AP European History - Summer work

The Microsoft Word version of these full instructions are linked here.


  • This summer I encourage students to form study groups to regularly meet and review the materials. When you do form a study group, ask the people in your group how THEY approach reading assignments or tests. Maybe just a group chat will help, if it is used for academic Q&A and not trash talk! đź’©
  • Also, INVEST IN A “HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE AP EXAM EURO” BOOK. There are many such books available to students which they may purchase at a local bookstore, or online. While these books offer valuable advice for students who intend on taking the AP Exam in May, they are valuable study guides which many times include test taking tips, subject reviews, and practice exams. This will help throughout the year! I have linked the top choices, but everyone will prefer a different format.  Many people like Fast Track, but if you are not sure, go to Books-A-Million and look around.   
  • The best prep guide that I have found is by far  The AP Achiever Exam Prep Guide European History. It is a bit more expensive, but the practice questions are the best and the authors do a fantastic job explaining the correct answers.
  1. AP Achiever Exam Prep Guide European History, 2e, 2017
  2. Princeton Review
  3. Barron's
  4. 5 Steps to a 5

Part I-  You will read The Prince by Niccoli Machiavelli    

    This is the best translation you can buy.  It uses modern language is very manageable.  Here is an online version. 
    As part of the AP European curriculum students are expected to read at least two “outside” reading books to supplement their text. The Prince, written in the 15th century, establishes the “guidelines” for being a great monarch. This book becomes the focus of class discussion throughout the course when students are studying the politics of European History. The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli, is one of the most influential works on political power in Western Civilization. Machiavelli’s early career as a diplomat (officially the Secretary of the Second Chancery) for the powerful Republic of Florence from 1498-1512 during the politically volatile era of the Italian Renaissance allowed him to examine firsthand the multitudes of leadership styles and qualities in his dealings with the Sforzas in Milan, the Borgias in Rome, the Trastámaras of Aragon (Spain), and the Valois in France. 
    In 1513, the republican government in Florence was overthrown by the powerful Medici family, namely Lorenzo de Medici (the Magnificent). After taking princely control of Florence, Lorenzo promptly fired Machiavelli, who after a brief imprisonment (and brutal torture), retired to his estate where he devoted the rest of his life to writing. Although his writings vary from satiric plays (The Mandrake) to poetry, his most lasting contribution to history would be his political essays and tracts, especially The Prince.   

Directions: The Prince is not exactly an obscure work, so it should be relatively easy to find. My advice would be to go to any of your local bookstores (or online options like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) and pick up a copy. With the majority of the paperback copies of the work found, The Prince is generally joined by several essays by Machiavelli—these will not be required for the assignment.  Answer these questions in as much detail as possible (and please no typed work and of course, in complete sentences). Responses should be well organized and your analysis should use evidence from the book. This will be due the first day of school. I will check my email throughout the summer, so if you have any questions regarding this assignment (or any questions about this year), please email me at eric.portwood@yourcharlotteschools.net

The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care. Here is an interesting article about applying those lessons today.

Part II-  “Western Civilization: Since 1300”  

Introduction and Ch. 11 & outline notes of Ch 11

For this part, you will have to get the current AP European History textbook from the Ms Barlow in the Dean’s Office (Western Civilization, by Jackson Spielvogel, 8th edition).  Read Ch 11 from the textbook and take notes.


2. Chapter 11: “The Latter Middle Ages: Crisis and Disintegration in the Fourteenth Century” (if you could not get the book I have included the chapter as a .pdf link)


If you have had me as a teacher before you know I love using sticky notes and page markers.  Your book is yours until May 2018.  You can not annotate the book, but you can use sticky notes, so try to start this year organizing your thoughts! Write questions to ask in class, re-write key ideas or jot down ideas for synthesis (we will discuss that later!)

Here is the Chapter 11 Powerpoint to help you with notes!

As you are reading these sections, you will need to build your binder and begin a chapter of notes in outline form. Your three-ring binder that will contain all of your notes, handouts, primary sources and essays.  This binder must be organized chronologically so dividers will be used to separate each chapter.


Want a head start on this?  Here are my notes for the first part of Ch 11:

Page 1

Page 2 


Not just European History, but ALL AP subjects require good reading comprehension and writing skills. This is especially true for English and History. When you read the textbook, you will get better grades. There are other payoffs as well. Research has shown that when students become avid readers they also become better writers.


Part III- Part three will be to prepare for a 50-question geography test over modern European nations.   

You will be given the test at the end of the first week and must reach a 90% (45/50) to get credit.  You will have three opportunities to pass this test with a 90% and if you are unable to do so it will count as a zero. On a blank map you must label these 50 European nations.  I have posted practice tests that you can print from my website or use online quizzes to prepare.  Be prepared for this test! 


  1. Here is an online quiz game that will help you memorize Euro nation
  2. Here is an excellent online map that is already labeled for you to study
  3. If you prefer to print and label, use this word doc to help you study