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Ap World History Comparison Essay Tips For Middle School

Doing well on the AP World History exam really relies on your ability to understand patterns in history. By familiarizing yourself with trends in history as opposed to memorizing facts, you can get a 5 on the AP World History exam. For more on how to study for AP World History, see our blog post here.

Now to the good stuff… here are 50+ AP World History tips.

Thesis/Introductory Paragraphs for AP World History

1. Answer ALL of the question: Make sure your thesis addresses every single part of the question being asked for the AP World History free response section. Missing a single part can cost you significantly in the grading of your essay.

2. Lean one way: Trying to appease both sides creates an argument that’s not nearly as strong as if you take a stance.

3. Lead your reader: Help your reader understand where you are going as you answer the prompt to the essay–provide them with a map of a few of the key areas you are going to talk about in your essay.

4. Organize with strength in mind: When outlining the respective topics you will be discussing, start from the topic you know second best, then the topic you know least, before ending with your strongest topic area. In other words, make your roadmap 2-3-1 so that you leave your reader with the feeling that you have a strong understanding of the question being asked.

5. Understand the word “Analyze”: When the AP exam asks you to analyze, you want to think about the respective parts of what is being asked and look at the way they interact with one another. This means that when you are performing your analysis on the AP World History test, you want to make it very clear to your reader of what you are breaking down into its component parts. For example, what evidence do you have to support a point of view? Who are the important historical figures or institutions involved? How are these structures organized? How does this relate back to the overall change or continuity observed in the world?

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Answering AP World History DBQ Tips

1. Group with intent: One skill tested on the AP exam is your ability to relate documents to one another–this is called grouping. The idea of grouping is to essentially create a nice mixture of supporting materials to bolster a thesis that addresses the DBQ question being asked. In order to group effectively, create at least three different groupings with two subgroups each. When you group–group to respond to the prompt. Do not group just to bundle certain documents together. The best analogy would be you have a few different colored buckets, and you want to put a label over each bucket. Then you have a variety of different colored balls which each color representing a document, and you want to put these balls into buckets. You can have documents that fall into more than one group, but the big picture tip to remember is to group in response to the prompt. This is an absolute must. 33% of your DBQ grade comes from assessing your ability to group.

2. Assess POV with SOAPSTONE: SOAPSTONE helps you answer the question of why the person in the document made the piece of information at that time. It answers the question of the motive behind the document.

3. S: S represents Speaker or Source. You want to begin by asking yourself who is the source of the document. Think about the background of this source. Where do they come from? What do they do? Are they male or female? What are their respective views on religion or philosophy? How old are they? Are they wealthy? Poor? Etc.

4. O: O stands for occasion. You want to ask yourself when the document was said, where was it said, and why it may have been created. You can also think of O as representative of origin.

5. A: A represents for audience. Think about who this person wanted to share this document with. What medium was the document originally delivered in? Is it delivered through an official document or is it an artistic piece like a painting?

6. P: P stands for purpose. Ask again, why did this person create or say this document? What is the main motive behind the document?

7. S: S is for the subject of the document. This is where you see if you have an understanding of how the subject relates to the question the test is asking you. Think about if there are other documents or pieces of history that could further support or not support this document source.

8. TONE: Tone poses the question of what the tone of the document is. This relates closely with speaker. Think about how the creator of the document says certain things. Think about the connotations of certain words.

9. Explicitly state your analysis of POV: Your reader is not psychic. He or she cannot simply read your mind and understand exactly why you are rewriting a quotation by a person from a document. Be sure to explicitly state something along the lines of, “In document X, author states, “[quotation]”; the author may use this [x] tone because he wants to signify [y].” Another example would be, “The speaker’s belief that [speaker’s opinion] is made clear from his usage of particularly negative words such as [xyz].”

