How Do I Prepare for SAQ AP World History?

Are you gearing up for the SAQ (Short Answer Question) section of the AP World History exam? This can be a daunting task for many students, but with proper preparation, you can ace this section with ease. In this article, we’ll provide you with some helpful tips and strategies to help you prepare for SAQ AP World History.

Tip #1: Understand the Format of SAQ

Before diving into the preparation process, it’s crucial to understand the format of SAQ. In this section, you’ll be required to answer three questions in 40 minutes.

Each question will have two or three parts, and you’ll need to write your answers in paragraph form. The questions will test your knowledge of historical events and your ability to analyze primary and secondary sources.

Tip #2: Focus on Historical Thinking Skills

To succeed in SAQ, it’s important to focus on developing historical thinking skills. These skills include contextualization, comparison, causation, continuity and change over time, and synthesis. Make sure to practice these skills while studying historical events.


Contextualization involves understanding the historical context surrounding an event or document. To develop this skill, try placing events or documents within their broader historical context.


Comparison involves identifying similarities and differences between two or more historical events or documents. To develop this skill, try comparing different historical events or documents.


Causation involves understanding why an event occurred. To develop this skill, try identifying causes of different historical events.

Continuity and Change Over Time

Continuity and change over time involve understanding how a particular event or document changed over time. To develop this skill, try analyzing how different historical events or documents changed over time.


Synthesis involves combining different historical events or documents to create a bigger picture. To develop this skill, try synthesizing information from different sources to create a comprehensive understanding of a particular event.

Tip #3: Practice Writing SAQ Responses

To prepare for the SAQ section, it’s important to practice writing SAQ responses. You can find past AP World History exams on the CollegeBoard website. Try answering the SAQ questions and have someone evaluate your responses.

Tip #4: Familiarize Yourself with Historical Vocabulary

The AP World History exam will test your knowledge of historical vocabulary. Make sure to familiarize yourself with key terms and concepts as you study.

Tip #5: Use Primary and Secondary Sources

The SAQ section will test your ability to analyze primary and secondary sources. To prepare for this, make sure to practice analyzing different types of sources while studying historical events.


Preparing for SAQ AP World History requires developing historical thinking skills, practicing writing responses, familiarizing yourself with historical vocabulary, and analyzing primary and secondary sources. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to acing the SAQ section of the AP World History exam.