Those who take AP exams know that these tests can be extraordinarily difficult to study for. The AP US History test is no exception. While the AP US History exam may not cover as much time in history as the AP World History exam, the information in this test is more specific and involved. In this test, the names and dates are more relevant than those in the AP World History exam. Studying for the test is not impossible, however, and AP US History students should consider these methods to help them in their preparation for the AP US History test.
Class work and study guides
Students have a variety of options when it comes to studying for the AP test. Many students participate in a school course that guides them in their study before the big exam. A course can help, but students will need more than just classroom notes to study for the AP exam. Students should take advantage of resources available on the Internet for their studies. Searching for AP US History vocabulary is a great way to start your at-home studying and get more involved with the subject matter.
The most effective way to study for the exam, however, is to take advantage of an approved study guide. Princeton Review and Kaplan provide excellent study guides that cover course content as closely as possible. You can use these study guides throughout your studies or to cram a few weeks before the exam. Whatever way you study, you must decide how to break down the enormous amount of information that the AP US History test requires you to know.
Studying time periods
One way to tackle the enormous work load ahead of you is to break your United States history into time periods. Focusing on each time period individually can really break down the information at hand. You can organize these time periods in ways that suit you, but Kaplan’s study guide recommends breaking your study down into these periods: the New World to the American Revolution (1492-1783), the new nation to the Civil War (1787-1877), Reconstruction to the Great War (1863-1919), the 1920s to World War II (1919-1945), and the Cold War to the New Millennium.
When you study using this method, make sure to list the American Presidents of each time period and study using charts to compare the different events and people from year to year. If you are studying without a study guide, be sure to keep your information and notes organized so that you do not confuse events when you return to review. You might also want to consider the amount of time you spend on each time period. The College Board gives the percentages that determine how many questions apply to each time period. Use this information to determine what period you should focus on.
Looking at events in history
Some students may find dates difficult to remember and become confused by splitting events into time periods. These students might benefit by learning the major events in US history, the dates that they occurred, and then how everything relates around these pivotal historical events. If you are a student like this, you might try memorizing early in your studies all of the wars and when they occurred. Other important events to remember are the Great Depression, the Revolution, the signing of the Constitution, and Reconstruction.
Once these events are memorized, other events begin to fall into place as well. Start organizing other information you learn about US history around the events you are already knowledgeable about. Rarely are you asked on the AP US History test to recall specific dates, so learning the general time that an event occurred is usually enough to pass the exam.
Remembering the presidents
Sometimes a name is easier to remember than a time period or a specific event. Remembering events by the president in charge at the time can be a great way to study US history. Studying this way requires lengthy charts and review, but it is perhaps the most effective method for learning American History. Try creating a chart for each president. List his vice president, party, fellow competitors, and events and policies. This will create an in-depth chart that shows the relationship between US politics and the historical events that are affected by those politics.
The AP US History test will not be easy. Break down your study material to make sure you study every time period in-depth. Make sure you are able to sort the information easily and understand relationships between politics and history. If you use an organized method, passing the AP test should not be a problem.