Read an Excerpt
Welcome to REA’s All Access for AP U.S. History
New Prep for the New Test
There’s no two ways about it. The redesigned 2015 AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam is notably different from previous versions of the test—but don’t worry, we’re here to help you prepare.
REA’s AP U.S. History All Access is organized to get you on track with a study plan so you can take the exam with confidence and get a high score. The more you know about the new AP U.S. History exam and how the questions will be presented, the better you’ll do.
Here are some of the valuable features you’ll find in AP U.S. History All Access:
• A complete course review, spanning pre-Columbian societies to the early 21st century, that’s structured to help you apply the four skill types the College Board says you need: chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization, crafting historical arguments from historical evidence, and historical interpretation and synthesis.
• Carefully constructed true-to-format practice tests—one in the book and one online—give you the look and feel of the revamped exam.
• A recap of major figures in American history organized by the nine historical periods covered by the test.
• Quick-access summaries of major wars, important treaties, and the presidential elections.
• An online glossary of must-know AP U.S. History terms.
• A detailed index to allow you to flip to any topic for quick review.
A Snapshot of the Redesigned Exam
The College Board’s AP U.S. History Development Committee periodically reviews the APUSH exam to ensure that it’s aligned with college-level work and expectations. College faculty and expert AP educators are surveyed, and the findings are shared before exam and course revisions are carried out. The 2015 AP U.S. History exam represents just such an event.
Based on our close analysis of the revised exam, REA has developed a set of strategies that you can use to tackle the exam efficiently and successfully. These strategies are covered in detail in Chapter 2. But for now, let’s look at how your score points are distributed and give you a glimpse at the exam’s two sections, both of which are divided into two parts:
Section I includes 55 multiple-choice questions, which you will see in Part A, and four short-answer questions, which will appear in Part B. You will be given 55 minutes for the multiple-choice part and 50 minutes for the short-answer part. The entire section accounts for 60% of your total score.
The APUSH exam’s new look begins with a different approach to multiple-choice questions, which account for more of your score than any other part—40% of total available score points. You will be presented with a number of question sets, each with at least two questions. These questions are associated with stimulus material, which sets the tone for the revised exam’s emphasis on critical thinking. The stimulus material can be primary or secondary sources, which may include texts, images (e.g., photographs or cartoons), graphs, or maps. Be prepared to compare and contrast historical periods by identifying underlying or prevailing themes.
Short-answer questions are brand new to the exam and are worth 20% of your score. These four questions require you to address one or more historical themes. Section II includes the document-based and long-essay questions. The exam has one of each. You are given 90 minutes to complete this section. The College Board recommends spending 15 minutes reading the material for the document-based question and 40 minutes writing your answer. They suggest using the remaining 35 minutes to write the long essay. This entire section accounts for 40% of your total exam score.
The document-based question, or DBQ as it’s better known, is a mainstay of the exam that “measures students’ ability to analyze and synthesize historical data and to assess verbal, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence,” according to the College Board. Your key to success with the DBQ, which is worth 25% of your total available score points, is to use your outside knowledge to lend context to documents with which you’re presented.
Then there’s the long essay, which, while worth the least in terms of score value—15%—could be just the thing to help you earn a top score. Here you will have a choice between two comparable long-essay options. Pick the one you’re more comfortable with, and show the AP readers the historical thinking skills you’ve honed with help from REA.
Now that you’ve got a good grasp of what’s on the new AP U.S. History exam, let’s learn how this All Access prep package can help you study more effectively and score higher on the test.
How to Use REA’s AP All Access
There are many different ways to prepare for an AP exam. What’s best for you depends on how much time you have to study and how comfortable you are with the subject matter. To score your highest, you need a system that can be customized to fit you: your schedule, your learning style, and your current level of knowledge.
This book, and the free online tools that come with it, will help you personalize your AP prep by testing your understanding, pinpointing your weaknesses, and delivering flashcard study materials unique to you.
The REA AP All Access system allows you to create a personalized study plan through three simple steps: targeted review of exam content, assessment of your knowledge, and focused study in the topics where you need the most help.
Here’s how it works:
Review the Book: Study the topics tested on the AP exam and learn proven strategies that will help you tackle any question you may see on test day.
Test Yourself & Get Feedback: As you review the book, test yourself. Score reports from your free online tests and quizzes give you a fast way to pinpoint what you really know and what you should spend more time studying.
Improve Your Score: Armed with your score reports, you can personalize your study plan. Review the parts of the book where you are weakest, and use the REA Study Center to create your own unique e-flashcards, adding to the 100 free cards included with this book.
Finding Your Strengths and Weaknesses: The REA Study Center
The best way to personalize your study plan and truly focus on the topics where you need the most help is to get frequent feedback on what you know and what you don’t. At the online REA Study Center, you can access three types of assessment: end-of-chapter quizzes, mini-tests, and a full-length practice test. Each of these tools delivers a detailed score report that follows the topics set by the College Board.
9 End-of-Chapter Quizzes - Short online quizzes are available throughout the review and are designed to test your immediate grasp of the topics just covered.
2 Mini-Tests (Just like your own midterm and final) - Available both in this book and online, two mini-tests cover what you’ve studied in each half of the book. These tests are like the actual AP exam, only shorter, and will help you evaluate your overall understanding of the subject.
2 Full-Length Practice Tests - After you’ve finished reviewing the book, take our full-length exams to practice under test-day conditions. Practice Test 1 is available in this book and Practice Test 2 is online at the REA Study Center (www.rea.com/studycenter). These tests give you the most complete picture of your strengths and weaknesses. We strongly recommend that you take the online version of the exam for the added benefits of timed testing, automatic scoring, and a detailed score report.
Improving Your Score: e-Flashcards - Once you get your score reports from the online quizzes and tests, you’ll be able to see exactly which topics you need to review. Use this information to create your own flashcards for the areas where you still need additional practice. And, because you will create these flashcards through the REA Study Center, you’ll be able to access them from any computer or smartphone. Not quite sure what to put on your flashcards? Start with the 100 free cards included when you buy this book.
After the Full-Length Practice Tests: Crash Course
After finishing this book and taking our full-length practice exams, pick up REA’s Crash Course for AP U.S. History, 3rd Edition. Use your most recent score reports to identify any areas where you still need additional review, and turn to the Crash Course for a rapid review presented in a concise outline style.