AP History: Which Course is the Best Fit for You?
AP Euro! AP World! APUSH! AP Art history! Oh boy, there are a lot of history courses to choose from -- and I can only assume you have time for one intense history class this semester, so you definitely want to make sure you picked the right one for you.
AP European History is probably going to be the more difficult of the group -- but that should not be a deterrent. It is harder simply because you have not been exposed to all the many, many (many. many. MANY.) conflicts in Europe on such a scale. That said, it’s also one of the most entertaining classes history has to offer. You get to learn about defenestration, which then starts a war. A long one. Yes, you definitely have to pay attention a little more (and know when you’re getting lost in one of France’s revolutions) and keep a pad and paper handy for questions, but when you’re done, you absolutely know how to take notes and focus for history courses. AP Euro lets you understand a little bit more about our world and why countries today behave the way they do; it sets up the fundamentals for connecting dots to every region in the world. If you’re a self-motivated student who doesn’t mind a little bit of confusion and a little bit of pushing your own study-train, AP Euro is a great, challenging fit for you.
AP World, of course, covers ... the world. Most students take a world history class sometime prior to the AP World option, so you should already have some exposure to world history in general -- which is good, since AP World covers an awful lot. That also means that AP World is unable to go into the minute depth of a course like AP European history, so you won’t necessarily get the same level of detail. That said, there is a larger emphasis on the role of each region in shaping our world today, so you can certainly broaden your picture of our current climate. If you’re a student who wants a strong, fairly detailed overview of where everyone comes from, AP World is for you.
APUSH is probably the easiest of the AP history courses -- after all, you (probably) live in the United States. You’ve been learning about America since fourth grade. You already know the major conflicts (Revolutionary War! Civil War! World Wars I & II! BAM!) and can prattle off some well known characters in our nation’s past. APUSH moves you past the gloss-over and lets you start asking deeper questions about who we are and where we come from. It’s great for a first AP History class, and if this is the first time you’ve taken an
AP at all, I think APUSH is a wonderful place to start.
AP Art History is best taken either with or very soon after AP European history (or world, but European art tends to be a focus). It’s a great tie in to understand how politics and the social atmosphere impact the art world (you’ll start to see cool patterns emerging and connecting histories will be easier). AP Art is a class I’d recommend for an elective -- it’s a lot of information and you’d feel less stressed about it if you already have good, solid AP training and history under your belt.
Best of luck with your APs this year and don’t forget to come back for more!