Success in “APUSH” possible despite daunting reputation



Students take notes on Alan Brinkley's textbook "American History" in "APUSH".

Jordan Watts, News Editor

There are many classes at the high school that are known to be difficult, but none can compare to the daunting stigma surrounding Advanced Placement U.S. History, or “APUSH.” Considered by many to be one of the hardest classes in the school, the mere thought of long hours of notes every night turn many students away from taking the course, but there is a lot more that students should keep in mind as the time to choose their history class for junior year quickly approaches.

Although the amount of notes students must take each night may seem intimidating, there is plenty of time to become accustomed to the workload. Early on in the year, the textbook readings are more spread out, allowing students to improve their notetaking speed and effectiveness before reaching the formidable amount of work by the end of the year.

That being said, homework certainly is not the only factor to keep in mind while deciding whether or not AP U.S. History is the best class for you. Without a doubt, one of the most interesting and fulfilling parts of the course is class discussion. With a group of diligent students, along with teachers incredibly knowledgeable on the topics being taught, class discussions have the potential to be some of the most engaging dialogues out of any of the courses offered at the high school. Topics covered range chronologically from the arrival of colonists to the Native American’s land all the way to modern times.

Finally, there’s the issue of grades: the dark cloud looming over the decision of which classes to take. The tests are definitely more difficult, and require significantly more critical thinking than the tests in most other history classes. They are often stimulus-based multiple choice questions, meaning that the questions require you to connect previous knowledge to either a passage or graphic that is provided. It is definitely something that takes adjusting to, but after a couple tests students start to get the hang of it—so try not to worry if you do not do as well as you had hoped on the first test.

The tests may be difficult, but there are still plenty of ways to prepare for them. Studying in groups with your classmates, doing practice problems in AP U.S. history preparation books, and review videos are all useful.

Of course, like all Advanced Placement classes, AP U.S. History is a hard class, but for students who enjoy learning about history and challenging themselves in new ways, AP U.S. History can be a great learning opportunity. Just remember to work hard and know it is not as scary as you think.