AP World History
  Frequently Asked Questions

Updated February 16, 2014
1. Where can I get "start up" materials for APWH?
2. What's the deal with "C.E."?
 
3. What about "redesign"?
4. Where can I get help with my AP course audit?
5. Where can I get help from real APWH teachers?

6. What text books do APWH teachers recommend?
7. What about supplemental readers?
8. What are some popular APWH reading assignments?
9. What are some popular APWH movies to show in class?
10. Should I become an APWH essay reader?
11. Why? 

12. How is the APWH exam different from APEH or APUS?
13. What grade level takes the most APWH exams?

14. Is APWH "anti-Western Civ"?

15. How many students take the APWH exam?
16. What is the best "test preparation" book (Barron's, Princeton Review, Peterson's etc) ?
17. Is AP European History dying because of APWH?

18. How do I incorporate block scheduling into APWH?

1. Where can I get "start up" materials for APWH?

Go to the AP World History Course Home Page  to download the AP World History Course and Exam Description. 
You can also download previous APWH released essays and rubrics

Without a doubt, the very best way to learn how to teach APWH is
through an APWH Institute in the summer, taught by College Board-approved consultants.

During the school year, shorter seminars held by the CB are the next best th
ing.  You can search for these here.

2. What's the deal with "C.E."? 

Part of the "new" World History is an acknowledgement that "Anno Domini", i.e., "In the year of Our Lord",
isn't a universally accepted designation of time. 
Thus, A.D. became "C.E." for "Common Era" and B.C. became "B.C.E." for "Before the Common Era". 
Yep, I stumbled at first over this terminology, but since that's what is used on the APWH exam,
I'm doing my students a favor by using BCE/CE in class. 


3. What about "redesign" and the audit?

If you haven't heard (where have you been?), APWH was redesigned starting in the 2011-2012 year,
just as it has been continually since it began in 2002. 

Here's an example:  Instead of asking a multiple choice question like, "Which Chinese dynasty traded
with the Roman Empire?", there will be more synthesis/analysis questions and questions based on reading selections. 
For now, the essays and their rubrics haven't changed.
The idea behind redesign is to incorporate more materials that get students
to analyze and link
important themes in World History. 
See the Course and Exam Description link in #1 above.

By the way, more changes are coming, but not for a few years.  The College Board will give you a "heads-up" 2 years in advance.


4. Where can I get help with my APWH course audit? here.


5. Where can I get help from real APWH teachers?  

Join the College Board-sponsored APWH Teacher Community.


6. What text books do APWH teachers recommend?

The four most popular texts cited by APWH teachers are:  Bentley and Ziegler's Traditions and Encounters;
Stearns, et al,  World Civilizations:The Global Experience (the AP edition);
and Bulliet, et al, The Earth and Its Peoples (the AP edition)and Strayer's
Ways of the World,With Resources
There are several other excellent choices, including Voyages in World History.
To order sample copies, see the link to these and other texts at my APWH site. 

I switched from the Stearns text to Ways of the World by Strayer. 
Wow--it's compact, readable, comparatively inexpensive and has a section at the end of each chapter of visual and textual documents. 


7. What about supplemental readers?

See the links at my site for sample copies of these, too.  Andrea and Overfield's The Human Record and
Wiesner-Hank's Discovering the Global Past
are two of the most popular.
There are other good choices.  I use Andrea and Overfield.

Each set of documents come with excellent questions for the student to consider.


8. What are some popular APWH reading assignments?

The Big Daddy of "New World History" books is the classic
The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492

by Dr. Alfred Crosby.

Other popular titles include:
Guns, Germs and Steel 
King Leopold's Ghost
 
Salt

Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World 

A History of the World in Six Glasses

Tastes of Paradise
Things Fall Apart and
The World That Trade Created

You can look these up at Amazon.com & BN.com
. 

