The APUSH Plight

Juniors recount on their experiences studying for the APUSH exam, administered at an earlier date than expected due to a College Board mixup.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the weeks leading up to the AP United States History exam, APUSH students probably recall frantically binging Heimler’s videos, re-reading the textbook, and fervently taking notes in class. Though these desperate study practices have persisted for many years, students this year had a more hectic experience than usual due to a misunderstanding with the College Board that caused the exam to be administered at a much earlier date than originally anticipated. As a result, many APUSH teachers struggled to finish the curriculum, and their students were left with inadequate time to study. Students reflected on how this change shaped their overall class experience. 

They found that the earlier APUSH exam disrupted their original plans to study for their other APs. Junior Avi Liu felt overwhelmed absorbing so much content in such a short period of time: “I didn’t feel as prepared as I would’ve liked, mainly because I needed to self-study the material while also balancing studying for my other AP exams that were only a few days apart from the APUSH exam,” Liu explained. “If the exam were later, I would’ve been able to take a bit of a break after my other APs before jumping into APUSH.” 

Liu also found that the class’s quick pacing made it difficult to fully retain the content. “The pacing of the curriculum was definitely a bit too fast and I felt a lot of it didn’t stick when we went over the information in class,” Liu said. “A lot of the information was just mentioned in passing so I had to review it during my content review sessions.”

Many students expressed appreciation for their teachers, who made their best efforts to get through the curriculum and help students prepare for the exam. “Dr. Greenwald gives her lessons in an interesting narrative manner and her daily homework has been very rewarding by the time it came to the exam,” junior Jenny Chen said in an e-mail interview. “Dr. Greenwald’s in-class DBQ test was also extremely helpful, and I even based my two essays on that DBQ.”

However, with limited time and a rigorous curriculum, many students had to resort to other quick alternative studying methods. Chen used history summary videos to study. “Just watching two Adam Norris videos under 2x speed got the job done,” Chen said. “Overall, I feel confident about the exam since the video covered many of the main points.”

Liu found that using a diverse range of review materials was the best way to study. “I prepared by doing MCQ practice questions from AP Classroom and content reviewing with videos, packets from Greenwald and Moore, and reading example LEQs and DBQs from College Board,” Liu said.

While having the APUSH exam administered at an earlier date was stressful, many students reflected on the overall class experience positively. “It was tough at times, but if you try hard and come in with a mindset for learning, I really think you'll enjoy the class,” Chen said.