What is AP?
AP, or Advanced Placement, is a curriculum / exam organized by the College Board (an NPO). The aim is to prepare high school students in certain subjects at an academic level. American colleges and universities may grant placement and / or course credit to students who obtain high scores on AP exams, i.e. a result from grade 3 to 5.
Why study AP European History?
In the Advanced Placement of the American College Board there are three different history courses: AP US History, AP European History, AP World History. In our program it is possible to study each of those courses if there is demand, however we do focus on AP European History, and it is also the theme of our regular AP class. There are a few reasons for that, listed below you canfind the most important ones.
1. The statistical chance for a student to achieve a useful result, i.e. grade 3 to 5, is higher for AP European History than for the two other AP History courses.
The comparison of AP exam results between the years 2011 and 2017 reveals that on average 61% of students taking AP European History were graded between ‘qualified’ and ‘extremely well qualified’. Only 51% of students in AP World History and 52% of students taking AP US History accomplished that.
Even though in the ‘extremely well qualified’ segment AP US History and AP European History are mostly heads on, on average the chance of AP US History students to score ‘extremely well qualified’ – grade 5 – is only 1% higher than that of AP European History students, while the average of AP US History students end up 11% lower than AP European History in getting a ‘qualified’ grade.
(See: A comparison of the results of the AP exams from 2011 to 2017, Appendix A)
2. AP European History is considered by many students to be easier to master.
AP US History deals with a quite limited time and space in history in which not too many major historical events occurred, thusly it is focusing extremely on a great number of minor details which may make studying them dull. Additionally those details may be difficult to remember. AP World History goes the opposite direction by essentially covering all times and spaces in history, which results in a huge amount of information. Due to that fact much more time is needed to learn all the relevant information.
AP European History goes a good middle way, it offers a lot of major topics and events of the history of the world, while being limited in scope to a certain time frame. It’s not covering too much information. It is thusly easier for a magnitude of students to learn the necessary material.
3. AP European History educates students more extensively about the development of history than AP US History does.
The rather narrow focus of AP US History is not as suitable as the more inclusive AP European History for students to get an overall understanding of the main topics of history.
How is the course structured?
The whole course consists of 30 units, each unit consisting of 2 lessons (2 x 45 min = 90 min). For a certain period of the AP European History course 2 units per day are taught consecutively. Of course a reasonably timed break is given between 2 consecutive units, in order for students minds to have sufficient time to regenerate.
From the Late Middle-ages topics like the Renaissance, Reformation, Religious Wars, Exploration, Conquest, Absolutism, Revolutions, Ideologies, Nationalism up to the events surrounding the World Wars and the Cold War will be taught and discussed in class.
Besides the content itself the students receive an introduction into the AP exam, its structure, focus of grading and systematics.
Key elements of practice for the AP exam are the testing of factual knowledge, the skill of text and source analysis, the ability to identify the context of documents and to categorize them as well as the art of crafting good theses essays.
How does the course benefit the student?
At the end of the course the student will have the ability to attend the AP European History exam with a good chance to receive the result ‘qualified’ or better. This will give the student a real advantage when applying for studying at US colleges, under the condition of course that the colleges in question accept AP credits. A few notable schools that accept AP credits are Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia, UCLA, Northwestern University, Rice University, the University of Missouri, Boston University, Drexel University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For a complete list of all universities accepting AP credits please visit:
An other benefit is that the student will also have vastly improved his knowledge of history which is helpful in school as well as in university, and the skills acquired regarding source analysis and essay drafting are useful in any academic subject and also for working life.
What is the most important requirement for this course?
The basic requirement and an absolute condition sine qua non for positive results is the willingness and ability of the student to do an EXTENSIVE AMOUNT OF SELFSTUDY. The whole course depends on the student to do his homework assignments with utmost diligence. If the student does not also invest sufficient time outside the classroom into the study of European History, then he most likely will not succeed.
Which material is used in this course?
The main work used for this course is A History of Western Society Since 1300 – For AP (McKay et al.). Further more Barron’s AP European History can be used to supplement the course.
主要的授课教材是“A History of Western Society Since 1300 – For AP (McKay et al.)”，此外，Barron的AP欧洲历史书也会作为辅助材料来补充。
Appendix A – A comparison of the results of the AP exams from 2011 to 2017 percentage of students with an AP result from ‘qualified’ to ‘extremely well qualified’
Percentage of students with an AP result ‘well and extremely well qualified’
Percentage of students with an AP result ‘qualified’
Percentage of students without a qualified AP result, meaning for most purposes it is useless.
Highest percentage of students scoring ‘qualified’ to‘extremely well qualified’ achieved in a year between 2011-2017