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AP Human Geography Tips

The Ultimate List of AP Human Geography Tips

Do you want to score a 4 or 5 on your AP Human Geography exam? If the answer is “yes,” you’re probably wondering how you can prepare and study for the exam. You’re also probably overwhelmed with all of the information, study guides, and tips out there. Luckily, this comprehensive list of AP Human Geography tips, covering everything from multiple-choice study tips to important exam information is here to help you get through your coursework and feel confident about your geographical thinking.

To put things into perspective, it can be helpful to know how past students have scored on the AP Human Geography exam. In 2015, only 12.1% of test takers earned a score of 5. 20.5% of students received a 4, 21.2% scored a 3, 16.8% scored a 2, and 29.4% scored a 1. This means that nearly half of all test takers received a 1 or a 2 on the exam! This shows you just how difficult the exam can be. However, as long as you put the time in, stay focused, and remain confident, you’ll have all the tools you need to get a great score!

We recommend Albert for your online AP prep. If you’re looking for the best AP Human Geography review books, check out this article.

Get ready… you’re about to see the ultimate list of 50 AP Human Geography tips!

Overall How to Study for AP Human Geography Tips

1. Understand the structure of the exam. Before you even start studying for the AP Human Geography exam, it’s helpful to know how the exam is structured. There are two sections on the exam, each counting for half of your score. In Section I, you have 60-minutes to answer 75 multiple-choice questions. Section II consists of 3 free-response essay questions, with a time limit of 75 minutes. Knowing the structure of the exam will help focus your studying and noting the time limits you have on each section will help you know what to expect. 

2. Don’t procrastinate! You’ve probably heard this tip many times before – but that’s because it is one of the most important study tips ever. Too often, students say things like “I’ll review that later,” or “I’ll read that chapter next week.” If you find yourself saying these things often, you are probably procrastinating. The thing is, you can’t afford to procrastinate in an AP course. Of course, it’s okay to put things off every once in a while. We aren’t perfect. But if you’re doing it regularly, you need to reevaluate and come up with a plan. Try to study a little bit each day. It sounds terrifying to have to study for one class every single day, but it doesn’t have to be a two-hour long study session each day. Aim to go through a pile of flashcards for 15 minutes every day. Try to read a few pages of an AP Human Geography review book after you’ve done your homework for the night. Go over your class notes after sports practice. Just try to incorporate studying into your everyday routine to combat procrastination.

[bctt tweet=”Incorporate studying into your everyday routine to combat procrastination.”]

3. Use a review book. Taking notes in class and reading your class’s assigned textbook is helpful, but sometimes an outside review book can give you a more comprehensive look at what the AP Human Geography exam covers. Not only are they are a great way to learn the material, but they are almost essential when it comes to reviewing for the exam. There are a huge variety of APHG review books out there, so how do you choose one? Check out this article on The Best AP Human Geography review books of 2015 to narrow down your search.

4. Make flashcards. Don’t go out and buy pre-written flashcards. The act of writing them out yourself actually helps you to retain the information. Make it interesting by color-coding your flashcards – red for words you’ve never heard before, green for words you’re comfortable with, and purple for words you still need to practice. Don’t stop at just adding the word and it’s definition, either. Add things to help you memorize the word – whether that’s diagrams, drawings, connections to other words, or specific examples. The CollegeBoard has a great aggregate list of all the APHG vocabulary terms you should know. Aim to make flashcards on all of these words.

5. Talk out loud when studying. As long as you’re not in a library, this technique could work for you. There is research that shows studying out loud can help improve information retention and memorization. This is especially true if you are an auditory learner. You may feel ridiculous at first, but try it out next time you’re studying in your bedroom. Take a flashcard and read the word out loud three times. Now read the definition of the word out loud three times.

6. Join or form an AP study group. Sometimes studying alone can become tedious. You can start to lose focus, get distracted, and just have a hard time motivating yourself to even start studying. That’s why study groups are beneficial. Ask some of your AP Human Geography classmates if they want to meet once or twice a week to go over the materials. Your teacher may even want to join in and offer after school study sessions. Overall, study groups are a great way to add accountability and can help break up some of the monotony of studying by yourself.

7. Follow/like AP Human Geography social media accounts. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or all four, there are teachers and students who run social media accounts dedicated to AP Human Geography. By following or liking these accounts, you will be incorporating APHG facts, study resources, videos, and graphics into your everyday life. These accounts aren’t always boring or dry, either – you can find humorous takes on the exam, read about personal experiences, and get first-hand knowledge from real AP Human Geography teachers. So get out there and start following some accounts! Try following @APHumanGeog on Twitter, this AP Human Geography board on Pinterest, and Thornton Academy’s AP Human Geography Facebook page. Do some research of your own to find accounts that you find helpful and interesting.

8. Watch AP Human Geography videos on YouTube. If you’re a visual learner, sometimes it can be hard to focus or understand concepts when you’re reading a textbook. It can be nice to change up your study technique and get your nose out from behind your review books. Look up YouTube videos about certain topics in Human Geography. Use keywords like “crash course” or “review” when searching for videos. There are entire playlists dedicated to AP Human Geography, as well as student-made videos, and videos created by teachers. 

9. Read/watch the news regularly. Since global politics is such an important part of AP Human Geography, watching the news or reading the newspaper regularly is a habit you should form in the buildup to the exam. It’s important to get your news from several different sources, so watch channels such as CNN, PBS, FOX news, MSNBC, read online publications such as the New York Times, and listen to NPR’s “The World” regularly. Keep a journal of current events that strike a chord with you. By accumulating all of this current event knowledge, you’re giving yourself potential examples to use on the exam and expanding your ability to make connections between events.

10. Listen to AP Human Geography podcasts. Another way to get your daily dose of APHG is to listen to podcasts. A quick Google search comes up with a wide variety of free AP Human Geography podcasts, which cover certain topics. Listen to them while you’re at the gym, before bed, on your bus ride to school, or whenever you have extra time. Studying for the AP Human Geography exam is all about accumulating knowledge from different sources. This keeps things interesting and stops you from feeling bored.

11. Know geographic models and theories inside and out. Many past FRQs and multiple-choice questions have been about specific geographic models and theories. Make sure you know more than just the definitions, but also the significance and how the models and theories apply to real-life situations in the past and present.

[bctt tweet=”Focus on how geographic models and theories apply to real-life situations in the past and present.”]

12. Figure out your learning style. Study smarter, not harder. You need to find out what learning style works best for you. This is the key to being an efficient learner. If you don’t know what your learning style is, test out different ways of learning the material. Try listening to audio lectures, watching AP Human Geography videos, reading on your own, and taking notes. Which method helps you understand the material better? Once you’ve found your ideal learning style, stick with it!

13. Manage your stress. It can be very easy to become stressed out when preparing for the exam, which is why positive affirmations, confidence, and trusting in your abilities are important when studying.

Start your AP Human Geography Prep today

AP Human Geography Multiple-Choice Review Tips

1. Focus on specific themes. It’s helpful to know that the multiple-choice questions on the AP Human Geography exam follow a pattern and are not just randomly selected. Based on previous exam, the breakdown goes like this:

Topic Percentage of Questions
Geography: It’s Nature and Perspectives 5-10%
Population and Migration 13-17%
Cultural Patterns and Processes 13-17%
Political Organization of Space 13-17%
Agriculture and Rural Land Use 13-17%
Industrialization and Economic Development 13-17%
Cities and Urban Land Use 13-17%

2. Pay attention to keywords and commands in the question. When you first look at a multiple-choice question, circle the commands (EXCEPT, NOT, ALL, BEST, etc.). Sometimes, questions can trip you up if you don’t read them correctly. By circling the commands, you’re making sure you don’t misinterpret the question or confuse yourself. Similarly, underline keywords in the questions, such as words that relate to places, people, vocabulary words, etc. This will help keep you focused and maybe even help jog your memory. By picking apart the questions, you can get a better understanding of it. 

3. Don’t skip any questions! On the APHG exam, there is no guess-penalty. This means that you don’t get docked for answering a question incorrectly. It goes without saying that even if you have no idea what the answer to a question is, just make an educated guess! The key here is an educated guess, which will give you a better chance of getting the correct answer than if you just circled an answer willy-nilly.

