Vocab Directions

Vocabulary Assignments & Tests—a “How To” Manual of vocabulary learning


The point of the first vocab test is to get you used to my expectations for Vocab in AP World History. This means that you must know much more than just the definition. You must understand the significance of the term as well –what is its importance in world historyhow does it illustrate some the themes we will focus on throughout the year. It will help if you figure out the context we learned it in—this means looking in the book (if the term is in the book, as most are) and figuring out where it occurs—under what section heading, what subheading—very often these are excellent clues as to why it is important.  While you must define it—because you have to know the term at that most basic level—you should also go on to explain why it is important.


For the vocab tests during the first unit, you will be given the list of terms. You will be expected to define the terms and explain the significance. This is a good example of how to write a definition and the significance (though you wouldn’t need the section headings—these headings are listed here b/c they give you clues when you find the terms in the book)

[Section Heading: “The Quest for Order” Subheading: “The Course of Empire” Sub-subheading “Hammurabi’s Laws”]

These are a complex set of written (codified) laws promulgated by the Babylonian king Hammurabi in the late 1700’s BCE. They are significant because, as laws, they established a set of common rules that helped to unify the peoples of the empire and streamline the process of running an empire (remember this is under the section headings quest for order and course of empire). They are also a great source of information about the Babylonians—what their economy was like, what their system of government was, what their religion was, the connection between their government and religion, whether they had social classes and what they were based on, the status of women, etc. They also are a good example of the principle of “lex talionis” or “eye for an eye” which meant that harsh punishments were meted out for crimes and which in turn presumably means fewer crimes are committed.

Significance is an explanation, often involving several sentences


Connections: Throughout each unit you must keep track of connections you make between things you hear outside of class that are connected to things we are studying in class. Every time you hear something that reminds you of an issue, event, or idea that we have studied in class, write it down or clip it out (your "list" can include pictures, cartoons, articles from magazines, etc.). You must be explicit in your connections by thoroughly describing what you are connecting to and how this is a connection to something we’ve recently studied in class.


      Three partial examples:

a. We learned about the Daoist "keep it simple, don't worry" approach to life. That reminded me of the movie X where so and so said “…” because…. 


b. We are always analyzing POV when we read a document. The other day I was reading the newspaper when I came across an article by X who clearly was from the POV of Y because she said ………"


c. We read about the courage culture that characterizes nomadic society. The other day Mr. So and So was being interviewed about his experience fighting in Afghanistan and it reminded me of the courage culture when he said "……”  This is similar to the courage culture of nomadic society in that …


Places to listen/look (do not limit yourself to these sources; the following are just suggestions to get you started):

1.       another class

2.       your church, temple, mosque, etc

3.       music/song lyrics

4.       the news--radio, TV or newspaper

5.       conversations with friend

6.       conversations with family

7.       books or poetry

8.       movies


Vocabulary  assignments:   You need to define & explain the significance of (at least) 5 words from every chapter.  It is strongly suggested that you go beyond that minimum—when you have time, go beyond the minimum b/c you will learn so much more.  Additionally, you should include five (5) incredibly well explained, analogy-based items OR ten (10) clearly explained and concrete items. Saying that “Abraham is connected to my family because it is my grandpa’s name” is not enough—no explanation is given.