10. Assessing Charts and Tables: Sometimes you’ll come across charts of statistics. If you do, ask yourself questions like where the data is coming from, how the data was collected, who released the data, etc. You essentially want to take a similar approach to SOAPSTONE with charts and tables.

11. Assessing Maps: When you come across maps, look at the corners and center of the map. Think about why the map may be oriented in a certain way. Think about if the title of the map or the legend reveals anything about the culture the map originates from. Think about how the map was created–where did the information for the map come from. Think about who the map was intended for.

12. Assessing Cultural Pieces: If you come across more artistic documents such as literature, songs, editorials, or advertisements, you want to really think about the motive of why the piece of art or creative writing was made and who the document was intended for.

13. Be careful with blanket statements: Just because a certain point of view is expressed in a document does not mean that POV applies to everyone from that area. When drawing from the documents, you need to explicitly state which author and document you are citing.

14. Bias will always exist: Even if you’re given data in the form of a table, there is bias in the data. Do not fall into the trap of thinking just because there are numbers, it means the numbers are foolproof.

15. Be creative with introducing bias: Many students understand that they need to show their understanding that documents can be biased, but they go about it the wrong way. Rather than outright stating, “The document is biased because [x]”, try, “In document A, the author is clearly influenced by [y] as he states, “[quotation]”. See the difference? It’s subtle but makes a clear difference in how you demonstrate your understanding of bias.

16. Refer back to the question: As you write your DBQ essay, make sure to reference back to the question to show the reader how the argument you are trying to make relates to the overarching question. This is one way you clearly demonstrate that you spent a few minutes planning your essay in the very beginning.

17. Leave yourself out of it: Do not refer to yourself when writing your DBQ essays! “I” has no place in these AP essays.

18. Stay grounded to the documents: All of your core arguments must be supported through the use of the documents. Do not form the majority of your arguments on what you know from class. Use what you learned in class instead to bolster your arguments in relation to the documents presented.

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Overall AP World History DBQ Essay Tips & Advice

1. Start essay practice early: At least one month before the AP World History exam date, organize a few essay questions you will work through for the next four weeks before the test. Find a proctor whether that be a parent, peer, or teacher and have them simulate a timed test as you answer the essay.

2. Familiarize yourself with the time limits: Part of the reason why we suggest practicing essays early is so that you get so good at writing them that you understand exactly how much time you have left when you begin writing your second to last paragraph. You’ll be so accustomed to writing under timed circumstances that you will have no worries in terms of finishing on time.

3. Learn the rubric: If you have never looked at an AP World History grading rubric before you enter the test, you are going in blind. You must know the rubric like the back of your hand so that you can ensure you tackle all the points the grader is looking for. Here are the 2014 Scoring Guidelines.

4. Read the historical background: You know that little blurb at the beginning of the document? The test takers don’t put it there for no reason. The historical background is like a freebie–it can tell you the time period of the document and shed a little insight into the POV of the source. Read it!

5. Familiarize yourself with analyses of art: This one is optional, but a great way to really get used to analyzing art is to visit an art museum and to listen to the way that art is described. Often times there will be interpretations of the artist’s intent and perspective.

AP World History Multiple Choice Review Tips

1. Identify key patterns: You know that saying, history repeats itself? There’s a reason why people say that, and that is because there are fundamental patterns in history that can be understood and identified. This is especially true with AP World History. If you can learn the frequent patterns of history in relation to the six time periods tested, you’ll be able to guess in a smart manner when you have absolutely no idea about something.

2. Use common sense: The beauty of AP World History is when you understand the core concept being tested and the patterns in history; you can deduce the answer of the question. Identify what exactly is being asked and then go through the process of elimination to figure out the correct answer. Now, this does not mean do not study at all. This means, rather than study 500 random facts about world history, really focus in on understanding the way history interacts with different parts of the world. Think about how minorities have changed over the course of history, their roles in society, etc. You want to look at things at the big picture so that you can have a strong grasp of each time period tested.

