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How to Learn AP Human Geography Vocab | 3

How to Learn AP Human Geography Vocab

Often times you think of learning vocabulary as a memorization drill. This is a huge a misconception. Learning vocabulary has more to do with understanding the meaning of a word and improving your word power than simply remembering the meaning for a short period of time. The words you learn should stay in your memory forever, and not just until the exams are over. Figuring out how to study your AP Human Geography vocab can be made easy if you keep in mind a few simple and easy steps.

1. Differentiate Between the Words

Take a good look at all the words that you are required to study for your human geography exam. Now take a notepad and start jotting down the words that you have seen or heard of before on one page. Then, on another page, write down the remaining words, basically words that you have never heard of or seen before.

Once you have done that, you will realize that you are more or less acquainted with the meaning of the words that you jotted down first. When learning the definitions, start with these words first since you already have a mild idea of what these words mean or can mean. This is a great way to get good momentum when you’re studying. If you want to get the ball rolling in studying, start with your easy list so that you can build up the confidence that you know a lot of AP human geography terms already. Then, switch and study the terms listed on the second page in order to begin mastering those. When you get more and more familiar with the terms you have more trouble with, you can put those words onto the first page. If you’re looking to start off with a more stimulating study session, start with your second sheet, and then switch to your first at the very end. This is a highly effective study method to master what you need to know for the exam in a shorter amount of time of studying. If you have a lot of terms, you may want to consider tip #2.

2. Write the Definitions on Small Cards

Most students scribble definitions one after the other, thus forming a long list. Reading, let alone learning, from a page that is filled with numerous words and their definitions can be a tough task. Having all these definitions on one page can increases the chance you get confused with certain terms.

Take a set of index cards and write one word on the front side of a single card and then its definition on the back side. When making these AP Human Geography flashcards, you want to make sure to include helpful mnemonic devices on the definition side. Also, don’t be afraid to draw figures or ridiculous images in order to remember a particular concept. If plain index cards easily bore you, use different colors, shapes and sizes to help make your studying session go by faster. Perhaps you can create a system in which words you know really well are green, words you know decently well are yellow, and words you really need to work on are red.



3. Group AP Human Geography Vocab Words Together

AP Human Geography tests you on many things that have similar meanings. Whenever you stumble upon a collection of such words, group them together and learn them together. This not only speeds up your learning but also prevents you from confusing one word with another word.

For instance, write down the words pandemic, epidemic and medical geography (along with their meanings) on three separate index cards and then keep those cards together. These words have interrelated meanings. Another example of a trio of words with connected meanings is formal region, functional region and perceptual region. Whenever you find yourself with words that have relatively similar meanings or conceptual understandings, it makes sense to group them together because you’ll be able to access the information faster and recall it with greater ease since it’s in a mental “bucket” of yours.

4. Recite the Words

Recitation is a tried and tested method of learning any sort of vocabulary. The brain is more likely to retain words that you hear versus ones that you see. When you are learning the definitions, read the words out loud at least three times. Since AP Human Geography has plenty of technical terms, recitation will also help you perfect the pronunciation.

5. Make Mental Pictures

One of the best ways to remember the meaning of a difficult word is conjuring up mental pictures that you can associate with the words. When you link a word with a visual, the memory of that word and what it means is firmly planted in your mind.

Take for example the word cultural landscape. This refers to the visible imprint of human activity on a landscape. How can you remember this? Visualize a city with skyscrapers, streets, vehicles and other urban features. These features represent the effects of human activity on a landscape. How about activity space? When you read that it is an area where we move at ease during our regular rounds of activity, you can picture yourself walking to and from your bedroom, i.e. your personal area, while you study, which is one of your regular activities.

6. Test Yourself

There are several ways you can test your progress. You could jot down a random selection of words on a page, and then test yourself by writing down their meanings beside them. If you have a habit of peeking at the list too often, then you could ask a friend or someone at home to conduct an oral test. This is a very helpful way of preparing for AP Human Geography. Doing this helps you pinpoint your flaws and improve in areas where you fall short. On the day before the test, you should only focus on the words you have gotten wrong the most.

There you have it! Six super tips to keep in mind when you’re studying for AP Human Geography. Remember, as important as it is to know the definitions tested, it’s equally as important that you understand the underlying patterns and relationships between concepts that are presented on the test. Have another AP Human Geography vocab tip we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments below.

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Let’s put everything into practice. Try this AP Human Geography practice question:

Images of the Cultural Landscape AP Human Geography Practice Question

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