How to Survive APs (Part 1)

Some of KIS’s AP English and Social Studies veterans give words of wisdom for surviving the year in one piece.

It’s a school-wide known fact: AP Lang, World, and US History will murder you, while AP Lit, Econ, and Psych will be a “breeze”. 

As the upperclassmen above us have always said:

“APUSH murdered me.”

“You literally write 50 essays in AP Lang”

As we enter our fifth week of school, most of us have already taken our first tests and experienced our first taste of heart-wrenching GPA drops as well as exhausting midnight study sessions (and maybe a few all nighters?). Feeling like you’re slipping in class? Worried that you won’t be able to survive this god forsaken year? Fear not – Blueprint’s gotchu. Here’s a compilation of words wisdom from English and Social Studies AP class veterans to guide you on your amazingly painful/enlightening (insert AP class name(s) here) journey.


AP Lang

Sarah Chin (‘16):

“Don’t get discouraged if an essay score is lower than you want, and keep exploring different ways to write to find your style! And don’t forget to read over essays and use what worked in all future essays again. Overall take risks and work hard!”

Serim Jang (‘16) – Mr. van Moppes:

“Make sure to read the sample essays over and over. And over! They will definitely help you find enlightening examples of writing that will bring out your voice once you learn to incorporate them into your own, enhanced writing. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask Mr. v for any advice or help! He’s the best study guide you have to advise you throughout the year.”

Olivia Kim (‘16) – Mr. van Moppes:

“1.) Let it go, 2.) Sample essays sample essays sample essays.”


AP Lit

Peter Kim (‘15) – Mr. Quirin:

“It’s more difficult not to get a good grade in Q’s class.”

Jin Hong Jung (‘15) – Ms. Turnbeaugh:

“Read the assignments and don’t rely on SparkNotes too much.”



Hyun Jae Moon (‘16) – Mr. Hubbs:

“1. Read and take notes → historical facts should already be in your head before coming to class.

  1. Write many essays out of class as well! → FRQs require implementing historical thinking skills. Just knowing the historical facts won’t help you.
  2. Watch the crash course videos after reading the textbook! → Don’t watch the videos before reading, or you will probably not read the book at all, assuming that you know everything.”

Clara Yoon (‘16) – Mr. Farley:

“Keep up with readings and do what’s asked of you, but remember it’s more about the process than the outcome. Also read Amsco 3 times through before the exam.”

Olivia Kim (‘16) – Mr. Farley:

“Just don’t let it go…”



Seiyeon Park (‘17) – Mr. Yanuzeski

“1. Keep up with the reading, really get to know the content, not just for quizzes but for future essays as well

  1. Don’t be afraid to go to Mr Y for help. Even if you feel that you’re doing decent on your essays, always go in and ask how you can improve. Consistently checking in will help you find and fix your weak spots more quickly.
  2. Look up sample essay prompts and practice writing them on your own (with a time limit), and ask Mr Y if he can look over them. This will give you extra practice outside of class and thus some new perspective on the essays.”

Daisy Kim (‘16) – Mr. Plouffe

“It’s best to not fall behind reading because it’s seriously going to hurt you later on. And always try to participate in class discussions because it helps retain the information A LOT.”

Yumi Kim (‘17) – Mr. Yanuzeski

“The textbook is love, the textbook is life – it’s the one thing anyone can rely on throughout the year. And if you don’t know something, the textbook always has your back. Also, is your savior before quizzes and exams. It’s the perfect way to review and it makes sure that you know the material.



Justin Kwon (‘16) – Mr. Reshke:

“Watch ACDC videos, use Barrons, solve a lot of practice tests, and look at previous year AP exams on College Board.”

Christine Kim (‘16) – Mr. Reshke:

We have quizzes at the end of almost every class, either on our homework content or the things we learned in class that day, so it’s very important that you come prepared, get a hundred, and not bring your grades down before the big unit tests. Mr. Reschke’s class is always full of anticipation because he doesn’t lecture much; he also plays active games in which we have to physically walk around, team up, and devise economic strategies to let us better understand the class material. And of course, his Twix and Cliff bars are the best!

Michelle Park (‘16) – Mr. Hubbs:

“Watch his videos, pay attention in class, do test corrections properly, solve lotsa practice problems, don’t stress out! (it’s not that hard to get an A b/c the test corrections boost your grade), or also buy the Crash Course book it helps organize the 10000 graphs in microecon (and legit his videos are the best tho).”


ap psych

Sarah Chin (‘16) – Ms. Summerton:

“Review as often as you can, and use the psych techniques to learn to help you study, like using different encoding techniques such using mnemonic devices, sleeping well, and reviewing daily to make sure the information doesn’t get forgotten. and really try to understand the concepts with examples and applications rather than memorization”

Lina Oh (‘16) – Ms. Summerton:

“Do the reading; listen to her lectures; know the difference between really tedious and confusing names and concepts; come up with examples when studying terms and concepts– they never ask for direct definitions anyway.”


Hopefully, these tips helped calm your nerve in the least. By the end of the year, you’ll survive the year in one way or another, lest it be after a horrifically stressful year, or after quite an easy journey. But an undeniable fact is that you will survive, and one day it will all be over. After all

YOU GOT THIS! We all believe in you.


– Jaye Ahn (’16)

Headers by Yunji Lee (’16)

AP Survival (Math and Science) Part 2

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