Critical Thinking Skills: Chronological Reasoning in AP History

History is a chronological account of past events.  Successful students in AP History, either on the AP US History and AP World History exams must know the sequence and impact of notable historical events on nations, groups, and people.

A time line is a useful tool which provides a more complete picture of the world as it organizes complex historical events in relation to time.  Time lines would help organize an essay response to an AP US History prompt about transportation developments from 1820-1860 as well as evaluate historical patterns related to technology, migration, and culture for an AP World History’s Change-Over-Time Essay.

AP History: Steps of Chronological Reasoning:

1. Identify and compare basic causes and effects from short-term to long-term
2. Analyze and evaluate the interaction of multiple causes and effects
3. Learn to distinguish coincidence versus causation or correlation for both short-term and long-term events

AP History: Benefits of Chronological Reasoning:

  1. Reveals cause and effect patterns and illuminates the relationship among events
  2. Identifies the presence of problems or tensions which will need to be resolved and evaluates how well a solution worked by looking at expanded history
  3. Illustrates background events which are connected to major events
  4. Indicates changes in key statistics (numbers, dates, quantities, facts, percentages)

Chronological Reasoning can be a useful tool in your arsenal for AP History exams.

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