Studying for the AP Euro exam? We've pulled together a list of study guides for every unit so you can focus your time on studying and not looking for resources!
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All of these study guides were created by experienced AP Euro teachers and students who have aced the exam. They include everything you need to know to get a 5 on the exam.
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Besides learning tons of content over hundreds of years of history, you also learn how to think thematically and in terms of Historical Reasoning. In AP Euro, you learn about the themes of State and Institutions of Power, Interactions of Europe + The World, and so many more that we explain through these guides below! Also, in AP European History, you must learn Historical Thinking and Reasoning Skills like Causation, Continuity/Change over Time, and Comparison! Below we linked guides that can help refine those skills to help improve your FRQ writing!
Comparison in the AP Histories
(note: this guide is written for AP World, but the concepts apply across the histories!)
In AP Euro, you have to take all of the Thematic Skills and all of the Hundreds of Years of History to culminate and prove your knowledge to the College Board in your End of Year AP Exam! While some might dread taking the exam, it becomes much easier and FIVEable when studying how to answer all of the different FRQ (Free Response Question) Types and how to tackle MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) with us!
Ultimate Guide to the DBQ!
(Document Based Question)
AP History SAQ Guide
(Short Answer Questions)
✍️ Do You Want More Practice Writing FRQs for AP Euro? Make sure to Check out All of the AP Euro Past FRQ Prompts for SAQ, LEQ, + DBQs at this blog post
In the late 1400s, the beginning of the Renaissance transformed Europe, bringing Europe out of the Middle ages. Beginning in the Italian city-state of Florence, a new intellectual movement known as humanism began spreading, changing the way Europeans viewed themselves and the world around them. Intellectuals would rediscover the writings of classical Greece and Rome, discover new ways to represent reality through painting and sculpture, and reinvent man's meaning for existence.
The Catholic Church dominated Europe for centuries. They held incredible influence over European society and politics during the Middle Ages, and that influence continued long after the Middle Ages ended. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and while the Catholic Church had great power, they used it very irresponsibly. This would lead to many attempts at reform with some being more successful than others to change the entire idea of religion in Europe!
Now when we discuss the idea of state-building in this unit, it’s important to understand that the cause for this sudden change would be this surge for Monarchical Sovereignty, thus furthering the rise of Absolutist rulers such as King Louis XIV, and Peter The Great! Contextually speaking, Absolutism emerged at a dicey point in European History. New Monarchs of the 16th and 17th Centuries had consolidated their power through various means.
Humanism, which gave some Europeans a sense of individualism and a confidence in their ability to reason during the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation periods, began to branch into other interests beyond the 16th century. Individualism manifested itself in intellectuals who were interested in sciences, people and places who had recently been discovered by Europeans, and politics. As interest in challenging traditional authorities in these areas intensified and populations expanded in cities, conversations about reform and new advancements became the norm!
In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War. Absolutist monarchs looked to centralize power. Challenges to this authority resulted in new political systems. By the 18th-century, Europe was full of new political ideas and tensions. European commerce also expanded and caused conflict as countries competed in a growing trade network! Through colonies in the Americas, European countries profited off cash crops, gold, and silver. Economic rivalry eventually led to global warfare!
Before the First Industrial Revolution, the majority of people made their living off of farming land or the putting-out/cottage system. They grew enough for their families and whatever was left would be sold. The Agricultural Revolution changed this by amplifying food production which exponentially increased the population of Europe and their health. However, at the same time, the Napoleonic Wars were raging. These wars threatened the political stability of the time and would transform European governments into conservative powerhouses that despised any sort of change or reform.
After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, conservative governments of Europe attempted to rid society of liberal, republican ideas to avoid revolutions. Due to the effects of the French Revolution on Europe, through Napoleon’s Continental System, it was believed that liberalism would lead to further threats to the sovereignty of each European nation. Nationalism also became a threat to European empires after Napoleon’s rule in France. Nation-states began to emerge based on common histories, languages, and religions. These states threatened to upset the balance of power that was so delicately organized by the Congress of Vienna.
Alliances divided Europe between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance until the Russian Revolution forced them to revoke their involvement in the Triple Entente. After understanding the void left by Russia, the United States joined the war to aid the British and the French forces against Germany. The fresh forces, supplies, and aid of the US military ended WWI only a year later. The Paris Peace Conference severely punished the German government for its role in WWI, created the League of Nations to keep regional conflicts from erupting into global conflicts, and forced Germany into extreme debt.
After WW1, Europe was decimated due to total warfare and new military technologies. The end of WWII saw multiple superpowers in the world once again suffer tremendously. From England to Germany and France, only two nations came out of the conflict stronger than ever before: the US and Russia. The only problem? The two countries had opposite political ideologies. The desire to become the world’s strongest nation would see them compete with one another for decades. The end of that conflict would cause ripples throughout the world that can be seen in modern times.