Varsity Tutors specializes in connecting students and their parents with qualified AP US History tutors who can help candidates improve their study skills heading into exam day. AP US History is a high school class with a college-level curriculum. It concludes with a special test called an "AP Exam" that is scored from 1-5. Students can earn college credit for their high school work if their grade on the associated AP Exam is deemed good enough by their college or university, so it's important for both you and your student to do everything right to prepare for this challenging exam. Investing in a professional AP US History tutor may be a good first step toward helping the student in your life reach for their academic goals.
What topics can AP US History tutors cover?
We can refer you to an instructor who can help your student understand every part of the class syllabus. The course starts with the year 1491 and covers American history to the present day, spending time on concepts such as America's colonial period, the American Revolution, the impact of the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the rise of the United States as a global superpower. Students are expected not only to have a firm grasp of historical events but also how to leverage potentially-biased primary sources and factual evidence to formulate an opinion about them. They are also expected to to be able to argue their point of view via effective persuasive essays.
Studying all of that material can feel overwhelming, especially in a classroom setting with a limited amount of time to cover it all. In contrast, a private AP US History tutor can introduce concepts at a pace your student is comfortable with. If they have a strong understanding of the colonial period, their instructor can focus on other areas to improve their study efficiency. If they have a harder time understanding how the United States went from a bit player in the European world to the preeminent force in international affairs, their instructor can provide additional examples and explanations until the concept clicks.
A private AP US History tutor can also design study sessions with your student's specific goals and learning style in mind to help them make the most of every session. For example, a visual learner might benefit from using flashcards to remember all of the proper nouns that have played a key role in shaping American history, while a more auditory student might get more out of an open discussion with their instructor.
Working with a private instructor also allows students to study in a one-on-one learning environment where they are their teacher's sole responsibility. All completed assignments can receive prompt feedback, making it easier for students to identify what they are doing well and which areas they may need to spend a little more time on. Similarly, any questions asked can be addressed before misunderstandings can spiral out of control.
Your student can also concentrate on broader study skills that can prove useful in AP US History and their future endeavors. For example, there are a lot of things to read in the class. If your student could retain more of the info they read, they might practice active reading skills to help improve their information retention. For instance, taking notes as you go along forces your brain to have an active engagement with the material, ensuring that it doesn't go in one ear and out the other. Students can also jot down any questions they have so that they don't forget to ask them when the opportunity presents itself.
Similarly, a student can review how to outline a writing assignment to give their piece a more consistent flow. Working from an outline can also help your student include all of the supporting details they originally intended to, mitigating that awful after-test feeling of "Rats, I should have said X!"
How can AP US History tutors help my student prepare for the AP Exam, specifically?
The AP US History Exam has a total testing time of three hours and 15 minutes divided into Sections 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B. Here is a closer look at each aspect of the test:
Section 1A is a multiple-choice section consists of 55 items over a testing session lasting 55 minutes. Questions are generally presented in groups of 3-4 with accompanying primary or secondary sources that students must interpret in order to arrive at the correct response. Graphs and maps may also be provided with some of the questions. This section represents 40% of a student's final grade.
Every multiple-choice question contains information, and it may be possible to leverage one question against another to determine the correct answer. If a student is still unsure of an answer, they may be able to eliminate obviously incorrect answer choices and try to deduce it that way. If your student is uncomfortable doing this, learning how to do so can be a focus of their AP US History tutoring sessions.
Section 1B is a short-answer section where students have 40 minutes to answer three questions. The first one contains two secondary sources to compare and contrast, while the second question has a primary source for test-takers to interpret. Students finish the section by choosing either question three (covering 1491-1877) or question four (1865-2001). Neither includes any sources, so students are encouraged to select the era they are most comfortable working with. This section is worth 20% of a student's final score.
Time management is an extremely important skill in this section. If your student cannot complete and proofread all three answers in the 40-minute time frame allotted to them, they can work with their instructor to come up with strategies to help them work more quickly.
Section 2A is a Document-Based-Question, or DBQ for short. Students are given seven documents representing historical evidence to incorporate into a persuasive essay about a topic provided. Test-takers are given a total of one hour to finish, including a 15-minute "reading period" during which they are prohibited from writing their response. Documents used must also be cited in the essay, so you can't just ignore them. This section is worth 25% of a test-taker's final score.
A DBQ can be one of the most intimidating writing assignments out there because organization, historical knowledge, written communication, and reading comprehension are all rolled into one question. Your student may complete practice questions during their AP US History tutoring sessions to help them understand exactly what they can expect on the exam. Their instructor can also review their work and identify any areas of opportunity for improvement.
Finally, Section 2B is a long answer writing prompt. Test-takers have 40 minutes to answer one of three essay prompts. Option one is about a topic from the year 1491-1800, option two from 1800-1898, and option three from 1890-2001. There are no bonus points for choosing the most difficult assignment, so students should select whatever they feel the most comfortable writing about. This section represents 15% of a test-taker's final grade.
Composing an outline is a great way to begin this section. Students should also leave enough time at the end to proofread their work, as it's better for them to catch and correct a mistake than a grader deducting points for it.
Many students also take practice exams during AP US History tutoring sessions to develop a sense of what to expect when they sit down for the actual test. Experiencing what the time available feels like firsthand is one of the best ways to learn how to budget it effectively, helping your student get to every question. It can also be beneficial for students to understand how the exam words things, making it easier to spot phrases such as "not" and "except" that completely change an item's meaning.
How can Varsity Tutors help me connect with AP US History tutors?
AP US History is something of a niche topic, so it could be tough to find an instructor who knows about it on your own. We can match you with a knowledgeable instructor in as little as 24 hours, allowing your student to get the help they need in a timely manner.
We also make attending sessions as convenient as possible. For example, our exclusive Live Learning Platform facilitates digital study sessions so you don't need to worry about cleaning up the house because your student's tutor is coming over or driving through traffic to get to a session on time. Powerful features such as video chat functionality and a virtual whiteboard provide your student with a face-to-face study experience, so you're not compromising quality for convenience. You are also in complete control over the timing of every session, allowing standardized test prep to revolve around your needs instead of vice versa.
That said, none of it starts until you reach out to an educational consultant to get the process started. Contact Varsity Tutors today for more information on how to work with AP US History tutors today!