C 1 Content of APUSH Exam This section will give you a brief overview of the exam’s content. The APUSH HISTORY Exam expects that the student will have some knowledge of the entirety of US history, beginning with the Age of Discovery and almost to present day, however the majority of the test will assess your knowledge of the 19 th and 20th centuries. The multiple choice section and essays cover the major areas of historical study. Multiple Choice Section The College Board reports the following breakdown of multiple choice questions: Approximately 1/6 of the questions are from Columbus to 1789 Approximately ½ of the questions are from 1790-1914 Approximately 1/3 of the questions are from 1915 to the present Usually a few questions from after 1980 will be included (Reagan questions have appeared the last couple of years) The multiple choice section has political, economic, social and cultural questions. The multiple choice section is weighted like this: 35% social change 35% political institutions and public policy 15% diplomatic and international 10% economic 5% cultural and intellectual Below are sample questions for each of the above categories of the questions. Of course some questions will pertain to more than one category, but this will give you some idea of what will be emphasized on the test. Social Change New immigration included all of the following except: a. Irish b. Italians c. Russians d. Greeks e. Poles Political Institutions In the Gilded Age, all of the following were Republican presidents except: a. Grant b. Hayes c. Cleveland d. Harrison e. McKinley 2 Diplomatic All of the following dealt with the building of a canal except which one: a. Hay/Herran Treaty b. Hay/Pauncefote Treaty c. Hay/Bunau/Varrilla Treaty d. Hay/Open Door Policy e. Clayton Bullwer Treaty Economics All of the following were Acts passed during the first hundred days of Roosevelt’s presidency except: a. Emergency Banking Act b. Glass/Steagall Act c. The CCC d. The AAA e. Social Security Cultural All of the following were authors of the Progressive Era except which one: a. Frank Norris b. Upton Sinclair c. Lincoln Steffans d. Ernest Hemingway e. Ida Tarbell Strategies for Multiple Choice Questions 1. Go with your first feeling. Studies have shown that your initial response is likely to have a better chance of being correct than if you go back and change your answer. However, of you reexamine the response and note you have made a mistake in reading the question, certainly do change your answer. 2. Guess if you can eliminate one of the five answer choices. Remember you are only penalized one quarter of one point for an incorrect answer. So the odds are that you will not lose points by being aggressive in your answering of the multiple choice questions. If you have no clear idea about you’re the question, don’t answer it. Leave it blank, but be very careful. You must make sure you are filling in the correct blank on the scantron sheet for the next question. 3. Watch for the “except” and the “all but the following” types of questions. These appear often on the exam. If the answer seems really easy, look at the question again. It may be that many of the possible answer choices are true and you missed the “except” in the question. Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency was considered a success in the following areas except one: a. conservation b. trust busting 3 c. diplomatic successes d. pro-labor policies e. good relationships with his Latin American neighbors 4. Focus on the entire test. The test gets more difficult as it goes on. Don’t allow yourself to fade as you get to the latter part of the test. Studies show that the percentage of correct answers lowers dramatically after question 60. Concentrate on finishing strong. 5. Note that in the past the multiple choice questions have been ordered chronologically in groups of about ten. The section may start with a question on colonial America and continue chronologically with several questions until it gets to a more recent event such as Reagan’s economic policy. The next question will go back to early American history and the following questions will proceed chronologically as before. Thus, if question 4 is on the Articles of Confederation and question 6 is on the War of 1812, you can surmise that question 5 is from the time period from 1780 to 1812. Knowing this will help you answer your questions. The Essay Section The three essays that you must write will come from these time periods as well. It is not likely that the essays will come from the post 1980’s. The 1980s might be included as only part of a question. Here is an example: “The scandals of the various presidential administrations have greatly affected the success of those administrations. Assess the validity of this statement using three of the following presidents: Grant, Harding, Nixon and Reagan.” Note that Reagan is from the 1980s but he is just part of this question. Strategies for Document Based Questions You are likely to write more pages for your DBQ than for your two free response questions. You will write more because you have the documents to respond to and incorporate into your answer. When you open up your green test booklet, you are required to read and plan the essay for a period of 15 minutes. You are not allowed to write in the pink answer booklet until after the 15 minutes are up. It is the pink booklet that is sent to be graded by readers. 1. When looking at the question for the DBQ, do not look at the documents yet. Write down as many names, events and concrete details that you can think of pertaining to the question. Only after doing this, look at the documents and prepare your response. This will help you avoid becoming so focused on the documents themselves that you forget that you must have outside factual evidence as well. The successful DBQ balances outside evidence with analysis of the documents. 