4. Take lots of practice tests. Taking practice exams is an extremely beneficial way to determine your strengths and weaknesses. When you’re first staring out studying, don’t be too concerned with the 60-minute time limit. Just take however long you need to finish the questions. Once you’ve finished, grade the test and really take a look at the answers you got wrong. Why was your answer wrong? Make flashcards of the terms in the questions you answered incorrectly and make a note to study them in more depth. As you get more experience taking practice tests, you will need to factor in the time limit. Set a timer for 60-minutes each time you take a mock multiple-choice exam. Practicing under the same conditions as the actual exam will help show you what to expect on exam day.

5. Don’t spend too much time on any one question. Think about it this way: if you manage to answer all 75 multiple-choice questions, within the time-limit, and get most of them right, you can end up with the same score as if you answered only 60 questions and got all of them right. Using this fact, make sure you’re not spending too long on any one question. Your goal is to answer every single question, which can be difficult in the 60-minute time limit. Don’t get stuck choosing between two options. Rule out answers, look at your remaining options, and take an educated guess. The goal here is to be efficient, without sacrificing accuracy.

6. Know the types of multiple-choice questions. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the types of questions on the AP Human Geography exam. There are several types of multiple-choice questions you will encounter, which are detailed in the following table

Type of Question Example
Definitional According to central place theory, the threshold is defined as the:

(A) economic base of a central place

(B) distance away from a central place

(C) gross value of the product minus the costs of production

(D) minimum number of people needed to support a service

(E) point at which consumer movement is at a minimum

Cause and Effect As a country becomes increasingly developed, economic activities become dominant in which sector?

(A) Primary sector

(B)Tertiary sector

(C) Non-basic sector

(D) Secondary sector

(E) Basic sector

Sequencing Which of the following correctly lists the four major ancient culture hearths?

(A) Central Asia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mesopotamia

(B) Central Asia, India, Nile Valley, Southern Europe

(C) Egypt, Mekong Valley, Middle East, Western Africa

(D) Ethiopia, Ghana, Machu Picchu, Mongolia

(E) Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, Nile Valley, North China

Generalization It is generally agreed that the current trend in climate change is caused by:

(A) sea-level rise

(B) increased use of fossil fuels

(C) reduction in biodiversity

(D) tilt of Earth’s axis

(E) changes in the velocity of ocean currents

Solution Which of the following is an example of a supranational organization with the main mission of increasing economic integration?

(A) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization

(B) The European Union

(C) The United Nations

(D) The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

(E) The United States Federal Reserve

Hypothetical Situations If four languages have similar words for numbers and the names of fish, but different names for a certain disease, what might be concluded about the time at which the disease first diffused?

(A) The disease spread among a population that later divided and evolved into four different languages.

(B) The population divided and evolved into the four different languages, and then the disease spread.

(C) The disease spread to two different populations that later divided into two different languages.

(D) The disease and language spread to four different regions at the same time at the same rate.

(E) There can be no conclusions drawn about the initial diffusion of the disease based on language.

Comparing/Contrasting Compared with more developed countries, which of the following statements is true of less developed countries?

(A) A higher percent of the labor force is engaged in food production.

(B) The population pyramids exhibit narrower bases.

(C) The per capita consumption of energy is higher.

(D) The natural increase of the population is lower.

(E) Fertility rates are lower.

Multiple Correct Answers Which of the following is a characteristic of American suburbs?

(A) Many suburban developments are eating up agricultural land.

(B)Some suburban areas have developed small cities within themselves.

(C) Many of the inhabitants of suburban areas participate in gentrification as they flee cities for quieter lifestyles.

(D) Both A and B

(E) All of the above

Negative All of the following statements about the geography of meat production in the United States and Canada are true EXCEPT:

(A) Industrial farmers are raising ever-increasing numbers of animals on their farms.

(B) Animal slaughtering and meat-processing activities are dominated by a few large corporations.

(C) The development of the poultry industry has made chicken the least expensive kind of meat consumed in the United States and Canada.

