Five Reasons Why You Should (and should not) Take AP US History

If you happened to check Hell, also known as AP US History, on your schedule for what most likely is your junior/most-stressful year, it would be sensible to conclude that you probably go to bed every night panicking over whether you’ve made the right decision.

Also, if you are anything like I was, you are also waiting until the very last minute to do your summer work; a choice you most likely will regret but no worries about that yet.

As a former student of the notorious class and a notable (i.e. practically unknown) blogger here on WordPress, I feel it my responsibility to pass on my knowledge onto the incoming students. I would have loved to have this type of information before I took the class, not that it would have swayed my decision to stay in it, but it would have been extremely helpful in preparing me for what was coming.

All I got from other students when I inquired about the class was an ominous “Don’t take it.” So I decided that I should try to give my beloved, non-existent readers a more in-depth review of the infamous APUSH (a silly abbreviation you’ll get used to).

*Note: Understand that I most likely went to a different school, had a different teacher, and endured different coursework than you will. Many details will come from my individual experience, but I hope the main points are universal.

First off, here are 5 reasons why you SHOULD NOT take APUSH:

1.  You’re not prepared to WORK.

There are students that exist who manage to skate by several classes doing minimal work or not studying. A rare few even get by with A’s. Though I commend and admire you if you are this type of person, I also want to warn you that this is not going to help you in this class. I think it is impossible to survive this class as a slacker (a real slacker– not what you overachievers think of as “slacking” when you fail to do one homework assignment). There will be pages and pages of notes you have to take, questions to answer, and facts to remember. You will literally have to study, not skim through some pages of class notes and assume you got the gist of it. If the thought of spending hours doing homework, and then a few more hours studying for the test, is something you don’t think you can get used to, don’t take it.

2. You already have a crap-load of stuff to do.

I think this is super important because a majority of the students taking this class are overachievers who want to take as many AP classes as they can while also piling on a load of volunteer hours for college. I’m not telling you to sign out of this course if you have a lot planned for next year; I’m telling to ask yourself if you have a lot planned for next year, and if you can add APUSH to that plan without losing sleep. Personally, I had a CNA course for which I missed school one day each week for ten weeks and a college-level course for which I missed another half-day of school each week. I also had sports for the first few months, an after-school club, band practices/performances/trips, and student government. Handling all the make-up work was almost unbearable. There were days when I would come home at 7:00 p.m with an essay, 20+ questions, chemistry homework, and a clinical journal to do. Throw in two tests to make-up and some chores around the house and consider me dead. Analyze your own schedule: do you have a job? a lot of extracurriculars? 3 other AP classes (or classes you know will be hard)? APUSH may not be considered the hardest subject but in terms of workload, it reigns high. Again, ask yourself: Are you ready for that? Can you handle it? Do you feel lucky, punk?

3. You’re not a big writer.

You will be writing. A lot. You don’t have to be a genius in English class but you do have to have some grasp on grammar and completing a sufficient essay. By the end of the year, your APUSH binder will hold within its frail rings the pieces of hundreds of fallen trees– half of it will be your writing. I had a bunch of captions questions to answer, essays to write, research to do, PowerPoints to make, and… more questions to answer. If you hate writing, you will also hate this class.

4. You’re not a big reader.

You will be reading. A lot. Have you seen your history book? Your teacher will expect you to read all of that, cover to cover. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah right, I’m not reading that thing. I’ll just skim.” For most of the other classes you’ve taken so far, this is probably true; you can skim when they say read. This class? Not so much. I didn’t have to take notes on my chapters but I believe others had to in their schools, in which case you will be forced to read the material. If you don’t have to, like me, reading the book is still necessary. Why? You know those little tidbits you scan over because you think it’s not important? It’ll be on the test. I am warning you right now that if you don’t plan on reading at least the majority of the book, don’t plan on doing well in the class or passing the exam.

5. You hate history.

I don’t expect everybody who is taking this course to be so engrossed in learning about history that they can spend their free-time watching documentaries or memorizing the Gettysburg Address. However, you should have some interest in the subject. I know a lot of people who have said, “I HATE history!” Yes, these were people who took the course. Yes, these are people who said the course wrecked their grades and destroyed their lives (APUSH students have a very strong grasp on the hyperbole). Don’t take the course just because your parents forced you to or because you think it’ll look good on college applications. A majority of your time will be spent staring into a history textbook, writing opinions about historical events, and watching historical documentaries. Then, on exam day (the whole reason why you took the class, I assume), you will have to answer 80 multiple questions and write 3 essays for which you will have under an hour to finish for each. If you loathe the subject, spare yourself the torture. Devote your time to something you’ll enjoy instead, like sleeping in regular history.

Now that the negatives are out of the way, let’s talk about why you SHOULD take APUSH:

1. It will look good on college applications. (duh)

Keeping in mind what I just told you in #5, this class will make you look like a student who challenged him/herself, as with any other AP class. If you take this class and get a B, it’ll still look better than an A in regular history. If your school weighs classes (which all schools should), it’ll help your GPA and class rank. Just understand that if you fail the class, it won’t look so good.