3. Familiarize with AP-style questions: If AP World History is the first AP test you’ve ever taken, or even if it isn’t, you need to get used to the way the CollegeBoard introduces and asks you questions. Find a review source to practice AP World History questions. Albert.io has hundreds of AP World History practice questions and detailed explanations to work through.

4. Make note of pain points: As you practice, you’ll quickly realize what you know really well, and what you know not so well. Figure out what you do not know so well and re-read that chapter of your textbook. Then, create flashcards of the key concepts of that chapter along with key events from that time period.

5. Supplement practice with video lectures: A fast way to learn is to do practice problems, identify where you are struggling, learn that concept more intently, and then to practice again. Crash Course has created an incredibly insightful series of World History videos you can watch on YouTube here. Afterwards, go back and practice again. Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to AP World History.

6. Strike out wrong answer choices: The second you can eliminate an answer choice, strike out the letter of that answer choice and circle the word or phrase behind why that answer choice is incorrect. This way, when you review your answers at the very end, you can quickly check through all of your answers. One of the hardest things is managing time when you’re doing your second run-through to check your answers—this method alleviates that problem by reducing the amount of time it takes for you to remember why you thought a certain answer choice was wrong.

7. Answer every question: If you’re crunched on time and still have several AP World History multiple-choice questions to answer, the best thing to do is to make sure that you answer each and every one of them. There is no guessing penalty for doing so, so take full advantage of this!

Tips Submitted by AP World History Teachers

1. Use high polymer erasers: When answering the multiple choice scantron portion of the AP World History test, use a high polymer eraser. It is the only eraser that will fully erase on a scantron. Thanks for the tip from Ms. J. at Boulder High School.

2. Outline, outline, outline: Take a few minutes to outline your essay based on themes, similarities, bias, etc. It’s the easiest way to craft a fluid essay. Thanks for the tip from Mr. M at Chapel Hill High School.

3. Stay ahead of your reading and when in doubt, read again: You are responsible for a huge amount of information when it comes to tackling AP World History, so make sure you are responsible for some of it. You can’t leave all the work up to your instructor. It’s a team effort. Thanks for the tip from Mr. E at Tri-Central High.

4. Integrate video learning: A great way to really solidify your understanding of a concept is to watch supplementary videos on the topic. Then, read the topic again to truly master it. Thanks for the tip from Mr. D at Royal High School.

5. Keep a study log: Study for three hours for every hour of class you have and keep a study log so that you can see what you accomplished every day as you sit down to study. Thanks for the tip from Mr. R. at Stephen F. Austin High.

6. Practice with transparencies: Use transparencies or a white board to create overlay maps for each of the six periods of AP World History at the start of each period so that you can see a visual of the regions of the world being focused on. Thanks for the tip from Ms. W at Riverbend High.

7. Read every word: Often times in AP World History many questions can be answered without specific historical knowledge. Many questions require critical thinking and attention to detail; the difference between a correct answer and an incorrect answer lies in just one or two words in the question or the answer. Thanks for the tip from Mr. R. at Mandarin High.

8. Cover the entire time frame: When addressing the DBQ on continuity, make sure to cover the entire time frame unless you specifically write in your thesis about a different time period. Thanks for the tip from Mr. H at Great Oak High.

9. Summarize then answer: Ms. B recommends at Desert Edge High recommends to summarize what you know about each answer choice and then to see if it applies to the question when answering the multiple choice questions.

10. Master writing a good thesis: In order to write a good thesis, you want to make sure it properly addresses the whole question or prompt, effectively takes a position on the main topic, includes relevant historical context, and organize key standpoints. Thanks for the tip from Mr. G at Loganville High.

11. Tackle DBQs with SAD and BAD: With the DBQ, think about the Summary, Author, and Date & Context. Also consider the Bias and Additional Documents to verify the bias. Thanks for the tip from Mr. G at WHS.

