Is AP World History Worth It?

Crafting the perfect high school schedule can be tough, especially when looking at whether or not to take an AP class. Your teachers may say that AP classes will save you money, but you’re wondering if it’s really worth risking your GPA. It’s nearly impossible to get a straight answer to this kind of question, but don’t worry, the answer is closer than you think!

Because the credit received through AP World History is contingent on the AP exam at the end of the year, many people don’t believe the class is worth it. However, AP World History does provide necessary reading and writing skills in high school that students will be grateful for in college.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything about AP World History, including whether or not it’s worth it, its difficulty, how its credits will be accepted at different colleges, and some tips to ensure your success.

Should You Take AP World History During Sophomore Year?

Generally, AP World History is taken by sophomores, so if you’re going to take AP World History, it should be when you’re a sophomore.

The fact that it’s one of the only AP classes offered to underclassmen is very telling of this and implies that AP World History is more of a foundational AP course that will prepare you to succeed in future classes.

AP World History has a 60.2% pass rate, meaning that on average, 60/100 people will score a 3 or higher on their World History exams. This is fairly decent, considering that many students go to US History the next year, which has a pass rate of 58.7%.

Remember that this is the country as a whole. AP teachers also have their own passing rates (some up to 80%), and most teachers can provide a good learning and testing experience. They’ll also tell you that you’ll save money if you take AP, and that is 100% true. $93 now is much better than $1,000 or more in college.

Related Article: How Hard Are Calculus I and II?

Is AP World History Harder than AP US History?

Many kids wonder which of these classes is harder: AP World History or AP US History. Truth be told, they’re just too different to say that one is inherently harder, and even then, there are so many factors that play into the difficulty of individual classes in high school. A good or bad teacher can make all the difference!

AP World History tends to focus more on broad, general details of history because the course covers a huge expanse of time. In AP World, you’ll learn a lot about different empires, Chinese dynasties, significant wars, and different kinds of people.

Conversely, you’ll find that AP US History is a very detail-oriented class. Teachers (and the exam) will want you to focus on specific people, small battles, or events that happened during a certain president’s time in office.

Because of the emphasis placed on details in US History, most people would say that AP US History (or APUSH) is harder than AP World History, but in reality, it depends on your skillset. They’re just different. However, on both the AP World and APUSH exams, students will be expected to write 3 Short Answer Questions (SAQs), 1 Document-Based Question (DBQ), and 1 Long Essay Question (LEQ).

One of the most important elements of a class that plays into the difficulty of it is the teacher. While a bad teacher doesn’t necessarily mean your GPA (or even your AP exam score) will tank, bad teachers do increase the likelihood of both of these things happening. Because of this factor, it’s very important to find a good teacher.

Please understand that by ‘good teacher’ we mean a teacher that will help you understand everything you need to know for the AP exam, not one that doesn’t believe in homework.

Related Article: Is AP Human Geography Hard

How Do Colleges Accept AP World History Credit?

Unless you’re majoring in history, and even if you are, you don’t need AP World History to graduate from college. However, this doesn’t mean AP World isn’t useful. If you pass the class with a 3 or higher, the vast majority of colleges will accept this class as elective credit, which everybody needs, no matter what major they are in.

For all of you who are new to AP, once you take this class, the credit received from a class like AP World History is dependent on the AP exams that happen in May. You won’t actually receive the scores from your test until July. Scores can range from 1-5.

The majority of colleges only accept scores from 3-5 (which is passing), and then there are a select few that only accept a 4 or 5, depending on the class.

Tips for AP World History

AP World History can be hard. I know, because I’ve been there! Luckily I am also one of the people who passed the class with high grades and a passing score on the test. There are a few reasons for that.

First, homework. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. In World History, I had tons of boring textbook readings to do, and my teacher had our class go through the textbook 3 times before the end of the year.

However, because I did all that reading, I was able to understand lectures better, and ultimately retain information a lot better than I would have without doing the homework. I would recommend that other. AP World History students do the same because it will pay off in the end.

And then, there were the extra credit assignments that saved my GPA and my understanding of the concepts taught in AP World History. By doing supplemental study and research on topics I didn’t understand, I was able to fill in the gaps of my knowledge before taking the final AP test. You don’t have to just stick to assignments to learn!

And remember, even if you don’t end up passing the test (and that’s a very big if, if you use your resources), you will still be able to learn so many skills that will help you throughout the rest of high school and college.

Read Also: What Happens If You Fail an AP Exam? Two Things You Need to Know


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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