united states history: preparing for the advanced placement examination

artsyist  asked:

I'm taking apush this year, hopefully it goes well. Do you have any advice for me?

I would like to preface my answer by saying that APUSH classes can vary a lot from school to school (and even from teacher to teacher within the same school). Some APUSH classes are fun and interesting while others may seem like torture. So hopefully, you will get to be in a fun class.

My tips and advice:

  1. Do the reading when it is assigned. This is good advice for any class, but this is especially true with APUSH. You do not want to have to read more than fifty pages before a test. Make sure to take notes for the readings, too. It may be tedious and boring, but it’s one of those things that pays off in the end.
  2. Keep all your notes. Unlike some classes where you can forget the material once the unit is over, APUSH is a class that you have to remember everything that you learned. Your notes will be one of the best study guides for the College Board APUSH test towards the end of the school year. So make sure you take good notes from the readings and from the lectures.
  3. Find a study method that works best for you. You may begin the school year feeling lost as to how to study so much history. This is normal! I did not even know how to take good APUSH notes at first, so during the first unit, my notes were a mess. The important part is finding out how to prepare for the test in a way that works for you. You might find that Cornell notes work for you or that watching APUSH videos helps. Find a way to study that helps you the most.
  4. Get a review book if you can. I would recommend the Princeton Review (Cracking the AP U.S. History Exam) or AMSCO (United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination) APUSH review books. (On a side note, the AMSCO book has a poor rating on Amazon, but it is a good review book. Most people who gave low ratings found issue with one sentence in the text which was about the Second Amendment, and as you may know, guns in America are a contentious issue.) The review books cannot replace a textbook, but they provide a way to quickly review materials. Also, most review books provide practice tests, which are helpful.
  5. It gets better. This is just my personal view, but I know that many of my classmates felt the same way. The first semester of APUSH may seem very difficult and/or very boring, especially since the history seems so distant. (I remember thinking, “Who cares about the Land Ordinance of 1785?!”—Answer: College Board) But the second semester was much better for me, especially since I got used to the hang of things. The second semester has things like the Roaring Twenties, the Civil Rights Movement, and scandalous Tricky Dick, which I found to be interesting. I also learned perhaps one of the most important lessons of all in the second semester: to value history (and also what the exhilarating feeling of being done with the APUSH test is like).

My answer turned out to be rather long, but I hope it helps. Best wishes to you in APUSH!