12. Create a refined thesis in your conclusion: 35 with 40 minutes to write each of your essays, starting with a strong thesis can be difficult, especially since students can find it challenging in what they are about to write. By the time you finish your essay, you have a much more clear idea of how to answer the question. Take a minute and revisit the prompt and try to provide a much more explicit and comprehensive thesis than the one you provided in the beginning as your conclusion. This thesis statement is much more likely to give you the point for thesis than the rushed thesis in the beginning. Thanks for the tip from Mr. R at Mission Hills High.

13. Annotate: Textbook reading is essential for success in AP World History, but learn to annotate smarter, not harder. Be efficient in your reading and note taking. Read, reduce, and reflect. To read – use sticky notes. Using post-its is a lifesaver – use different color stickies for different tasks (pink – summary, blue – questions, green – reflection, etc.) Reduce – go back and look at your sticky notes and see what you can reduce – decide what is truly essential material to know or question. Then reflect – why are the remaining sticky notes important?  How will they help you not just understand content, but also understand contextualization or causality or change over time?  What does this information show you? Thanks for the tip from Ms. J at Legacy High.

14. Relate back to the themes: Understanding 10,000 years of world history is hard.  Knowing all the facts is darn near impossible.  If you can use your facts/material and explain it within the context of one of the APWH themes, it makes it easier to process, understand, and apply.  The themes are your friends. Thanks for the tip from Ms. J at Legacy High.

15. Form a study group: Everyone has different talents and areas of strength. You don’t, and shouldn’t, try to tackle this class all by yourself. Form a study group and learn from each other, help everybody become better by sharing your talents and skills. This is also a place where you can vent your frustrations and feel a sense of unity and belonging. We are truly all in this together. Thanks for the tip from Ms. J at Legacy High.

16. Look for the missing voice in DBQs: First, look for the missing voice. Who haven’t you heard from in the DBQ?  Who’s voice would really help you answer the question more completely?  Next, if there isn’t really a missing voice, what evidence do you have access to, that you would like to clarify?  For example, if you have a document that says excessive taxation led to the fall of the Roman Empire, what other piece of information would you like to have access to that would help you prove or disprove this statement? Maybe a chart that shows tax amounts from prior to the 3rd Century Crisis to the mid of the 3rd century crisis? Thanks for the tip from Ms. J at Legacy High.

17. Go with your gut: When choosing an answer, it can be tempting to feel anxious and to potentially start second guessing yourself. Don’t. Tests are designed to make test takers get stuck between two or three answer choices (leading to anxiety and eating away time for completing the test). Limit the amount you second guess yourself. If you studied properly, there is a reason why your mind wanted you to pick that original answer before any of the other choices. Thanks for the tip from Mrs. S at Carnahan High School of the Future.

18. Don’t forget to B.S. in your DBQ: B.S. on everything!  (Be Specific).

19. Remember your PIE: Writing a thesis is as easy as PIE: Period, Issue, Examples.

20. Look at every answer option: Don’t go for the first “correct” answer; find the most “bulletproof” answer. The one you’d best be able to defend in a debate.

Are you a teacher or student? Do you have an awesome tip? Let us know!

Hopefully you’ve learned a lot from reading all 50+ of these AP World History tips. Doing well in AP World History comes down to recognizing patterns and trends in history, and familiarizing yourself with the nature of the test. Once you get comfortable with the way questions are presented, you’ll realize that you can actually rely on quite a bit of common sense to answer the DBQs as well as the multiple choice questions. Students often think the key to AP history tests is memorizing every single fact of history, and the truth is you may be able to do that and get a 5, but the smart way of doing well on the test comes from understanding the reason why we study history in the first place. By learning the underlying patterns that are tested on the exam, for example how opinions towards women may have influenced the social or political landscape of the world during a certain time period, you can create more compelling theses and demonstrate to AP readers a clear understanding of the bigger picture.

In case you’re the type of student that needs a more structured study plan, we created a one-month AP World History Study Guide here.

