AP Euro Gains Popularity at Miramonte

L. Dahlberg-Seeth

Sophia Bollag and Tamar McCollom

AP European History is one of the most challenging and rewarding classes offered at Miramonte. AP Euro has a lasting impact on the students whom it graduates and is frequently cited by graduating seniors as their favorite class out of all their years in high school. Usually taken by sophomores as their first AP class, AP Euro is, for most students, a completely new experience. Infamous for its killer multiple-choice tests, copious amounts of reading, and DBQ’s (Document-Based Question essays), AP Euro has a habit of taking over both the social and academic lives of its students.

Despite the hours of reading McKay’s (the textbook) confusing run-on sentences and the innumerable sleepless nights, the family-like dynamic that develops in each Euro class makes it all worthwhile. Euro teacher Kelly Ginocchio summed it up when she described AP Euro as a “very unique academic experience because of the bond between the students.”

Here Mirador staff writers Sophia Bollag and Tamar McCollom reminisce about their experiences in AP Euro, and provide advice for current and future AP Euro students.

STUDY TIPS:

  • Do not fall behind on the reading.
  • Figure out a highlighting/note-taking system.
  • Look out for superlatives.
  • Remember people! They are the most frequent subjects of multiple choice questions.
  • Don’t worry about specific dates. Instead, think of chronology in terms of hub dates and centuries.
  • Make sure you prepare for essays extensively.
  • Memorize the DBQ rubric.
  • Don’t underestimate Anabaptists or Swedes.

Frippiat Says…

Favorite Historical Figure: Sigmund Freud
Favorite Time Period: Interwar Period (between WWI and WWII)

What study tips do you recommend?
“Consistently read every night and develop a highlighting and shorthand notes system in the textbook. You can’t just read it the night before, and you have to read the text several times.”

Why do you think AP Euro is an important class to take?
“AP Euro is a skill builder. It helps students learn to read effectively, [take notes], and think critically. It will serve [students] throughout high school and college. It helps build confidence, which leads to more academic risks, which then leads to more learning.”

Ginocchio Says…

Favorite Historical Figures: Niccolo Machiavelli, Queen Elizabeth I
Favorite Time Period: Renaissance

What study tips do you recommend?
“Highlighting is only effective if moderate, not just excessive and mindless. Develop a key for important terms, people and events. Read the text several times. The first time is for highlighting. The second is for notes on a separate piece of paper or in the margins.”

Why do you think AP Euro is an important class to take?
“For most students, it is the first AP elective, and despite the pain, it gives an introduction to the level of work of an AP class. It’s an introduction to AP level thinking, reading, writing, studying, and analysis.”

Infamous Euro Quotes:

“I’m giving you a cookie, and you choose not to take it?” – Mr. Frippiat
“Oh, McKay, we love you for your underscoring social injustice!” -Mr. Frippiat
“Like back when there were candles?”-Jacob Niles in regards to the Seventeenth Century
“I’m not going to say it’s downtown Venice because I don’t know…” -Simon Sokoll
“Euro = Totalitarianism” –Wesley Lau
“This is like in Harry Potter when…”- Haley Cassriel on everything.
“Were the African-Americans the deluxe slave? Like having a tiger as a pet?”- Simon Sokoll
“You belligerent swine!” – Mr. Frippiat
“Can I presentate first?” – Jacob Niles
“You can see that they’re kind of naked. Let’s notice that.” – Simon Sokoll analyzing Renaissance art

THE MOST DIFFICULT CONCEPT IN EUROPEAN HISTORY:
McKay does a poor job of identifying these guys, so to clear up any confusion, here is the list of the Fredericks (in order):
Frederick William (Great Elector)
Frederick I (First King of Prussia)
Frederick William I (Soldier’s King)
Frederick II (Frederick the Great)

Interview with Wesley Lau, creator of the AP Euro Facebook group and practice quiz website

Mirador: How did you develop the site?

Lau: Before every single test, I started making quizzes, so that students could study for the upcoming test, the final, and the AP Test. So eventually, I needed to find a place to organize them, so that students could find them again. I started making my website for my quizzes, but I wanted to also make a place to gather online resources. [Then,] I created another page called resources by chapter where I posted YouTube videos, apps, and other resources from online.

M: What do you think the impact was on the community?

L: Well, I feel that it [was] pretty beneficial to the Euro community. People [got] to study for their tests, and many [didn’t] have time to find the online resources, so the site made [them] so much more available to the Euro community.

M: Do you think it was worth it?

L: Yes, definitely. Because we could review multiple times, before the test, the final, and the AP test. And, I also felt that making the site was beneficial because while I was making quizzes, I learned how teachers find questions out of the book.

M: Would you recommend that the next generation of Euro students start a Facebook group?

L: Yes, I’m trying to tell this year’s Euro students to utilize the same website, and look at the resources and quizzes, so that they can also study from it. I’m also trying to get another leader to run the Facebook group, and put the tests and upload documents onto the site.

M: Do you have any advice for current Euro students who want to start a Facebook group?

L: It’s best to start early, so that you can have every chapter ready before the test, and you can use it as many times as possible.

Studying for the AP Test

1. Prep Books
Be aware that the AP prep books teachers recommend are about the same length as the textbook itself. You can’t read them the night before. Ginocchio recommends the McGraw Hill AP Achiever, but the Barron’s AP European History is also helpful and has lots of useful charts. However, although the prep books are “good because they break up artificial chapter divisions and restructure the events in your mind,” as Xavier Frippiat the other Euro teacher points out, “No book will save you. [Your success on the AP Test depend on] the hard work you have done all year.”

2. Old AP Tests
Every year, the College Board releases a certain number of old AP Tests every year. Do yourself a favor, and spend the measly $35. Not only does it accurately represent what will be on the test, but it adds a level of comfort. At least in our experience, the multiple choice that appear on the AP Test are considerably easier than those in prep books.

3. Hub Dates
Always study hub dates!