2. You want to be prepared for other AP classes.

The workload in this class will help you handle the workload you’ll have in other AP classes or, at the very least, caution you of it. Once you’ve learned to master  APUSH work, others seem to pale in comparison… or that’s what I’ve heard. APUSH was the only class I had room for last year and is the only one I’ve completed thus far. I’m just pulling info out of my gluteus maximus for this one.

3. You’re not a procrastinator OR you’re a good procrastinator.

Procrastination won’t help you in a class where the amount of work you have to do can be summed up in one picture:

ap workActually, that’s not even half of it.

The only way to survive this class procrastinating is if you have mastered the art. Can you can do a three-page paper at 11:oo p.m, finish a bit after midnight, and not mind the intrusion on your sleep? Or can you do a three-page paper at 6:00 a.m, finish before class starts, and still get a passing grade? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, you are a master procrastinator. Otherwise, learn how to not procrastinate and get your work done. Getting the work done is half of your grade; the other is getting enough sleep so you can do the rest well.

4. You want to be informed.

There’s a lot of false information flying towards your face through the computer or TV screen that you are going to be more than willing to accept if you are not properly informed. This is one of the main reasons why I loved this course– by its conclusion I felt vastly cultured and knowledgeable. This is probably an overly pretentious conclusion but I did learn a lot. Many of the things you will learn in this course are things many Americans do not know but should know. It’ll help you filter out the things you hear or read from supposed “reliable” journalists or political figures. It’ll make you one of the few Americans who knows who was president during World War I…

CaptureThis isn’t sad. It’s America.

Regular American history can teach you this as well but doesn’t cover everything as thoroughly as its AP counterpart. You’ll develop strong opinions on things you had never even heard of before; you’ll learn to care more about the things going on around you (assuming you don’t already). I think this is the most important benefit of taking APUSH, and if you agree with me already, without having even taken the class yet, it’s safe to assume that…

5. You like history.

Yes, I do know this is just the opposite of one of the reasons I listed under why you should not take it. Yes, I do know that this should be a given. I just wanted to emphasize to those of you who might have been scared off by my blog, to not be scared. APUSH is just another class you’ll learn to love and hate. There are SO many subjects covered within this course that there will bound to be a section that interests you. Like wars? How sadistic! But you’ll love learning about all the grand battles in the Civil War and all the strategies in World War II. Like pop culture? The roaring 20’s (my favorite) and the 60’s will fascinate you. Like economics? The Great Depression sections won’t be depressing for you! Like answering ambiguous questions in unnecessarily-long paragraph format? YOU’LL FREAKING LOVE THIS CLASS.

What I’m trying to say is take this class to learn, realize that you will learn, and try your best to do well.

Also, remember that good sleep is better than good grades…

LOL jk. Good luck darlings and pray that I didn’t fail the AP exam. Otherwise this blog would make me look awful silly.*

Your beloved blogger and former APUSH student,

Bloggiechick

*I am updating this blog two years after I wrote it; it has become obvious that this is my most popular post thanks to all you apprehensive high-school students. You’re all darling. Anyway, if it helps you at all in deciding whether I’m a reliable source or not, I got a 4 on the exam. I later took AP Calc and AP Psych my senior year. If you would like to hear (read) more about those feel free to drop a comment down below.

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45 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why You Should (and should not) Take AP US History”

  1. thanks for the article. i’m two weeks into this class and am having second thoughts. you helped me put things into perspective a little more. i do enjoy history, just not the early american/colonial part, which is where we’ve started. if you don’t mind me asking, how much of the class is spent on, say 1900+? I love learning about world war 1, 2, vietnam, korea, cold war russian era, communist china, ect. but i hate the stuff we’re learning now, about founding of (insert some dysfunctional settlement), or the origins of the twelve colonies.

    1. I’m glad someone could take something away from my rant (: I am completely with you on that, by the way. Colonization and Native-American relations did not interest me as much as the 1900’s (particularly the 20’s and the 60’s) did.

      As for your question, it all depends on the timing of your class (mainly what teacher you have). For mine, I think we finally got to the 1900’s by the second semester– some time in January or February. If you don’t count for summer work (don’t know if you had it or not), post and pre-20th century history are pretty much split 50/50 in the course.

      We also spent A LOT of time on the Civil War.

      By the time May hits, your teacher may be cramming in whatever he/she can about the 90’s to early 2000’s, throwing a bunch of review work at you, or all of the above.

      Again, this was just my experience.

      Hope it helped!