PS: If you look up The Columbian Exchange at Amazon.com, you'll see a
sidebar with a helpful list put together by Tom Martin.


9. How many students take the APWH exam?


About 230,000 in 2013, and growing each year.  In 2002, the first year of the exam, the number was 22,000.
World History is the fastest-growing AP exam in the College Board's history. 

10. Should I become an APWH essay reader?

YES.

11. Why? 

You will have the greatest experience of your professional career. 
(That's not just me talking; former Chief Reader Ken Curtis of the University of California, Long Beach, agrees.) 
You will spend a week learning from and hanging out with some of the best world history teachers and professors on the planet. 
You will learn more about teaching APWH in that week than you would on your own in years. 
We have a blast!  You get paid for reading; plus your travel, room and food is paid for by the College Board.

They're looking for readers, so why not fill out an application?  You need experience teaching APWH or its college equivalent to apply.
 
Info Here

12. Is the APWH exam different from APEH or APUS?
Yes, but not by much. 
There are 70 Multiple Choice questions, a DBQ, a Continuity and Change Over Time essay and a Comparative essay. 
Unlike in EH or USH, the 3 essays are equally weighted.  There are no groups of essays from which to choose,
although internal choice is possible in the CCOT and Comparative essays. 
The biggest difference in the DBQ is that it tells students to cite an additional kind of document and how it could help them address the question. 
As in EH, but unlike US History, outside information on the DBQ is currently not required--but students MUST use ALL of the docs.


13. What grade level takes the most APWH exams?


Over 70% of the test takers are 10th graders.  Even some ninth graders-gulp!- take the exam. 
Not surprisingly, 11th and 12th graders as a group do better than the lower grades.
Regardless of the grade level at which an AP class is offered, it is important to remember that all AP classes are college-level courses.


14. Is APWH "anti-Western Civ"?

All of the APWH people I've run into are "pro-global" rather than "anti" anything.  It was explained to me this way: 
Look at history as if you were viewing the world from space.  What common themes run through all humanity over time? 

Another way of looking at it is: When you studied US History, did you study the history of the 50 individual states?
No, you studied American history.  Same with this "new" World History.  Although educated primarily in Western Civ,
I am intrigued by this approach.
I will confess that I first taught APWH in my 20th year of teaching, after many years' experience with APUS and APEH,
and that first year was very, very challenging.
Wrapping your mind around global, not national, themes can take some time if you're not used to it.

1
5. What about popular APWH movies to show in class?
Teachers who find the time in their schedule to show movies recommend a great variety of films. 
Many teachers budget their limited time by showing segments of films rather than the whole thing. With 10,000+ years to cover in less than 9 months, 
I can only manage to squeeze in some of the excellent "Millennium" series from CNN (1999).  Look for it on ebay, Amazon, or on youtube, under "CNN Millennium".  In addition, "Engineering an Empire" is a student-friendly series about global architecture and technology that I show in short segments. 
My students like the Maya episode best.

On youtube, John Green's "Crash Course: World History" has taken the APWH community by storm.  Fast, funny and informative. 
Not connected to the AP World History Crash Course student study guide I wrote.


16. What is the best "test preparation" book (Barron's, Princeton Review, Peterson's, etc) ?


See my comments at the bottom of my APWH main page. 


17. Is AP European History dying because of APWH?

 No way!  The number of APEH exams continues to grow at a healthy pace.


18. How do I incorporate block scheduling into APWH?

One idea that has benefitted many 4x4 Block APWH teachers is to cooperate with the AP English Lit teacher to form an  "AP Humanities" class. 
That way, students have the great advantage of taking both AP courses through the entire year.  College Board studies show that students who take an
AP course for only one semester earn significantly lower scores. 
Many of the teachers on the APWH listserv teach The Block, so sign up and ask! 

Many more questions can be answered by linking to the College Board's APWH web site at AP Central.  
Go back to my web page for these links.
Return to Jay's APWH Page