(D) Fast-food restaurants have created a demand for increased standardization and homogeneity of animals raised for meat.

(E) Consumer demand for organic foods has significantly decreased the amount of meat produced by most agribusiness firms.

Graph/Chart/Map Population Density vs. Economic Development

On the map above, which one of the following boxes is in an area where the population density is high and the level of economic development is low?

(A) A

(B) B

(C) C

(D) D

(E) E

Source: CollegeBoard’s AP Human Geography Course Description 

For more practice multiple-choice questions like these, check out

7. Write your own multiple-choice questions. This can be a helpful trick to give you a better understanding of certain key terms and concepts. Pick an area that you’re struggling with, or need to know more about, and create questions based on vocabulary words within that area. Have your friends or classmates write questions, too, so that you can take each other’s tests. The act of writing out questions helps the information stick and the more practice tests you take (even if they’re written by a classmate!) can only help. 

8. Know how to interpret graphs, maps, charts, and illustrations. More than likely, there will be at least one multiple-choice questions on the APHG exam that deals with a graphic of some sort. Questions with graphics can sometimes seem overwhelming since you have to look at both the visual element and the question and relate them. As long as you practice answering these types of questions, know how to interpret graphs and maps, and have a good understanding of the concept in question, you should do well on these types of questions.

9. Take good notes. Reading textbooks and review books is not enough to actually learn the material. On the multiple-choice section, you absolutely have to know your stuff. Because of this, you need to actively, not passively, learn the material. As you’re reading your text or review book, take meaningful notes. If you take well-organized and informative notes as you’re reading, you can use your notes as a study guide, instead of having to go back and re-read everything again. Even better, the simple act of writing out notes helps the material sink in better than if you were to just read the information. Keep your notes in a large binder, sorted by theme. You’ll be thankful you did it when it comes time to review in the weeks before the exam.

[bctt tweet=”As you’re reading your text or review book, take meaningful notes for AP Human Geography.”]

10. Teach concepts to your friends or family members. When you come across a particularly tough concept while learning the material, jot the theme/concept/vocab word down. Find a way to dumb it down so that a friend (who is not taking the course), or a family member, can understand it. By doing this, you can pinpoint which parts of the concept you’re not understanding and find ways to explain them. By teaching others, you’re making the information stick and learning a lot about your strengths and weaknesses.

11. Read the question and think of the answer. Before you even look at the possible answer choices, think of what answer you would give if the question were a fill-in-the-blank type question. This can help you select the correct answer without being distracted or swayed by too many possibilities.

Start your AP Human Geography Prep today

AP Human Geography Free Response Tips

1. Practice previous free-response essay questions. Practice makes perfect. The single most important FRQ tip for the AP Human Geography exam is to practice, practice, practice. The CollegeBoard website has valuable resources to help you do just that. There, you will find past free-response essay questions, scoring guidelines, and sample responses. Take advantage of this resource! Read through a few of the questions and the sample responses. Understand what makes an essay an 8 and what makes an essay a 4. Then, start practicing. Before you look at the scoring guidelines or the sample responses, attempt to write the essay yourself, closed book. Then, compare your essay to the sample responses and look through the scoring guidelines. Have your teacher or classmate objectively grade your practice essays for you. Learn what you need to improve on and what you’re doing right. It’s okay to start practicing without a time limit at first, but make sure you’re writing essays under time limits, too.

2. Read and reread the question several times. Do not start writing immediately! Too often, students jump right into writing, without really understanding what the prompt is asking you. You need to carefully read and reread the question to make sure you know what’s being asked. Spend a good 5 minutes planning out each essay, always referring back to the question to make sure you’re staying on topic.

3. Locate the verb in the question. Locating the verbs in FRQ questions can really help you understand which action you should take when forming your response. The following verbs are common on AP Human Geography FRQs:

Analyze: Using at least 2 sentences, find the relationship between two events or concepts. Explain this relationship and come to a conclusion using solid evidence, details, and specifics.

Assess/Evaluate: Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of something using specific examples.

Identify/Define: Using examples, craft a simple list (in narrative form) of factors or characteristics, or give well thought out definitions. 