  2. Nice article, it was very informative and funny too! Do you have any tips on how to remember the material? Our teacher makes us outline each chapter, so obviously we have to read them. But even with reading and taking notes, all the names, dates, and places are just not sticking. I am especially bad with dates. We had pop quiz over some major events and I got all the matching section correct, but all the chronological order wrong, haha. I would greatly appreciate some help. 🙂

    1. Thanks!
      I had the same trouble last year. Good thing is, the AP exam doesn’t really test you on too many specifics. It won’t ask you anything like “In what year was the Haymarket Square Riot?” but it might ask you something like “Which of the following events was NOT a cause of the Haymarket Square Riot?” So it’s good to know some important dates (1776, 1945, etc.) and the sequence of events but don’t worry about having to memorize everything.
      Try categorizing things in your mind, like in historical “blocks.” What events and people defined a certain era? Understand the how’s and why’s; for example, the acts imposed by the British became increasingly more restrictive through time because of colonial retaliation. This helps you discern whether the Stamp Act or the Intolerable Acts came first without knowing any numbers.
      When you get towards the end of the course and start studying for the exam, it’s easier to group events and people by presidencies (the where, what, and who’s that defined an administration), and you can use something catchy like this to help you remember: http://youtu.be/Vvy0wRLD5s8 (warning: very catchy)
      Again, try to remember important dates and major events (wars in particular). Make a timeline (or google one) and study from that.
      So this was pretty lengthy, and I’m not sure if it helped you at all but I wish you the best of luck! Don’t stress too much; you’ll be fine. (:

    1. I only got a 4 on the exam, which is pretty average but if you’re looking for expert advice on how to ace it I am, unfortunately, not that person haha I think I began to study (like really, really study) a couple of days ahead. Maybe a week. I stayed after school and took two practice tests (one a week ahead, one a day ahead), flipped through some flash cards, looked at example essay answers, and skimmed through portions of the book I was still shaky on. I also looked through a packet that listed all the major events/ages (wars, enlightenment periods) and their summaries. There’s also a handy site historyteacher.net that has a bunch of quizzes you can take. I used it. Also, a YouTube video with cartoons singing about presidents. That was enjoyable.

      I hope this helps you and good luck on the exam!

  3. Great article(: Very clear and thorough. So next year, I’m taking going to take AP US and should I prepare or do anything for it during the summer ?

    1. I’m not sure how the course is laid out at your school, but at mine we started in the summer. We had to reach chapters, answer questions, and do a DBQ. By the time the year started we were already 2-3 chapters in. With that said, if your school doesn’t require that, sit back, relax, and enjoy the last moments of your stress-free existence. Just make sure you can read semi-quickly and write well.
      If you want to be an overachiever (or if you’re just really into history), you can always start reading history books (actual books not textbooks) or watch a documentary to get a leg up in class. But really, that’s not necessary.
      Hope this helped! Good luck (:

  4. Hello,
    This was very well written and had great pros and cons but I don’t know if I’m more terrified or less to take this class next year. I’m willing to study and work hard, I have decent reading and writing skills, I am sometimes fascinated with history (depends on how engaging the lecture or material I’m studying is), and I need to be prepared to take four AP’s junior year (next year I’ll be a Sophmore and APUSH would be my first AP.) However, I have a tendency to memorize concepts and cram instead of actually studying. Also, I transfered as a freshman and my current school is a lot more rigorous than I’m used to so I’m hesitant on making it even more difficult because I still want to earn good grades. I finished with the summer homework and I was thinking of reading the textbook this summer but I already feel like I’m going to have trouble remembering the material. In all, with this minimal info that I’ve provided, do you think I should take APUSH?

    1. Hey Toni (:
      I wish I could give you a definitive yes or no, but I don’t know if that’s possible. You sound really motivated academically (I’m sorry if my rambling blog scared you), so it’s easy for me to assume you will do fine.
      Of course, I don’t advise cramming for this course but, who knows, you might be someone who could pull it off. If not, there’s a ton of resources out there (either through your teacher or the internet) that will help “actually studying” a lot more fun. I’m lying. Not fun, but easier. Plus this will help you figure out what study techniques works for you and which don’t. Since you’re taking four AP’s the year after, I think this year, when your schedule is less demanding, is the perfect time to get acquainted with what a real AP course is like. Like I mentioned in above, if you can handle APUSH workload you can handle most of the others.

      I’m not sure how to address your school’s rigor with no point of reference– AP classes, even between different teachers in the same school, can differ drastically. Have you talked to your teacher? Other students before you? This could help you assess whether or not the teaching environment is right for you. But don’t be scared off my hard teachers; they tend to be the ones who will help you get a high score.

      Finally, I’m going to wrap this up since at this point this reply is almost as long as the blog, if you are reading through the material and find it not at all very engaging but a chore you know you won’t get used to, don’t take it. But I don’t think that’s your problem. I, a stranger whom you’ve never met and who has never met you, assume that you’re just having pre-AP jitters. I know I wrote that you should pay attention to the little things, but not ALL the little things. It gets easier, I promise. You’ll realize you know more than you thought in discussions or essays– if not, again, GREAT review material out there.

      There you go. That’s all the elderly insight I have. I can sense your worry through the computer screen and felt the need to write you this really long reply which I hope you see and find helpful.

      If you are still looking for that definitive answer, I’ll give you one: yes. You should. Partly because there can never be too many APUSH sufferers out there (WELCOME!) and partly because my sixth sense tells me you’re a really smart person who is willing to put in the effort. Smart-ness and effort. That’s all you need.

      Good luck!

