Self-studying AP U.S. History

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: June 2004 Archive: Self-studying AP U.S. History
By Alotor (Alotor) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 11:13 pm: Edit

Hi guys. I've decided to self-study AP U.S. History and take the AP exam this coming May of next year. What review books are essential in helping me accomplish this task?

By Cherrybarry (Cherrybarry) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit

REA is good. So is Peterson's.

By Skiowad (Skiowad) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 06:39 am: Edit

I used REA, but i also heard PR is very good.

By Goirulz (Goirulz) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 08:54 am: Edit

I would use PR as a basis of study and then use REA to fill in all the knowledge gaps. PR = "big picture" review (important connections, trends, etc.). REA = all the relevant AND sometimes irrelevant facts that are in between. I would not advise using REA alone, or else all you would get from it is a plethora of facts with no understanding of the many connections and trends that can be drawn from it.

By Altsuperhero (Altsuperhero) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 09:30 am: Edit

look over the online chapter outlines (

they cover all the information you'll need to know (and you have a year to cover it)

By Amethyst (Amethyst) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 09:53 am: Edit

its NOT a good idea to self study AP US History, trust me, well...unless you are a VERY devoted history person...well just two cents from me

btw: I took AP US in my freshman year

By Emika (Emika) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit

I recently self-studied for APUSH and I do not recommond anybody to self-study APUSH :-x

I used Barron's and the giant review sheet from, I think I did ok on the exam but I've heard it's one of the hardest exams to get a 5 on. People who take the class also have a hard time getting 5's, so I don't suggest that you self-study for APUSH. Self-studying for APUSH almost turned me off from the APs and self-studying lol. So if it'll be your first time self-studying an AP, do some other AP and see if you do well, then try self-studying APUSH.

APUSH is a beast and demands a lot of your time, it's not something that I suggest a newcomer to APs to do.

By Alotor (Alotor) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 01:57 pm: Edit

In fact, I am a VERY devoted history person. I received a 5 on ap euro - and I wasnt very fond of it. I really am interested in US History(especially during its times in war/national crisis)

By Jess13 (Jess13) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

I took euro, got a 5, took apus...not as confident as I was about Euro. American is a much harder class because you have to go into such great detail. And for the ap, there's virtually nothing on wars except for major themes.

By Thunder77 (Thunder77) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 02:07 pm: Edit

Stay away from Self-Studying an AP History or a AP Science unless you already have a strong background in the subject or very interested in it

I self-studied for AP Euro and it was hell. Tons and tons of information and I bet you if you dont take the class the info will not sink in.

And US History is even harder than Euro because the questions are a lot more detailed.

By Alotor (Alotor) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 02:15 pm: Edit

Thanks for your input guys

By Justice (Justice) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 03:11 pm: Edit

On the other hand AP World History is a joke if you have a general understanding of how the world has developed in the past few thousands years. Very very general.

By Emika (Emika) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 03:58 pm: Edit

About APUSH lacking wars- it's not true, the DBQ on Form A was about French and Indian War, they do pop up sometimes but not very often.

By Skiowad (Skiowad) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 05:02 pm: Edit

But the DBQ wasn't based on the actually fighting and battles that took place, which is what he was trying to get across, emika.
If there are others in your school who are going to self-study it, or are in the class, then meet up with them. Go over your notes and that will help sink in the information. go to this website It is a review for The American Pageant, although it is an earlier edition, it is still quite good. Use a variety of sources and you should be fine. Most colleges will reward for a 4, which, if you're completely devoted and put in at least an hour a day, you should make. I would also recommend getting any past exams and getting a History teacher to grade practice essays and DBQ's as they are essential. Most are afraid of the DBQ while taking the class, but it is really easy and the essays are the harder part of the writing. good luck btw, what grade are you in?

By Alotor (Alotor) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 05:41 pm: Edit

Im currently in tenth grade

By Alotor (Alotor) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 05:42 pm: Edit

oh and thanks for the website link

By Jess13 (Jess13) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 06:43 pm: Edit

It wasn't about the French and Indian War, but the relations with the British over that period of time, and how these relations changed. (Major themes)

By Dannyferizzle (Dannyferizzle) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

i self studied in 10th grade and got a 5.

By Mimi (Mimi) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

I wish I had 2 years to study this. Because I absolutely hated history when I first started and I don't even know why I took the AP course. I guess I wanted "challenge" even though I knew nothing about history. I'm glad I took it though because I have learned the most on history this year than all of the years I've been to school combined. There's many sites you can go to: -> the notecards can be pretty good and if you go to the forum there will be lots of people also taking it -> tons of practice quizzes -> i never really used this -> the review was pretty good since it helped me develop the "big" picture

for US history, you do have to know facts and learn the court cases, but the most important is getting the "big picture", knowing what causes and what its effects are. It can be pretty time consuming and all. Enjoy.

