How Do You Teach AP World History?

Teaching AP World History is a challenging task, but with the right approach and strategies, it can be made simpler. As an AP World History teacher, you must keep in mind that this course covers a vast amount of material, spanning from prehistory to present-day globalization. Therefore, it is essential to organize your lessons and teaching methods effectively.

1. Develop a Curriculum

The first step in teaching AP World History is developing a curriculum that covers all the essential topics comprehensively. You must ensure that this curriculum aligns with the College Board’s standards and includes all the necessary information your students need to succeed in the exam.

To start developing your curriculum, you can refer to the College Board’s course description and framework for guidance. These documents outline all the topics covered in the exam and provide suggestions for instructional approaches. You can also refer to online resources such as Crash Course World History or Khan Academy for additional support.

2. Incorporate Primary Sources

Incorporating primary sources into your lessons is an effective way of engaging students and helping them understand historical events better. Primary sources include original documents or artifacts from a particular time period, such as letters, diaries, photographs, or artwork.

You can use primary sources in various ways, such as assigning readings or images for analysis or discussing them in class as part of a larger lesson. Encourage your students to use critical thinking skills when analyzing primary sources by asking questions such as who created it, why was it created, what was happening during that time period?

3. Use Multimedia Resources

Using multimedia resources such as videos or podcasts can be highly effective in reinforcing concepts covered in class lectures and discussions. You can use multimedia resources to supplement your lessons or assign them as homework assignments.

One useful resource is TED-Ed’s “The Big History Project,” which provides videos on various topics, from the history of the universe to the origins of agriculture. Another helpful resource is the “Hardcore History” podcast, which covers various historical events in-depth and is an engaging way for students to learn.

4. Encourage Debate and Discussion

Encouraging debate and discussion in your classroom can be an effective way to engage your students and help them develop critical thinking skills. You can use debates or discussions as an assessment tool or as a way to deepen your students’ understanding of a particular topic.

You can create debate topics or questions that encourage critical thinking, such as “Was imperialism a necessary evil?” or “Did religion play a more positive or negative role in history?” You can also establish guidelines for respectful discourse and encourage all students to participate.

5. Use Review Games

Review games are an engaging way to help your students prepare for exams. You can use review games such as Jeopardy, Kahoot, or Quizlet Live to reinforce concepts covered in class lectures and discussions.

To create review games, you can compile questions based on previous class material or use pre-made review games available online. Be sure to balance review game usage with other study methods such as practice tests or group study sessions.


Teaching AP World History requires careful planning and execution. By developing a comprehensive curriculum, incorporating primary sources, using multimedia resources, encouraging debate and discussion, and using review games, you can engage your students effectively and help them succeed in this challenging course. Remember that each student has different learning needs and styles; therefore, it is crucial to experiment with various teaching methods until you find what works best for your students.