  5. Hello.
    Thanks for the notification for APUSH!
    May I ask you a question if it doesn’t bother you?
    I had a first day of school and I have APUSH, pre-calc, ap chem, 11 eng..
    Well, I read the part about the writer… I didn’t learn much to write in past years so I am not a good writer and I don’t really know much about good essays. Do you think it will be still fine..? Also pre calculus teacher doesn’t teach at all from what I heard of and gives a lots of work to do ….
    Should I drop APUSH and just keep with pre-calc and ap chem? or should I keep it… Please give me some tips if possible 😦
    Thanks!

    1. You don’t have to be a perfect writer to do well in APUSH. As long as you clearly show your knowledge of the facts and clearly communicate your arguments (if the assignment calls for it), you will be fine. If you make big grammatical mistakes, your teacher will most likely mark it, and then that should help you avoid making it in the future. For the most part though, they focus on the content, not the structure. You can go online and Google, “APUSH sample essays”. You can also ask your teacher for example essays that have worked in the past and work off of that; I’m sure he/she would be happy to oblige.
      As for the workload problem, I’m afraid I can’t really answer that question. I wish I knew enough about your schedule to give you a definitive answer but I’m too indecisive about my own problems (lol). What I would suggest is sticking with it for a bit and seeing how it feels. If you feel too overwhelmed, I would drop it because it just might get worse later in the year. If writing comes difficult to you, you might end up really disliking the class anyway.
      But maybe you would still like history, in which case the writing thing won’t be too big of an issue (:

      Anyway, I think you’re the only one who really knows what’s best here, and I’m sure you’ll make the right decision either way.

      Hope this helped!

      1. Hello all,
        I wanted to add an update that the APUSH ruberic has CHANGED for those taking the exam May 2016. Your analysis of facts and most importantly your writing ability is more important than ever. Average writers will struggle with this class. My gifted son is taking two other AP courses (Calc BC A+, CompSci A) and is an average writer. He had a C- only 7-8 weeks into this class. He likes history and can memorize like nothing else (50+ places of Pi, 3.14…..). I would recommend you brush up on your writing skills before taking APUSH, because if you’re weak in this area, this course will just seem like a Speed Writing class…spending a school year learning how to take a 3-4 hour test in May, rather than learning, absorbing, enjoying history. So he’s dropping it. Don’t let the pressure and competition quilt you into taking this class. There’s always AP Gov’t, etc. Good luck everyone!

  6. Hello, I am taking AP USH, Honors English 3, Spanish 1, and AP Environmental Science this semester. And I was realizing how much time my AP USH and English class was taking up. I am worried about my writing and I’m not sure if I will be able to understand APUSH fully since it is a lot of reading and other information to take in that I am not sure if I will be able to fully comprehend. My parents keep telling me they think it’s a lot of work for me and they are not sure if I can handle it all. Then my counselor has me nervous because she said I need to take 6 AP classes in order to get into a good college and I have 1 AP under my belt right now (AP Human Geography). And if I keep the course load I have now I will be able to have 4 AP classes under my belt (including a 3rd AP class next semester). Should I switch out of one of my AP classes and take 3 AP classes my senior year or just keep my 3 AP classes for my junior year and take 2 AP classes my senior year. I have a 4.125 weighted GPA right now and I don’t want it to get any lower. And I think that is the most important thing to me. So what should I do?

    1. First of all, having done a lot of research into colleges (I went through all the application hoopla), I can tell you straight out that there is no set amount of AP courses you need to take to get into a good college. Sure, it helps if they know you took as many as possible in high school, but it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Sorry to undermine your high school counselor’s advice. I’m sure she is a lovely lady.
      Second of all, it’s not for anyone else but you to determine how much you can handle.
      Third, gee I’m tired. And it’s late. I sure hope you don’t have school tomorrow, missy.
      Fourth, if you’re taking AP courses for the first time, it’s good for you to know that your GPA will probably go down IF your school does not weigh GPA. These are, of course, harder classes and you are taking them in abundance. If they are weighted, they might go up, but even if they aren’t colleges will understand that you’re taking AP courses so they won’t penalize you as much for a *slightly* lowered GPA. Just don’t use this as an excuse to accept a B because it could be seen as an A.
      Fifth, you seem like someone willing to push herself and is capable to handling her work. Overachievers, interestingly, tend to underestimate their abilities. What I want you to ask yourself is why do you think you won’t comprehend the material? Have you had trouble with it in the past? Why are you worried about your writing? Did you have trouble writing essays? The essay writing can always be improved but if you have trouble retaining historical information, it is probably best to reevaluate taking the course. Keep in mind that APUSH is probably different than other history courses that you’ve taken, for better and for worse. This means that the accelerated pace and additional work could be a negative for you or it could mean that the different way of introducing the material (more in depth, better readings) could help you retain more of the information and become more invested in your course load. I suggest you talk to your teacher and ask him/her about the resources available to help you with these things. If you’re already taking it, stay in it for a while and get a feel for what it’s like. If you really don’t like it, drop it. Don’t push yourself to take AP courses just to take AP courses. Use the empty room in your schedule to take a class you’ll excel in and impress colleges with that.
      If you do stick with it, since there is so much reading to do, learn how to skim with purpose. Scan through the pages and try to pick up on the important details (these details might show up in side notes, captions on pictures, “reading check” questions, and often lead extended anecdotes).
      Final consensus: I really wish I could tell you what to do, but I don’t know enough to do that. Only you do, and I am sure you will make the right decision.

