By Camille Garcia, 10th Grade
This past week was AP exam week for many, and if you’ve ever taken an AP course in your life, you know how stressful it is. In case you don’t know, AP courses or Advanced Placement classes are university subjects that can be validated in the future. In other words, by taking them in high school we can skip them in college.
However, as if taking the class was not enough, you also have the test. AP exams are quite complicated because they are college-level exams. They tend to be approximately 2–4 hours long, though it depends on the subject you take, as the type of questions may vary. The evaluation scale is from 1 to 5 and to be able to pass the course you have to get at least a 3. However, it is not so easy to get a score of 3. Before taking the exam and getting that good grade we all want, there is a lot of effort involved. Many months of studying, lots of content to get through, essays, DBQs (Document Based Questions), LEQs (Long Essay Questions), SAQs (Short Based Questions), and MCQs (Multiple Questions) practice.
The very type of questions that I just mentioned make up the AP World History exam, and this is the subject that I will be talking about, including my experience, my opinion, and above all, I will talk about Heimler.
Who is Steve Heimler? Well, there is a lot to say about this wonderful person. If you haven’t taken AP World History, AP European History, AP U.S. Government, AP U.S. History, or Macroeconomics, unfortunately, you may not know him. But just so you have an idea, he saved me during this entire exam week and never in my life did I think I would be so grateful to a person I don’t genuinely know. He is a high school history teacher and is known for making many videos on his YouTube channel “Heimler’s History” where he has over 500,000 subscribers.
I really think he hasn’t gotten the fame and recognition he deserves yet, because the way he cares for his students is incredible. He dedicates himself to making videos every year, covering each topic in a very enthusiastic, motivating, and entertaining way. He summarizes every unit concisely, in a way that really helps you understand them. Likewise, he makes videos in which he gives you advice about the exam, what to do in each situation, and how to succeed.
Personally, being one of my first AP subjects, it was a challenge for me, due to the amount of content there was to learn. AP World includes 9 units, and it was very difficult to keep up with everything and understand it before the exam. So much content can become overwhelming. We start talking about the Mongols, and we end up talking about the World Cup and current important athletes, so it can be extremely stressful to remember every detail.
What made it more difficult for me were the first units on dynasties and maritime trading because there were many details. But whenever I was in a hurry, Heimler was there to dazzle me with his 10-minute-long videos, which easily explained those things to me. And don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot at AP World, along with Mr. Girón. I could say that he is one of the best professors I’ve ever had because he greatly simplified a subject that can be so complicated to many. He always explained everything with a lot of patience and dedication and answered the million questions we asked him in a way that we could understand. I really couldn’t have had a better teacher for a subject like this.
However, I went to Heimler in the last few weeks before the exam, because there were topics that were not so fresh on my mind. Mr. Girón even suggested we use his channel to review, sometimes putting on his videos in class. The first units of the book were the ones I needed to review the most. I felt very stressed because I constantly asked myself if, in the end, it was going to be possible for me to memorize so many things in such a short time. There were things that I had the main idea of, but I didn’t remember the details.
On an AP exam it is important to contextualize and have evidence of what you are saying, since it is not enough to say that the Mongols were one of the most influential empires in history or that Columbus discovered America. You need to know how, when, and why, and simply be able to back up your prompts with real facts. The first days of study I was like how on Earth will all of this information fit in my mind? I had three days before the exam, and I was not feeling very confident. So what did I do? I went to Heimler. And I can firmly say that I only went to Heimler. I felt like he was the only one out of all the AP World YouTube channels that made me feel like everything was going to be okay, and that I was going to be able to understand and find the most important points of each unit.
Besides, he made me feel really safe on those stressful days. In many of his videos, he claims that we are capable of doing this and that we would do well on the exam. He always makes jokes, which makes his videos more dynamic. And perhaps my point can be contradicted by the argument that the Heimler videos can be seen as something basic. They don’t have many images, and they don’t have illustrations like Crash Course—it’s simple. But he is proof that less is more, since with his words, I could picture in my mind each event and I understood everything very easily. His southern accent, his jokes, his kindness, and his love for teaching make his videos so wholesome. He also prepared 3 YouTube lives, the three days before the exam, and he covered all 9 units in just three nights. Besides preparing his normal videos he explained everything once again and this really helped me prepare as well. He helped me with the thousands of breakdowns that I had, and I will definitely remember this experience forever.
To be honest, I’m going to miss Heimler, because I spent complete days watching him and reviewing for the test. Yes, it was challenging, and it was very stressful, but Heimler constantly reminded me that I know more than what I think. It’s true, the day of the exam I was feeling hopeless, but I actually recalled so many things. Even though he constantly talks about history, he should be remembered as well, because he’s a hero in this modern history. I truly feel like I owe him so much.