How to succeed in AP World History: new class offers new skill set

Josie Krueger

Contributing Writer

josie k

AP World History is new to Webster Groves High School this year and is available for sophomores as a step up from World Civilization.

Webster’s first year teaching it is also the first year with the new redesigned format of the class. Although the class has been provided in other districts before this year, the format of the AP test was modified and therefore the class is taught differently also.

Betty Roberts, AP World History teacher, said she chose to teach this class because, “Every year there is a group of students that want more; I could not give them that within the accelerated course work… this was, to me, the best way to give them that option and to really set them up with the skills they need to be successful in junior and senior year AP courses. It’s not about the content; it’s about the skillset.”

AP World History is a college level class and the student may choose whether he/she takes the AP Exam at the end of the year. One cannot earn the college credit without taking the Exam. It is scored on an overall one to five grading scale, five being the highest. But before the test, there is a whole school year of preparation, and each day counts. With the right work ethic, preparation and mindset, a student can become a worthy opponent of AP World History.

First and foremost, it is important to know what the class entails.

Current AP World History sophomore, Gabe Mitchell, said this class differed from his previous social studies classes in, “The necessity to retain information learned earlier for the AP exam and to make connections. Also preparing for the test is a big portion of the class, rather than just learning.”

Mitchell said his study time for each night averages one to two hours, and he uses tactics such as taking thorough notes and reviewing them to study.

In a general sense, the class requires content memorization, making connections throughout and across history and applying historical thinking skills to the knowledge learned about.

Although acquiring knowledge about world history is an important factor, the most valuable thing a student can take away is the skills they develop during this class.

Roberts said, “It’s not really about content memorization; it’s about the skills needed to analyze material on a timeline. The key to your future in your education is figuring out how you learn and how to get the most out of your study time. Because time spent isn’t always time well spent, so you have to make that time more efficient. And the better skills you have, the better ability you have to pull out of that reading what’s important.”

About preparation/prior skills that are beneficial to have, Roberts said, “If these skills are being taught throughout all four years, then you’re building and growing on that. The content doesn’t matter: if its geography, government, AP psychology, U.S. history. If the skills are there, you can do any of those things. So what I would include for freshmen, if they had the ability to have some of those skills as a foundation, it would make it fantastic for building on that during sophomore year.”

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