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  • Eli Stuart (they/them)

AP Tips (From a Disabled Perspective)

Updated: May 6, 2022

[Cover Image Description: Image is of a brown, wooden desk. there are multiple sheets of white paper with text and notes on them. There is a gray pencil case also on the table. from the left side, a hand is seen holding a pen and writing. From the right side, a hand is resting on the paper that the other person is writing on. End of Image Description]

APs (Advanced Placement) have arrived so I wanted to briefly share what I do around AP to keep myself from completely burning out/breaking down due to my fibromyalgia, but these tips can help a variety of people I believe.

Before APs

Sleep is a must! It is good for your body and mind. Missing sleep can cause more difficulties when testing (ie: feeling tired, trying to stay awake, trouble focusing). Additionally, if you subscribe to the Spoon Theory, you lose spoons before your day starts, which is not good at all especially since I find tests like this steal a lot of spoons.

Don’t over-exert yourself mentally or physically. The overexertion could cause a flare up (depending on you and your specific disability) which just worsens the situation. In that vein, build in breaks while studying as well as having a longer break at night to end your studying (ie: instead of going straight to bed after cramming, take some time to do something you enjoy/find calming). For me, heat helps my pain, so I take a hot shower and use a heating pad. These are things I definitely am doing even on days before an AP because it is important to take care of my body.

AP Days/During the AP

Eat breakfast! Food gives you energy and if you don't eat, hunger may distract you during the test. Try to eat something filling that will last a while as breaks are often short and few between. On those breaks, you can eat snacks so make sure you pack some.

Breaks are also a time stretch since sitting that long in an uncomfortable chair can make me feel more stiff or tense. I most commonly stretch my neck, hands, wrists, ankles, and legs.

After the AP

Take some time for yourself following that. It takes a lot of spoonaccommodationss and is draining for sure. Do something you like or do nothing and just rest. Unfortunately, there are many people who have one AP after one another and can’t avoid doing anything related to school after the AP. The point is to make sure you have a chance to recharge before jumping back into studying.

Most of all, remember that this test (or any test) doesn’t say anything about you as a person or your life. The system we have for AP tests is not as accessible as they may claim. This especially applies to disabled people who have to fight for accomodations and may still be unable to get them even though they need them. You are more than this one test. Stay safe and I wish you the best of luck!

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