Announcing Mastering the Essay - AP European History Edition | Sherpa Learning

Announcing Mastering the Essay - AP European History Edition

Announcing Mastering the Essay - AP European History Edition

Sherpa Learning Releases Mastering the Essay—A Skills-Based Exam Prep Program Built Around the Redesigned AP European History Course and 2016 Exam—by Tony Maccarella

Sherpa Learning Releases Mastering the Essay—A Skills-Based Exam Prep Program Built Around the Redesigned AP European History Course and 2016 Exam—by Tony Maccarella

West Milford, NJ — The College Board, in an effort to focus more on a student's ability to think like a historian rather than simply recall facts, has redesigned the AP European History course framework, making significant changes to the curriculum outline and standards, as well as to the question formats and scoring guidelines for the exam. Finding themselves in the same boat as last year’s AP U.S. History community, AP Euro students and teachers are searching for resources that will help them make sense of the changes and prepare them for the exam in May 2016. Sherpa Learning has responded with Mastering the Essay, AP European History Edition by Tony Maccarella.

Sherpa Learning (, a print and digital publisher of teacher-developed resources for high-achieving students, has teamed up with author, educator, and AP Euro exam reader, Tony Maccarella, to create an AP Euro program that accurately targets the new Historical Thinking Skills, Thematic Learning Objectives, and Key Concepts of the recently redesigned course guidelines. Mastering the Essay employs a 6-step process that teaches students how to plan and execute high-scoring essays in both the Long Essay and Document-Based Question (DBQ) formats. The program also includes instruction and practice exercises for the new style of Multiple-Choice Question and the brand new (and anxiety-inducing) Short-Answer Question.

Author Tony Maccarella explains that Mastering the Essay is superior to traditional AP “test prep” books because of its focus on the often-neglected part of the exam—the part that will make or break an exam score—the essays. Students are guided through a process for developing consistently strong thesis essays—the kind of writing necessary for the LEQ and DBQ essays on the new AP exam, as well as most college-level essays. Rather than simply drilling students with hundreds of multiple-choice questions, Mastering the Essay delves into the difficult skills required for the exam essays, like the ability to analyze historical documents and to synthesize historical data across chronological periods and geographic regions.

“When we speak with AP Euro students about the new exam, we find that they’re placing a lot of confidence in the practice exams produced by traditional test-prep companies,” said Sherpa’s Founder/CEO David Nazarian, “And yet, most teachers, are less-than confident in these same resources—especially in lieu of the redesign and it's departure from recall-based testing. They understand students need content that is developed as carefully and thoughtfully as the exam itself."

The AP European History edition of Mastering the Essay includes sample essays, scoring guidelines for each exercise, instructional resources for use in and out of the classroom, writing-skills lessons designed to fit any historical unit, and 100+ practice exercises with answer explanations, which includes 30 full-length Document-Based Questions (DBQs). Each set of exercises includes items/activities from every historical period, making it possible to integrate the materials at any point in the course.

The print edition of Mastering the Essay is available now at The print edition includes an Instructional Handbook and an Exercise Workbook. A digital edition (for Android, iOS, and online) is also in development and expected to begin beta-testing by the Team Sherpa community within the next month. A subscription-based format is also in development.

About the Author

Tony Maccarella taught AP European History at Parsippany Hills High School in Parsippany, NJ for over a decade. Prior to teaching at Parsippany Hills, he taught at Egg Harbor Township High School and Dunellen Senior High School. Tony has been teaching social studies since 1982, and besides European History, he has taught World History, AP US History, Comparative Governments, Anthropology, Psychology, Economics and Military History.

Since 2002, Tony has served as a Reader and Table Leader for the AP European History exam. He is responsible for scoring AP European History exam questions, supervising other readers, and assisting with the clarification of scoring standards.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from St. Joseph’s University and a Masters in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. In 1988, Tony was a New Jersey Governor’s School teacher-scholar, and in 1990, he was awarded the New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Grant for his “History in the News” activity, a writing skills program that employs the journalistic process in the history classroom.

About Sherpa Learning

Launched in August of 2014 and based in West Milford, NJ, Sherpa Learning is a trusted publisher of print and digital skills-based instructional resources written by rock star teachers (i.e., leaders within their discipline) for Advanced Placement (AP) and other high-level courses. Founded on the principle that educators should author educational resources with collaborative input from the extended teaching community, Sherpa Learning develops resources for teachers, by teachers. Over 2,200 educators from across the country are registered with Team Sherpa to review, develop, and test original content. The company is currently producing both online and print resources for AP, Pre-AP, and Honors courses.


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