Peers push World History AP students to accomplish high achievement


photo or infographic by Emma Low

WORDS OF EXPERIENCE. During a Writer;s Workshop junior Jace Yarborough helps sophomore Cesar Barrera with mastering a DBQ. The workshop was held during Wildkat Way for AP World History students who wanted an extra boost on their writing skills before the test.

When pencil meets paper it can only be as sharp as the mind that wields it. Unfortunately, unlike a pencil, the mind can not become sharper with a twist or two in a pencil sharpener. The work to sharpen the mind is much more formidable and not as readily available as going to the store, and the price paid is far higher than a dollar or two. Time, dedication and application are all necessary to achieve a sharper mind, and time, dedication, and application are what AP students are willing to give. 

On Thursday morning, 100 Wildkats will sit down to face the AP World History exam. They will have the benefit of their teacher’s knowledge. But they will also have the tips and advice from the students who excelled before them. 

The Writer Workshop, which is hosted by AP World History teacher Michael Robinson, held sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays during Wildkat Way in preparation for the upcoming AP exam.

Writer Workshop is a student mentoring program that pairs juniors and seniors who made either a 4 or 5 on their AP World History test with sophomores taking the class this year,” Robinson said. “Students do not receive extra credit or bonus points or anything else for being a mentor or participants. Everyone is there working diligently every session for one reason only – they want to be better writers.

BUILDING SKILLS. Sharing her tips for success, senior Riley Heffernan gives pointers to sophomore Melissa Guerrero. Attendance to the Writer’s Workshop was voluntary for AP World History students. (photo or infographic by Emma Lowe)

As Robinson oversees the workshop he watches the progression and development of each student unfold.

“My favorite part of the workshop is watching the students learn from each other, making connections together and discussing/debating challenging questions,” Robinson said.

Over six years, students have poured work and effort into gaining valuable skills from this workshop and are still proving the success and admiration that this workshop brings.

“I love Writers Workshop,” sophomore Melissa Guerrero said. “I think it helps build the writing skills needed for AP World History. Being around students who got four or five on the AP test is great and the advice we receive is so insightful.”

As the sophomores taking the exam this year absorb all the knowledge they are offered, their mentors also work to impart knowledge to them.

“I hope to develop their writing skills so they can better get their ideas across,” senior James Rogers said. “I expected to get a 3 on the test, but I still felt adequately prepared. I was helped by Heimler’s history videos, but mostly it was due to what we talked over in class and the discussions we had.”

When the mentors took the exam their sophomore year, they all had ways to prepare for a high score on the test, which they also work to pass on to students this year.

“When I took the test, I felt I would make a solid four, and you never feel prepared for that kind of stuff,” junior Jace Yarborough said. “Reading the book and the constant writing of DBQs helped me the most. I hope to help students taking the exam this year write a DBQ effortlessly and bump their score up a point or two.”

SENIOR ADVICE. Hoping to improve his writing skill, sophomore Zach Wilson listens to seniors James Rogers and Michael Scholwinski during a Writer’s Workshop. Because of their high writing scores on the AP tests as sophomores, they were chosen as mentors for the students. The mentors share tips on studying and taking the test. (photo or infographic by Emma Lowe)

The workshop was founded on the principle to work toward improved writing skills.

“The mission of the Writers Workshop is to increase writing skills for the AP World History test, and advanced academic writing in general,” Robinson said. “Ultimately to the end of producing higher AP Scores.”

The goals of both the Writer Workshop and the students that participate combine to create an experience that pushes their minds and academic capacity.

“I felt encouraged to take the AP World History class because I wanted to take a class to boost my GPA and help my rank,” Guerrero said. “I also did it to be in a competitive and challenging environment where I’m pushed to learn more than vocabulary words. The skills that I hope to get out of this class are problem-solving skills, analysis skills, and time management.”

The AP World History course has a reputation for being a challenge, but to the students who seek out and accept the challenge, the experience becomes essential.

“You do not need college credit as a sophomore, take a level world history class and enjoy your high school experience,” Robinson said. “AP World History is only for those that are truly academically minded and motivated – you get out of AP classes what you put into them, but if you think you are going to do well just for showing up, then you are naive. To be successful takes skills that you must work to achieve.”