Sophomore Series: AP Tests on the Horizon


Ethan Dean, Staff Writer

This article is the first in a series about AP testing at Bel Air. Keep checking out our website weekly for more AP information!

AP Tests are just around the corner, and many sophomores will be taking their first AP test in AP World on Thursday, May 11.  

AP World History is taught by Mrs. Amanda Bowden in room B302 and is comprised of almost entirely sophomore students. She divides the class into 4 units with 4 tests evaluating the content learned.  

Unit 1 covered the Global Tapestry and Networks of Exchange, including topics like Dar al-Islam and the Mongol Empire. Unit 2 covered Land-Based and Maritime Empires, including topics like the Columbian Exchange and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Unit 3 covered Revolutions and Imperialism, including specific topics like the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Unit 4 has covered Shifting Powers after 1900, including the 2 World Wars.  

So far, we have had 3 tests, comprised of anywhere from 30-50 stimulus-based multiple-choice questions, 2 SAQ’s, and a map needing to be labeled.  

The four aspects of the AP World Test include a multiple-choice section, 3 SAQ’s, a DBQ and an LEQ. We have written around 8 SAQ’s including tests and graded practice and are very well prepared to spill the TEA on the SAQ.  

On the AP World Test, you are given 7 documents, and have to analyze each one to find a way to incorporate it into an essay with contextualization, complexity, and conciseness. We did 2 minor practices using something called document buckets, where you put certain documents together to help establish topics for the body paragraphs. We’ve written one full DBQ under a time constraint but were given a packet to assist in the document analysis.  

LEQ’s have not been covered thus far, and haven’t practiced them at all, but with the skills we’ve gained from the other two, it shouldn’t be as difficult to pick up.  

Mrs. Bowden has provided a module on Canvas with a ton of AP Classroom and other study materials and has handed out a yellow packet called 80 Days Around the AP World. It’s a YouTube series by Freemanpedia that covers a topic every day, starting 80 days out from the test. It’s extra credit, but helps show which topics you need to cover.  

When I asked Mrs. Bowden her opinion on how COVID-19 has shaped the new era of AP testing, she solidifies that COVID has led her to “assign less work to do outside of my class because there is a lack of attention span and mentality of doing work at home because of virtual learning. I think with an AP class there’s a lot of outside preparation that isn’t happening anymore, and with a lot of materials being online it’s led to more copying and pasting and less absorption of the content. 

Sophomores Lilia Dziedzic and Jenna Welsh weighed in on how they feel the class has prepared them for the test in 3 weeks. Dziedzic says that her plan is “definitely to study because I expected the class to prepare me or make me feel more confident and comfortable then I actually do.” Welsh agreed with what Dziedzic said, and added that she’s “not sure whether it was the class itself or how the content was set up, but it felt rushed at times and review materials I’ve watched are going over content we never even discussed.” AP Curriculums are jam-packed, especially AP World, so there isn’t enough time in the year to cover everything the College Board wants you to know for the test. It isn’t the fault of the teacher or the class itself, just the rigor. It only emphasizes are important it is to study, study, and study some more. Some things go deeper than we covered, and you need to know them! 

The AP Test is closer than we think, and the time to study has already passed. Get going, just take an hour each night to practice your AP World skills, and you should be set up for success.