Explain: Using specific details, discuss the logical connections or cause and effects of concepts, themes, or events.

Discuss: Taking both points of view, debate about something using details. Use at least 3 sentences in your response.

As you can see, no matter what the question asks you to do, always use specific details and supporting evidence.

4. Figure out what geographic themes you can incorporate. Once you’ve read and reread the question and have a full understanding of the prompt, start to consider what geographic themes you can use in your response. You must remember that the exam is a Human Geography exam, which means you have to use geographic themes in your response. Incorporate information from maps or diagrams given to you. Write down evidence you learned during your studying that you think relates to the question. Find a way to connect these themes and ideas. Be sure to use “for instance” and “for example” in your response, so that you know you’re including evidence and specific details.

5. Answer the question and nothing more. It may be tempting to just write down everything you know about a given topic in the hopes that at least one or two of your answers are correct. This is called a brain dump and you should not do this! Only answer the question and nothing more. If a question asks for two examples, do not give three in your response and do not restate the question in your answer. The APHG FRQ is not about adding flowery language and opinions (do not include “I think” or “in my opinion” in your response). You need to be succinct, while still making sure you’re answering the question fully.

6. Remember that AP Human Geography FRQs are NOT 5-paragraph essays. It can be sort of confusing to refer to FRQs as essays. In reality, APHG FRQs are more like short-responses. You do not need to write a formal essay with a thesis, body, and conclusion. However, your response does need to be in a narrative format, meaning you can’t simply respond with bulleted lists or listed facts.

7. Don’t panic if you don’t know how to answer the question. We’ve all been there. You read a question and you have absolutely no idea how to answer it. Maybe you don’t understand the question, or maybe you just didn’t focus enough of your study time on that particular topic. It’s easy to freak out in these sorts of situations. Do not panic! Take a deep breath and reread the question. Break it down. Figure out what you can answer and answer it. Look at the map or charts given to you and try to find context clues. Move on to an essay prompt you’re more comfortable with. This can help boost your confidence and even jog your memory. Whatever you do, don’t leave the essay response blank. Answer the question any way you can, adding examples you think might relate to the prompt. You never know, you could make a lucky guess!

[bctt tweet=”If you’re stuck on an exam question, figure out what you can answer, and answer it.”]

8. Think geographically. It’s important to remember that the AP Human Geography exam is a geography test, not a history test. You need to think about the interconnections between people and places. Location, scale, time, and spatial perspective are important. You should think about your viewpoint when answering FRQs, meaning use local, regional, and global examples.

9. Make it easy for the reader to follow your thoughts. Remember that AP readers have to go through large volumes of FRQ responses. Make it easy for them to follow your answer. Label and number each part of your response in the margins of your answer booklet. Underline key terms and words you are defining. When using maps or charts in your response, use corresponding labels in your answer. It’s also extremely important to keep your handwriting neat and legible. If the AP reader cannot read your response, you won’t get the points, regardless of whether or not your answer is correct.

10. Manage your time wisely. Since you’re given a large block of 75 minutes to complete 3 essays, it is imperative that you manage your time effectively. The best way to do this is to dedicate 5 minutes of planning for each essay and 20 minutes of writing for each essay. Make sure you bring a watch on exam day to monitor your time. Do not be tempted to spend more time on any one exam. It may be helpful to write the essays you’re most comfortable with first because you might be able to write those faster, leaving more time for essays that are more difficult.

11. Be specific. This is one of the most important tips for the AP Human Geography FRQ. Make sure you are giving specific examples in your response. This means names of geographers, models, theories, concepts, and vocabulary words. Do not be vague. If a sentence does not include something specific, it does not need to be there.

Start your AP Human Geography Prep today

Tips by AP Human Geography Teachers

1. Participate in class discussions. By speaking up during class discussions and listening to what your classmates and teacher have to say, you are opening yourself up to higher level thinking and can integrate yourself with the material on a richer and more meaningful level. Thanks to Mr. Z. at Windermere Preparatory School for the tip!

