AP World History Chapter Summary Format
AP World History Summer Assignment: Students will be responsible for completing Summary outline notes
for chapters 1-3 in our textbook The Earth and its People: A Global History Pgs 5-92.
These will be due on Tuesday 8-12-2014.
For an example of chapter 1 notes, please visit the class website at
Textbook reading guidelines
This is just a suggested way to read the textbook. I realize that some of the things that I will suggest will
seem to be impossible or repetitious, but each of the following steps will help you to read and understand the text.
You should modify the suggestions to meet your needs or style of learning.
By using this information, you can quickly look at what the chapter has to offer before you read, giving you a better
chance of remembering some of the important ideas. What you want to do is keep the information fresh. You can do
this by referring to the text over a period of days.
Don’t try to read a whole chapter and complete summary notes the night before! The times are just
suggested. You need to create your own plan.
1. Browsing
Look through the chapter. Read the headings of the chapter, sections, and sub-sections. Read and look at all of the
maps, drawings, paintings, graphs, and charts. Just ―look around‖ at what you will be reading. You may absorb
some things, but again, all you really want is a quick glance. Do not read the chapter at this point, just look. (15-20
2. Skim-and-Scan
Read the opening remarks of the chapter. Read the first paragraphs of each section and sub-section. Find the thesis
for the chapter and section. Read the first sentence of every other paragraph. Read the captions to the maps, graphs,
etc. That’s all. (30-45 minutes)
3. Careful Reading
Now read the chapter from start to finish. Carefully read every sentence and word. Re-read all captions. Be sure to
spend time reading the whole chapter. I suggest you do this in one, but not more than two, settings. (1-3 hours)
4. Skim-and-Scan with Note-taking
With pen in hand, skim-and-scan again. Take outline notes with headings matching those in the chapter. Don’t
rewrite the book. Take quick notes of things you will need to remember. Jot down page numbers of important
paragraphs. (1 hour)
5. Reminding
This is a skim-and-scan technique that uses both the text and your notes. Let the notes remind you what is in the
text, referring to the text only when you need to. This is a final check before you study for the exam. (30-45
I would suggest that you use the day before the exam as a rest and a final checkup. Don’t spend a lot of time
studying the text, but use your time wisely checking your notes. Reread the introduction and conclusion to each
chapter. These are good reviews.
Train yourself to rely on good note taking.
Summary Notes
When you reach the reading step where you are ready to begin to summarize the chapter, please follow these
directions carefully. Outlines of bulleted information or incomplete thoughts will not be accepted!
1. Thesis: Every chapter summary should have an original thesis created by you. This will require that you do more
than merely regurgitate something you have read in the text. I want you to be able to synthesize this information. Put
another way, this should be your words.
Look at Chapter 1 in text book (pgs 5-34). Chapter 1 is about the first early civilizations based on agriculture. The
following is an example of a self-created thesis (therefore it belongs to me, do not use it).
Thesis: While the term civilization is controversial, some early peoples who lived near river systems
developed attributes most historians consider “civilized”. These would include new technologies,
organized political systems and distinct social classes; three of the earliest (civilizations) were located in
Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus Valley. These sedentary civilizations thrived from 3000 B.C.E. to 1900
2. Next you will begin to synthesize the chapter information into your summary notes. Once again, the information
you have read should be your own writing in your notes. You need to incorporate the blue vocabulary terms into
your text. These should include a definition, why the term is important and what SPICE Theme (AP World History
theme) it belongs to. Please highlight these terms throughout your outline notes.
Ex: Pgs 6-7 in textbook
Before Civilization
Humans have exhibited traits of culture as far back as the Stone Age as people passed on knowledge of information
in society. Culture is the collection of material objects such as dwellings, clothing, tools, crafts, along with
nonmaterial values, beliefs and languages and this is a unique attribute to human development. S C
History is when human communities trace the transmission, development, and transformation of cultural practices
and events and recording history is one of the characteristics of civilization S C
The Stone Age is a misleading name as tools were made of many different materials. One of the major subdivisions
was the Paleolithic which saw glaciers covering most of the Northern Hemisphere and the Neolithic which is
associated with the beginnings of agriculture. C
Food Gathering and Stone Technology
Early Hunter/gatherer societies lived in groups, learned to cook food and developed a culture that included oral
language, traditions and art. These societies had a division of labor that allowed for defense and Cave paintings and
archeological digs show diversity and depth of early human cultures. Cave at sugg
Foragers would eat meat during special occasions like feasts but would have relied on wild plants, berries and
seeds. This is important as this foraging would have been the early beginnings of agriculture. S C E
The Agricultural Revolutions
Continue o to the next section as you have done the others.
