7 More Essential Tips for the AP Exam | Sherpa Learning

7 More Essential Tips for the AP Exam

7 Essential Tips

for the AP Exam


The AP History exams are rapidly approaching! Veteran AP U.S. History teacher and exam reader, Rich Mayorga, Ed.S. (author of 5-Minute Drill and former Arizona Teacher of the Year), has been guiding his Advanced Placement students to 4s and 5s for over two decades. Each year he makes sure that all of his students are crystal clear on these essential tips that can help test-takers avoid losing valuable points to simple mistakes that could have been easily avoided.


If you missed the first 7 tips, click here.

Try to use correct and pertinent terminology (buzz words like mercantilism, salutary neglect, Gilded Age, imperialism, etc.) & vocabulary.


Pay special attention to the years/era in the question – it’s often a major hint to the answer!


Do not preach or moralize in your essay. This is an essay, not an editorial. Do not use, “I think…” or “This is why we are Americans today.”


Be clear and concise, and write a content driven paper that completely answers the question. Quality pre-writing is the key to a high-scoring, well-organized essay.


Save a bit of time: when referencing a document in a DBQ, citing the author’s name is not an advantage unless there is a specific reason to include it.


Underline your thesis and key rubric aspects (contextualization, evidence beyond the documents, historical situation, audience, point of view and purpose) so they stand out.


Your thesis is the most important part of your essay. Be sure your thesis is clear and that it’s consistent with your conclusion.


And one more for good measure...

Be sure to rehearse the essay scoring rubrics well; practice equates to success.


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