2. Focus on content in your FRQ responses. AP readers do not deduct points for spelling or grammar errors that do not detract from the meaning of the writing. Feel free to cross things out if necessary. Focus on content, not proper grammar and spelling. Integrate appropriate geographic terms whenever possible! Thanks to Sara D. at Stillwater Junior High School for the tip!

3. Read daily and go above and beyond when completing coursework. Read and reread all of your reading assignments, using both your textbook and a review book. Actively participate in class discussions, read guides and daily notes, and look for supporting details. Thanks for the tips from Mr. M. at Creekside High School!

4. Watch BBC World News. Watching the BBC World News helps you know what is going on in the world, which is important for understanding the AP Human Geography material. Thanks for the tip from Mr. S. at Murrieta Mesa High School!

5. Keep a yearlong media journal. Each week, find a current event news story that relates to human geography. In your journal, summarize the news story (who, what, when, where, why, how, etc.). Then, ask yourself, “How does this connect to Human Geography?” Try to explain this by using appropriate vocabulary words. Next, think about your opinion on the story. Try to make a personal connection to the story, beyond just “I liked it.” Overall, media journals give you a better insight into what is going on in the world and can give you a wealth of examples to use in your APHG essay responses. Thanks to Mrs. M. from Kellam High School for the tip!

6. After a test or quiz, write out the questions you missed with the correct answers. This can help you understand why you got the question wrong and make sure you don’t get it wrong again. Thanks to Ms. W. from South Effingham High School for the tip!

7. Be open to learning something new. Content mastery is not going to an easy journey. Do not be afraid to make mistakes or falter when learning about geographic models, techniques, and theories. The great thing about AP Human Geography is that you will learn a lot of new information, but you need to take the time to gain a full understanding of the information using the materials given to you. Thanks to Mrs. K. from Livingston High School for the tip!

8. Read outside materials. Don’t just stick to textbooks and review books. Venture out into current books about culture, economics, and politics. Examples of interesting books to read during the APHG course are:

Thanks to Ms. Whitney W. from Lafayette High School for the tip and reading list!

9. Answer the question in the same format that it’s written. For the FRQ, make sure you are answering the question in the correct format. For example, if the question has three parts labeled A, B, and C, write your response in the same format. Thanks to Mr. Robert C. from Pearland High School for the tip!

10. Write out definitions in your own words. If you can’t put something in your own words, you don’t know what it means. Do NOT use a glossary to look up vocabulary terms. Glossaries give you definitions without context or examples. This is not helpful for learning or understanding the word. Instead, use the text to learn the meaning of vocabulary words. Thank to Ms. Leslie G. at Vandergrift High School for the tip!

11. Study confidently. It is not enough to study frequently. You must also believe that you can be successful. Having the right attitude of being diligent to the point of confidence in mastery is a huge key to success. Thanks for the tip from Mr. H. at Elk River High School!

12. Cut the fluff in your FRQ responses. You will not receive points for filling your essay with flowery language and filler. Stick to the facts and make sure you are writing towards the answer, not away from it. Support your statements with proper examples. If you can throw in a concept, geographer’s name, vocabulary word, or model in your answer, do it! Thanks to Mr. James C. at Eustis High for the tip!

13. Know where countries, global cities, and major landforms are located. The most important tool for geographers is a map. Consider purchasing a World Atlas to study from. Print out blank maps and practice labeling them with countries, important cities, landforms, rivers, etc. By learning where important areas are located, you’ll be more successful on the AP Human Geography exam. Thanks to Waubonsie Valley High School for the tip!

14. Review concepts from earlier chapters. Don’t just stop studying a topic because you’re onto the next topic. Work concepts from earlier chapters/units into the topic you’re currently studying. Find ways to connect and relate them together. Thanks for the tip from Mrs. Sharon S. from John Metcalf Junior High School!

15. Skip lines when writing your FRQ. When you’re answering your FRQ, skip a line in between each line of your response. This gives you space if you need to go back and add additional information. Thanks to Mr. Ken K. from Mashpee High School for the tip!

16. Be sure to outline your FRQs using graphic organizers. By doing this, you will ensure that you at least answer every part of the FRQ.