      Hope this helped!

      1. Thank you so much! I was a little iffy on what my counselor was telling me to begin with and you definitely cleared a lot of things up for me because I know people that have taken 2, 3, or 4 AP classes and got into great schools! But my dream college is New York University and I always worry I won’t get accepted if I don’t take enough AP classes.
        Furthermore, I have decided to drop my APES class and switch to a lower level elective so I could focus on my English class and APUSH, since that is what seems to be giving me the most trouble. Then next semester I decided to take 2 APs (Environmental science and Psychology), Spanish 2, and Advanced Functions and Modeling which will require a lot less writing for me. I think I would be much more comfortable and successful with my workload this way and I would be able to keep my weighted GPA above a 4.0. Along with keeping up with National Honor Society and other extracurricular activities.
        I have one more question for you, on the APUSH tests do you have to remember every single detail from the book and class notes? Or is it easier to remember key moments from each chapter?
        Thank you again!

      2. That’s great! My friend is going to NYU. I don’t think she took all the AP courses offered, just most of them.
        To your question, you definitely do not have to remember every single detail. It’s probably impossible to do that. So (and this is a long way off but if you want to start thinking about it) when you prepare for the exam, don’t do that. It will waste so much time. What you want to do is section off history into blocks. So, the colonial age, the revolutionary age, Jeffersonian democracy age, Civil War age (this was a big portion for my exam), and so on. Try to study all the important events and people from these eras as best you can. This way, when you get multiple choice questions, you can eliminate answers that really don’t fit in and you’ll have a better chance of getting it correct even if you don’t know the answer. Also, this helps a lot for essays. You should pull all the information you know about a person/event for those.

        Good luck with everything!

  7. hello lovely blog btw
    so this is my situation ….
    i am an 11th grader at HSES and this year everyone schedules are messed up.
    I was planning to take Ap bio and got that but they added Apush and Ap literature without me knowing (idk how i am suppose to the summer hw for them.
    …..i didn’t even receive a gym class) I was like what the heck.
    anyhoo i am planning to drop ap literature or Apush.
    Reason being …i took Apwh last year i panicked so much ..and that was only one ap class so taking three ap’s isn’t what i want.
    I have THE worst memory …like srsly. Not a fan of studying (pretty sure there are many out there).
    I dislike writing(quite strongly)so yea. i do have an interest in history tbh.
    i would like your opinion on which i should drop ..i am thinking to drop ap literature but not so sure.

    1. Well, I’m not sure what AP World was like in comparison with APUSH but my guess is it can’t be that different. It might help that all the information is focused on one country instead of various events in different places, so that you’ll have a better chance of remembering? If you like history, I think you’d be surprised how much of the information can stick with you. However, APUSH is a REALLY writing intensive class as is AP Lit (I never took it but I’m familiar because a lot of my other friends did). Again, though, if you like history, the writing part might come naturally to you; it doesn’t have to be grammatically perfect, just enough to get your points across.

      Also, do you really want to take either of the classes? You mentioned that you only signed up for AP bio and that the school put you in all the other classes. Don’t force yourself to take more than you want just because you feel like you need to.

      Since you’re not keen on writing and because AP lit also requires quite a bit of memorization (I believe there’s a list of books you have to read and answer questions about for the exam), I suggest taking the APUSH. Plus, you like history! And no doubt AP World partially prepared you for it.

      Hope this helped! Good luck!

  8. It’s 2015 and your blog is still reaching many readers! I love your candid writing style. Are you a teacher now? I’m training to be a teacher after having worked at a museum for many years. Needless to say, I love history and art, especially when combined. Your description helps me understand how it feels on the other side of things. It’s eliciting some genuine empathy and I thank you for putting it into words and sending it out to the world.

    1. I’m actually currently majoring in History Education in college! It’s great to hear from a future colleague in the field. I’m glad my blog post, in its own weird way, gave you insight into the teenage psyche, which can be and often is a very scary place (I’ve been trying to leave it for nine years). Your comment completely made my day. Thank YOU for taking the time to remind me I’m not just talking to myself on here.

  9. Hi! I your post helped me out a lot but I was wondering if you might be able to give me some input on a different aspect of the situation. I’m a junior and this year I signed up for AP English language, APUSH, and pre calc. Last year I took honors bio, English honors, and AP world and ended up having practically no life. My parents push me to not take these courses for that exact reason, but I don’t listen because I know I have the ability to succeed in them. However, now half way through the summer, I look towards the approaching school year and just feel a big ball of stress form in my chest. I’m not sure I want that life again especially with the daunting pressure of SATs to come. I feel so tempted to drop APUSH because I enjoy English more, but I feel as if I am letting myself and others down if I do this. I also do dance, drama, other clubs, and am forming my own this year. Do you have any advice as to how to choose which path to take?

