How to Pass AP History

Almost every high school in the country offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses. They are highly advanced and accelerated courses that are often extremely difficult. Most colleges look up for applicants who have taken and passed AP classes due to their heavy work load and advanced subject matter. This guide will help you succeed and thrive in this environment.


  1. Image titled Pass AP History Step 1
    Take notes. They help you remember important events, books, times, events, and so much more.
  2. Image titled Pass AP History Step 2
    Be prepared. Always bring the things you'll need, if you have your supplies out you should never have to scramble to find them when the times comes
  3. Image titled Pass AP History Step 3
    Pay attention. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you give your teacher your full undivided attention: sit away from friends, silence phones, turn music off, don't pass notes, and try not to talk.
  4. Image titled Pass AP History Step 4
    Remember why you took the class. AP classes are very hard; the work load and subject matter are so intense sometimes you wish you shouldn't have taken the class. Don't let yourself fall into that, always remember why you took the class and it will get you through those dark times.
  5. Image titled Pass AP History Step 5
    Turn in all homework. This is a must, if you don't turn in homework then you're condemning yourself to adversity. Do whatever you need to do in order to ensure you get this done. If you can't keep up with your homework load talk to the teacher about maybe working ahead so you have less homework or about transferring out to a normal class.
  6. Image titled Pass AP History Step 6
    Study! Always read and study every night! This is invaluable, if you spend an half-hour to an hour every night reading, taking notes, and reviewing notes you will find yourself so prepared for that big test that it will be a piece of cake.
  7. Image titled Pass AP History Step 7
    Never be afraid to ask questions. It goes without saying that the only stupid question is the one that is unasked. Don't hesitate to ask your teacher a question about something you don't understand. Some teachers stay after school so take the time for yourself and get help if you don't understand a concept.
  8. Image titled Pass AP History Step 8
    Form a study group. Some teachers require you to form or assign you to a study group. These are great for sharing ideas, improving upon each others ideas, proofreading and editing essays, and for getting help. If you have group projects to do, always assign work and due dates as equally as possible among the members and never hesitate to check on their progress.
  9. Image titled Pass AP History Step 9
    Overachieve. Don't be afraid to do more than what is needed especially if it'll help you later on.
  10. Image titled Pass AP History Step 10
    Don't shy away from a class because you dislike a teacher or other students taking it. Think of all the money you'll have saved by not taking the class in college.
  11. Image titled Pass AP History Step 11
    Practice your writing. Writing is nearly two-thirds of the exam. It helps to practice your FRQ (Free-Response Questions) and DBQ (Document Based Question) skills, and will help you perform well on that section.


  • Learn how to take shorthand notes. These will help you a lot with your studies.
  • Set a specific time for you to do homework and study.
  • Family always can either help your education or disturb; don't allow others to make you angry about something because it would only make your concentration limited.
  • Always have a clear goal for the end-of-year AP test.
  • Read as many books as you can reach no matter the subject; you'll need to have a lucid mind.
  • Be prepared to write, and practice it often.
  • If you want to excel to your limits, try not to get into relationships.
  • Be confident in yourself.
  • Some students imagine countries as people a la Axis Powers Hetalia. Personification of nations (which is already an old concept) and using human interactions as allegories for international relations might be helpful as shorthand mnemonics. This method, however, may not work for everyone, as some issues or historical events might be too complex to compare with common human experiences.


  • Don't let AP force you to get rid of your social life. Talk to friends, hang out, be somebody, but know that you have business to take care of first.
  • Don't overwork yourself. Don't work yourself to death, there's a line between being studious and overworking yourself. If you do start to overwork yourself, take a break and do something non-school related. However this does not excuse yourself to not study at all.
  • Don't let your AP class be a reason to neglect your other studies. It is better to make a C in an AP subject than an A in your AP class and a bunch of other C's. Think of your GPA.
  • AP does not stand for Advanced Procrastination! If you wish to pass the class it is vital to get all work done on time or ahead of time; waiting until the last minute forces you to rush and lowers the quality of the work.

Things You'll Need

  • Textbook
  • Two pens
  • Notebook
  • Colored pencils (for maps)
  • Word processor/Dictionary (recommended)
  • Highlighter
  • Agenda

Article Info

Categories: Advanced Placement Courses and Exams