For example:

From the 2010 FRQ, part B of number 3. Discuss ONE positive impact of EACH country’s population structure on its economic development.

  • The outline should be a T chart with a on one side and B on the other.

From the 2011 FRQ, part A of number 1 says to Define the following terms and describe how each relates to Mexico’s c.

  • Students should also do a T chart with definition on one side and a description on the other.

Lastly, from the 2009 FRQ, part C says to give a detailed account of THREE consequences of the rapid growth of squatter settlements. The three consequences you discuss may be social, economic, political or environmental.

  • For this, students should create an four squared ESPN (economic, social, political, environmental) chart and jot down some economic, social, and political consequences and pick one from each category so they don’t overlap, therefore losing points for double-dipping.

Thanks for the tip from Justin H.

17. When you study for a test or national exam, mimic test conditions. Sit up, no distractions, no drinks unless water. Helps to decrease nerves. Thanks for the tip from Brooke O.

18. One strategy that I use getting ready for the test is teaching the students how to grade the FRQ using the rubric. I show the the action words to look for so that they may anticipate how many points each question is worth. I then have them write FRQs throughout our review time and use their ID numbers so they may do peer grading using the rubric. Students must grade the FRQ and then have another student grade the same FRQ. If they do not agree, they must get together and discuss why the FRQ did or did not get points. This creates great academic conversations and gets them talking about content. Thanks for the tip from Randall W. from Irving High.

19. Think back what you learned from your history courses. The notes and materials you got probably covered more than 25% of what you need to know for AP Human Geography. Thanks for the tip from Pui Lam C.

20. When writing Free Response Questions, imagine that you are talking to a younger child or explaining the concept to a grandparent with no knowledge of the subject. In this way you can make sure that you are explaining the concepts and examples more fully. And as I often say, “You never lose points for adding details.” Thanks for the tip from Tom L. at Virtual Virginia.

21. When in doubt on a written response the Demographic Transition Model can almost always be used. Since AP Human Geography is so “human” oriented talking about the finer points of the DTM: population growth, distribution, diffusion, or how the question is influencing these, could get you some points even if your totally guessing. Thanks for the tip from Jonathan S. from Somerset College Preparatory School.

22. Use the FRQs from previous years as class assignments. Be sure to review them in class. Allow them to correct their paper, discuss answers and help their classmates. Thanks for the tip from Sandra B. 

23. My one tip would be for students to know the vocabulary. Thanks for the tip from Pete L.

24. Apply the concepts and topics to real world situations as much as possible. Find case studies that will give further understanding on real world application. Thanks for the tip from Kevin M.

25. It’s all in the FRQ – M/C reflects your average M/C in class tests, but FRQ will make or break in the final AP exam. Break down the possible ways in which objective points could be awarded within a question – aim for 10 points – remember no points for opinion and its applying knowledge – so good rule of thumb – if you’re answering the question in a way you might have answered the question before taking the class its probably wrong. APPLY WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT! Thanks for the tip from John M. at Morgan County High.

26. Watch or listen to global news daily. Thanks for the tip from Christina E.

27. Have students practice reading short articles from the Economist. This will help students keep updated on current events, it includes different types of maps and it covers high interest topics. Thanks for the tip from Yarazet O.

28. The main event, of course, is to know the vocab. Not just memorizing terms, but using and relating them to the world. A less obvious tip would be to listen to NPR (Public Radio) in particular a show called “The World”. And a show that I continue to watch and learn from is Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN on Sunday’s mornings. Thanks for the tip from Pam H.

Are you a teacher? Do you have an awesome tip? Let us know!

When it comes down to it, the AP Human Geography exam is not going to be easy, but it is definitely possible to get a great score as long as you keep these tips in mind. The main things you need to focus on are: understanding key vocabulary words, learning how to think geographically, and knowing how to connect events, themes, and concepts together in different ways. In addition to the material and content, you also need to be familiar with the format of the exam and know how to answer free-response questions in the correct way. Achieving a score of a 4 or a 5 is not a far-away dream – it can be a reality!

[bctt tweet=”Achieving a 5 in AP Human Geography is not a dream – it can be a reality!”]

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