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Getting Mentally Prepared for the Big Test

The first chapter of this guide shows you how to use Challenge Questions, history review, and political, economic, and social (PES) information to squirrel away some key information that you can access on the big day. The next three chapters show you how to approach each of the three question types you'll encounter on the AP U.S. History exam . Success comes from more than just what you know, however; it also comes from how you use what you know. You'll succeed on the day of the big test because you're going to have an unstoppable combination of knowledge and attitude. This chapter gives you pointers on how to prepare yourself for exam day so you stay calm, cool, and collected. Don't worry if you're a little anxious; that's good. You can use that nervous energy to slay the test dragon. This chapter gives you pointers on how to do it.


As I outline in Chapter 1, your goal is to arm yourself with information by studying U.S. history and the AP exam for an hour a day. There are three basic ways of learning — lean naturally on the way that works best for you.

- Visual learner: Visual learners prefer to learn things through what they see. That's why we invented writing instead of just singing or tap-dancing history to one another. Research says that 65 percent of humans are visual learners.

- Auditory learner: Auditory learners prefer to learn things through sound. That makes them good at learning from lectures and songs, but not as good at grabbing facts through reading. Auditory folks need to say the words out loud to themselves as they read. (Thirty percent of humans are auditory learners.)

- Kinesthetic learners: Kinesthetic learners learn best through body movement. (Five percent of us fit in this category.)

Just because you have a preference for one kind of learning doesn't mean you can't remember facts in the other ways as well. Using more than one learning style helps break up your intellectual traffic jam.

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