    1. Well, it looks like you have a pretty packed schedule! That’s good, but like you said, if doing so much causes you to stress out a lot or have no time to relax, I think you should deeply reconsider taking it. I think it’s really important to have some time to just enjoy yourself, instead of having piles of work to do (and yes, you’ll NEED a lot of rest when the SATs come around). Do you really like history, though? If not, just stick with English and do well in that. One less AP class won’t greatly affect your college chances, which I’m sure you’re thinking about. Don’t feel like you’re letting anybody down! Think of it as dedicating necessary time to yourself and having the opportunity to do even better in the classes/activities you are already in.

      That being said, it’s all on you. You said you could handle it (and it seems like you definitely can!), and you might end up really liking the class.

      Can you drop it a week or so into the school year? That way, you can get a feel for what’s to come and decide then what you want to do.

      I don’t know if anything in this really long comment has helped, but I wish you the best of luck junior year! I’m sure whatever you decide to do will work out wonderfully (:

  10. Hi, I’m currently going into my Junior year and I was wondering if you had any advice about what I should do. Currently, I’m supposed to be taking APUSH, AP Psychology, AP Physics, and AP English Lang. Although I only really wanted to take APUSH and AP Psychology, I had passed both of the AP English entrance exams and felt obligated to take the class only because many of my friends didn’t get into it, like it was somehow my fault. Like, I should take it for those people that can’t (I know it’s a weird mentality). Anyway, then I added AP Physics (despite my lack of math expertise, for I am only going into Algebra 2 as a Junior) because I needed something to cancel out my 3rd AP. I would really appreciate some advice (although it’s very complicated). Thanks!

    P.S. I would love to hear about your other AP courses and exams! 🙂

    1. So are you required to take three AP classes? You mentioned how you needed AP Physics to “cancel out [your] 3rd AP” but you now have four? I apologize I’m not familiar with the systems of other high schools! I have never taken AP Physics, but I think (not completely sure at all– heard it through the AP grapevine) that the math portions of the exam deal mainly with algebra, and even if you’re not good at math, I think that the pairing of Algebra 2 and physics will help you. Also, do you like English? You must be good at it since you passed the entrance exams (I have no idea what those are and have never had to take them or heard of them– again, sorry I’m not familiar with different school systems!), but you shouldn’t feel obligated to take them simply because you passed the exams or because your friends’ influence are in one way or another pressuring you to do so. With three other AP classes, all of which will provide you with more than enough work to keep you busy, in addition to the many other activities I’m sure a student like you must be involved in, I don’t think it’s worth it to take an AP course arbitrarily.
      With that being said, junior year tests the very best of us, and I think that if you like English, you should take it. I’m sure you will be fine! However, if you can, consider dropping AP physics. Like I said earlier, it may not be as difficult as you think, but combined with everything else, it may cause you unnecessary stress.

      Best of luck in whatever you decide! And I will try to blog about my other AP experiences to the best of my ability– it has been a while!

      P.S. AP psychology isn’t that bad, in my own experience. Yours may be different. For me, however, it was probably my easiest AP course.

  11. Hi there! First off, I want to extend a tremendous “thank you” to you for writing this article. In fact, I love your writing style and as a fellow blogger, I find your blog to be a great inspiration! Anyway, so back to the glorious (and otherwise) subject of APUSH…I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma in which I’m not sure what to do. Like many juniors, my schedule this year is pretty packed. I’ve got Honors Chemistry and Pre-Calculus, French III, AP English, AP Psych, a regular sociology class (which I really don’t want to take but it was the only thing that fit in my schedule) and Honors American History along with Chorus. I also hold officer positions in several clubs and participate in a volunteer program, so needless to say I’ll certainly be busy. The reason I’m considering making a schedule change and subbing out Honors Amer. History for AP is because then I am able to A.) get rid of sociology B.) make room for orchestra that I’ve been playing in for 6 years and out of some ridiculous sophomore stupidity I dropped and C.) while I have been wanting to take chorus my entire high school career, if I add APUSH, I’ll be able to keep both orchestra and chorus, whereas if I don’t add it, I can only have one. Bottom line, I’m a very hard worker, I’m an avid reader and I LOVE to write, but history hasn’t been my favorite class and I do tend to stress out. My sophomore year I only took 1 AP, AP Human Geography, and did very well. I’m worried that even though I have no qualms about working hard and I’ve always been a straight A student, taking APUSH in with my other activities/classes is not worth getting to keep orchestra AND chorus. Plus, junior year is stressful enough and I worry that I may end up compromising time on my other classes because APUSH ends up pushing all my other classes out of the way. The very notion of me finding that it’s too much and I can’t back out and potentially start slipping in grades terrifies me. I know this is a lot to ask, but if you have any tidbits of advice, they would be so incredibly, incredibly appreciated. Thank you and pardon this lengthy comment!

