AP US History

DHHS--Mr. Hulse

Frequently asked questions about being successful in AP US History

Q: How should I study for exams?

A: There is no one set formula that works for everyone.  It is recommended that students combine study methods and find a balance that is appropriate for them.  Studying generally should include: reading all text material prior to in class lectures and asking appropriate questions, taking good notes in class and reviewing notes prior to the test, completing all relevant assignments during the unit, and reviewing the text and notes a second time prior to the exam.  Students may find that doing more is necessary or that they can get away with less; but it is paramount that students start early in each unit.  University studies show that hours of cramming the night prior to an exam yield poor results compared to the amount of time spent.

Q: I'm reading the book, taking notes, and studying; yet I'm still struggling.  What can I do?

A: Please understand that it is common for students to struggle at various times during the school year in AP US History.  For most students the problem is test taking skills.  It is recommended that when students have struggled on two or more consecutive tests, despite thorough studying, that they make an appointment to see Mr. Hulse during tutorial and look over a recent test.  Students often have difficulty with certain types of questions and can adopt simple strategies which will show measurable results.  Other students may struggle with the text and assigned readings, in that case they need to adopt additional strategies to help them with their reading.  Many students find review books helpful, while some students will benefit greatly from taking notes while they read.  After reading a chapter from the textbook or a smaller portion of the text, students should be able to orally summarize the main points of what they just read.  Students must be able to read and understand the text in order to be succesful in AP US History.

Q: Should I buy a review book? Which one?

A: Yes, I highly recommend any student who feels like they would like an additional resource to study from should buy an AP US History review book.  The review book should never take the place of the text, but is an excellent resource to use in conjunction with the text.  Students most often use review books to look up difficult concepts or as a study guide reading it before or after a text assignment.  The two review books recommend are published by REA and Princeton Review, both are available at local book stores and through online retailers. 

Q: Do you take late work?

A: All assignments unless specifically noted in class are acceptable for half credit up until the published due dates.  Published due dates are announced on the syllabus page of this website.

Q: I've always gotten A's in history, why don't I have an A in AP US History?

A: AP US History is quite a bit more difficult than most history courses from which students have been able to choose up until this point in their academic careers.  AP US History requires students to learn a great deal more than most history classes.  Additionally, students are challenged to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways with which they may not have been in previous history classes.  Many students taking AP US History may be surprised with the level of the material initially but should be able to adjust their study habits to accomodate the difference.

Q: How do I know if I should drop?

A: As long as a student is willing to continue doing the assigned work including the reading there is absolutely no reason to drop prior to the six week progress report.  At the six week mark students with grades below 60% will be recommended for a level change.  Students should prior to making the decision to drop consult with Mr. Hulse. 

Q: What does the AP US History exam look like?

A: The AP US History exam is divided into two parts.  The first part is an 80 question multiple choice section.  Students must complete the first section in 55 minutes or less.  The second section is comprised of three essay questions one of which is document based.  Students have 2 hours and 15 minutes to plan and write three essays.  Example questions are available on the College Board's website.  The test is scored on a scale from 1-5.  A score of 3 or better may earn college credit depending on the policy of the individual college or university.

Q: Should I take the AP exam?

A: Typically students with at least a high B in AP US History have been very succesful on the AP exam.  Students with lower grades will typically be succesful based on their willingness to prepare.  Prior to the AP exam Mr. Hulse will offer review session both during class and after school.  Most students will also find it helpful to complete additional review on thier own.  Students unwilling to devote additional time outside of class to study and preparation for the exam should consider not purchasing the exam.

Q: As a parent, how can I monitor my student's progress?

A: Grades are posted regularly in class.  Students are responsible for completing a grade check sheet, a comprehensive log of all past and current assignments and grades.  Low test scores and poor score on reading quizzes are often indicative of students who are not completing the assigned reading in a timely manner.  Assignment calendars are posted regularly on this website on the Calendar page.  Parents can use the calendar to verify assignments and readings are being completed. Mr. Hulse is available to answer questions or provide grade verifications via email at mshulse@capousd.org.