From the moment that you walk into your AP U.S. History class, you need to focus on the prize: passing your APUSH exam. Maybe you haven’t spent a lot of time studying before taking an AP class. Maybe you’ve never had such a great amount of information to cover. Either way, you need to figure out how to study for APUSH. I recommend taking the following 5 steps:
1. Figure Out Your Learning Style
When I first went to college, my older brother told me the trick to studying: figure out what works for you and just do it. Pretty simple, right? I’ve found that “what works” for me is based on my learning style.
So, what is your learning style? Are you a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Based on this, here are some helpful ways to study:
- Visual learners- read a book, watch a documentary, check out APUSH YouTube channels
- Auditory learners- listen to audiobooks, record lectures for later, teach someone else
- Kinesthetic earners- draw pictures and maps, write out timelines, create flashcards, take notes
2. Focus on Your Weak Points
You’re going to have APUSH information you know really well. Perhaps, you’re more familiar with certain events, themes, or documents than others. Figure out which areas you don’t know as well, and focus on those areas when you study. Make sure you know these areas just as well as you know the particular periods you already know backwards and forwards.
3. Consider Overarching Themes and Concepts
More important than memorizing dates is identifying themes and concepts that run throughout American history. Look for themes as you study for APUSH. Then, continue to look for events and documents to support those themes.
4. Enlist Help
You don’t have to study alone. Talk to your classmates to form study groups. I loved getting together with friends from class before an in-class test. We would meet at a local coffee shop to eat and review. We’d discuss what would be tested, and quiz each other over the subject matter.
Study groups prevent you from getting burned out, and you can work together to make sure you don’t forget to cover all the important themes and concepts, too.
5. Take Practice Tests
The best way to prepare for the exam is to take similar exams. Get a feel for the timing, the format, and the information on the exam. The more practice tests you can take, the more prepared you’ll be for exam day.
If you’re wondering about how to study for APUSH, think about your study habits. What works for you? What will help you remember everything you need to know to ace the test and retain the information? Then, do it. Don’t wait until a week or month before the APUSH exam! Start studying as soon as possible, so you feel confident that you can pass the exam with flying colors.
For more inspiration, check out our video on how to study effectively: