AP Class Reviews

World History Class by Gloria Harrison

by Students and Parents

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AP World History with Gloria Harrison posted by Addison Merryman on June 08 2012 at 13:37:27

If you like history and want a deeper appreciation of how various civilizations impacted the world of the past and the world of the present, AP World History is a perfect course for you.  Understanding world history over time is a great way to tie together your understanding of world events, literature, political thought, economics, world religions, culture, art, music—everything!  I found this course to be a great education that made my understanding of history a lot more well-rounded.

This past year, I took Mrs. Harrison’s class for AP World History. Just as you are doing now, I read a lot of student reviews before deciding to take it on. Through these reviews, I learned that the class I was signing up for would be harder than many other classes (even another AP) I had taken before. True to the reviews, even though it was challenging, it was also extremely rewarding.

 I’ll be straight about the fact that Mrs. Harrison is a teacher who persistently pushes her students to excellence. In other words, this is not a class where you can just do the assignments and expect good grades. While many classes subsidize/boost the scoring on assignments, this class does that very little. All in all, the grading is tough. The weekly reading is heavy (although my comment on this has no merit because I used the extended edition of the textbook rather than the recommended condensed AP version).  The bottom line is that this AP World History class is not for the faint of heart. But if you’re willing to try hard and give it a good go, it can be done and you will learn a tremendous amount in the process.

Mrs. Harrison and this course have done a lot for me. Sure, the class was very difficult, but it was that difficulty that drove me to a total determination to fight it out to succeed. For example, in the beginning of the year, I had difficulty with the MCQ (multiple choice questions) in the weekly quizzes. I remember sending in challenges to several questions nearly every Saturday morning, to which she responded by showing me the reasoning behind the questions. After a few months of her teaching and help, I gradually grasped how to process and answer the multiple choice. Likewise, later in the year when I was having difficulty with the DBQ essays, Mrs. Harrison and I set up chat times and together discussed my essays and different strategies and methods I should employ to write them better. Even when I broke my right arm and wrist and sprained my other arm badly in September and had difficulty completing the assignments for several weeks, Mrs. Harrison was willing to make leeway for me so that I could stay in the class. And by the time the AP Exam rolled around, I felt very well prepared, even in some of my weaker areas.

So yes, Mrs. Harrison is tough, as well as the class and the material that we needed to learn. But she didn’t just leave us there to solve it on our own; if we sought her help, she would make time out of her schedule to give us one-on-one help so that we could improve.

In addition to being prepared for the AP exam, this class also helped me to develop other life skills. I took Mrs. Harrison’s AP World History, which required 10-14 hours a week, in conjunction with 3-4 other AP level classes, all of which together forced me to make a habit of being extremely organized and diligent in completing assignments on time. I also learned how to take good notes so that I could stay on top of the vast amount of information this course covered.

And yet in all this, this class was also a bit of fun. I personally have a love for history and took AP European last year, so I really enjoyed broadening my scope and learning how Western European civilization fit in with the rest of the world. I’d recommend this class for anyone who has a driving curiosity and avid interest in history, as well as a good work ethic and a determination to do what it takes to do well. Looking back, I would take this course all over again. It was worth the work!

Fantastic course! posted by Thomas Nath on May 21 2012 at 15:48:48

Very much so.  I haven't taken the actual exam yet, but I've felt confident on every practice exam I've taken so far. 

This is tricky.  It varied greatly from week to week, but I put maybe 1 to 1.5 hours in on the course daily, plus extra work on weekends--maybe 8-12 hours a week all told, though this number fluctuated.  As long as you budget your time, it isn't an overwhelming amount, especially if you enjoy history and like to read!

I love history, and this course absolutely enhanced my interest.  I thought the textbook, in particular, did an excellent job of making history seem very interesting, as some textbooks can dry the subject out.

It's not an interaction-heavy course, but there were some discussions on the WWW Board that were really interesting.

Anyone wanting to do this course must be very, very self-motivated.  Weekly assignments are sent once a week, with everything due Friday.  That being said, I would highly recommend this course.  Mrs. Harrison is a fantastic teacher (and she's very flexible if you need an extension) who will certainly broaden your idea of world history. 

Where to begin... posted by Matthew Kilgore on May 31 2011 at 24:32:02

Prospective Student,

Every year, to review the PA Homeschoolers classes I take, I write a humorous description of why you should "not" take the class.  For WHAP, however, I must give a disclaimer--a moment in which I will be serious:

WHAP is a time-consuming course; I certainly spent more than 20 hours a week on it.

Now that's out of my system, reader, I give you three reasons why you should "not"  take WHAP:

* You will be prepared for the exam!

This is an understatement: you will truly incinerate the exam.  It will be cake--passing with no tension whatsoever.  This is simply dull; a dull exam is unacceptable!

* You will have interesting fellow students!

That is correct--WHAP will make you leave your ivory tower.  Enough said.

* You will become enthralled with new areas of history!

This is the most horrifying point of all.  By definition, WHAP covers all of human history; you'll invariably find a covered topic foreign to you.  This will intrude on your every thought, consuming you until the subject is mastered.  Most would call this valuable new knowledge; however, to me, this is an intrusion into my closed mind.  RUN BEFORE YOU MEET MY FATE!!!

Challenging, but Worth It posted by Miki Kwek on May 29 2011 at 12:41:43

Hello prospective student!

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP?

Definitely. If you keep up with your reading each week, you will be very well-prepared for the multiple choice section in the exam. (To be honest, I felt Mrs Harrison's class MCQs were sometimes harder than the one on the actual AP exam.) Mrs Harrison was also very clear when it came to guiding us through writing the various types of essays. You might find Mrs Harrison's rubric challenging, but because they require more than the actual College Board rubric, you should have no problem acing the essay section on the AP exam.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into this course?

It depends on how much homework Mrs Harrison assigned for the week. Most of the time I was able to finish my work by Friday, but sometimes I needed to do some work on Saturday morning. I generally put in about 2 to 2.5 hours a day. This class requires a lot of time management. I would advise you to break up your week's assignments evenly so as to not feel totally overwhelmed.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Oh yes, definitely. Studying history helps the modern world make a lot more sense to me.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

We didn't have a lot of class interaction, but sometimes a fellow student would post an article on the WWW Board or a short message about how the period of history/culture we're studying relates to their own histories. That really makes history come alive instead of it being dead facts in a book.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

This is not an easy class. You should come into this class with a strong love and interest in history, because this class can be quite time-consuming and tiring. There is a lot of reading involved, as well as challenging and time-consuming essays. However, if you are willing to bite the bullet, you will find this class to be one of the most rewarding and thought-provoking classes ever.

A Wonderfully Enriching History Course!! posted by Maggie Baert on May 16 2011 at 11:24:39

Hello there future student!

As you consider whether or not to take this class you must keep in mind that if you love history then you should just take this class. It's a course that relies on your individual love for a subject and if you want to invest time in that passion then taking this class will enrich your love for it even more.

Did I feel that the course prepared me for the exam? Definitely!! I took Mrs. Harrison AP European History before taking this class and I felt that this year was simply an extension of the previoius year but at a higher level. The test went very well and I felt confident going into it.

How many hours a week did I put into the course?  It really is up to the student how they manage their time. Assignements are due on a weekly basis and it's up to the student how they decide how and when they will complete the work due. The first two thirds of the year are fairly intense. I never fell behind in work but it's important not to get lost in all the reading assigned. (but remember if you love learning then that shouldn't be a problem!) The last two months of the course were slowed down and by the time the test rolls around, I had more than enough time to review and no excuse to cram by the end. Weekly I spent up to 8-10 hours (or as little as 6) as I spaced out different assignements, quizzes, textbook reading... weekly essays. Mrs. Harrison is a wonderful teacher but ultimately you have to do the work to excel.

Did the course enhance my interest?  Ohhh yes. I discovered things about cultures and countries I never knew existed before. (Who knew that pre-Islamic Middle Eastern Women had the most rights at one point?) I really really enjoyed the "WORLD" aspect of it all as I got to learn in depth about different regions. I'd love to travel and see it all in person. I would love to study history in college as well.

Did I find communications with other students interesting or valuable? Yes I did. This class is not highly interactive but we are required to comment on eachother's essays and post on the wwwboard. Essay comments are helpful and reading other essays allows you to read other student's essays and see their views.

Overall... I loved this class. I would recommend coming into the course having taken some other AP history class though that is not necessarily mandatory. I took European History with her and I thought it was a perfect combination. Mrs. Harrison is a very thorough teacher and by the end you should know what to expect on essays. You should be a self motivated student and willing to work hard on your own. Finding a study buddy in the class is helpful as you can work your way through review and clarify your understanding by working with another student. I found that to be very very helpful. Also I must say that I love learning under Mrs. Harrison. She loves what she teaches and is willing to help everyone and take her time to make sure you understand. If you want extra help, all you have to do is ask and she will offer guidance. I highly highly recommend the course... if you love this subject then you should definitely take it!! It sparks your imagination as you wonder how it was like to live in Classical China or under the Mongol rule... your imagination can run wild as you delve into thousands of years of history and discover facts you never even knew. You can enter a whole new world of the past and learn how it influences your world today.

~Maggie Baert~

WHAP is both challenging and rewarding posted by Andrew Min on May 21 2010 at 08:50:54

To preface this, I've taken a variety of courses through PA Homeschoolers, including AP US History. I also enjoyed history coming into this course. If you're also interested in history, I think you'd be crazy not to take this class.

The thing that makes this class challenging is due in large part to the subject since you have to learn centuries' worth of knowledge from around the world. That's just the nature of the beast. But at the same time, I'd like to point you back to the old axiom: no pain, no gain. The class is a lot of work, but it's incredibly rewarding at the end. The actual exam was much easier than even the midterm. The actual essays were also much easier, since we'd been drilled in how to write a good WHAP essay from day 1.

Mrs. Harrison is an excellent teacher, too. I think everyone in the class felt incredibly well prepared going into the exam. WHAP attracts a lot of smart people. You'll probably be surprised at how strictly (though fairly) she grades. But again, that's actually good for you. The more strict she gets, the more likely it is you'll improve. For example, at the beginning of the year, I was struggling a lot with my thesis statements. As time went on, however, my theses became much more crisp. That's mainly due to Mrs. Harrison's grades and helpful and insightful comments. I think the rest of my classmates can also testify to this.

At the same time, Mrs. Harrison is also very flexible. I do NCFCA debate, which involves a lot of travel. As long as I planned ahead, Mrs. Harrison was very gracious in allowing me to do classwork in advance.

To the Inquiring Student... posted by Audrey Ward on May 15 2010 at 20:47:59

Dear inquiring student (or parent!), 

Right now, you are scrolling down the page, most likely trying to decide whether to sign up for Mrs. Harrison's AP World History (or as we like to call it, the WHAP) class. I wonder if it's boring. I hope it's not too hard, you might be thinking secretly if you are a student, or if you are a parent, you might be musing, I wonder if this class will really teach my student anything. Would they do well on the exam? What both of you really want to know is, Will this class be worth it? The answer to that question, dear student or parent, is a resounding Yes! 

For me, this class has been a vital part of my high school education experience. However, I must say that WHAP is a very challenging class. On average, I spent at least two hours a day per weekday on this class, especially if I wanted to do well on the end-of-week quiz. That totals up to about 10-15 hours of work a week. If midterms or the final are right around the corner, then expect to spend even more time. It is a great college-level preparatory course. That said, this class is doable, and even enjoyable! After the first couple of weeks, I found my own rhythm for completing assignments, and then I could really begin to learn. I never knew how ignorant I was about world history until I took this course! I was amazed at how many interesting facts I learned and how much understanding about other cultures I gained. 

If the subject matter is fascinating, the teacher is wonderful! Mrs. Harrison is strict, but in a good way. She brought out the best in me as a student. Her feedback was consistently thorough and chock-full of constructive criticism. My ability to write a good analysis has definitely increased this year. She is great at striking a balance between challenging us and motivating us to get involved in the coursework by providing plenty of opportunities for extra-credit.

To do well in this course, a student needs to be dedicated, and also curious about the world--although they certainly do not have to be a "history person" to succeed. 

If you decide to enroll (or to enroll your child) in this course, be prepared to come through at the end of the year both well-prepared for the exam and having a better understanding of the way our world is the way it is today. That, after all is one of the main advantages of knowing history. I sincerely hope that you decide to experience this class!


Dear Prospective Students, posted by E Jesse Capobianco on May 18 2009 at 19:55:30

This class is difficult. And I don't mean "oh yeah, world history is a hard class"-difficult. I mean "Ah! How did I ever get myself into this!"-difficult. So know that. However, the hard work, without a doubt, payed off. I learned more in this class about managing work and studying and self-motivation (not to mention world history!) than I ever have before. This year I took two AP classes, and it was my first year to ever take any AP's. I'm also not a history person. Actually, I'm still not. And yet, I felt confident in the World History AP exam, and I am expecting/hoping for a 4 or 5. So, this is a great and enriching class. Just now that you may be doing some serious panicking, spontaneous sobbing, and life-reevaluating in the beginning of the year with the monstrous work load. But, at the end of all of that, you will be laughing with the taste of sweet success and great accomplishment.

Look no further for the finest AP prep posted by Ava Lindstrom on May 18 2009 at 14:46:37

Mrs. Harrison's World History class is not only excellent preparation for the AP Exam, it is a great introduction to the history of the world and college-level historical analysis. Mrs. Harrison is an incredibly helpful and knowledgeable teacher, and her passion for the subject is clear through her dedication to this class and the students in it. I felt extremely well prepared when taking the AP exam in world history, finishing the Multiple Choice Questions about 30 minutes before time was up. The course is a good mix of reading, essay-writing, online research (some of which is required, some optional), and other fun assignments, like posting on the internet timeline and making up multiple choice questions for practice. The essay load is less than that of other AP classes I've taken, but working on writing skills is a big part of the class. Expect to write essays about three times a month. This course has a fairly large reading component, and the weekly textbook reading requirements range from 20-60 pages (usually about 25-30), so the ideal student would be one that likes reading. An interest in world history is certainly a plus, but someone with no experience whatsoever would also find the class valuable, and probably become very interested in the subject by the end of the year!

AP World History - review posted by George Lawson Kuehnert on May 16 2009 at 21:34:34

AP World History with Mrs. Harrison was a fantastic experience this year. AP World is very different from US History, and so there is definitely a transition period, but overall, if you enjoy history, take this course.

AP World gives a sweeping context and broad understanding of world civilizations and their history which is extremely useful to have BEFORE doing European or American history. This is definitely a tough course, and the essays will take time and effort to get used to writing, but if you work hard Mrs. Harrison's guidance WILL prepare you for the exam. I probably spent five-six hours a week on this course, but that really was cutting it close. To really absorb the material it will take 8 hours a week.

Mrs. Harrison is a well-prepared teacher and she was very prompt in helping me with any and all difficulties throughout the year. Her knowledge of world history is insightful and her comments throughout the year have been extraordinarily helpful in preparing for the exam and understanding the material. Highly recommended.

I will note that the course text and exam material is MORE politically correct than necessary. I personally thought that probably 40 or so pages of the 900 page textbook could have been written more usefully/correctly. That said, the course as a whole very good and definitely worthwhile. If you have any questions for a student feel free to email me at glawsonk@bellsouth.net and I will do my best to help out.


posted by Noemi Hormann on May 16 2009 at 17:19:34

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes. Definitely. I knew exactly what to expect on the exam, and in reality, the practice essays and multiple choice questions we did in class were more strenuous than the ones on the actual exam. Therefore, I was more than prepared.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

About two to three hours a day. Since this is a history class, there's a lot of reading and absorption of information. Since its a world history course, there is a lot of ground to cover.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

Although I didn't enjoy doing them, the practice essays were especially helpful. Through repetition, I knew what was required for a good essay, and what flaws were important that I get rid of.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Most of my interaction was in terms of commenting on each other's essays. It was extremely helpful to have more opinions than just the teachers, and even more helpful when I had to examine other people's essays. I think that we could have done a better job communicating outside of essay commenting, but this is an aspect of the class that is up to the individual students rather than the class structure of the teacher.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

A student needs to be willing to spend a lot of time simply reading. An emphasis was put on connecting the causes and effects in history, so although much of the class is absorbing information, the student needs to be thinking about it at the same time. It would help if that student was good at expressing their thoughts in words (since that is the whole point of the essay-writing). I would certainly recommend this course to a prospective student.

Overall, it's definitely worth it. posted by Daphne Bissette on May 29 2008 at 23:10:05

I took this class for two reasons: to give me a broad-sweeping framework of World History that would make sense of my more specifit history knowledge, and to prepare myself for the AP exam. It delivered on both counts, and I think it was one of the most worthwhile classes I took in high school.

Mrs. Harrison did a very good job of teaching this class. She managed to strike that balance between "tough" and "compassionate" that is characteristic only of the best teachers. I had several unforeseen family and personal problems and conflicts pop up this year, and she did a great job of working with me without letting me get behind. Unfortunately, she had many unforeseen circumstances come up herself during the course of the year, so papers and tests were sometimes long in being graded and returned, but I didn't feel this significantly hurt my progress in the course at all.

I will admit that I didn't care much for the textbook. It communicated the content well enough, and I was certainly prepared for the test, but the organization was sometimes a little chaotic and the wording often convoluted. I fount it rather exasperating to wade through thirty to sixty pages of it every week. Still, for fairness sake, let me repeat that it communicated the content perfectly adequetely and these are only my personal impressions-- many of my classmates seemed to enjoy the text.

Overal, I would definitely recommend this class for a student willing to put in the work (something along the lines of 5 to 10 hours a week for me depending on the workload) and stick it out for the long haul (because it is definitely going to feel like an albatross that last month or two). It honed my study and writing skills, beefed up my analytical abilities, and gave me a good internalized framework for the broad trends in global historical development. Thanks, Mrs. Harrison!

One note for those who decide to take the course: Don't be discouraged with the essays at first. I usually get straight "A"s or "A+"s for everything I write, even in full-fleged college classes, and at the start of this class I was getting "5"s and "6"s on a 9-point scale. Don't despair! The essays for the exam really are a different animal, and seriously- you WILL master them with practice. One more thing-- Mrs. Harrison understands this and is very generous with early essay grades, so don't worry about "pulling up your grade after that C" or whatever after your first essay. Good luck!

The Most Prepared Student posted by Kirstie Hudson on May 27 2008 at 17:23:44

When I arrived at the AP Exam on May 15 I knew exactly what to expect; apparently I was the only one. Out of nine students taking the exam only three (including myself) knew what to expect from the essay section and many were ill prepared for timed multiple choice questions and essays. When we went to the bathroom for break all I could thing about was how well I had done on the multiple choice. I had known almost every question without having to pause and the ones that took me longer lost me no time. I ended the multiple choice with 12 minutes remaining while everyone else worked straight through to the cut off and some didn't finish. One girl asked me what the essay section was about. I told her there were three essays with 40 minutes for each and one required the use of documents she appeared terrified of the prospect of using documents as her teacher had not covered this critical form of essay writing. Many of them had never even heard of Primary Source Documents or read biographies on influential persons for class that required a report.

The essay section was a breeze, the questions discussed Trade in the Indian Ocean, the evolution of the Modern Olympics, and the development of Nation States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Every topic, saving the Olympics, had been extensively covered by our class and left me well prepared for what I faced on testing day. I was able to completely organize my entire DBQ (Document Based Question) and write rough POVs (Points of View) for three documents in the allotted ten minutes of reading time. I finished each succeeding essay in 40 minutes using 10 minutes to organize the thesis, body and conclusion. It was only through Mrs. Harrison's detailed explanation of each essay and her positive and negative re-enforcement that I was able to perform as well as I did.

I recommend this class to motivated, hardworking students who enjoy learning new things and discovering new opinions (even if it turns out you cannot reconcile your separate views.) I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with this class and would take it again if I had another year of high school!

Great class, but not for the faint of heart! posted by Alec Miller on May 21 2008 at 21:45:53

This is a great course, and I learned a ton this year! However, it is definitely not an easy class. Of the three AP classes I took this year, this one was probably the most difficult and time-consuming. An average week will include reading a chapter from the textbook, some reading from a review book, multiple choice questions, and either an essay or responses to other students’ essays. Any student interested in taking this class should be willing to put a lot of time into the class. On average, the class usually takes at least an hour a day. However, most days I spent more than that, especially if there was an essay. Although a fast student might be able to do the work in a relatively short amount of time, it’s a good idea to put extra time into review. That way, it won’t be necessary to “relearn” everything before the midterm or the AP exam. As a result of the class assignments, I felt well prepared for the AP exam.

Mrs. Harrison is also a great teacher! If I ever had a question about the material, she would respond quickly and was always helpful. Her essay grades and comments can be a little frustrating at first, I’ll admit. I don’t think her grades were overly harsh, but they definitely encouraged me to work harder. This is the sort of class where you have to work VERY hard to get a good essay grade. However, her comments always included suggestions on how to improve your essays. Overall, I think her essay comments really helped prepare me for the essay portion of the exam. So, if you’re a high school student interested in taking this class, I would highly recommend it! However, definitely be willing to put in a lot of hard work. Although the workload is heavy and occasionally overwhelming, I think the class is very rewarding overall.

An amazing World History course! posted by Elizabeth Deatrick on May 17 2008 at 15:01:05

Dear future WHAP students,

This is a great course! I’ve learned an astounding amount from it, and I think it prepared me pretty well for the AP test too. When I began this course, I was, frankly, pretty vague on most of world history. I could not name a single Chinese dynasty (besides, perhaps, the Ming) to save my life, and I was always getting the Aztecs and the Incas mixed up. Yesterday, however, during a viewing of Prince Caspian, I found myself marveling at the themes of the Spanish conquest of the Americas that ran through it. I never would have “gotten” all that if I hadn’t taken this course. While it was extremely hard at times, I would certainly call this class “life-changing.”

Mrs. Harrison is a great teacher. Her comments on our essays are extremely helpful, and if we find an error in the quiz book, she not only acknowledges that the book is wrong, but gives us extra credit points for being alert! This class is not the most interactive class I’ve ever taken, but we’ve had some interesting discussions about history topics on the web board, and Mrs. Harrison usually replies promptly to any e-mailed questions.

I felt that this course prepared me very well for the APs. Like many courses, what you get out of it is in direct proportion to how much time and effort you put into it. Expect to spend LOTS of time on this course if you want to excel, particularly if you’re not a “history person.” I will readily admit that history has never been my strong point, but this class really motivated me to improve!

Best of luck to all future students!


A review (original, I know) posted by Hannah Hoffman on May 17 2008 at 13:33:02

I think the course prepared me very well for the exam, there were only two questions on the MCQ section that I had no idea about. Both were asking what a certain person did, so if I had memorized or remembered more names, I would have been fine.

In most areas we studied the course did not enhance my interest. I thought the Mongols were really interesting and I would like to learn more about them, for the most part though, there are already so many areas of history that I am interested in, I really don't have room for any new interests at the moment. I did think that the Christmas break book assignment was wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about both the people I researched and the books I read sparked many new interests.

The communication I had with other students was good, I probably could have been a lot more involved on the Board. With the other PA homeschooler classes I have taken, I had a lot of discussions with other students on the Board and they were all interesting. I was much more busy this year than in the past, so in order to get all the work done I had to sacrifice something and WWW Board discussions seemed to be the best thing to sacrifice. I did miss them though.

I definitely will, and have, recommended this course to others, but I do think in order to do well you have to be extremely self-motivated and a good time manager. Overall, I think it was a great class, I learned a whole lot, and for the most part enjoyed it! (-:

WHAP 07/08 posted by Laura Russell on May 16 2008 at 21:07:20

THE TEACHER: Mrs. Harrison is amazing. And I'm not just saying this to get twinkie points, because my grades are already in. Besides, Mrs. Harrison would never accept bribes...:-) She's one of the hardest working teachers I've been privileged to learn from. She always writes back promptly to anything and everything. Her essay critiques are excellent. If you think you know how to write a good thesis, this course might make you think again.

THE TEXTBOOK: It's not preschool material. Like most textbooks, it is occasionally boring, sometimes biased, and often dense reading by necessity. Hold on, though--it's very well organized, and excellent preparation for the AP exam. If you are willing to grit it out, and take some stuff with a grain of salt, I think you will find it a valuable tool.

THE TEST: After Mrs. Harrison's course, the AP exam yesterday was a snap. Okay, so it was three and a half hours long...but I'm speaking figuratively here. :D I felt very well prepared for the multiple choice section (which is my weak point!) and the essays. Even though I had trouble remembering material for one of the essays, Mrs. Harrison's five paragraph/three topic system stood me in good stead--as my weakest essay, I'm still not to worried about the score it will receive.

My point is, if you intend to take this course, the test is the least of your worries. (Evil laughter here, fellow WHAP veterans?) Get ready to work your tail off, because it's not easy. But is it worth it? Absolutely. :-)

WHAP 2006/7 posted by Sue Patrick on July 21 2007 at 16:18:38

My son, a math/science type, took this course in his junior year. He is a solid, hardworking student, but did not have good grounding in history (primarily due to my own limitations in resourcing him). This course did a wonderful job giving him an overview of world history; he feels confident that in subsequent history classes he'll have a framework on which to hang information. He was well-prepared for the AP exam (scored a 5). I credit his good showing to Mrs. Harrison's guidance and coaching (always patient, insightful, and targeted, and my son's willingness to work hard (in excess of 10 hours a week). In short, this is an extremely well-managed course. Mrs. Harrison is a skilled and capable teacher. The content required some "drinking water from a firehose", but Mrs. Harrison managed to make it doable. I would recommend this course to any parent with a student who is willing to work hard...the teacher certainly does :)

Student review of Mrs. Harrison's classes posted by Aaron Metzger on June 06 2007 at 14:32:18

This marks the end of my second year taking classes online with Mrs. Harrison. Last year I took European History, and this year it was World History Both years have been extremely enjoyable. If you are willing to devote 6-12 hours a week to study and review, you will be well-prepared for the exam. Numerous essays taught me how to properly format an essay, and to determine causes and effects of historical events, which helps with critical thinking in all areas of life. Mrs. Harrison provided immediate feedback on all my questions. History has always been my favorite subject, and learning it online enabled me to access more information. The websites include message boards which proved invaluable for discussing history with other students and determining their perspectives. The course requires a lot of work, especially World History, with its focus on a much longer period of time and developments around the world. However, a highly motivated student with an interest in history will find either course highly educational and enjoyable!

Parent review: Great teacher posted by Aaron Metzger on June 06 2007 at 14:14:12

My son has taken both European and World History with Mrs. Harrison over the past two years. He has enjoyed both courses immensely. Mrs. Harrison has developed his essay writing abilities using constructive suggestions and constant encouragement. Her weekly assignments allow the students to work independently and develop a sense of responsibility for the completion of their work. The course has given him confidence in preparing for the AP exams. I highly recommend taking one of these courses and hope Mrs. Harrison will continue teaching so my younger son will have the opportunity to take one in a few years.

the wonders of WHAP posted by Peter Cahill on May 21 2007 at 13:20:01

Dear Prospective Student of AP World History with Mrs. Harrison,

In a certain town in Western Pennsylvania, the name of which I do not wish to recall, there lived a young, gangly boy named Peter. Now Peter was a relatively talented student; he excelled in all his studies. All of them, that is, except history. Now history had long been held with dread by Pedrito, as he was often called. It was the only subject Pedrito thought he could not master. No matter how hard or how long he studied his textbook, and I must mention he did all his review questions, he always seemed to blank out during his history tests. His older brother only exacerbated the situation. Now history came quite easily to Pedrito’s older brother, who was a bit of a guru in this particular subject. While the brother sat around watching History Channel specials each day, Pedrito looked on in horror on his ninth grade year, in which his mother was going to force him to take AP European History online with Mrs. Harrison through the PA Homeschoolers. “What horror!” thought Pedrito. He pleaded night and day with his mother that she would take the cup of suffering away from him. “Please Mommy! Math! Science! Sociology! Assign me anything but history!” This was, however, of no avail. During that spring, applied and accepted our Pedrito was to Mrs. Harrison’s class. Little did he know of the marvels that awaited him.

Yes, I used to be a “historiphobe,” I hated history with a passion. However, I can say that Mrs. Harrison has effectively cured me of this through my two years with her doing AP European History and AP World History respectively. I had an amazing experience during AP European History, so much so that I came back for another year of history with Mrs. Harrison. Furthermore, Mrs. Harrison did such an amazing job that such a poor history student like me got a 5 on the Euro exam, (and I am expecting similar results of the World History exam.

As far as the specifics of the course go, the following excerpt of mine from the high-school publication The Excelsior sums it up well: “Mrs. Harrison is an outstanding teacher who is always ready to answer any questions about anything, even if they’re unrelated or only distantly related to history. The class has a very flexible format. Mrs. Harrison sends out an email every weekend detailing the assignments for the upcoming week. All the student has to do is get all the assignments done by Friday at 8:00 P.M. (though essays are occasionally due earlier). This format is easy to schedule around previous commitments. The course is also excellent and covers the prehistory to the modern day. Everything that was on the exam was covered thoroughly in class. There is a participation requirement (only 1 history-related post per week) which guarantees an effective amount of participation. Mrs. Harrison also has several participation games to achieve participation points and review important personages, places, events, etc. A daily commitment of about 1-2 hours is recommended, though a fast worker may finish even sooner. Around the mid-term, final, and AP exam, however, 3-4 hours are highly recommended. This course is absolutely outstanding!”

I hope you deeply consider taking such an excellent class.


~Peter Cahill

I forgot to say... posted by Carla Atwi on May 17 2007 at 21:11:45

Mrs. Harrison is a fantastic teacher!! Suffice it to say, I have decided to sign up for her AP European History class next year. :-)

Learning History with Mrs. Harrison posted by Carla Atwi on May 17 2007 at 21:03:46

Dear Prospective Student,

I loved WHAP (AP World History). WHAP has helped me overcome my former fear of history. It is humbling and at the same time exhilarating to know that there so many diverse and fascinating people out there besides one’s self! I had never heard about the Chechens, for example, before studying World History. This is just one example of the exotic and fascinating topics that await you!

This course is a lot of work. For sure, the study of history is not a walk in the park! But it is very rewarding and often fun, too! Through WHAP, I got to meet a girl who is now my very best friend (my "whacky WHAP sister")! In addition, I feel that I benefited greatly from Mrs. Harrison's comments on my essays. My writing and reasoning skills have improved over the course of this class, as a result.

I invite you to seriously consider taking AP World History with Mrs. Harrison!


Carla Yasmine Atwi

A Course Worthy of Your Effort posted by William Honaker on June 23 2006 at 13:44:30

An essay nearly every week.

At least 30 pages of reading and study from the textbook alone - every week.

A quiz and reading of primary source documents every week.

This is but a sampling of the hard work that awaits you, should you accept the challenge of AP World HIstory, a challenge that will prepare for serious academic study.

First, you will be prepared in the amount of study you put in each week. This is a course that takes hours of your time, much of it spent reading and studying the thorough textbook. Efficient time- management is a must, and if you don't have, you will be forced to learn it.

Second, you will develop superior essay writing skills, if you put in the effort. Mrs. Harrison will provide you with plenty of the right tools for writing high-scoring essays., giving you detailed reports on the AP scoring rubric, and thorough techniques for devloping a DBQ. You will write an essay almost every week, and by the last week of the course, your essays will be worty of "nines"

Third, the class discussion and numerous extra-credit assignments will refine and hone your knowledge of world history. You will learn a lot, and you will be able to test your knowledge through discussion with your classmates.

The course may be challenging, but the benefits far exceed the difficulties.

a challenging but great course posted by Heather Good on June 05 2006 at 15:39:57

The AP World History course I think has really prepared me for collage and the exam itself. I did not like writing essays and that was something I did almost every week in this course. As much as I hated the essays, as I look back I’m glad that I was forced to do it. It has really prepared me for the future. Our discussion board was always in use with debates on different topics. Mrs. Harrison is a great teacher who tries to help in any way. I would suggest not doing what I did and have a lot of extra things going on while taking this course. Mrs. Harrison warned me of this, but I thought I’d be fine. Yes, I was fine but I could have done a lot better if I was able to focus more on the course. I definitely recommend this course to others! It was extremely challeging for me but I really learned a lot. If I had to make the choice again I would still take this course.

A Great Opportunity to Study World History in an Online Enviroment July 05 2004 at 10:22:27

I was a student in Mrs. Harrison’s world history class during the 2003-2004 school year. I received an “A” in this class and scored a 770 out a possible 800 on the SAT II: World History exam. Below are my comments and recommendations for future students regarding AP World History in general and regarding this class in particular.

1) Does this class and the teacher effectively teach the material for the AP test? Based on your own experience, would you recommend this teacher or other classes in this format to other people?

I would highly recommend Mrs. Gloria Harrison to any student who is interested in learning history in a vigorous yet interesting manner. Mrs. Harrison taught us how to write the three kinds of essays on the AP test by having us write an essay three out of every four weeks. After we posted out essays on the website, she graded them promptly, sending us her critique of our essay, as well as a basic score. She also greatly encouraged us to critique each others essays, allowing us to see the good points in each others’ essay, as well as the bad points we should avoid.

Every week, Mrs. Harrison sent out assignments, detailing the chapters we were to read in our textbook and study guides and giving us the essay question. She also lead the class in discussions about topics covered in our textbook, so that we could learn to analyze events and discover views other than our own.

I believe that this class and other such classes effectively teach the material necessary to get a high score on the AP exam. However, because of the online format of the test, students need to be self-motivated in order to keep up with the class.

2) What kind of students would you recommend to take this class? How much time would you expect to spend studying this class in a normal week? Are there any specific things you would recommend new students to do or not to do?

I would recommend students to take this class who are highly motivated and eager to learn. I spent ten to twelve hours a week on this class alone; if a student wishes to do well on the AP exam in May, be prepared to spend two hours every school day (and sometimes Saturdays) on this class. While an absolute enthusiasm for history is not required, be prepared to enjoy history throughout this course.

Students considering to take this class should have some previous background in world history. Any previous knowledge is helpful to relate events. For example, if you were already familiar with ancient Rome, it will be a lot easier to compare Han China to imperial Rome.

I would highly recommend students to read as many primary source documents as possible. In my own experience, these documents made history alive to me, and I actually remembered these documents as I was answering questions on the AP exam. “The Human Record: Sources of Global History,” volumes I and II edited by Alfred J. Andrea and James H. Overfield was very useful. It has a wide variety of documents from all over the world, covering the whole time frame of AP World History. (ISBN 0-395-87087-9 and 0-395-87088-7) I found that having primary source books in print saved time wasted exploring the Internet. Another great benefit of primary source documents is that history becomes real to you; when I read accounts of people in the Kashmir conflict and people who were affected by the Chernobyl explosion, for example, I formed real opinions about the governments and cultures of people from all over the world.

3) What is the AP World History test? Would you recommend this test to other people?

The AP World History test focuses on the period from 1000 BC to about the 1990’s. Only 30% or less of the test covers European History. So that means, that AP World History is mainly about the history of Asia, Africa, and the South America. (Neither Canada nor the U.S. are covered on the test in any specific manner.) Because the test mainly covers non-Western civilizations, the majority of this class will be spent studying the culture, history, and religion of these far-off lands.

If you are looking for a class that covers a lot about Western Civilizations or European History, consider taking AP European History (also taught by Mrs. Harrison.)

The AP test also tests limited knowledge of early civilizations. One stress of the test is culture, religion, and philosophy. Therefore, the class will spend a lot of time reviewing the cultures of non-Western civilizations, as well as the important points of their religions and philosophy.

4) What do you have to say about the main text for this class? Would you recommend any study guides?

The main text for this class, “World Civilizations: the Global Experience” by Stearns, et al, has a serious liberal bias in my opinion. It also is highly analytical in nature, expecting you to have already learned the topics it is analyzing. Therefore, I strongly recommend students to read primary source documents; you will be exposed to different views, as well as be exposed to the facts the text analyzes.

In addition, to primary source documents, I read the study guides Mrs. Harrison gave us in the weekly assignments. I looked up a lot of topics I hadn’t learned before in encyclopedias; in addition to the printed volumes, I found “en.wikipedia.org” helpful, especially when looking up strange topics like the British West Indies Company. I also spent a lot of time reading any other world history textbooks I could find in order to discover which part of the discussion in Stearns was actually history and which part was biased opinion.

As far as study guides, my favorite was by far Princeton Review’s “Cracking the AP World History Exam.” Their advice for the different sections of the test was genuinely helpful, and their tests were the most like the real AP exam in my opinion!

5) Would you recommend a student taking the AP World History test to take the SAT II: World History?

Even though I took the SAT II: World History, I wouldn’t recommend AP World History students to take this test. Although the tests are published by the same company and have the same subtitle, these similarities are deceiving. The SAT II is over 50% European History, whereas the AP exam is less than 30% European History. I spent extra time reviewing for the SAT II because I hadn’t focused on the European History for the AP test. If you work hard for the AP test, you shouldn’t need the SAT score. Then, you won’t have to spend a bunch of time reviewing for a test that colleges and other people would consider to cover the same topics!

James Prim - an outstanding course! July 17 2004 at 19:21:54

Mrs. Harrison's AP World History Class is excellent, and I would highly recommend it. I feel that the class did a very good job of preparing me for the AP exam (which I received a "5" on), and it was also very fun and enjoyable.

Mrs. Harrison is a great teacher who really made this course an enjoyable and challenging experience. She communicated with the students a lot, answered e-mails very promptly, and encouraged class participation. She always graded our essays soon after we submitted them, and her comments on our essays were extremely helpful. The textbook and review books she chose for this class were also very good.

The course was rather time consuming, however. I usually spent about 12 hours a week on this class, and often longer. The essays particularly took a long time to write (however, they were definitely worth it; we had to write so many of the various kinds of essays found on the exam that I had absolutely no problems with the essays on the actual exam). Therefore, if you are not interested in devoting lots of time to this subject, or if you are taking many other AP classes, you should think twice before signing up for this class.

The sort of student who would do well in this course is one who is willing to spend many hours studying history and writing essays. In other words, a self-motivated student with a love for history. Also, it would help to have a basic knowledge of world history before starting the course. I had taken AP European History (also taught by Mrs. Harrison) during the 2002-2003 school year, and this made many aspects of this class much easier.

Although the course was very demanding and time consuming, I got a lot out of this class, and it has definitely been one of my favorite AP classes I have taken. This is an excellent course, and I strongly recommend it!!

AP World History by Rachel Shedd, June 07 2005 at 11:34:19

This course is extremely valuable for any student interested in taking the AP World History exam. I cannot stress how much it prepared me for a test that is quite difficult. Mrs. Harrison is an intelligent, kind, and gracious teacher. As long as you are willing to work hard and strive to do your best, this class is an excellent prep course.