- Events rarely have a single cause. Identify, analyze, and evaluate short- and long-term historical causes and effects. Differentiate between coincidence, causation, correlation.
- Recognize, analyze, and evaluate continuity and change over years, decades, or centuries. What is the same? What is different? Be able to relate these patterns to larger historical processes or themes.
- Describe, analyze, evaluate, and divide history into time periods. Identify turning points and split the grand historical narrative into manageable chapters. Recognize choices of specific dates favor certain narratives, regions, or groups.
Comparison and Contextualization
- Describe, compare, and evaluate historical developments within a society, or between societies separated by time and/or space. Be able to analyze historical events from multiple perspectives.
- Connect historical developments to the specific circumstances of time and place and to broader regional, national, or global processes. How do unique local conditions influence events? How do events fit into the big picture?
Crafting Historical Arguments from Historical Evidence
- Address questions about the past by arguing. Do not report events. Instead use clues to form theories providing deeper insight. Present a theory in a thesis statement supported by relevant historical evidence.
- Analyze evidence from written documents, art, artifacts, maps, and statistics. Consider the source. How does its author, purpose, format, and audience shape it? Consider the context in which the evidence was produced and used. Who made it for whom, and why? Extract useful information, make inferences, and draw conclusions.
- Be able to pick apart others' arguments. Describe, analyze, and evaluate a theory's validity in light of available evidence.
- Describe, analyze, evaluate, and construct different interpretations of the past. Be aware that the past is not neutral territory. Historians and historical actors are biased by their own social, political, religious, economic, and cultural circumstances. With all the centuries, lives and accumulated experiences of the past, the selection of what we study is a statement of current-day values. Interpretation requires analyzing evidence, reasoning, contexts, and points of view found in both primary and secondary sources.
The table below presents the historical thinking skills students should develop in AP history courses. Every AP history exam question will assess one or more of these skills.
The table below presents the historical reasoning processes students should develop in AP history courses. Every AP history exam question will assess one or more of these skills.