Exam preparation materials


The AP World History Review


Now that you know the kinds of questions to expect on the AP World History Exam, you’re ready to take on the world!—or at least the review of AP World History. Part II of this book is designed to maximize your AP World History review. Here’s how it is organized:

Six Periods, Five Chapters. The AP World History Exam divides world history into six distinct time periods, as we discussed in Chapter 1. However, we’ve decided to combine Periods 1 and 2, which cover the years 8000 B.C.E.–600 B.C.E.and 600 B.C.E.–600 C.E.respectively, into one chapter—Ancient Stuff (8000 B.C.E.–600 C.E.)—for ease of reviewing. Together these periods make up about 20% of the questions that will appear on the AP World History Exam. The other four chapters are Really Old Stuff (600–1450), Old Stuff (1450–1750), Not So Old Stuff (1750–1914), and Recent Stuff (1914–present).

Get the Big Picture. Each chapter begins with a “Stay Focused on the Big Picture” section so that you will—you guessed it—stay focused on the big picture while you review. To do well on this test, you’re going to need to demonstrate that you not only have specific knowledge of people and events (what the multiple-choice questions are all about), but also be able to connect them together and know how to think about concepts with a wide-angle lens (that’s what the essays are all about).

Make Those Connections. Each chapter reviews the salient points of that period; the Compare Them, Contrast Them, Note the Change, and Focus On boxes help you make connections between different societies (that’s the whole point of this test, remember?).

Pull It All Together. Each chapter ends with a “Pulling It All Together” section to once again help you focus on the major points of the period.


The AP exam—particularly in the essays—frequently refers to cultural regions of the world. So it is important to know where you are! The map shows you the most commonly defined regions. Be aware that they don’t always match up with physical boundaries. For example, parts of North Africa may be included when we’re talking about the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia may be considered part of the Islamic world.


Here’s what we suggest. Read through each chapter once. You’ll probably remember most of the people, places, events, and concepts from your AP class. The chapters will help you review and pull together the major points. This part won’t be as detailed as the book from your AP class, or else this book would be as thick as your textbook, which would be kind of pointless. As you read through each chapter, consult your textbook if you’ve forgotten something entirely. After you finish going through a chapter once, spend some time in your AP textbook (or another world history source) going over the stuff you either didn’t know or didn’t remember. Then go back to the chapter to do mini-reviews of certain areas and to focus on the big-picture concepts and connections taking place in that period.


It does not matter in which order you choose to review the material. If you love the Renaissance and hate the Middle Ages, review Old Stuff first and Really Old Stuff later. If you know that your knowledge of the Foundations era is lacking but you are pretty confident in what you know about recent history, dive into Ancient Stuff first. This review is meant to be dynamic—we expect that you will return to it repeatedly as you prepare for your exam.

In addition, as we mentioned in the introduction to this book, you may wish to flip back and forth between your history review and your testing strategies practice. We would advise you to work through at least the multiple-choice section of Part I before you get to the test, but it is really up to you. If you want to get a jump start on your history review and save the techniques for later, go ahead. On the other hand, you may wish to mix them up and see how our strategies are helping you gain points.

No matter how you decide to organize your review, we do suggest that you continue to practice your test strategies and essay writing throughout the course of your preparation. As we said before, knowing this history is not enough—you need to be able to show what you know on test day. Once you review a chapter, practice writing an essay based on one of the comparisons or significant changes that took place within the period. Make up multiple-choice questions for a classmate and quiz each other. Once you’ve done your first pass through the history, take a full-length diagnostic test so that you can get a feel for what the real thing will be like. The bottom line is: Do not leave all your test strategy practice to the last minute. Instead, use that practice to enhance your history review and zero in on the key concepts of each period.

’Nuff said. Let the review begin…

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