Ace Your AP United States History Test

Ace Your AP United States History Test

The second-most popular Advanced Placement Exam in 2013 was Advanced Placement United States History, which was just slightly less popular than the Advanced Placement English Language Test.[1] The course’s curriculum introduces the student to the US’s major historical themes and events. Because this class is widely taken among AP students, this post will focus on some advice that I normally give my students to prepare for the exam.

A good AP United States History student should be attentive in class and write detailed notes during their teacher’s lecture. The teacher is an expert on American history and can provide many major insights and analyses that you will not necessarily get when reading the textbook that accompanies the class. United States History is a discipline with varying opinions and emphases on differing events.

A teacher may have done in-depth research into the Proclamation of 1763 and its ramifications for the United States, and therefore can provide the student with insights that may not be found in a typical textbook. Their research will enrich a student’s understanding of the event that can be later written on the AP US History Essay portion of the exam. Moreover, tutors like me who were United States History majors may also have done intense research into American History topics, and can add analytical perspectives to a student’s understandings of US History that could not necessarily be found in any textbook or Prep-book.

That is not to say that the student should not read the textbook, they certainly should. Reading the textbook will help the student to understand the narrative arc of United States History. In fact, I often advise students to read their chapters more than once before the AP Exam, because it will help them remember the sequence of major events. While reading their textbook, they should take special note of any pictures or documents in the textbook, because these primary sources will likely be referenced in either the Multiple Choice or the Essay Portion of the exam. It may be helpful for the one to write an analysis of several of these primary sources as practice for the AP Exam’s questions of interpretation.

Students should also try to immerse themselves into US history. They should read classic American history novels, like The Scarlet Letter, Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Great Gatsby. By understanding the characters found in these books, students will have a greater personal grasp of history.

Students who take these steps will be prepared to ace their AP US History Test!

[1] “10 Most (and Least) Popular Advanced Placement (AP) Subjects.” Education by the 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <>.

About Rachel

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I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.

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