AP.bmp AP United States History Course Info

Introduction to AP United States History

Welcome to AP United States History, a course that will allow you to receive your required United States history credit here at NCHS and possibly three (to six) credits at future college of your choice!

This course is usually taught as a two-semester class at the college level. Locally, the University of Delaware designates this class as HIST205 and HIST206. Both of those classes meet three hours a week and if they were taken in back to back semesters they would total about 70 hours for the year. In this course we will have 75 days (or about 100 hours) to spend on the subject matter and preparing for the national exam, so really there is little time to lose!

All AP (or Advanced Placement) classes are run by The College Board (the same lovely people behind the PSAT and SAT). Each spring, all AP classes across the globe take the same standardized test for their respective class, receiving a grade for their performance. The grading scale runs from one (no recommendation) to five (highly qualified).

Generally, for most colleges, a three or four on an AP test will merit the admissions department to award you with at least three credits for the corresponding course upon admission. A five, at some institutions will merit additional credits. For more information about what your “first choice” college accepts, check out their admissions website. This may change as the College Board (in an effort to help you out) is in the process of changing its curriculum and tests to better match what the colleges are looking for. This year is the first year of the “new” AP curriculum and exam for U.S. History.

Section I on the exam features Multiple-choice questions prompted by a reading passage, image (cartoon or photograph), graph, or map. Each multiple-choice question has four possible responses and generally each item presented has several questions (between three and five) based on it. Often these questions are asking for outside knowledge and interpretation to be applied to the provided item.

The second part of Section I will feature four short answer prompts with between two and four requirements to complete for full credit. As with the multiple-choice, all Short-answer questions will require students to use historical thinking skills to respond to a primary source, a historian’s argument, non-textual sources such as data or maps, or general propositions about U.S. History. All questions will at least directly address one of the thematic learning objectives of the course and two of the four will have elements of internal choice.

Section II of the exam tests for two different types of Free Response answers. Part A is the DBQ (Document Based Question) in which seven to eight primary sources are given and students are asked to interpret the documents in order to answer a question. Students will be judged on their ability to formulate a thesis and support it with the relevant evidence provided in addition to utilizing outside knowledge as well.

In Part B, students will have to answer one FRQs (Free Response Questions). Unlike the Short-answer section of the exam, students will have a choice of essay prompt. Students will be given two choices and be asked to pick one of the two. Often these questions will examine large-scale phenomena in American History and require students to completely provide specific and relevant historical evidence with their thesis.

The 2015 AP U.S. History Exam will be held on Friday, May 8th at 8 a.m. There is a cost to participate and registration usually takes place following the Midterm Exam week.

Course Requirements:

This is not to scare you, but this will be a very demanding course requiring a concentrated effort for the entire school year. This is NOT a class where waiting to the last minute to read, finish assignments or write papers is a viable option due to the amount of work involved. Being a standardized exam, you must be prepared for anything to appear on it. This is the reason why the READINGS are so important. Doing well on my assignments and my exams may not translate to the actual exam unless you know the information inside and out. No matter the amount of time we spend in class on content, chances are certain exam questions will cover information only found in your textbook.
  • All students taking this class SHOULD plan on taking the AP Exam on May 8th. The cost of the exam is $83.00 and registration takes place in February and March through the guidance office.
  • You will be provided with a textbook to use (and read) by the School District. Failure to turn in the textbook prior to the end of the school year will constitute an unmet (and could prevent you from walking at graduation).
  • Failure to turn any work in on time without a valid excuse will result in points deducted from your assignment grade for each day it is late (generally a letter grade).
  • Students are to complete the designated project for each marking period (which includes the Summer Reading assignment) in order to qualify for course credit.
  • Additional help will be provided at the request of the student. I have planning periods on both block days, and I am available after-school until about 4:30 each day. Review sessions before chapter, unit and the AP Exams are not required, but highly recommended (no new material will be discussed during those sessions, however).

Course Materials:

Will Be Provided
  • A take-home copy of The American Pageant (16th Edition), known as the "Kennedy"
  • Classroom Text: The American Spirit (Tenth Edition, Volumes 1 and 2), known as the "Bailey"

Materials You Need to Succeed
  • A two subject notebook with college ruled paper for class notes and book notes
  • A spiral bound binder to put handouts into

Highly Recommended for Test Preparation (not required)
  • Barron's AP Guide for United States History
  • United States History (Cliffs AP)
  • Cracking the AP United States History Exam
  • Kaplan AP United States History
  • AP United States History (REA) - The Best Test Prep for the AP Exam

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