    1. I’m sorry to say I’m not familiar with a high school honors-class program, as my school only offered AP. From what you said, I surmise that an honors course would be much easier than an AP course?
      It sounds like you have a lot on your plate for junior year, which is a great thing for when college applications start rolling around but for right now, it could become quite overwhelming. Is it possible for you to make room for orchestra next year? Or do it on the side, as an extracurricular perhaps, without having to take the class? I know you already have many things going on, but you sound very passionate about doing orchestra, and I know a lot of music enthusiasts at my high school did something similar when band class didn’t fit into their schedule. I’m suggesting this because taking APUSH in conjunction with your other activities may make chorus and orchestra less enjoyable as you’ll have less time to invest in them and more things to stress about. However, I would also hate for you to forego two beloved classes because of scheduling discrepancies. You seem like a very dedicated and intelligent student who will learn how to juggle all of junior year’s most cumbersome workloads. I found that many times, when I chose the “riskier” option, i.e. potentially harder and busier class/activity, I never regretted it. With the right mindset, you can learn to manage anything. It’s more than possible for you to come out of this year with stellar grades, better time management skills, and a new-found love for history. Plus, you would’ve gotten to take the two classes you wanted to.

      I sort of just elaborated on the pros and cons of the decision you have to make, many of which you probably already considered, but I hope in some way this helped you.

      Pardon *this* lengthy response and best of luck! I know you will be successful whatever you decide.

      P.S. Don’t worry too much about grades. Yes, they are important, but a slip or two here and there won’t affect your college chances. You’re on the perfect track as far as I can tell.

  12. Hi, I was hoping to get your advice on taking apush as well. I start on the 24th as a junior and my first year taking any aps. The only reason I would be taking it is the fear of getting into college like EVERONE I talk to at school says. If I drop apush ill only have AP English, dual credit precal (which I don’t know if it even counts as something advanced like AP), and AP music theory ( I go to a performing arts high school as a piano major). That being said I am also taking up guitar this year too. I’m currently an AB student as it is and not sure if I have what it takes to keep that going with a class like apush. Especially since the teacher I got has been known to give busy work. I’m willing to do the work if that’s what it takes, but I’m also willing to drop it and go for something else to do in that spare time like sat prep, driving, and getting a few more hours of sleep every week. I’m also in fear of my rank going down which is what will happen since an AP class out weighs a pre-AP class. I don’t want to be at the bottom of the class because of that or my GPA being any lower. Thank you! And hope I’m not taking up too much of your time.

    1. I spend most of my time watching YouTube videos and lying around like a catatonic potato… you’re not taking up any time at all!
      Getting into a good college is absolutely a valid point of consideration when deciding whether or not to take an AP class. However, if you really have no interest in the subject and only want to take the class because you’re afraid you won’t get into your college of choice if you don’t, I would deeply reconsider putting it into your already busy schedule. Are there any other AP classes offered at your school that would be more suited to your interests? Or, like you said, use that time to do other activities that would look good on your potential application– volunteering for an organization or cause that you deeply care about, for example, will look just as great as any AP class (assuming you put in enough hours and effort toward it) to a college admissions board, I’m sure. Taking SAT prep is also another great way to spend your time, especially during your junior year.

      As for your fear of a lower GPA, don’t worry about that too much. I can’t say that it doesn’t matter, because it does, but it’s just a small part of a very large compilation of your accomplishments. Colleges want a good GPA, yes, but a 4.0 alone in itself doesn’t do much to impress. Likewise, a 3.5 can look better when juxtaposed with a variety of other things such as a good SAT score, lots of extracurriculars, and a solid essay. I know that it’s common for intelligent students like you to stress out too much about rank and grades, but don’t. You’ll be fine!

      With that said, if you still have a gut-feeling that you need to take the course, take it! Maybe you’ll end up liking it. The work is a lot but not impossible. I just don’t want you to spend precious time devoting yourself to something you don’t care much for when you could be spending it doing something you love, improving your strengths, and showing those off to colleges. Among all of those, your lack of APUSH and possibly, slightly lowered GPA won’t mean much.

      I hope this helped you in some way. Good luck with everything!

  13. Hi! Okay, so first, I’m just worried that you won’t be able to get to my post because its been, like, three years since you originally made the post, but whatever! So, I was wondering if I should take APUSH. I go to a high school that offers almost all classes at a regular, honors, and AP level, and have been an honors student through and through with rising grades through the years. I am ending the 2015-2016 school year as a sophomore having taken
    -Chemistry Honors (OMG LOVE IT SO MUCH)
    -Biology Honors (Okay class, bad teacher)
    -JROTC (Second year, but honestly not my favorite anymore)
    -English 2 Honors (Pretty cool)
    -Robotics (Boring)
    -Algebra 2 Honors (Okay in theory, terrible in execution)
    -American Musical Theater 3 (The highest level, and somehow I got in)
    -Physics Honors (Online, but good enough)
    and I can’t wait for next year, but I don’t know how I feel about AP United States History.

