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A Question for people who got a 5 on the exam...

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ABTBluebird's picture
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A Question for people who got a 5 on the exam...

I just found this forum and feel overwhelmed. It just hit me really how much I need to know for the exam, and I am afraid that I have not been preparing in the right way. I use the American Pageant 12th edition, and I am doing well in the class (98.6%), but I have heard stories of people who do well in the class and then bomb the exam. I do well on the tests but I think my teacher gives us too many hints about what will be on them. And I also am worried about all the superfluous info in the Am. Pageant. The tests correspond to the book and I am wondering if they are really helping to prepare me for taking the exam.

I prepare for the tests by first reading the chapter and highlighting as I go. Then I use the guidebook; I answer all the questions at the beginning in depth, and it takes me forever! I sometimes find myself copying what the book says. I thought this was ok at first because I learn well writing stuff down over and over again, but I realize I need to know the information and be able to outline it without the book. I then do the rest of the guide book, except not the set of questions at the very end. I also print of outlines at apnotes and the chapter outlines and vocab here at coursenotes. Then the teacher goes over the chapter with us usually before the test. Periodically I review past chapters.

I am nervous for the exam. I don't consider myself strong in history but I am probably capable of doing well if I study for this the right way. I am also nervous because my friends in other schools who are taking the class have to do DBQs for each chapter. We haven't done anything with DBQs and they are a big part of the test! I am afraid that my teacher isn't preparing us well enough, so I will need to do a lot of work on my own.

So I am thinking that I might be wasting time answering the guidebook questions. I don't know how to answer them without putting way too much information in them. How can I answer them in a better way that will help me on the exam?

Also, I was thinking that for the exam I should know the topic outlines, unit notes, court cases, political parties, political timelines, and important documents that are on this site. But I am so overwhelmed because this is a lot of information and I don't know how to schedule how to go about studying these. I think I should also get a review book. Are there certain documents that are more important for the exam than others?

I am really freaking out. I want to be prepared for the exam and don't know how to find the balance between doing well in the class and preparing for the exam.

What helped you? Any advice? What review book would help the most?
Thanks

xenahorse's picture
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Joined: Sep 2005

I didn't use a reviw book, but an outline of all the events that we went through during the course. It alldepends on how you as an individual study. Personally, I can't take notes. The very action of writing them down really distracts me.

I have a couple of friends that used review books, and they did fine on the test, but I can't remember specifically which books they used. I do know that I'm using the CliffNotes book in my AP Bio class, and that seems to do a decent job.

Notes from your class and the highlighting you do before your tests will probably be really good for you to review with before the test. Maybe if you organize them all by writing down the chapter, then a bullet list of the events that follow or happen (in order, of course!) or any important things you'll need to remember. Sometimes the act of writing down the events can help you remember them more clearly.

Don't stress out about the fact that you haven't done any DBQs yet. The main part of them is that they are fact-based, and it sounds like you've already taken care of that part. I didn't even know what one was until the end of the first semester, and didn't do one until I was halfway through the second semester! But look through the APUSH section of this site. There are some really good threads on how to write DBQs.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the court cases (I think they're more for the AP Gov section), but looking through the vocab lists and chapter outlines really helped me. And don't panic- you have plenty of time as long as you don't slack off in your class!

EDIT: I did some looking around. Here are some threads that should help you out:
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2945
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2126
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2113
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2210
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2673
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2673
http://www.course-notes.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2555

These are just to startyou off. If you look around, there are plenty of others. Sadly I think that a lot of the liks are broken in the last couple threads I gave you. They should get fixed. Eventually....


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What's picture
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Joined: Mar 2005

Relax a little. All freaking out will do is make you, well, freak out and get nervous. You'll be fine. Just study your facts and the idea's of the era's and you'll do alright.

ABTBluebird's picture
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Joined: Jan 2007

Thanks so much for replying. The links were helpful and I have printed them out. Also, I will try going through each chapter and writing a bullet lists with main ideas (is there one somewhere online I could look at, too?)...just very main ideas, not a ch. outline.

I guess what I am nervous about is that I don't know how to study for the exam. I am overwhelmed by all the material that we have covered so far (we are on ch. 27 in Am. Pageant). In addition I have forgotton tons of it and I don't know how to reteach it to myself/review it effectively, and in what order of chapters. I don't know how to effectively study the material in a way that will help me on the exam.

I guess you are right in that freaking out won't help. However, if I knew how to effectively study for the exam, then that would help solve the problem, and I wouldn't freak out as much. I want to know now so I am not cramming two weeks before the exam.

pianogirl2422's picture
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Joined: Mar 2005

Alright, if you're confused about how to study, then you simply need to take some time and find out what learning type you are. I'm going to be horribly lazy right now and copy and paste what I wrote in a PM to someone awhile back. I'll try to make a more detailed post later, but I have a test tomorrow and all sorts of homework. So here it goes:

Okay, I'm gonna go subject by subject here.

Your learning type: There are 7 basic types of learning style. Visual- where you learn by using pictures, Aural- where you learn by hearing, Interactive- where you learn by, well, interacting, Print- where you learn by reading and writing, Kinesthetic- where you learn by touch, Haptic- where you learn by doing, and Olfactory- where you learn by smells. Now, most people aren't one set learning type, but rather a mix of two or three. It sounds to me that you might be an interactive learner and perhaps part aural. At the moment, my best suggestion is to start a study group and talk about major topics. I think that you might find it helpful to do some sort of movement while you study. Bounce a tennis ball, twirl a pen, bounce your leg, anything really.

Learning facts and dates is kinda tricky. There are different styles of notes, but I have a feeling that outlines and cornell notes might not work well for you. You might want to try some diagrams. Webs, flow charts, doodling in your notes. Again, I think that if you start moving while studying you'll find that you'll learn better. Acronyms might be good for you for learning the Presidents, or making them into a song into a familiar tune (i don't suggest one of your favorite songs or it might not stay that way for long). I suggest that you create some timelines even if you find other things work for you. It will help you see the big picture and important dates and such. This will especially help with wars I'll have to get back with you more on that as well. It's getting kinda late over here.

Now, your question about review books. Well, they're very nice especially around exam time because it's condensed. It has subjects ordered by subject as well as time period, and all the subject titles are very straightforwards, so you don't have to wonder if the information you're looking for is in a section called "More Victors than Spoils" or not or whether there's information in a later section that you need. It might also have information that your textbook has left out that is useful knowledge. I highly recommend getting one.

I hope this has helped, I'll write some more tomorrow either here on in the forums. Remember to feel free to ask questions either on the forums or by PM

OH!!!! IMPORTANT ADDITION!!!
No matter how you study, take good, organized notes. This way when the AP test rolls around you don't have to go shifting though hundreds of pages of stuff and you don't have to go read the book to review. You can use the outlines on the site, but it's really better if you take your own notes so you know what was important for your class, what you had trouble with, and there'll probably be more details.

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