Find the patterns, master crafting the essays, and practice hard, and you’ll do well come May. Good luck!

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Looking for AP World History practice?

Kickstart your AP World History prep with Albert. Start your AP exam prep today.

Are you taking AP World History this year? Or considering taking it at some point in high school? Then you need to read this AP World History study guide! Instead of cramming every single name, date, and place into your head, learn how to study for AP World History so that you can learn the major ideas and be prepared for the test in May. Speaking of the exam, we'll also go over some key strategies for preparing for it.

AP World History is challenging – just 6% of test takers got a 5 in 2015. But if you study correctly throughout the year, you could be one of the few students who aces this test. Below are six tips to follow in order to be well-prepared for the AP World History exam. Read through each one and apply them to your test prep. You'll soon be well on your way to maximizing your exam score!


Tip 1: Don't Try to Memorize Everything

If you start your AP World History class with the expectation of memorizing the entirety of human history, think again. Although AP World History tests a wide span of time, you aren’t expected to learn every tiny little detail along the way. Rather, AP World History focuses on teaching major patterns, cultural and political developments, and technological developments throughout history.

AP World History is organized into the following six time periods:

  • Technological and Environmental Transformations (to c. 600 BCE)
  • Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies (c. 600 BCE to c. 600 CE)
  • Regional and Interregional Interactions (c. 600 CE to c. 1450)
  • Global Interactions (c. 1450 to c. 1750)
  • Industrialization and Global Integration (c. 1750 to c. 1900)
  • Accelerating Global Change and Realignments (c. 1900 to the present)

Within each period, you should know the major world powers and forces driving economic development, politics, and social change (including technology). However, you don’t have to have every detail memorized to do well on the test. Instead, focus on understanding major patterns and developments, and be able to explain them with a few key examples.

As an example, you don’t necessarily need to know that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, details of his voyages, or the particulars of his brutality. However, you should be able to explain why the European colonization of the Americas happened, the economic effects it had on Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and how colonization affected the lives of people on all three continents. 

Knowing a few concrete examples is essential to succeeding on the new short-answer section. The short-answer questions which will typically present you with some information (a chart, a primary source, etc) and then ask you to provide several specific examples or reasons for a broader theme or historical movement relating to the provided information. But you'll have flexibility in what you specific examples you choose, just so long as they are relevant. This new section is four questions long and worth 20% of your exam score (so each question is worth 5%), and you'll have 50 minutes within section 1 to complete it. 

Concrete examples can also bolster your essays and improve your ability to break down any multiple choice questions on the topic. However, you should focus first on understanding the big picture before you memorize nitty-gritty details.

If you’re coming from AP US History, this advice may seem odd. But unlike US History, which is more fine-grained, the AP World History exam writers do not expect you to know everything since they test a much larger topic. AP US History is essentially a test of 400 years of history in one location, so it’s fair to expect students to know many proper names and dates.

But for World History, that same level of detail isn’t expected since it takes place over thousands of years all over the world. Instead, you should focus on understanding the general patterns of important topics through history. Not only will this save you time, but it will also keep you sane as your textbook hurls literally hundreds of names, places, and dates at you over the year.

And speaking of your textbook…


Tip 2: Keep Up With Your Reading!

AP World History is not a class where you can sleep through it all year, skim a prep book in April, and still get a perfect 5 on the AP exam. You are learning all of human history, after all! Trying to cram for this test late in the game would be stressful and inefficient because of the sheer volume of material.


And all that reading would hurt your eyes.


Instead, keep up with your reading and do well in your World History class to ensure you are building a strong foundation of knowledge throughout the year. This way, in the spring, you can focus on preparing for the AP test itself and the topics it’s likely to test, as opposed to frantically trying to learn all of human history in two months.