    Right now, for my junior year, I have (on my schedule)
    -AP Chemistry
    -AP English Language and Composition
    -AP Physics 1
    -AP Physics 2
    -Pre-Calculus Honors
    -United States History Honors
    -Forensic Science Local Honors (basically same as honors, just seen as regular by colleges)
    -AP Human Geography (online, but I’m still questioning)

    I don’t know if I should switch out USH Honors for APUSH; I hated world history honors with a passion, but it was mostly because I procrastinated my freshman year, and I hated the varying topics and the inconsistency in locations of the class. I’m hoping that APUSH will be easier to follow because it’s at least dealing with things that relate to the US so that might be something that stays consistent throughout the course. Next year will be my first year taking AP classes, and I have already started preparing for the hardest one, AP Chemistry. I just don’t know if I should change it. I’m a pretty good writer, but I’m not good at remembering dates and people for extended periods of time. I know that since you don’t know me personally you can’t give a really good analysis or debate or anything, but if you could give me any advice, that would be great!

    P.S. I personally don’t have much of a social life right now, and I don’t mind not having one next year either. I don’t do many extracurriculars and will only be doing one next year and I don’t expect to be an officer so honestly my after-school life is pretty timid right now. Thanks!

    1. hey Alex! From what you’ve told me, it sounds like you already know how to handle a lot of hard classes. AP classes are probably going to be a little different (maybe a bit harder) than your honors classes, but you seem more than well-prepared, work-ethic wise, to handle it. I think you’ll have a harder time in APUSH. Like you said, World History tends to skip around a lot, and it can be hard to keep all the names straight (European monarchies, apparently only had like 5 names to choose from). It’s been a while since I’ve taken the exam, and while they have have changed some things, I don’t think it’s necessary to remember each and every date. (Still, it’s something you can work and improve on next year!) I think it’s definitely a class you might enjoy, but it’s up to you an ultimately decide based on your schedule. The only thing I would say is maybe not push extracurriculars off too much. I know grades may seem like a bigger deal, but colleges also want to know what makes you special beyond grades. Maybe you’ll find something super interesting to do, that you’ll fall in love with, and improve your resume with! I know school can be stressful, but it is just high school. Don’t feel like you have to sacrifice your social life for what you think will look better on paper; I think you’ll regret it in the long run. In any case, I think this can be a year that will greatly improve your time management skills, and whatever you decide to do, I’m sure things will work out great! Best of luck!

  14. I have a question: I am in AP euro and everyone I know is taking APUSH next year. I have four other weighted classes next year (not including history) and I do not know what to do. Any advice you have will be helpful.

    P.S. I am doing great in Euro, and I think I got a 3 or a 4 on the AP test.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Anirudh! Don’t feel like you need to take a course because all of your friends are taking it. Do your own thing. That being said, APUSH would be a great supplement to what you learned in AP Euro, and I think the same skills are needed for both courses (though I’ve never taken AP Euro). I’m sure you’ll do just as well in APUSH. That being said, your workload does look pretty heavy. Start looking at your whole schedule (classes, work, extracurriculars) and ask yourself if you think you can handle it, or if it would be worth it. Don’t look at it by thinking about what your friends are doing… you’ll do amazing, all on your own, whatever you decide to do! Good luck with everything. 🙂

  15. Hi im a junior, i ust moved to georgia, so far i have taken world history freshmen year and amerian studies honors as a sophmore, in my school i was scehdules to take apush but over here my counsellor informed me it would be considered a duplication course of american studies by colleges and wont look good and have to take gov to graduate which i am okay with taking senior year second semester, should i drop apush? i really like the class but since i already have american studies, apush would just count as social studies elective, thank you for any feedback also im tking ap stat and lang this year and ap calc econ gov pysh environemtal next year and aiming for goergia tech which is very competitive

    1. Hi Aanvi!
      While I think it’s awesome that you’re liking APUSH, it sounds like it’s not going to add anything but work to your schedule, and might even take up space in your credits? You can probably use that space to take up another interesting class. With that said, I’m not sure what American Studies Honors offers in terms of content (I’ve never heard of it or had it at my school), and it could be that it doesn’t offer as much information that you would find interesting in APUSH? I don’t want to discourage you from something that you like learning, especially if it doesn’t get in the way of you having enough credits to graduate, since it could end up being a subject you’re truly interested in! I’m sure colleges won’t count it against you if you take two similar-ish classes, it might even show them you are truly passionate in a particular area and are willing to take advanced classes in that area. It also sounds like you’re pretty invested in your academics already, though, so I would just focus on doing well in the classes you are taking and focus on something you’re interested in, which I think impresses colleges more than whether or not you take a certain class.
      Sorry I got back to you so late– I’m sure you worked it all out already but hopefully this offers something for you!

      -Lisa

  16. Hi im a junior, i ust moved to georgia, so far i have taken world history freshmen year and amerian studies honors as a sophmore, in my school i was scehdules to take apush but over here my counsellor informed me it would be considered a duplication course of american studies by colleges and wont look good and have to take gov to graduate which i am okay with taking senior year second semester, should i drop apush? i really like the class but since i already have american studies, apush would just count as social studies elective, thank you for any feedback

  17. I’m taking the class right now, and boy, does it require a lot of reading. In order to memorize everything, I take notes and then transfer those notes to flash cards (I’ve tried directly taking notes on flash cards, but doing that just feels like writing words – not actually learning history). Unfortunately, I’ve always had high anxiety, and this class is making me more stressed than ever. I really hope my choice to take it will end up being for the better…

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