AP European History: Popes, Kings, & Wars

Material Type(s)- Memorization, Theme Analyses
Textbook Recommendation(s)- A History to Western Society by McKay, The Western Heritage by Donald Kagan
Review Book Recommendation(s)- Modern European History by Vialt, REA’s Crash Course to the AP European History Exam
Similar/Relevant Courses: AP/Honor’s World History, AP Art History

Amongst all the AP social sciences/histories, AP Euro is arguably the most detailed course of them all. Covering Europe from 1450 to present, APEH densely covers topics that usually are brushed over/left out of the much, much broader AP World History. Many AP Euro students are sophomores trying their hand out at an AP history class after an honor’s world history course.

When it comes to studying, prepare to memorize many details about many (often similar or repetitive) historical events. For instance, there’s a difference between Ivan III and Ivan IV (Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible, respectively). A lot of AP questions will require a combination of many different themes and facts, same story on the FRQs. Studying is simply going to boil down to reading your textbook/notes repeatedly. We suggest Modern European History as a bit of an ‘encyclopedia’ to every event you’ll need to know for AP Euro with important tidbits like their effects, controversies, and legacies.

The AP exam is known to be rather difficult. Half is multiple choice, and the other half consists of a data based question and two free response questions. Thankfully, the DBQ honestly requires little background knowledge, making it easy points with a little reading, some analyses, and a lot of fluff. With the FRQ’s, specifics like dates and appropriate titles (like Pope Boniface VIII) are going to be the necessary bump if you want that 5.

Start looking over your material weeks beforehand and really cram through your material if you want that 4 or 5. In 2010, about 31.1% of exam takers scored a 4 or 5. We would really recommend the use of REA’s Crash Course when cramming, as it boils down one of the most detailed curricula into a 200 page outline with a plethora of tips and strategies to maximize studying efficiency. For instance, World War II is a very aggressively covered topic, while REA provides a page of information on it saying how WWII generates so few questions. On the actual exam, seldom do more than 2-3 questions come up on WWII, saving you hours of time. With an already strong Euro knowledge background, we honestly can recommend nothing better than the Crash Course.

AP Euro will definitely open your eyes up to the European world and how it was shaped. Although a difficult and detailed course, it’s certainly feasible, even through self-study. You have a huge overlap with AP World (AP Euro’s details will over-prepare you for AP World’s European topics, and World will sum up AP Euro topics nicely), so take advantage of that if possible. AP Art History may help you out with a lot of Renaissance/Reformation stuff. Europe and its peoples have certainly had a strong impact on every continent, from South America to Oceania. But really knowing how Europe itself was shaped? Priceless.

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