But for now, here's 5 things you can do over the summer to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead.
📖 1. Start Reading Your Textbook
APUSH reading is a curveball. Not only is reading about history difficult, reading history at a college level can be confusing, especially if this is your first AP class. That being said, once you begin to comprehend what you are reading, you will find it extremely engaging and enjoyable. Overcoming this first challenge of APUSH is amazing, and you can do it!
What helped me the most was to read a few chapters of the textbook my class used during the summer, which allowed me to get used to the writing style without worrying about reading on a time crunch. Doing this can save you a lot of frustration in the fall.
If you can’t start reading your textbook, there’s other resources online to help you prepare. Try watching videos on YouTube or flipping through an old review book.
🙋 2. Plan Study Groups
Discussing and teaching others content are two of the best ways to retain and comprehend information. Planning study groups during the beginning of the year is a great way to stay on track.
👀 3. Read and Analyze Primary Documents
Another thing that really helped me over the summer before taking APUSH was practicing the HIPPO method to analyze primary documents. HIPPO stands for Historical context, Intended audience, Point of view, Purpose, and Outside information.
Looking at Period 1 primary sources and then writing a couple sentences about each component of HIPPO will give you a better feel of how to look at and understand primary sources, which is extremely important in APUSH.
Don't worry if you can't think of something for each part of HIPPO-that's what the class will teach you! You can look up outside information about these sources to help you, but even just figuring out a few components will put you a step ahead.
📔 4. Get a GIANT Binder
About 300 years of history does not fit nicely into a small notebook, so I recommend getting a big binder with tabs for the class. Using binder tabs to separate and organize your notes into the different time periods will help you when it comes time to review for the final exam.
Other supplies that will help you as you master APUSH are flashcards and different colored pens. The brain learns better when you use colors. Try color-coding your notes and using different colored highlighters to mark key people, events, and dates.
👍 5. Work Hard and Don't Worry!
If you're looking this up during the summer, I'm guessing you're nervous about APUSH. This shows you are hardworking and that you can (and will) work hard to prepare yourself for the class. That's all you have to do to be successful.
If you continue to work hard throughout the year, you will learn American history, how you study most productively, how to manage your time, and so many other things. I'm not going to lie, APUSH is a challenge, but with the right work ethic, you will succeed in the class while preparing yourself for college and getting college credit.
Keep working hard and have fun learning history! 🙌