By Lynette Aslanian and Nolan Sheow
Since AP European History is one of the only AP classes available for upcoming sophomores to take, the class catches the eyes of eager freshmen wanting to challenge themselves.
Most students are inclined to take AP Euro because it is one of the most challenging classes available, but students don’t realize how difficult the course truly is. Even though AP Euro has its perks, the class is very tough and time consuming, with the copious readings and extensive curriculum. The amount of information that has to be learned can put a dent in your schedule. In addition, the readings are tedious and tend to be confusing, which is why students often stop reading the book after the first month of school.
The notorious 20 question study guides aren’t as difficult as they are time consuming. In order to be successful on study guides, you must go over notes and read through the book in order to gain answers. Study guides are supposed to be done gradually throughout the unit, but students often procrastinate until the night before the due date.
AP Euro covers everything that happened in Europe from 1450 to present day. Whether it was religious, social, economic, or political, every aspect of European history is accounted for. Falling behind is not an option. If you slack off, it’s very strenuous and difficult to get back on track.
This is why falling behind can be so detrimental. The AP Exam covers all the material during the school year, with one Free Response essay, one Document-Based essay, a short answer portion, and a multiple choice portion. It is critical to do well on the exam because some universities, such as USC, give students college credit for the class if they earn a 4 or 5. If you already have credit for the class in high school, you don’t have to waste money or time on taking a similar class in college.
Despite all the difficulties, AP Euro is a class worth taking if you are willing to work hard enough. Being the first AP class that sophomores are allowed to take, the quick pace will take some time to get used to. It may seem stressful at first, with daily quizzes and long readings at night, but it gets easier as the year goes on, simply because students get used to them.
The skills you learn in AP Euro, like writing a DBQ, document-based essay, and FRQ, free response essay, will come in handy if you are thinking of taking an AP history course in the future. Most of these classes will expect you to have a basic understanding of how to write a document based essay or a free response essay.
Some of the content covered in AP Euro will also align with content covered in other classes, like Honors English. Sophomores learn about World War I right around the same time they read 1984, allowing students to make connections between history and Orwell’s writing. Having background knowledge while reading 1984 gives students the opportunity to analyze the book more in depth.
As Mr. Lively framed it, “I would tell the freshmen that AP Euro is not necessarily so important to a college transcript, but it is a class that is extremely rewarding if you love history and it could be extremely rewarding for those who want to intellectually develop the necessary skills that will allow them to succeed junior year in three to four AP classes.”
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