Introducing the 5-Step Preparation Program

This book is organized as a 5-step program to prepare you for success on the exam. These steps are designed to provide you with vital skills and strategies and the practice that can lead you to that perfect 5. Here are the 5 steps.

Step 1: Set Up Your Study Program

In this step you’ll read a brief overview of the AP World History exam, including an outline of topics and the approximate percentage of the exam that will test knowledge of each topic. You’ll learn:

•  Background information about the AP exam

•  Reasons for taking the exam

•  What to bring to the exam

•  Other tips to prepare you for the exam

•  How to choose the preparation plan that’s right for you

•  Calendars for three suggested plans

Step 2: Determine Your Test Readiness

In this step you’ll take a diagnostic exam in AP World History. This pretest should give you an idea of how prepared you are before beginning your study program.

•  Go through the diagnostic exam step-by-step and question-by-question to build your confidence level.

•  Review the correct answers and explanations so that you see what you do and do not yet fully understand.

Step 3: Develop Strategies for Success

In this step you’ll learn strategies that will help you do your best on the exam. These strategies cover all four question types: multiple choice, document-based, continuity and change- over-time, and comparative. This part of your preparation program will help you to learn:

•  How to read multiple-choice questions

•  How to answer multiple-choice questions, including whether or not to guess

•  How to analyze primary documents, including texts, photographs, political cartoons, maps, and charts

•  How to write essays for the document-based and free-response questions.

•  How to respond to the short-answer questions.

Included are some commonly asked questions as well as advice taken from my experience as a reader of the AP World History exam.

Step 4: Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High

In this step you’ll learn or review the material you need to know for the test. This review section takes up the bulk of this book. It contains not only summaries of key events and concepts, but also vocabulary lists and review questions. The material is organized according to the time periods in the AP World History course. Each unit in this review section is followed by a timeline, a list of key comparisons, and a change/continuity chart. The chart will show you at a glance key events and issues in the major world regions. It will also refresh your memory of changes and continuities within each region during the time period covered by the unit.

As you review this material, it may be helpful to work with others. Find a study pal or form a small study group, and set a time when you can get together to review.

Step 5: Build Your Test-Taking Confidence

In this step you’ll complete your preparation by testing yourself on a full-length practice exam modeled after the actual examination. The test is followed by a discussion of the answers. Be aware that this practice exam is not simply a reproduction of questions from actual AP exams, but it mirrors both the material tested and the way in which it is tested.

•  Try the strategies provided in Chapter 4 of this book for each type of question on the test.

•  For the document-based, comparative, and continuity and change-over-time essays, have another student read and critique your essays.

•  Take the time not only to check whether or not your answers are correct, but also to read the explanation for the correct answers. By doing this, you will review a broad body of concepts in a shorter period of time.

Finally, at the back of this book you’ll find additional resources to aid your preparation. These include:

•  Glossary of terms

•  Bibliography for further reading

•  List of websites related to the AP World History exam

The Graphics Used in This Book

To emphasize particular concepts and strategies, we use several icons throughout this book. An icon in the margin will alert you that you should pay particular attention to the accompanying text. We use these three icons:


The first icon points out a very important concept or fact that you should not pass over.


The second icon calls your attention to a strategy that you may want to try.


The third icon indicates a tip that you might find useful.



If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!