How to Prepare for the AP World History Exam

Lindsey Cisneros
Edited by Angela Lapuz
Published on
April 17, 2023

With AP exams coming up in less than a month, the time crunch for preparation can be challenging and daunting, especially with topics that cover a lot of information. AP World History, especially, contains an extensive range of time periods, wars, and key events that students must know and understand in order to pass the exam. So, as weeks pass and the time gets closer, a question comes up: how can you prepare for so much information? 

At first look, the subject appears quite difficult, with its emphasis on early civilizations in the 1200s CE to present governments and systems of operation, but when you take a step back, it becomes a lot simpler. As you learn to view the material through numerous lenses of perception, knowledge is retained, and memorization turns into explanation. 

The first step is to simply make a timeline of the major events and conflicts. Mapping out the baseline of the history presented throughout this course provides a firm knowledge of the connection between them. As you continue to expand this timeline and connect pieces of history together, every aspect becomes less foreign, causing it to come naturally when explaining it and not relying on late-night cram sessions to memorize all of the historical events. This also helps us remember where each event belongs in the time periods. For example, if you know a precise date for a key event, you may gently connect other events from your timeline and recall whether they occurred before or after that date. 

Another way of preapimg is to watch and research specific time periods rather than researching each individual event. This allows you to not only observe the foundation of all events over the time period, but also be able to get outside information. 

Furthermore, if you still have questions or are unsure about a specific event, civilization, or even a conflict, take the time to research different sources on the subject. This will allow you to see and read different perspectives and interpretations of the event. Instead of settling for a term you only vaguely understand, looking for  multiple interpretations allows you to not only find one that just fits with your mental process, but also to pull portions you do understand from different sources, allowing you to fully understand each single component of the topic. 

Overall, AP World History is indeed a challenging subject to prepare for. With its grand scope of knowledge and extensive time periods, the information can appear overwhelming, but by breaking it down, that anxiety fades. As we gain a better understanding of each event and topic by connecting them on a timeline, researching specific time periods, and taking the time to use multiple sources to fully absorb a difficult piece of information, the course material becomes less distant and more familiar, making us much more confident for the AP exam. 

Note: The AP World History Exam is scheduled on May 11, 2023 at 8 A.M. (local time).

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