The AP World History exam covers material from two periods, so you must be familiar with many documents and events. You don’t have to memorize everything that happened to score well, but you should understand key political, economic and social trends.
Read Your Textbook
The AP World History exam requires an enormous amount of reading. It’s impossible to sleep through class all year, skim a prep book in April and expect to score a 5. The best way to prepare for the exam is to read your textbook often throughout the school year, taking careful notes. It will trigger your background knowledge and help you review for the exam. Concise summaries of the course material and historical themes can be found in a few AP prep books. However, a prep book cannot replace your textbook, especially regarding the multiple-choice section of the exam. The AP World History exam questions are very specific, and you would have blind spots if you relied solely on a prep book for your review.
The multiple-choice section of the exam covers 55 questions in about 55 minutes, at a rate of one question per minute. Each question on the AP World History exam covers two to three topics. These questions ask students to analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources. The best way to practice for these questions is by taking practice tests that include multiple-choice questions. Taking full-length AP World History practice tests that contain multiple-choice and free-response questions is also helpful. These will allow you to practice in a format that closely mimics the AP World History exam and evaluate your understanding of each concept.
It’s only possible to ace AP World History by thoroughly understanding key historical dates, events, and figures. But avoiding cramming names and places into your head is also important. The multiple-choice questions on this exam are designed to test your ability to think quickly and accurately, not to regurgitate facts and dates from memory. Instead, concentrate on developing a strong knowledge base all year round with an AP world history study guide. That way, when spring comes around, you can spend your time preparing for the specific topics the exam will cover rather than trying to memorize a thousand years of human history all at once. If your teacher doesn’t provide multiple-choice quizzes or tests in class, you can find practice questions online and in many AP World History prep books. Just make sure you’re working with updated materials for the Modern era.
In the document-based question (DBQ) and long essay portion of the exam, you will be asked to respond to a prompt with historical documents. You’ll be scored on demonstrating your historical thinking skills by identifying patterns of continuity and change, recognizing major events and developments, evaluating evidence, and developing an argument that shows you have a firm grasp of the subject. It’s essential to take good notes throughout the year, including information on important people, cultures, and events.
When you study for the AP World History Exam, you must practice all course aspects. It includes writing skills, as the free-response section of the test will ask you to compose a short essay or multiple-choice answer. It is a crucial part of the test, and if you last wrote a while ago, it may not be easy to pick up. One of the best things you can do to prepare for this is to practice your writing with journal prompts and timed sessions. Start by finding a prompt online (this website has hundreds of options), set a timer (10 to 15 minutes is good), and write as much as you can about that topic in the time allowed. Make sure to count how many words you wrote, and try to improve your word count over time.
The College Board also offers a variety of free-response practice tests and essay prompts to help you get familiar with the style and format of the AP exam. These are great resources for studying and are generally considered the most accurate to the actual AP exam. If you use these resources in tandem with the official AP resources, it will be even easier to familiarize yourself with the style and structure of the test. Then you can spend your remaining study time focusing on the areas where you are weakest, which will ultimately help you perform better on test day.
Study for the DBQ
The DBQ is one of the sections on all AP exams. It asks students to use the historical documents provided to write an argumentative essay that answers the question. The DBQ is scored like any other essay on the exam, so you must have a strong thesis statement and support it with evidence from all of the documents. The DBQ is scored based on how well you use the records to prove your point, connect your thesis to other AP topics, and analyze the document’s content. The key to doing well on the DBQ is practicing by answering the sample questions on the College Board’s website. This way, you will be familiar with how the scoring is done, and you can be confident that your DBQ answers are up to par.
Another great way to prepare for the DBQ is reading a prep book in the spring. It will help trigger your background knowledge, and it will also give you practice writing quickly. It is especially important for the multiple-choice section, where you must answer one question per minute. Practicing by answering free-response questions from previous AP exams is also helpful. Suppose you are worried about scoring well on the AP exam. In that case, our AP students can guide you through strategies for taking notes, reading your textbook efficiently, analyzing primary sources, organizing events into periods, and understanding how the LEQs, SAQs, and DBQs are scored.