How Will AP European History Change in 2015?

If you plan to take AP European History in the coming school year, you may be wondering, "How will AP European History change in 2015?" After all, the new AP European History exam may not be released until May of 2016, but the new coursework will go into effect in the fall of 2015. Below is a guide to these curriculum changes, including suggestions to help you prepare for this updated class.

New course structure

The new AP European History course will still cover the period from 1450 to present. The class will examine 19 concepts and five themes while exploring that time period. By limiting the number of concepts that you will be responsible for mastering, the College Board believes that you will be able to more fully learn those that are included. 

The redesign also addresses the issue of oversaturation in the previous version of the AP European History course. Classes will face less pressure to cover every possible aspect of European history. Students will be expected to learn a more reasonable amount of information, while employing the complex thinking required of a college-level course. Here are some tips to help you ace your AP courses.

New exam format

The redesigned AP European History test will include short-answer questions (new in 2016) and two essay questions (one document-based and one long). As with most AP exams, these questions will often ask you to consider accompanying charts or texts. They will require that students understand the central concepts and themes of the course, as well as that they are able to demonstrate them through written response. Students should also be able to analyze and interpret sources, both primary and secondary. The new short-answer questions will emphasize the historical thinking skills that will be taught in the updated course.   

There will also be 55 multiple-choice questions – 25 less than on the current exam. Like the four short-answer questions, they will stress the use of historical thinking skills. This test prep timeline for AP exams can be very helpful when it comes to test time.

Students can expect to see a full-length AP European History practice test that reflects the redesigned course and exam in the summer of 2015.

Next steps for enrolled students

The 2015 course revision will require teachers to revise their syllabi, so the course likely won't be the same as the one your older sibling took last year. Your teacher's specific syllabus will be authorized through the AP Course Audit process to ensure that every class meets the new requirements.

If you are still undecided about whether or not to take AP European History, the College Board's online resources are a great way to familiarize yourself with the new curriculum and to make an informed decision regarding your enrollment. Even sample syllabi can be great student resources, as they can give you a glimpse of the average homework and reading load, as well as the assignments that you will be expected to complete. 

The new AP European History course and exam will inevitably help students explore the subject and master crucial college skills – so why not embrace the change and prepare for an exciting 2015 and 2016? Good luck!