Social Studies Information

World Geography or World History…which class should I take as a 9th grader?

Incoming 9th graders can choose to take either World Geography or World History their freshman year. ​​However, it is HIGHLY recommended by both the World Geography and the World History teachers at Cypress Woods that incoming freshmen take World Geography and then wait to take World History in their 10th grade year.

According to TEA, only 3 years of social studies credits are required to graduate high school but most colleges still require students to have the 4x4, or take all 4 core classes in all 4 years of high school. 

The following chart explains the course expectations at Cy Woods for World Geography and World History at each level:

Course Name

L Level

K Level



World Geography


(2 semesters, offered to 9-12 graders but is traditionally a freshman-level course)

Outside reading; Chapter assignments requiring students to complete vocabulary and take notes with each unit, Unit testing and projects; Basics of world geography are covered with special emphasis on regional variations and change over time

Higher level thinking skills are practiced and emphasized;  Outside reading -- chapter assignments requiring students to take notes with each unit and comprehension is assessed by reading quizzes; In-depth study of geography; Outside reading and notes/outlines for every unit requiring time-management skills and a self-directed learner; Projects and tests are much more detailed and with essays; Will have a regional focus with special attention paid to patterns and processes, movement, and societal structures

This class is called AP Human Geography and is a college-level course; Will replace the World Geography requirement; Challenging, requiring initiative, time management skills and self-motivation; Class is geared towards first time AP students with support built-in for learning how to take notes, write for AP exams, and answer AP style questions; Provides training for the national AP College Exam in May; Can earn college credit by taking/passing the AP test


World History


(2 semesters, offered to 9-12 graders but traditionally a sophomore-level course)

Basic overview of significant time periods, people, and events from world history; occasional outside reading required – for each unit chapter sections are assigned and students must complete guided readings and/or take notes; students are assessed through testing, projects, quizzes, and daily assignments

More in-depth and faster-paced study of significant time periods, people, and events from world history; writing skills and higher-level thinking skills are emphasized and frequently practiced; frequent outside reading is required -- chapter assignments requiring students to take own notes from the passage and then assessed by reading quizzes; other assessments include testing, projects, and daily assignments along with essays and some long term research projects

Introductory college-level modern world history course; Students cultivate their understanding of world history through analyzing historical sources, learning to make connections and craft historical arguments, explore concepts like human and the environment, cultural development and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation; Students will write various types of essays and the multiple-choice exams are stimulus-based and mimic the exam at the end of the year

  • Historical thinking skills and reasoning processes are central to the study and practice of any level social studies class. Students will practice and develop these skills and processes on a regular basis over the span of the course and although World Geography is not a pre-requisite for taking World History, it is HIGHLY recommended. 
  • Students who take World Geography before they take  World History tend to be more successful compared to students who do not take World Geography.
  • The most successful WHAP and K Level students are self-motivated, disciplined, independent learners who have time management skills and are strong readers and writers.

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