AP US History | History School (2024)

AP United States History: "Complex Understanding"

Master Teacher: Sara Ziemnik
Course Dates: July 2–August 13, 2024
Live Session Time Slot: Tuesdays, 5–6 p.m. ET
Online Platform: Zoom
Eligibility: High school students (grades 9–12)
Registration closed on June 28.


Image: François X. Habermann, La Destruction de la Statue Royale a Nouvelle Yorck, Augsburg, Germany, ca. 1776 (The Gilder Lehrman Institute, GLC06952)

Print of the New York Sons of Liberty destroying a statue of King George III.

About the Course

This course will focus on “complex understanding” in AP US History (APUSH). It is a large part of the assessment, yet it is hard to describe and achieve. By focusing on nuance, effective use of evidence, and sophisticated argumentation, this course will help you apply your content knowledge to demonstrate complex understanding in the free-response section of the APUSH exam. The aim is for you to feel confident in the skills needed to excel on the APUSH exam.


Certificate of Completion

To complete a course, you will need to attend 5 out of the 6 live sessions.

Please email historyschool@gilderlehrman.org with any questions.

Key Information

  • The course begins on Tuesday, July 2, 2024
  • Classes will be held once a week for six weeks.
  • Class will not be held on Tuesday, August 6.
  • Classes will begin at 5:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. PT.
  • Classes are 60 minutes in length on Zoom. They will incorporate a combination of lectures, sample exam questions, and time for Q&As.


Week 1: Tuesday, July 2: Introduction to the AP US History Course and Exam

Week 2: Tuesday, July 9: Complex Understanding in AP US History

Week 3: Tuesday, July 16: To What Extent?: Understanding Cause and Effect

Week 4: Tuesday, July 23: Echoes Everywhere: Continuity and Change Over Time

Week 5: Tuesday, July 30: “The Unicorn Point”: Option 1, Sophisticated Argumentation

Week 6: Tuesday, August 13: “The Unicorn Point”: Option 2, Effective Use of Evidence

How to Enroll

You must have a Gilder Lehrman K–12 Student account to register for a History School course.

Registration is closed.

Meet Your Teacher

Sara Ziemnik

Sara Ziemnik has taught American history and world history for twenty years at Rocky River High School in Ohio, where she centers her students’ experience around discussion and inquisitive learning. Ms. Ziemnik encourages her students to learn from one another. Of her approach, she says, “My students have the responsibility as American citizens to form their own opinions.” In 2017, Ms. Ziemnik was named the National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute.