about. As APs approach, students find themselves looking for a way out with the increasing workload. The anxiety of not knowing whether or not you’ll get a five or reviewing something you learned in the beginning of the year only to find out that you don’t remember it at all haunts many. It’s the season of cramming and wondering why you chose to do so many APs but still getting out of bed each day to open your textbook.

For some, the feeling of stress helps motivate them into studying more. For me, it’s a ticking time bomb that’s ready to explode at any moment, which is why I look for ways to relax and reduce any nervousness. Here are five ways you can try and decrease your stress before the AP exams. Best of luck!

5. Make instant noodles

I find that I often get hungry while studying, maybe because I’ve been too busy to eat or because I want a distraction. Unfortunately for me, studying sucks all of my energy out. So I embrace my future struggling college student life and resort to making instant noodles. A good dish for those too lazy to cook, instant noodles are a great way for me to relax and focus on anything but APs. The warm and soft texture, the occasional splash of hot soup on your face — instant noodles allow you to loosen up. There are also a variety of flavors to choose from, such as curry or chili garlic, so you can have an adventure every time you try something new. 

4. Take a walk

Chances are, if you are studying for APs, you’ve been curled up in your room for the last five hours. I like to take a 15 minute walk around my neighborhood, admiring over-excited dogs who run to every person they meet. Taking a walk allows you to reset your mind, and it’s great for your health. It’s also interesting to look around your favorite place and observe your surroundings. This can be done through taking note of the types of trees, people with dyed hair (my personal favorite) or anything else. Take advantage of this time you have to yourself, and you may be surprised at what you notice.

3. Draw

In the desperate times where I can’t seem to grasp a certain free response choice during my AP Computer Science practice test, drawing relieves me of the urge to give up. I like to open my windows, grab my sketchbook and draw whatever I see. Sometimes, it’s great to just scribble as well. Not thinking about the outcome of my work helps me to relax. The feeling of my graphite pencil on the gray-toned paper or the little eraser shavings that stick to the paper in the end give me confidence that I will improve my score next time. And if I don’t, back to the drawing (board) I go!

2. Organize your desk

Imagine you just finished your practice test, and you are so confident. Opening up the answer sheet, you look to check your answers and — oh. Ok, so you didn’t do as well as you thought. This has happened to the best of us. During times like these, I find that organizing my desk can improve my mood. It may seem like a small thing, but knowing where to put my pencils, papers and other items makes me feel like I can control the little things. The gratifying feeling of looking at a clean desk is like scoring highly on your stimulus-based multiple choice. Well, almost. 

1. Listen to music

Music is the key to life. It can lift your spirits, drown your sorrows or make you cry over experiences you’ve never been through. It’s a powerful tool, one that conducts your emotions so easily. So, I make it a priority to have a jam session at least once every hour. It can be one song, or five, but I find that I relax after listening to my favorite songs. I often listen to music while doing homework as well, so it feels routine to me. I try to play different genres each day, like classical and R&B. Of course, whatever fits your own taste is what will suit you best.