To this end, if your teacher isn’t already requiring you to do something like this, make sure to keep notes throughout the year of your reading. This could be in the form of outlines, summaries, or anything else that is helpful to you. Taking notes will help you process the reading and remember it better. Your notes will also be an invaluable study tool in the spring.

As a last tip, check the website of whatever textbook your class uses. Many textbook websites have extra features including pre-made chapter outlines and summaries. These can also be excellent study resources for you throughout the year.


Tip 3: Read a Prep Book (or Two) in the Spring

Even if you keep up with AP World History throughout the year, you’re probably going to be a bit hazy on topics you learned in September when you start studying for the test in March or April. This is why we recommend getting a prep book, which will provide a much broader overview of world history, focusing especially on topics the AP exam will test.

If you’ve been learning well throughout the year, reading a prep book will trigger your background knowledge and help you review. Think of your prep book as your second, much quicker pass through World History.

And in case you’re wondering: no, the prep book will not fill you in on the necessary depth of knowledge for the entire test, so you can't replace reading your textbook throughout the year with reading a prep book in the spring. The AP World History multiple choice section, in particular, can ask some pretty specific questions, and you would definitely have blind spots if you just read a prep book and not a textbook. Furthermore, you wouldn't be able to explain examples in your essay in as much detail if you have only read a few paragraphs about major events.


Tip 4: Get Ready to Move at 1 M.P.Q. (Minute Per Question)

To prepare for the AP World History exam, knowing the material is just half the battle. You also need to be ready to tackle the test itself. The multiple choice section is challenging due to its pace. 

The AP World History multiple choice section (Section 1, part A) asks 55 questions in 55 minutes and is 40% of your exam score. This gives you just one minute per question, which means you have to move fast. To be ready for this quick pace, you need to practice.


Taking the AP World History exam without practicing first would be like jumping into a NASCAR race without a driver's license.


To be prepared for this, it’s crucial to get a prep book with practice tests. Even if you have read your textbook diligently, taken notes, and reviewed the material, you still need to practice actual multiple choice sections to be ready for the test.

Most questions on AP World History are stand-alone with just a few two-part questions. This means you can move from question to question fairly quickly and feel free to skip and come back to tough questions (just keep on eye on the time). Also, there may be some images, maps, charts, and passages to work through as well, so some questions will take longer than others.

Your teacher should be giving you multiple-choice quizzes or tests throughout the year to help you prepare. If they aren’t, it will, unfortunately, be up to you to find multiple choice practice questions from prep books and online resources. See our complete list of AP World History practice tests here. 

You need to create your own multiple-choice strategy as you study, including using process of elimination, being ready to read and analyze pictures and charts, and being constantly aware of your time. We recommend wearing a watch when you practice so you can keep an eye on how long you spend on each question. 

In short, make sure you practice AP World History multiple choice so that when you sit down to take the exam in May, you're confident and ready to move fast through a challenging multiple choice section.


Tip 5: Speed Writing — The AP World History Free Response Section

The AP World History exam has two essay questions that together are worth 40% of your score. You get 55 minutes for the Document-Based Question (DBQ), including a 10-minute reading period. The DBQ is worth 25% of your exam grade. Then you get 35 minutes for the Long Essay, which is worth 15% of your grade.

For each essay, you need to be able to brainstorm quickly and write an essay that answers the prompt, is well-organized, and has a thesis. A thesis is a one-sentence summary of your main argument. For the sake of AP essays, it's best to put your thesis at the end of the introductory paragraph so the grader can find it quickly. To keep your essay organized, have each paragraph explain one part of the argument, with a topic sentence (basically a mini thesis) at the beginning of each paragraph that explains exactly what you're going to say. 

For the DBQ, you need to bring all or most the provided documents into your argument in addition to your background knowledge of the period being tested. For example, in the recent DBQ about effects of Spanish Influenza during World War I, you needed to demonstrate your knowledge of WWI as well as your ability to use the documents in your argument. See our complete guide to writing a DBQ here. 

