World History/Exam Prep

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On the AP Exam, there are a variety of questions you will encounter. There is the multiple-choice question, familiar to many students, with choices A through D. There are also three essay questions in section II of the exam: the Document-Based Question, or DBQ; the Compare and Contrast Essay Question; and the Change-over-Time Essay. In Section I: Multiple Choice, there are 70 questions. You are given 55 minutes to complete Section I. Section II contains the free-response essay questions. You are given 130 minutes to complete the three essays.


The Document-Based Question[edit]

The document-based question asks the student to answer a question about a group of people, civilization, period in world history, or other topic. The basis for your answer should consist of historical knowledge, and information obtained from the set of documents provided in the test booklet. In your essay, you are required, at a minimum, to give a thesis statement introducing your topic. It is recommended that you use all documents if possible in your analysis of the given topic, but you may exclude one document from your analysis. You should analyze bias you find in the given documents, and provide any missing documents that you may have found useful, but were not provided. To help plan your essay, you should group the documents into categories for use in your thesis statement. You should then relate each document to a manner consistent with the point being proven. Remember to cite the documents to make your essay easier to follow.

The Change-Over-Time Essay[edit]

The COT asks you to compare the changes and continuities from one time period in a country or region to a later time. One format you can use to organize this essay is to start with your "baseline", the beginning time period. Then describe the ending period. Finally describe the changes, or lack thereof, that took place between the starting and ending periods. After spending some time organizing your essay, you can go ahead and write it.

The Compare and Contrast Essay[edit]

In this essay, you must compare/contrast two civilizations, groups of people, etc. You are often asked to choose two groups out of three that are provided. You should make relevent, direct comparisons in your essay, stemming from your thesis that describes the fundamental differences and/or similarities between the two groups being compared and contrasted.

Tips for the Multiple-Choice[edit]

  • Read the question, then all the answer choices before making a decision as to the answer.
  • If you don't know the answer immediately, try to eliminate two or more answer choices that you know are wrong.
  • Choose and bubble in an answer for every question in the test. If you are not sure about the answer to a question, make your best guess.
  • Try marking questions you are unsure about in your exam booklet, and then going back to those marked questions once you have completed the multiple choice portion of the exam if you have extra time. Be sure to choose an answer to those questions as you pass them the first time around though, as you may risk forgetting to choose an answer if there is no time left, which will always impact you negatively.

Tips for the Essays[edit]

  • Don't waste time trying to correct spelling and grammar, attempt first to get your point across.
  • Plan your essay before you begin writing, if possible. Even if you don't end up extensively planning your essay, keep your writing organized.
  • Don't hurry trying to finish in order to add a conclusion to your essay. If you have time available, write the conclusion, if not, finish the body; it is more important.
  • If you have extra time, read over your essay, but keep in mind you are writing the essay in pen. It is probably best to think your essay through the FIRST time, since editing afterwards is hard.

AP Exam Scoring[edit]

You will receive your scores over the summer after your May exam. (Probably in mid-July) The scoring is on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest. Fours are desireable, as they are accepted for credit at most colleges. Some colleges accept threes. Fives are often exceedingly hard to obtain. In some cases, it may require more than memorization (i.e. strong, fluid, and convincing writing on essays) of names, dates, and other history information to obtain a five.

Good luck!



References[edit]

The College Board

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