How to Prepare for AP Human Geography

Amanda Schilling
Edited by Aanya Choudhary
Published on
April 30, 2023

AP Human Geography (APHUG) is usually one of the first AP classes that freshmen can take in high school. It can be extremely difficult to figure out without much experience in difficult classes but sets you up for great success in future AP classes. In this blog, We will be discussing brief unit aspects of the class, FRQ’s, MCQ’s, AP score breakdown, skills you’ll learn, and tips.


As described by the College Board…

Unit 1: Thinking Geographically

Some aspects include:

  • Investigation of types of maps
  • Region definition 
  • Collection and use of Data 
  • Spatial relationships and patterns 

Unit 2: Population and Migration Patterns and Processes

Some aspects include:

  • Society and environment affected by population density
  • Migration causes and effects
  • Population growth theories
  • Decline of population theories

Unit 3: Cultural Patterns and Processes

Some aspects include: 

  • Cultural practices spreading across the globe
  • Religion spread across the globe
  • Historical forces affecting culture
  • Modern forces affecting culture 

Unit 4: Political Patterns and Processes

Some aspects include: 

  • Descriptions of political entities
  • Political boundaries establishing the modern world
  • Breaking of states
  • Government forms 

Unit 5: Agriculture and Rural Land-Use Patterns and Processes

Some aspects include: 

  • The Green Revolution 
  • Agricultural origins
  • Environmental and societal effects of farming
  • Farming practices differed in geographic regions

Unit 6: Cities and Urban Land

Some aspects included:

  • City and suburb growth
  • Involvement of globalization with cities
  • Urban design
  • Infrastructure of cities 

Unit 7: Industrial and Economic Development Patterns and Processes 

Some aspects include: 

  • Global economy and trade
  • Economic sectors
  • Women and economic development
  • The industrial Revolution


FRQ’s stand for Free Response Questions. On the AP Exam, there will be 7 parts to each question, with 3 questions in total. 21 parts. This may sound threatening and unrealistic but with practice, you will realize that it is completely doable. To preface, the point of an FRQ is to show that you can have the same thought process as a geographer.

These parts to the question often require one, two, or three sentences each depending on the task verb. There are three different types of task verbs in AP Human Geography.

  • Identify

You must restate the question and answer. If there is a stimulus attached to identify, make sure to reference it.

  • Describe 

You must utilize a definition and provide characteristics. Often has two to three sentences.

Ex: In the image, it is evident…

  • Explain

You must use CER. Claim, evidence, and reasoning. For reasoning, you use evidence.

See the AP score breakdown below for details.


MCQ’s stand for multiple choice questions. The best method to getting as many multiple choice questions done in an accurate manner is only spending a maximum minute on a question. Some may be more difficult than others so you could also spend additional time on a question but be warned that it means less time for another question. See the AP score breakdown below for details.

AP Score Breakdown

Section 1: Multiple Choice

  • 60 questions
  • Time limit: 1 hour
  • 50% of score ->

Multiple choice percentage of score:

  • Unit 1: 8-10%
  • Unit 2:12-17%
  • Unit 3: 12-17%
  • Unit 4: 12-17%
  • Unit 5: 12-17%
  • Unit 6: 12-17%
  • Unit 7: 12-17%

Section 2: Free response

  • 3 questions
  • Time limit: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • 50% of score

Skills you will learn 

As AP Human Geography is an introductory AP course, you can expect to learn a couple of distinct skills that will help you in future AP classes and even later in life no matter what your career is!

  • Learning geographic scales within regions

Maps are commonly found throughout the course’s content so you will be familiar with the skill of reading maps on many different levels. This includes from city state to global levels. 

  • Engaging with visual stimuli 

In AP Human, you will learn how to analyze charts, graphs, pictures, infographics, and other aspects. This includes stimuli from all units like seeing cultures in a picture and making distinctions between those cultures.

  • Time management 

You will likely practice timed trials for FRQ’s and MCQ’s that you'll have to do within strict time constraints on the test. You'll learn to watch the clock and get your work done as efficiently as possible in the limited amount of time. 

AP Human Tips 

This is the first AP class I took as a freshman. Here is what I would advise to an AP human kid!

  • Review vocabulary

Even if you do not have vocabulary tests, vocab is extremely useful during the AP exam. Even if you don't understand the question, by just knowing one definition you can have a context clue and it will help you figure out an answer. Not all teachers provide the vocabulary but there are many sets on the quizlet for you to study periodically. 

  • Use your planning time

This tip is specific to FRQ’s. Designate 10 to 15 minutes to male a brief plan for all your Free response questions. This will help you outline your ideas and know what parts you can answer with one hundred percent confidence and get your ideas down on paper before you forget.

  • Take advantage of review videos

2 resources for review videos I recommend are the ones on the official College Board website and Mr. Sinn on youtube. Each has their advantages.

The College Board videos are well structured and go over all concepts that you will likely learn in class. They are great to binge watch at the end of a unit before the unit test and even the AP exam. They have visual aspects tied in, definitions, and even practices that are similar to what you will see on the AP exam

Mr. Sinn’s videos on Youtube are extremely fast paced! If you prefer to get information at a faster pace, his videos would be for you. They are also structured well and he has review videos for cumulative unit tests and a very long video for the entire AP exam.

  • Stick with the class

Some people dropped this class in the first week, second, or even halfway through the course. Even though it's tempting as you will undoubtedly struggle, the end result is so very worth it. AP Human will push you past your beliefs and teach you so much that you can’t get out of an honors or regular class.

 Try your best to persevere and good luck! :)

PS: AP Human memes are hilarious. Definitely take a look at them sometime.

Works Cited

“AP Human Geography – AP Students | College Board.”, Accessed 17 Mar. 2023.

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