What to Know About the Different Standardized History Exams
AP exams are administered during the first two weeks of May, so now is the perfect time to review the exams and learn more about what you can expect. Students who are interested in history may wish to consider taking both the AP US History (APUSH) and AP World exam, but it’s important to understand how the tests differ in order to prepare strategically.
The tests themselves cover very different material, and differ in format from SAT Subject Tests on similar topics. Keep reading to learn more about each exam, how it compares to the SAT subject test, and what you need to keep in mind to prepare for test day!
AP World: What to Know
According to Khan Academy, the World History AP exam asks students to investigate six historical periods from 8000 B.C.E. to modern day. Within these time periods, minimal emphasis is placed on the United States and approximately 20% of the test is focused on European history. Students who have taken the AP World course prior to the examination should be familiar with most of the content, but for those who haven’t it can be a significant learning curve. In general, the AP World exam covers a vast amount of history, so it’s important to prepare thoroughly and review each historical period featured.
AP World History Exam Versus SAT Subject Test
While both exams focus on gauging a student’s knowledge of world history, the content breakdown varies considerably. For the AP exam, there is a greater focus on 600 C.E. to present day, while the SAT Subject Test places a greater emphasis on civilizations prior to 500 C.E. While students can follow a similar study schedule and review notes from class for each exam, it’s important to tailor the content you are studying so that it aligns with the subjects that are emphasized on the exam you are taking.
APUSH: What to Know
Students will need to put in additional study time in order to perform well on the APUSH exam. While a high school APUSH course will cover a good deal of the content featured on the exam, students need to be able to memorize and apply this knowledge for success. Fortunately for US students testing for this exam, it is likely that much of the content has been reviewed through years of American-focused history courses, which may help minimize the amount of outside studying needed.
APUSH Exam Versus SAT Subject Test
Just like the World tests, the exam structure differs between the APUSH test and the SAT Subject test. About 50% of the AP exam focuses on the 1890s to present day, while this period allots for only 40% of the content on the SAT Subject Test.
World versus US
At the end of the day, it’s important to consider several factors when choosing which exams to sit for. In addition to variations in test design and content, some exams may just be easier for students to prepare for. Given that US history covers 600 years of knowledge, versus 2000+ plus on the world exam, some students may opt for the former option to lessen the amount of content they will need to study.
Students should also note that while AP exams are always held in May, SAT Subject Tests can be taken throughout the year. The World History exam is scheduled three times per year, while US History is offered six times annually.
It’s important for students preparing for exams to learn the intricacies of each test and study accordingly. If you are preparing for an SAT Subject Test or AP exam and looking for additional guidance, our team of expert tutors can help you feel confident on test day.