How to Get a 5 on the AP U.S. History Exam!
MEK’s Advanced Placement Course & Exam Prep classes are opening in January 2024. We’re offering small group virtual and in-person classes and private tutoring designed to give students the strategies and skills to ace their challenging AP classes and earn a 5 on the AP exam in May.
This Spring, we are offering AP U.S. History taught by expert instructor Ms. Rachel Erwin.
Ms. Erwin is a graduate of the University of Texas A&M and is an influential leader on the Exam Prep team. She teaches College Test Prep, H.S. Test Prep, and College Application Essays. Within the English Department, she serves as a leader for the Exam Prep team, working diligently to ensure all students’ success. With her clear and systematic approach to teaching, she helps students make huge improvements.
Read on to find out Ms. Erwin’s top 3 tips for scoring a 5 on the AP U.S. History exam in May!
Tip #1: Create a study plan!
The most important thing students can do at this point to prepare for the AP U.S. History exam is to create a study plan.
While there are some analytical, reading comprehension, and writing skills that students need to do well on the AP US History official test, the good and bad news about this exam is that a lot of it comes down to remembering history!
That’s good news because generally memorization is an easier skill for students to master.
The bad news is that it’s so much content! Students shouldn’t wait a month before the official test to get serious about studying. They need to create a detailed study plan to review all of American history that they’ve covered so far in class every week on a consistent basis.
Tip #2: Prepare for the free response questions by getting feedback on your writing from a qualified grader.
Along with a section of multiple choice questions, there are three types of essay style questions on the AP U.S. History exam. Let’s break them down briefly.
- DBQs, or document based questions, are a type of multi-paragraph essay. Students are asked to come up with an analysis of a trend or issue based on a series of historical documents they are given.
- LEQs, or long essay questions, are another type of multi-paragraph essay. Students have to construct an argument based on a prompt.
- Short answers are a series of questions that test your skills of argumentation, causation, and comparison through your written responses.
Click here to check out the CollegeBoard website for more information about each of the AP U.S. History exam essay question types.
There is no getting around practice when it comes to the free response short answer and essay questions. A student must practice these skills consistently and get feedback from a qualified grader. They also need to become familiar with the grading rubric that AP graders will use, as many of their high school teachers will grade them on a different scale.
Tip #3: Don’t assume that an A in the class translates to a 5 on the exam.
Preparing to receive a good grade in your AP U.S History class is actually different than preparing to earn a good grade on the exam.
A student’s classroom teacher has a lot of different objectives they have to meet. They are not just preparing students for this exam but are trying to teach them other required objectives through discussions, projects, in-depth analysis, etc. That’s their job!
But the downside is that it means that even if a student is doing well in the class, they might not be fully prepared for the official test because they haven’t had enough practice with the actual scope, format, and requirements of the test itself.
For example, in my experience, many students have not done enough practice with the writing portions of the test. Furthermore, many students are so focused on what they are currently learning in history that they are not reviewing past material from earlier in the year, so by the time they have to take the test, they have forgotten a lot of key information.
Click here for more tips on how to get a 5 on the AP U.S. History exam!
Although AP courses are tough and may seem intimidating at first, a solid study plan and good study habits can help students get high grades and ace the exams.
Many AP teachers focus on only the course material, leaving students underprepared for the actual 2-3 hour exam. At MEK, we take a two-pronged approach to AP Prep. Through providing students with both lectures by experienced teachers and practice exams, students gain a solid understanding of the material and learn test-taking skills to maintain their performance under time pressure.
Click here to learn more about our AP Course offerings for Spring 2024!
Interested in registering for AP courses with MEK? Fill out our Registration Form to get started.
Or if you have questions, contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.