Methods of World History
You will be required to include at least three of the following method questions in your summary notes. The
purpose of answering the method questions is to help students broaden their understanding of World History.
Big Picture (BP): A time line of the most important events of those under study, accompanied by a written
explanation of their ultimate significance
Ex: (BP) What events led to the development of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution?
Diffusion (D): The spread of natural elements, people, artifacts, ideas or other cultural creations from one
civilization to others
Ex (D) Describe how ideas would been have spread throughout Ancient societies?
Syncretism (Syc): The mixing of elements from two or more cultures that result in something new
Ex: (Syc) How did leaders like Sargon consolidate conquered territories?
Comparison (Comp): The pointing out of similarities and differences between two civilizations in terms of their
histories, institutions, cultural accomplishments and economies
Ex: (Comp)What are the similarities and differences of the development of Mesopotamia and Egypt?
Common Phenomena (CP): The natural or historical events and developments that two or more societies share.
Examples could be climate, disease, natural disasters or invasions, shared technologies or other human
developments. Basically, ―What is shared?
Ex: (CP) Describe the agricultural technologies developed by all three cultures during this period?
Please do not ask irrelevant questions that have nothing to do with the World history methodology listed above.
The final part of your summary notes will be reflective paragraph that responds to your questions giving
related information from your notes.
Ex: Numerous events from improvements in stone tool technology to selection of high-yield strains of wild plants
for planting led to further development of agriculture. The development of trade during this same period allowed for
the transmission of ideas. As societies became more advanced, they sometimes went to was with each other. One
example of was the conquests of the Akkadians, who adapted Cuneiform writing to their own language while
introducing uniform weights, measures and administration techniques. Mesopotamia, like Egypt, saw the
development of agriculture, government and writing. Egypt differed in that they developed a dynastic series of rulers
based on the Ma’at. A common trend amongst all of the early empires was the development of canal and irrigation
technologies as well as calendars based on the cyclical flooding that took place every year.
Remember that your summary must include at least the answers to your three questions. Please do not write a
summary that tells me what the chapter is about. Ex: (do not do this) This chapter was about…..
Notebook Suggestions
1. Read over the chapter.
2. In your own words write Doing World History questions interpreting the chapter.
3. Go back to the pertinent sections of the chapter and re-read them. Add necessary details.
4. If you chose Big Picture, do you offer a time line and an explanation of the ultimate significance of the selected
events? Do you have too many dates and events to remember? Do the chosen events adequately reflect the most
important points of the chapter?
5. If you chose Diffusion, is the idea of something spreading explicitly stated in your question? Is this spreading
process important to the themes of the chapter?
6. If you chose Syncretism, is the idea of mixing cultural elements clearly stated in your question? Can you discern
from your notes who borrowed from whom and with what results? Is the syncretism you mention important in
understanding the events discussed in the chapter?
7. If you chose Comparison, did you point out similarities and differences between the cultures you discuss? Did
you offer significant comparisons, or are they merely superficial and obvious?
8. If you chose Common Phenomena, are the items mentioned really shared by the two or more civilizations you
discuss? In other words, be careful to point out what is shared.
9. Did you go beyond merely repeating or rephrasing what is in the book? Remember, Doing World History means
thinking and writing about the past.
10. Finally, write a reflective paragraph that responds to your questions giving pertinent details from your notes.
SPICE Themes
Students will develop an ability to view history thematically. The AP World History course is organized around five
themes that unify the various threads found throughout the course. The intent of the themes is to help students relate
what is particular to each time period to the “big picture” of history. Virtually all aspects of the class will be tied to
these themes which will henceforth be referred to by the acronym “SPICE”.
They are as follows:
Social – Development and Transformation of Social
• Gender roles and relations
• Family and kinship
• Racial and ethnic constructions
• Social and economic classes
Political – State-Building, Expansion and Conflict
• Political structures and forms of governance
• Empires
• Nations and nationalism
• Revolts and revolutions
• Regional, trans-regional, and global structures and
Interaction – Interaction Between Humans and the
• Demography and disease
• Migration
• Patterns of settlement
• Technology
Cultural – Development and Interaction of Cultures
• Religions
• Belief systems, philosophies and ideologies
• Science and technology
• The arts and architecture
Economic – Creation, Expansion and Interaction of
Economic Systems
• Agricultural and pastoral production
• Trade and commerce
• Labor systems
• Industrialization
• Capitalism and socialism