5 Steps to a 5: AP European History 2024 - Bartolini-Salimbeni B., Petersen W., Arata K. 2023

Introduction: The Five-Step Program

The Basics

If you are looking at this book, it is because you are considering taking the AP European History Exam. Maybe you are enrolled in an AP European History class in your high school, or maybe you are planning a course of study on your own. Either way, you need some guidance, and you have come to a bookstore or are shopping online to find it. Right now, there are a number of guides either on the shelf or on the screen in front of you, and you are wondering about the differences between them. The fact is all the guides in front of you are similar in a number of ways: each is written by an experienced history instructor who is intimately familiar with the AP European History Exam; each contains a concise review of the material you will need to master in order to do well on the exam; and each contains a number of practice exams and exercises to assist you in that preparation. There is, however, one crucial difference: This book is based upon the highly successful 5 Steps to a 5 program. If you are like the thousands of students who have used the 5 Steps to a 5 program to successfully prepare for AP Exams, it is a difference worth exploring.

Introducing the Five-Step Program

This book is organized as a five-step program to prepare you for success on the AP European History Exam. These steps are designed to provide you with the skills and strategies vital to the exam and the practice that can lead you to that perfect 5. Here are the five steps:

Step 1. Set Up Your Study Program

In Step 1 you will learn the information you need to know about the AP European History Exam itself and be guided through a process to help determine which of the following preparation programs is right for you:

• Full school year: September through May

• One semester: January through May

• Six weeks: Basic training for the exam

Step 2. Understand the Skills That Will Be Tested

In Step 2 you will learn about the various ways in which historians think and discover the historical skills that the AP European History Exam seeks to test, including the following:

• Reasoning chronologically

• Putting information in context

• Arguing from evidence

In this step, you’ll will also take a diagnostic exam in AP European History. This pretest should give you an idea of how prepared you are to take the real exam before beginning to study for it.

• Go through the diagnostic exam step by step and question by question to build your confidence level.

• Review the correct answers and explanations so that you see what you do and do not yet understand.

Step 3. Develop Strategies for Success

In Step 3 you will find the strategies that will help you do your best on the exam. These strategies cover all four types of questions asked on the exam. In the four chapters included in Step 3, you will learn the following:

• How to read and answer multiple-choice questions, including whether or not to guess

• How to read and answer short-answer questions

• How to read and answer the document-based question (DBQ)

• How to read and answer the long-essay question

Step 4. Review the Knowledge You Need to Score High

In Step 4 you will learn or review the major themes of modern European history that you will need to know for the exam. You will learn or review the key concepts you will need to know on the exam.

Step 5. Build Your Test-Taking Confidence

In Step 5 you will complete your preparation by testing yourself on a practice exam. This guide contains a complete exam in European history, with full answers and explanations for each multiple-choice and short-answer question, as well as suggestions and possible outlines for answers to the document-based question and the long-essay question. Be aware that these practice exams are not reproduced questions from actual AP European History Exams, but they mirror both the material tested by AP and the way in which it is tested.

Introduction to the Graphics Used in This Book

To emphasize particular concepts, strategies, tips, and practice exercises and make them easy to find, several icons are used throughout this book. An icon in the margin will alert you that you should pay particular attention to the accompanying text. The three icons used include the following:


This icon indicates an important concept, fact, or explanation that you should not pass over.


This icon calls your attention to a step-by-step approach you might want to try when attempting to answer a particular type of question.


This icon indicates a suggestion or other helpful information you can use when you prepare for or take the exam.