Getting ready for your A.P. US History (APUSH) exam? Here’s how to prepare the right way and crush the test when the time comes.
AP U.S. History study material & prep
Getting ready for your AP US history exam, or APUSH, might look overwhelming. There’s so much material to cover and preparation to do. However, there’s no reason to feel apprehensive about the upcoming APUSH test. All you need to pass is a good study guide and the right plan.
First, you’ll need to understand what makes the APUSH exam difficult. Once you understand that, test prep will become much easier, and your chances of getting a high score like a 4 or a 5 will improve.
AP U.S. History is difficult
APUSH is the common acronym for “Advanced Placement U.S. History.” Advanced Placement, or AP, refers to a set of individual courses designed by the College Board. These courses are made to prepare high school students for higher education. AP is a registered trademark of the College Board, and getting a passing score on an AP exam can often lead to getting credit for the corresponding class at a college or university.
An AP US History course is complicated because it covers many time periods. It might not be as extensive as an AP World History class, but APUSH still takes you through centuries of American history.
The time periods covered in APUSH include:
The discovery of the new world and settling of North America
Early North American societies
The American Revolution
The clash with American Indians
Slavery and the plight of African Americans
The Civil War
World War I
Industrialization and the Gilded Age
World War II
The Cold War
The Civil Rights movement
You’ll also cover a little bit of the material from AP U.S. Government (or AP Gov), a unit that deals with the United States history of politics and government. This will include, for instance, the formation of political parties, movements like conservatism, and the foundation of the Supreme Court.
There will also be themes such as the U.S. foreign policy and the status of the Native American peoples. Finally, the APUSH exam features subjects like a review of crucial court cases.
The APUSH test has two main parts. In part one, you’ll answer multiple-choice questions and short-answer questions.
In the second part, you’ll need to answer a DBQ, or document-based question. Here, you’ll get several primary sources and will need to connect them with a specific theme or period. Finally, you’ll have a long-essay question (LEQ) where, as the name suggests, you’ll need to write a long essay on a theme.
AP U.S. History prep requires a clear strategy. You’ll need a study plan and divide your preparation between the multiple-choice and free response quizzes and the DBQ and LEQ. You can use practice questions to familiarize yourself with the test, but there’s so much more you can also do to study and prepare.
Here are the best tips to help you pass your APUSH exam with flying colors!
Top tips on how to ace your AP U.S. History class
Take notes on your own
The most useful thing to do when preparing for your APUSH exam is to take notes—both in class and when reviewing materials like your textbook. Of course, you can also find several crash courses online, which will certainly help. Taking notes in all of these circumstances will help you memorize the information as you write it down and will make it easier to review later on, which brings us to our next point.
Review your notes
When you have all your notes in one place, review them carefully. You can even use them to help you through a practice test. This will be a crucial part of your preparation. If you couldn’t find anything in your notes that was on the practice test, then you can go back to your textbook or course material to fill in the key points you missed.
Pay attention to stuff that is being repeated
If specific themes and terms repeat in different places in your notes, make sure to highlight them. Those themes might create a connection that will be very important during the exam. After all, one of the main goals of APUSH is to find and understand such connections in U.S. history. Additionally, pay special attention to important dates, locations, and people that are referenced multiple times throughout your course material.
Set aside study time
Create a schedule that allows enough time for studying. During those periods, ensure there are no distractions. Of course, make sure the time you set aside for studying is actually enough time to get the studying done. A few hours a week is necessary to retain all the information you learn throughout the year in APUSH.
If you set aside plenty of time, you’ll be able to take it easy and really focus on studying. Then, you can start by going over the previous topics before moving on to the next one.
Use TTS software to study
Using TTS to study
When using text to speech software, you can study in a different and very liberating way. Instead of wrestling with a heap of papers, you can make the process digital. TTS software will read out selected lines for you, which can be the ideal learning method for many APUSH students.
If you struggle to memorize flashcards, keep your eyes focused on a textbook, or read through endless notes—then a TTS tool like Speechify can help. Text to speech tools can take any digital text and read it out loud to you while you read along or while you multitask.
For example, you can listen to your notes while riding the bus to and from school, in between classes, at lunch, or while doing chores around the house at home. It’s no secret that today’s high school students are busier than ever before—and so TTS tools can give you back your study time for APUSH or any other AP courses.
Additionally, if you have a disability such as dyslexia, ADHD, or a visual impairment, TTS software is an excellent accessibility study tool.
How it works
Text to speech is pretty easy to use. You can select the desired text and put it into the software, which will then read the text out loud.
You may apply this method to flash cards and notes, too. On the other hand, your TTS can even read an entire helpful resource like the Princeton Review’s Cracking the AP U.S History Exam or an APUSH review book.
Try Speechify to make studying easier
Speechify is a leading text to speech software that you can use on mobile devices, in your browser, or on your Windows or Mac computer. You can copy or upload every text into Speechify and start listening immediately. You can even take pictures of notes or your textbook and use Speechify’s OCR capabilities to instantly start hearing the material read out loud!
It’s easy to start with Speechify today. Simply create an account, copy your text, choose a narrator and language you like, set the reading speed, and start listening.
You may use Speechify as a free app to gain access to the basic voices and speeds. Alternatively, if you want the best experience possible, you could go with the Premium variant, which features many more narrators and greater speed customization. You’ll be amazed with Speechify’s lifelike voices, whether you use the free version or Premium.
Start studying for the APUSH exam with the help of Speechify today!
Pick Your Speechify Tribe
I have been flailing due to an eye injury on top of Lyme disease on top of long-covid and a herniated disc with neuropathy. Sitting hurts and propping a book while lying down is stressful. Anxiety over not keeping up, ADD with medication fluctuation and nystagmus of one eye, stigmatism with the other eye both before the retina injured has caused duress as an exam approaches in 35 days. I just need to get through these 500 pages and at least try the assignments. I believe this app will be the key.. thank you ever so much! It’s never too late to find a key and unlock the door to a new world!
“I have ADHD and I love to read but have piles of book that I have never touched. I downloaded this app and it has helped me read more and obtain information better for school! Love this app , I recommend it to everyone!” - JENEMARIE
“Love this app, I have eye problems and this app helps me read headache free. Plus it’s great for traders to listen to news and multitasks.” - JJJJJJMMMMMMM”
“I like Reading books but I don’t like to read at the same time this is so nice and very much correct. Totally recommend!” - Amazing use this now!!! - HALL LACKS SI USA
“I am a student who had dyslexia so is very very very helpful for me. A reading assignment that would normally take me 30+ minutes took 10! I will be using this very often.” - CHAMA NORLAND
“I’m an audible learner. Speechify helps me to comprehend readings better than I am capable of reading the text silently.” - CANDI CL
“This is probably top 5 of greatest apps ever, you can literally read alone an entire book in a day. Easily worth the cost of the app.” - TJV 34
“Excellent for comprehending medical textbooks more quickly and thoroughly!! This is awesome for keeping up with latest surgical techniques and technology. Dr. K” - IMPLANTOPERATOR
“Speechify saves my 70 year old eyes. I close them. I listen.” - WRANGLERSUPREME
“I was dreading reading this long story but Speechify got it done now I can go ahead and take my college quiz.” - SUNCOP
“I teach visually impaired students AND students with dyslexia. This app is a huge help to all of them. Thank you for helping those who need it most!!” - ETTETWO
“I use this app to proofread before I publish chapters of my books and it works so good! 10/10 recommended.” - LOUIELEIUOL