The AP World History exam is among the most difficult on the college board. Students must memorize significant historical events, cite relevant documents, and analyze historical evidence to prepare for the multiple-choice questions.
Trying to sleep through the class all year and then read a prep book in April will not cut it. Here are a few essential study materials that every student should have.
AP World History is one of the longer exams, with three hours and 15 minutes total time. The first section contains 55 multiple-choice questions, accounting for 40% of your score. In the second section, you will have three short-answer questions and will be asked to analyze primary and secondary sources. Finally, in the long essay portion, you will be presented with three prompts spanning different historical periods (c. 1200-1750, c. 1750-1900, and c. 1200-2110), and you will develop and support an answer using historical evidence.
Keeping up with class content throughout the year is the best way to ensure you’re prepared for the exam.
On top of that, you’ll be able to apply the knowledge of significant historical events to the larger themes of globalization and change over time. It’s not enough to remember isolated dates and names for the AP World History exam.
If you can’t keep up with your teacher’s pace, reading a prep book in the spring will help trigger your background knowledge. However, a prep book should not replace your textbook—it can’t provide the depth of information required for the AP exam. A prep book can also have blind spots that can throw you off on the multiple-choice section, as it often includes questions that aren’t covered in the text.
The best AP World History review books include practice tests, which can be invaluable in helping you learn to pace yourself. These tests allow you to identify your weak areas and dedicate more time to studying for them. Practicing these questions can also help you get used to the exam format to be more prepared on test day.
Many AP World History review books have multiple-choice and free-response practice questions. These practice questions are based on the latest AP exams, so they will give you a good idea of what to expect when you take the actual exam. In addition, some AP World History review books have extra material such as teacher perspectives and sample answers.
The DBQ portion of the AP World History exam can be one of the most challenging parts. To answer these questions, you will need to analyze documents and make an argument about the topic of the prompt. The best AP world history study guide will help you understand how to read the documents and how to use them in your arguments.
For the free-response section of the AP World History exam, it is essential to practice answering questions quickly. Many students need help to finish the free-response section on the AP exam, which is usually because they do not practice answering these types of questions in a limited amount of time.
Unlike some other AP courses, where you can sleep through the class all year and then skim a prep book in spring, acing AP World History requires an ongoing investment of time throughout the course. That’s because the course covers vast historical content, and you can’t learn it all in one swoop. Luckily, many free resources online can help you study for the exam and prepare a strategy for mastering its content.
Start by reviewing free practice exams, both multiple-choice and free-response. Older free-response practice questions are also available, although the long essay question differs from the previous versions of the exam (a comparison and change-over-time essay) and covers thousands of years more history than what’s tested now.
Taking a few full-length practice tests can give you a good idea of your weaknesses. You can use these results to focus your studying efforts on the areas needing attention. And don’t forget to dedicate time to the multiple-choice section of the exam, which makes up about 40% of the total score. You’ll need to be able to answer each of the 55 multiple-choice questions in less than a minute, and you’ll have to read and interpret documents for the short answers section.
While it’s essential to read your textbook, you must also make time to review essential concepts and vocabulary with flashcards. These are excellent tools for retaining knowledge, mainly since the AP World History exam includes multiple-choice questions. The College Board expects you to understand significant trends in the course’s nine units and how they relate. However, the exam is forgiving and doesn’t require memorizing every name and date.
In addition to studying using flashcards, consider investing in a full-length practice test book. These books are a great way to practice answering multiple-choice questions quickly and efficiently, and they can help you get used to the timing of the exam. You’ll need to answer one question per minute for the multiple-choice section, so practicing with a full-length practice test will help you get in the habit of doing this.
Additionally, it’s helpful to practice writing the DBQ and change-over-time essay with a prep book that contains these types of questions. Remember that the AP World History exam was revised in 2019, and many of the questions in these prep books are old. If you use these questions, compare them to the most recent versions of the exam to ensure that you’re practicing with the most relevant information.