The AP US History "Packet"
November 12, 2007 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Did you use "The Packet" in your AP US History course in high school? Do you remember what that was called, who wrote it, and how I could get it again?

10 years ago when I was a junior in high school, we had a regular course textbook, and then an optional (we had to pay some nominal fee for it) distilled 150 page "packet" of bullet point information of all US history. I didn't realize it at the time, but this packet was absolutely brilliant. And I want to get it back.

The teacher has since retired, and I'd rather not go tracking him down, so I thought I'd give AskMeFi a shot:

It was about 150 2x sided pages, and looked like something someone printed out on their dot matrix printer in the early 90s. Incredibly pithy and concise, sometimes used full sentences, sometimes did not. Lots and lots of numbered lists and bullet points though.

Does anyone recognize it? Does anyone have it, or information on it?

I'd LOVE to get this thing back.

posted by stewiethegreat to Education (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
something like this?
posted by parmanparman at 4:04 PM on November 12, 2007

Could it have been an official ETS study guide? I don't see any presently on the ETS site, but I recall a newsprint practice test that had the DBQs in it, and that we used to practice sussing out irrelevant documents. Could be there was a full-on bulleted list of possible content...

Also, check this APUSH teacher's stash.

I got a 4, btw. My APUSH teacher used to say, "Where excellence is possible, mediocrity is a sin." Big impact, that class had.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:12 PM on November 12, 2007


It was kinda like that, but far longer. Got in to great depth (using relatively little words) about the different factions of reconstruction, women's suffrage...
posted by stewiethegreat at 4:19 PM on November 12, 2007


That's a great resource, and it's similar to the topic outlines on that page, but instead of just saying "reasons for exploration" it actually listed the reasons for exploration.

Thanks for looking around for this!!
posted by stewiethegreat at 4:25 PM on November 12, 2007

Kids in my high school printed out the Giant AHAP review, this being the html version of the doc file.
posted by Ugh at 4:29 PM on November 12, 2007

The giant AHAP review may be close enough, but I don't think it's the same thing - fairly informal writing. Great depth, though. :) Thanks.
posted by stewiethegreat at 4:58 PM on November 12, 2007

Are you sure it was something your teacher didn't just put together? Ours assigned a specific topic to each student, and we wrote a 1-2 page study guide on that topic. He then made copies for everyone.

But now you've got me wondering where my study packet is...
posted by natabat at 5:03 PM on November 12, 2007

Are you sure it was something your teacher didn't just put together? Ours assigned a specific topic to each student, and we wrote a 1-2 page study guide on that topic. He then made copies for everyone.

This sounds pretty likely to me. We didn't get a big pack o' copies, but we did pool together with the AP History classes from a couple other high schools in the district to study, and met at our teachers' houses for review nights for a few weeks leading up to the test. The "Packet" could very well have been put together by (a) teacher(s) in your area in a collaborative effort or something.
posted by LionIndex at 5:25 PM on November 12, 2007

I'm guessing that this is something that the teacher, and possibly their colleagues put together over many years of teaching the class. This is something that teachers tend to do, more so than their students probably realize. One reason to think this, aside from the printed-out feel, is that as far as I know, most high-sales textbooks/commercial study guides are basically written by committee, and "incredibly pithy and concise" is not usually the result.

Is it possible that a version of it is still in use by other teachers at the same high school? This might be easier than tracking that particular teacher down. You could try emailing the department head of the social studies dept. there explaining the question.
posted by advil at 5:27 PM on November 12, 2007

Jesus, that AHAP review is absolutely horrible.

When I studied for the EHAP exam I had a great reference book with a very ordered and detailed timeline (glances over at shelf...) Ah yes! The World History Factfinder by Colin McEvedy. It covers US history as well as the rest of the world, though I believe he did a special version for North America. You can find them used for a dollar online.

EHAP: 5, USHAP: 5. If they had the World History AP exam when I was a youngin', I would have gotten a 5 in that, too.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:02 PM on November 12, 2007

I think this is the kind of thing that is best passed around between teachers, because teachers tend to make these things and use them for decades. I took APUSH last year and my teacher had tons of bulleted list type thing that helped me get a 790 on my SAT US History subject test a few weeks ago (along with a 5 on the exam). I'm pretty sure some of them have been around for decades. She also used student's stuff sometimes, mostly time lines and such.
posted by MadamM at 6:52 PM on November 12, 2007

I've been reading the giant AHAP review, and it is just awful... AWFUL! I've reformatted it and edited out a lot of the editorializing and soapboxing, but it's still trash.

It's useful at least for doing a search and getting the pertinent historical data for the search terms.

I'm going to put the edited and formatted version on the web - let me know if you want a copy.
posted by stewiethegreat at 7:28 PM on November 12, 2007

I'm sure this packet that I'm still searching for is something Mr. Nelson got from another teacher way back in the day - he wasn't the type to take the time to put it together himself. I'll try tracking down more recent students, then maybe contact his replacement and see if the new teacher has an inherited copy.

Again, if anyone recognizes this, it would be wonderful to get back.
posted by stewiethegreat at 7:30 PM on November 12, 2007

I'm going to put the edited and formatted version on the web - let me know if you want a copy.

I honestly don't know how you can do that without completely re-writing it, and if that's what you intend, then good luck to you! You might as well be starting from scratch.

You know, this would be a good candidate for a Metafilter Project if you Wiki-ized it and let other people lend a hand at editing. It might make it a slightly-less Herculean a task, and I'm sure history teachers around the country would appreciate the effort.

While Wikipedia is a good general source of information, I haven't seen many public (web) sources for, well, the tests themselves. Princeton Review charges a pretty-penny for their coursework and related materials, but if you think about it, the source material doesn't exactly change from year-to-year.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:33 PM on November 12, 2007

Actually, looks like some groups are already doing something like this (that's one's for the World History AP exam). It's perhaps a bit too "to-the-test" for its own good, but at least some people think the idea has merit.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 PM on November 12, 2007

¤ Who might have a copy of his CV/résumé?

¤ Could you ask the faculty members of history departments of local universities if they are familiar with the packet?

¤ If you don't already know, can you find out what school/schools your teacher attended? The institutions that granted him degrees may have records of his texts.

¤ Is it possible that he wrote the packet or collaborated with friends/colleagues?

¤ Academic team coaches might be able to provide these, or similar materials.
posted by bonobo at 4:59 AM on November 13, 2007

I just corrected whatever editorializing caught my eye, reformatted it from 48 to 106 pages, and bolded the headers. Let me know if you'd like it. It's still high school girlish and teaching-to-the-test, but a serviceable outline of US political history up to the Vietnam war.
posted by stewiethegreat at 6:26 PM on November 13, 2007

I'd appreciate a copy if you don't mind.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:39 PM on November 13, 2007

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