For the Long Essay, it’s up to you to provide the specific historical examples and show your broad understanding of historical trends. (Again, this is why doing your reading is so important, since you have to provide and explain your own historical examples!)

Throughout the year, your teacher should be having you do writing assignments, including in-class essays, to teach you how to write good essays quickly. Since you'll be writing your essays by hand for the real exam, you should ideally be writing your practice essays by hand as well. If you really struggle with writing by hand quickly, you can build up your writing fluency (your ability to quickly translate thoughts to words) by writing additional practice essays on your own.

If you need to work on writing fluency, it's best to practice with easier writing topics. So first, find a journal prompt to write about (this website has hundreds). Next, set a timer. Between ten and fifteen minutes is best. Finally, write as much as you can on the prompt, as fast as possible, without making big mistakes in spelling or grammar. When time is up, count how many words you wrote. If you do this a few times a week, you will build up your writing speed, and your word counts will grow. Once you've built up this skill, it will be much easier to tackle the AP World History free response.

You can also practice on your own with old AP World History free response questions (available here). However, you should note that the test was just revised for 2016-2017 and old questions will have old instructions. There actually used to be three essays—in addition to the DBQ, there was a "Change Over Time" essay and a "Comparison" essay. Now there is just one long essay. So be sure to compare old questions to the most up-to-date question examples from the most current AP Course and Exam Description.  


Tip 6: Take Practice Exams and Set a Target Score

In the spring, you should take at least one full practice exam – ideally in late March or early April – once you’ve learned most of the World History material. By a full practice exam we mean the entire test – time yourself and take the test in one sitting, giving yourself a 15-minute break in between the multiple choice/short answer section and the essays.

Why should you do this? It will give you a chance to experience what it’s like to take a full AP World History exam before the real thing. This helps you build stamina and perfect your timing. All the practice in the world won't help you if you run out of steam on your last essay question and can barely think.

Also, set a target score for each section: multiple choice and free response.  Good news: you don’t need to be aiming for 100% on the Multiple choice and 9/9 on every essay for a 5 (the highest possible score). Far from it.



A high multiple choice score (50/55) and average short answer and free response scores (say an 8/12 on short answer, a 5/7 on the DBQ and a 4/6 on the long essay) can net a 5. In contrast, an average multiple choice score (35/55) with high short answer and free response scores (say 11/12 on short answer, a 6/7 on the DBQ and a 5/6 on the long essay) could also get a 5.

Based on your personal strengths, set realistic score targets. For example, a really good writing student might go the average multiple choice/strong essay route, but a strong test-taker might go the other way around. You could also be somewhere in between. Also, don't be intimidated if your target score is much higher than your current scores. You're practicing so that you can meet your target!

Once you have your target score, practice, practice, practice! Use old exams and the practice exams included in prep books. Use the free response questions I linked to above. You can even ask your teacher for old tests and essay questions. The more you practice before the test, the more likely you are to meet — or exceed! — your score goal.


Bottom Line

Although AP World History is challenging, if you follow the advice in this AP World History study guide and prepare correctly throughout the year, you can definitely pass, or even be one of the few students who gets a 5!

Make sure to keep up with your reading, read a prep book in the spring, and practice specifically for the multiple choice and the free response sections. With clear target scores for each section and plenty of practice under your belt, you will have the strongest chance of getting a 5.


What’s Next?

How many AP classes should you take total? Find out here.

How hard is AP World History compared to other AP tests? We’ve rounded up a list of the hardest and easiest AP tests, as well as the average scores for every exam.

For more tips on doing well in all of your classes, from AP to IB to honors, read this detailed guide by PrepScholar founder Allen Cheng to getting a perfect 4.0. Even if you're not going for perfection, this guide teaches you all the skills you need to work hard, work smart, and get better grades.

Also studying for the SAT/ACT? In a hurry? Learn how to cram for the ACT or SAT.


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:


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