I'm a high school student, so I'm still learning, but in the past couple weeks, I've realized a few things about AP classes that set them apart from other classes one might take in high school. Last school year, I was a freshman, so the only AP class available to me was AP Human Geography. This year, I'm taking AP European History and AP Computer Science.
1) DO: Take detailed notes.
Better said than done, but use multiple resources, besides your textbook. Sources can range from handy websites to other credible AP books.
2) DON'T: Throw papers from previous units away.
This might be the biggest mistake you can make when taking an AP class. All the worksheets, handouts, lectures, etc. will be super useful when studying for the awaited AP exam in May.
3) DO: Come prepared for class.
This is obviously a no-brainer, but when you enter the classroom with the right mindset, you will have the ability to soak in more information.
4) DON'T: Start reviewing two weeks before the AP test in May.
Instead, have mini review sessions throughout the school semester. If you start reviewing two weeks before the exam, you may not have enough
5) DO: Pre-read, pre-read, pre-read. Oh, did I say pre-read?
Pre-reading helps your mind PREpare (notice the emphazise on the "pre") for the topic. This is especially useful for history classes because it helps connect the past unit and the next unit together.
6) DON'T: Rely on your textbook
If you wish to get a higher score (4 or 5) on the AP exam, I would recommend purchasing AP exam study books. You can find these in almost any book store and online. Also, don't be afraid to Google something if you don't understand it. Remember, everyone who is taking the class in the nation might also be confused on something. There are PLENTY of resources online from other students and teachers.
7) DO: Try different studying methods.
Because it is the beginning of the year, there could not be a better time to explore different study methods. Examples include: flashcards (online or actual flash cards, typing your notes, reciting important details, etc.
Best of luck on your AP classes!
Picture source: http://www.hercampus.com/school/portland/study-study-study