AP US History FAQ

Some things you may not know about APUS History at TC Roberson:

Why you are doing this: There is likely a good reason why you decided to take this course over two semesters instead of the normal US History class that is over one. A possible reason might be that you realize you could get college credit for your work in this class. Perhaps you really love a more in depth approach to history. Regardless of the reason be prepared for one of the best educational experiences you can get in a high school setting. APUS history is a great prep course for college in that it forces strong study skills, prioritization, and organization. My hope is regardless of what happens with your grades and your test scores at the end of the year that you leave here better students who are more equipped to learn more efficiently.

Do you get college credit just by completing the course? No. Most colleges require a “3” on the AP test, but many now require a “4” or a “5”. Check with the specific school you are applying to in order to find out what their standards are. You receive credit-you save your parents money and everyone is happy.

What happens when it snows? The AP Test is a NATIONAL test. It does not move. This year’s test is the morning of Friday May 8, 2009. As a result of this, when we lose a day due to snow, we have to condense materials and sometimes creativity suffers. Expect in January and February to lose days and for syllabi to change. Just be patient and it will work out.

Is there an Exam? Yes. First semester you will have a practice AP style test. Second semester you will have a required state test that is a lot easier than the AP test. There are no exemptions for exams during either semester in this course.

What do I do about the textbook? Students may mark in the textbook, but there is a catch. By using the textbooks like any good college student would you obligate yourself to pay for them at the end of the year. The American Pageant is approximately $70.00 or more to replace, but you get a college level text prior to going to college. Portrait of America vols. 1 & 2 are regularly used in many colleges and universities. As they are paperback they will not last. I strongly suggest you leave these at home except on days when we might be discussing specific selections from them. My suggestion, talk it over with your folks BEFORE your start highlighting, etc.

How do I do well in this class? There are no free lunches in this world. If you want to do well you must work pretty darn hard. In general, folks who take the better reading notes, turn in complete notebooks every unit on time, and pay attention in class do fairly well. That is no guarantee for a “4” or a “5” on the test but those who do those things will earn high grades for the course. There are ways to cut some corners here and there but in general you need to manage your time to get your reading done. Remember, this is college level content in a high school setting. It is not supposed to be easy.

How Successful have former students been? VERY. TC Roberson always produces high powered, very competitive students that many highly sought colleges and universities are very familiar with. Some places that have accepted some of my former students include: Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, Savannah College of Art & Design, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, MIT, Georgia Tech, Davidson, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Wake Forest. AP US history was not necessarily the reason why they are attending these high powered institutions, but it did help them prepare for the rigors these schools present them with on a daily basis. As for my success rate on the test? My students have averaged better than the national average every year I have taught the course. Currently the average score on the test is close to a 2.5. My students have averaged around 3.5. Better than half earn 4’s and 5’s. The message? If you try really hard, do what I ask, come in for help if you are struggling with something, than you will be successful. Not everyone will earn a 3, 4, or a 5, but everyone can improve dramatically, and become better prepared for college.

 

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