AJ Tutoring Blog

Connecting you to news, advice and academic resources

How to Tackle AP History Outside of the Classroom


So you want to take the AP World/US History exam… but your school doesn’t offer the class.

First of all, I’m glad you’re interested in learning more about history! In my opinion, there’s no better subject for deepening your understanding of the world we live in.

That said, taking an AP History exam without having the support of a class and teacher can be very challenging. AP History classes cover a vast amount of content. For example, the AP World History: Modern course covers history on all continents (except Antarctica) from 1200 to the present. While AP US History only focuses on one country and covers history starting around 1491, students need to know more detail about each topic than they do for AP World. Overall, there’s a lot of information to know!

Additionally, the AP exam is not just about the content; simply regurgitating what you know won’t work on the AP exam. Students also need to be prepared to answer four specific types of questions: multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and two different essay questions. Most students who take AP History exams learn the skills needed to answer their questions in class over the course of a full school year.

That said, it’s not impossible to take an AP History exam without having taken the course.

One option is to take a 1-on-1 for-credit class with AJ. We offer all three AP History classes (US History, European History, and World History: Modern). A for-credit class will teach you all the content on the AP exam, and will also teach you the skills needed to write the two types of essays on the AP exam, DBQs and LEQs, as well as answer SAQs (short answer questions) and AP-style multiple choice questions, which are probably different from questions you’ve seen in previous history classes.

Another option is to work on academic content tutoring and AP test prep tutoring with an AJ tutor. This option could work if you are taking a relevant history class at school – perhaps US History honors – that covers some of the material on the AP exam but not all of it. Non-AP history classes generally don’t cover all the material on the AP exam, so you would need to cover the rest of the material with a tutor. It’s important to find out how much of the AP material your class covers; many US History classes start after the Civil War, so they don’t cover the first half of the AP content. Many World History classes only cover a small fraction of the topics on the AP World History: Modern exam.

To cover the additional material, you should start working with a tutor sometime between November and January. Outside of tutoring sessions, you will need to read chapters from a textbook and take notes in order to have a study guide to review for the AP exam. Once you’re done with that, we also have an AP test prep program that can get you ready for the exam. Call a Director today to discuss these great options in greater detail and get connected with a 1:1 history tutor who can help you achieve your goals!


Let's discuss your student's academic tutoring, test prep, or college counseling needs!

Our test prep, academic tutoring, and college admissions counseling professionals are here to help you navigate the test taking maze, share our experience with your local school, and inspire your student.

Talk to a Director
Peninsula Main Phone Number (650) 331-3251
Free Consultation