By Conker (Conker) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 06:12 am: Edit

For AP US History, you need absolutely no analytical skills whatsoever. Memorize the most arcane facts, and come testing day, scribble every event/treaty/date remotely relevant to the topic. Then organize it using that awful five-point paragraph structure that you're still pissed at your 9th grade teacher about because you flunked your AP English essay using it.

And voilà, you've got a 9-scoring paper.

High-scoring papers are not correlated with the terms "good writing" or "aesthetical awareness".

So what book do you use? As has been said, PR gives you an overview of US History. It's great for the multiple choice. But it doesn't have enough junk--as in the junk you need for the essays. So complement PR with REA and Barrons. Don't know the landmark Timber and Stone Act? Better know that for a Gilded Age question. And what about the McNary-Haugen Bill? Better associate that bill with John Steinbeck...somehow.

I wish you good luck. But if you've got the memory or a good background, it shouldn't be too hard getting the result that you want. :)

By Number9 (Number9) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 10:40 am: Edit

I took AP US History this year. Our class was so behind, so I had to self-study about 3/4 of the class material (the class never got to it). I must say I learned a lot, and I found it enjoyable. I had absolutely no problems as people are saying before. I'm going to self-study AP Euro this year as a result of it.

There isn't military history, but you should know the causes/effects of every war. Thats common sense. Don't let people tell you there will be war stuff, because there isn't any military history.

I'd totally recommend you do this if you want to learn about it. I used the following and I'm pretty confident with what I'm expecting:

Princeton Review (for a broader review to study trends)
REA (for the finer details and every important little document/person/event) (just sign up for the forums and frequent them. It really helps. The quizzes on the site are nice, too.)
Giant USHAP Review (read it the night before the test to see if you remember a majority of it.)

By Jm2006 (Jm2006) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 12:54 pm: Edit

How do you practice for DBQ's?

By Number9 (Number9) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 06:45 pm: Edit

Know the format and just go on collegeboard's site and look at the old ones. Review books have their own, too. Write the essays and examine if you mentioned all what could have effectively, and make sure it flows...

By Mimi (Mimi) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 12:50 am: Edit

Uhm.. you do have to analyze on the essays. You write 3 essays, 1 DBQ, 2 free response, with free responses giving you two choices to pick from. And it is recommended to do an outline first. It is true that you do not need any proper writing skills, and your first paragraph can just be your thesis. And they do want a ton of facts, but still, you do have to analyze and it's kind of hard to explain. Hm.. for the DBQ, just practice with old ones. Skim through the questions first, (technically only 1 on the real thing) and have a blur of what thesis you will use, then read the articles, underlining things you can use for your essay. And it's better to not quote so much - better to "put it in your own words". The ones worth quoting are the short and sweet ones. The DBQ must obtain 50% from DBQ and 50% from your own knowledge facts. This is where the outline is most helpful. So you need three body paragraphs, and three points for each paragraph, so come up with at least 4 outside knowledge facts, and you can use 5 from the DBQ and make sure to use the DBQ in each paragraph and facts too. Have fun.

By Mimi (Mimi) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 12:51 am: Edit

And start in the summer

By Lyralily (Lyralily) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit

I would not self-study APUS if I were you. I am a history person. I like history. I like writing. APUS was an evil beast.

Good luck!

By Mimi (Mimi) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit

Well, now that it's over, I feel like I could've self studied it. But honestly, I wouldn't self study it because I can't do it myself on history. All there is is basically reading. But it was just better being in a course because there's somebody pushing you and if I self studied this, I probably wouldn't even be able to read most of it because I forced myself for the sake of my grades and if my grades weren't at risk I wouldn't have read. You should probably ask for mentorship from somebody, like your regular history teacher or something like that.

By Alotor (Alotor) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 09:50 am: Edit

thanks Mimi

BTW, I am also taking regular U.S. History this fall, and I think my teacher will be able to provide me some assistance

By Cherrybarry (Cherrybarry) on Tuesday, June 01, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit

The key is to memorize. Even the most seemingly irrelevant facts. Know the Bland-Allison Act, Keatings-Owens Child Labor Act, the Mann Act, the Elkins Act, the Mann-Elkins Act, etc.

Oh, and don't forget the Hetch-Hetchy Act.

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