APs Exams: Tips for the US History Exam

Post By: COYD Staff
Dated: April 28, 2010


1. Go over notes from the school year as well as the textbook thoroughly.

2. Purchase and study the REA AP US History AP review book , one of the recommended study books for US History AP exam in an earlier posting.

3. Practice Free response questions from past AP Exams and compare your response to other responses and see how they were scored.

4. Look over the College board scoring guidelines.


1. Multiple Choice Questions

a. Don’t guess unless you can eliminate 2 choices: You receive 1 point for a correct answer, minus a fraction of a point for each wrong answer and nothing gained or lost for an unanswered question. So if you can eliminate 2 choices, then make a guess from the remaining choices.

b. Attempt questions that you know you can do quickly. If you need more time, put a checkmark and move on to the next question. If you run a blank, put a X and move on to the next question.

c. Read each question carefully. Don’t be duped by mistakenly overlooking one word like IS or IS NOT.

2. Document-Based Questions/Free Response Questions

a. To prepare DBQs, read historical documents before the 1800s. The more documents you read from that time period, the more comfortable you will be in deciphering them and acclimating yourself to the writing style. Read other DBQs since 1999 posted on the CollegeBoard AP US History Exam Questions page.

b.Take a definite stand on the question. Do not write an essay that shows different ways to interpret the facts.

c. When starting an essay, make an outline with what historical evidence will be placed where in your essay. This way you can plan out your essay and make your argument as strong as possible.

d. Clearly state how the documents and facts support your standpoint.

e. In order to get the highest score for DBQs, you need to incorporate other information outside of the documents on the exam when defending your point. Think of other political, religious, economic, social, intellectual happenings of this period and use those events to strengthen your argument.


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