2. Don’t quote from the documents. Put the information from them in your own words. 4 3. Use at least two-thirds of the documents in your essay. If there are 8 documents make sure you have used at least six documents. Underline the documents you use in your essay so the readers will be able to note the number used with ease. 4. If you don’t understand a document, don’t use it. If you find a document that doesn’t seem to prove your thesis, and you think you can refute the document’s validity, then certainly do that. The readers love students who go beyond the usual answers. 5. Don’t forget to reference documents so that the reader knows which one you are using. This can be done in two ways. Either describe the document used, “The Seneca Falls Convention was an important beginning to the women’s rights movement” or reference it as a document, “The Seneca Falls Convention, (doc E) was an important beginning to the women’s rights movement.” 6. Be organized in your writing. Start with a strong thesis statement that answers the question. Tie your outside facts and documents to your thesis statement. Use transitional phrases to move from one paragraph to the next. Thus, if the question asks about economic, social and political issues, beginning one paragraph with “In the area of economics…” and in the next with “Social issues were…” lets the reader know where you are going. 7. Analysis goes a long way in enhancing your score. Answer the question “Why?” as your write your essay. Many students merely list a multitude of facts without any depth. Those kinds of responses will be scored lower than the essay that uses far fewer facts but, explains them well with analysis. 8. Watch the time, Stop after one hour. That means after the 15 minute forced reading and prewriting section and 45 minutes of writing the essay. You can always come back after you have finished your free response questions. 9. Make your handwriting as legible as you can. Practice this during the year. Although the readers will try to read a messy essay, they can not give you credit for ideas they can not read. 10. Make your essay reader friendly. The reader of your essay may have read over a thousand essays by the time they get to yours. Make it easy for them by writing neatly, having a careful thesis, organize well and tie everything back to the thesis statement. Last of all and most importantly underline your thesis statement. This way you are sure you have a thesis statement and the reader has an easy time of identifying the thesis statement. Strategies for the Free Response Question The free response question will be shorter than the DBQ. They do not require the formulaic five paragraph essay. They can be four or three or six paragraphs, it depends on your answer. However, you do need to write using paragraphs, it will show your organization more clearly and make the essay easier to understand. 5 1. The key to success with these essays is organization. Start with a good thesis, provide concrete details and make them easy to understand. 2. Remember you are an objective observer of a historical event. Do not use slang or personal pronouns and don’t get emotional about the answer. Try to understand the historical figure and his decisions by understanding the time in which they took place. 3. Give yourself an hour to do the first free response question. Then go on to the second one. You need to write all three essays to get a successful score. 4. The readers understand when a student knows little or nothing about a topic. Many students throw out information that has no value and can be quickly rejected by the reader. The best preparation for this exam is reading and rereading your textbook. Then when you go in to take the test, you will have confidence that you won’t embarrass yourself. Scoring the Exam Section One – Multiple Choice The multiple choice section is worth 50% of the exam total. Your multiple choice score is calculated by taking the number of correct answers and subtracting one-fourth of the points, multiplying it by the number of wrong answers and rounding up. Then that number is multiplied by 1.250. Section Two – Essays All three essays will be scored on a rubric from 1 to 9, one being the lowest and nine being the highest. The DBQ score (1 to 9) is multiplied by 4.5 The FRQ score for 2 or 3 is multiplied by 2.75 The FRQ score for 4 or 5 is multiplied by 2.75 Sections one and two are added together to get a composite score. The composite score determines whether you get a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exam. What the composite score means depends on the year you take the exam. Example scores are below, using the scoring worksheet provided by ETS for the 2001 AP US History exam. AP Exam Score Composite Score 5 – Extremely Well Qualified 114-180 points 4 – Well Qualified 92-113 points 3 – Qualified 74-91 points 2 – Possibly Qualified 42-73 points 1 – No Recommendation 0-41 points 6 Example A student answers 70 multiple choice questions. She leaves 10 blank and misses 25 questions. She has 45 correct answers. ¼ of a point times 25 missed questions equals 6.25. This is rounded down to 6 points. Subtract 6 points from 45 (=39) and multiple by 1.25 for a score of 49 points on the multiple choice section. On the DBQ essay, the student receives a score of 5 out of 9 possible. This is multiplied by 4.5 which equal 22.5. This is rounded up for a score of 23. On her two FRQ essays, she receives a 4s for both out of 9 possible. The first 4 is multiplied by 2.75 which equals 11. The second 4 is multiplied by 2.75 which equals 11 also. Add the two FRQ scores for a total of 22. Add the DBQ and FRQ scores for a total of 45. Then add the multiple choice score (49) and the essay score (45) together for a composite of 94. Our candidate has scored a 4 on the APUSH exam!
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