Advice From Former AP Students

When asked what they would want to tell next year's students about my AP US History class, this is what a bunch of my former students said:

Tip #1. Don't fall behind on your work:

  • If you laze around and never finish the active readings and homework assignments, you will not get the grade you desire. The active readings may be a pain to do, but it will get easier as you do it more, and it is very helpful to actively read the documents.

  • The thing that I'd like to address to the incoming APUSH students is to pay attention in class and to do all the active readings because it really does pay off in the end so much that the AP exam becomes a smooth ride.

  • The active readings suck because they can be confusing and hard, but they’re worth it. Trust Mr. Cecil.

  • Don't get lazy and fall behind on active readings and work hard on any essays cause the practice is very helpful and can be applied to any class, like English and Science, that requires essays.

  • Next year’s students should always read the active readings. Don’t let the laziness get to you, push through it because they help you so much in the end. And also, take notes when the readings are getting discussed in class because those notes will help you write your in-class-essays.


Tip #2. Actively participate in class discussions:


  • Participate in the seminars cuz they can really hurt your grade, even if you’re incredibly shy and awkward try your best and it’ll be worth it.

  • Participate in the socratic seminars, even if you don’t want to, because you’ll learn much more by sharing your thoughts. Take good notes. Take notes even when Mr. Cecil isn’t writing anything on the board because that’s when he says the important information.

  • I would want them to know that although participating might seem scary they should do it anyway so that their questions can be answered and that they can have a better understanding of the topic.

Tip #3: Study, even when Mr. Cecil doesn't remind you:

  • To study and review content every weekend because it will help in the long run for the AP Exam. Also take notes, any information that you might not have known while there is a lecture or even being discussed about an active reading, write it down and review it later

  • They should not wait until the end of the year to study all information because then they will have forgotten a lot. They should make sure that they understand how each event has lead to the next. They should also study the time periods because that's the most helpful way to remember what happen when and why those things happened.

Tip #4. Keep an open mind:


  • I would tell next year's APUSH students that it's a little bit of a different class compared to McDermott's AP World History class. You don't only need to know the material but also know how to discuss it in class and see it through multiple perspectives.

  • I would tell next year's APUSH students to trust Mr Cecil. It might seem hard at first, but it will benefit them in the long run if they do.

  • I’d like to tell next year’s APUSH students that history is never as simple as the telling of dates in chronological order or as simple as the telling of a single perspective in a story that we all hold to be true.

Tip #5. Don't forget that your hard work will pay off in the end:

  • I would tell future APUSH students that, since the very beginning, Mr. Cecil will be preparing you for the test. Although there is a lot of work involved, the way he approaches the class and the way to study history is what the AP exam is about, always looking at the big picture and connecting everything.

  • This class seems challenging at first, and quite honestly the first few weeks it is. However, it does get better; and I know that seems like something people say to make a bad situation seem better but as you get used to analyzing documents, participating in seminars and in discussions, they will no longer be just assignments but enjoyable tasks. This class will be a great experience and you will learn so much from Mr Cecil. He structures the course in a way that will enhance your performance in the class and make you realize your full potential. You will do great!