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Course Materials

What You Should Already Know

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Explore the changing cultures and Columbian Exchanges that resulted from European explorations and various migrations (AP Period 1, 1491–1607).
  2. Discuss the history and characteristics of the American colonies, their governments and economies, and the populations and societies during the colonial era (AP Period 2, 1607–1754).
  3. Identify the crucial issues during the American Revolution, including the war for independence and creation of the Constitution and new governments (AP Period 3, 1754–1800).
  4. Discuss critical events during the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian eras, including nationalism, sectionalism, industrialism, politics, and expansion; identify aspects of America's economic revolutions (transportation, industrial, communications) and antebellum culture and reforms (AP Period 4, 1800–1848).
  5. Identify important events before, during, and after the Civil War, including Manifest Destiny, sectional tensions, the secession crisis, battles, southern responses to Reconstruction, and the New South after Reconstruction was abandoned (AP Period 5, 1844–1877).
  6. Discuss the conquest of the Far West, including western societies, the changing western economy, dispersal of tribes, and experiences of western farmers (first part of AP Period 6, 1865-1898).
  7. Apply what you have learned about U.S. history to the required AP skills, practices, and themes; prepare for the AP exam by practicing with applicable multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, document-based essays, and long essay questions.

Course Materials


Alan Brinkley, The Unfinished Nation, 8th edition, McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.

This book is concise, meaning that it is smaller than many AP U.S. History texts. However, it covers all of the required content for both Part 1 and Part 2 of the AP U.S. History course, so you will be able to use it to study for the AP exam.

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There are 12 units in this course, each consisting of several lessons. Each lesson contains a textbook reading assignment, course readings, and a self-check quiz; the self-checks are ungraded questions that will help you measure your comprehension of the lessons and prepare for the unit quizzes and the final exam.

Unit Quizzes and Reviews

Each unit has a unit quiz. These quizzes test your ability to analyze and interpret the reading selections. Unit quizzes are each worth 3 percent of your overall course grade, amounting to 36 percent total. There are also two cumulative reviews (one after unit 6 and one after unit 12), which are worth a total of 4 percent of the grade.

Written Assignments

You will be completing written assignments for each unit throughout the course. Some units have instructor-graded assignments; other units have self-scored assignments.

The instructor-graded assignments are worth a total of 28 percent of your course grade. They will help you apply what you have learned in the unit and will prepare you for the written portion of the AP exam.

You will also have self-scored assignments, which are worth a total of 8 percent of your course grade. You will select your score based on the guidelines that are provided with each assignment, and the instructor will spot-check your work on these review items.

You will need to submit the assignments in the modules throughout the course before the taking the final exam.

Course Resources

Appendix materials are available in the Course Resources folder and may be helpful in completing your assignments and preparing for the AP exam. Appendix A contains links to the required foundational documents, including the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments XI to XXVI, and The Federalist Papers. Appendix B contains additional AP exam preparation information from the College Board website. Appendix C contains links to general U.S. History resources.

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The final exam is worth 24 percent of your grade and covers reading selections and discussion material that you will study in the course.

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Your grade in this course is composed of your unit quiz scores, assignment scores, and final exam score. The following table shows the percentages for each assignment.

Assignment Percentage
Unit 1 Quiz 3%
Unit 2 Quiz 3%
Unit 3 Quiz 3%
Unit 4 Quiz 3%
Unit 5 Quiz 3%
Unit 6 Quiz 3%
Cumulative Review 1 2%
Unit 7 Quiz 3%
Unit 8 Quiz 3%
Unit 9 Quiz 3%
Unit 10 Quiz 3%
Unit 11 Quiz 3%
Unit 12 Quiz 3%
Cumulative Review 2 2%
Instructor-Graded Assignment Submissions (4 at 7% each) 28%
Self-Scored Assignment Submissions (8 at 1% each) 8%
Final Exam 24%
Grading Scale
A 93–100
A− 90–92
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 59 or below

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Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. 

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


8 self-scored essay unit assignments; 4 instructor-graded submissions; 12 computer-graded unit quizzes; 2 computer-graded cumulative reviews; may be resubmitted once.

Final Exam

1 computer-graded, proctored exam, may retake once, must pass in order to pass the course.

You must pass with a score of 60 percent or higher in order to pass and earn credit for this course. There is no time limit on the exam. You will not be allowed to reference any notes or course materials.

Course Duration

Because of the nature of some assignments, you will not be able to complete this course in less than 2 months. You may only complete one speaking appointment per day. No exceptions. You have 1 year to complete this course, but if you need more than a year, you may purchase one 3-month extension.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This may also include when a student copies and pastes directly from another source and passes it off as his or her own, copies computer-generated text from a translation tool and uses it as his or her own, or fails to cite a source after loosely summarizing its content in his or her own words.

As determined by your instructor or the BYU Independent Study administration, if evidence of academic misconduct on assignments or exams is established, one of the two following consequences will apply to each incidence:

First Offense of Plagiarism

  • You will fail the unit and be allowed the opportunity to resubmit the unit (or)
  • You will fail the unit and be denied the opportunity to resubmit the unit

Second Offense of Plagiarism

  • You will fail the unit and fail the class (or)
  • You will fail the unit, fail the class, and may be ineligible to enroll in a specific course or any of our courses without going through an appeals process which will determine the severity of your plagiarism