AP History, It’s Time to Step Up

by Adam Levine ’20

For all the AP level history courses offered at Sherwood, the writing portion takes up 60 percent of the exam. While these writing sections do allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of that respective section of history, a lot of preparation for this exam takes form in learning how to write each type of prompt, taking focus away from the content of the course. The writing sections include the Short Answer Question, Long Essay Question, and the Document Based Question.

To demonstrate a knowledge of history and also one’s historical analysis abilities, one solution could be to increase the length of the multiple choice section, which tests students in their knowledge of world history and their ability to understand a document or visual. But I believe a better solution would be to offer a revised writing section with a larger focus on source analysis. While the Document Based Question does offer this in some form, it is not to the extent that this revised section could reach. This, paired with the current or a slightly larger multiple choice section, could make for a new AP history curriculum that forces students to learn how to be a good historian as well as being a good writer.