Ap world History Writing Guide There are three



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AP World History

Writing Guide

There are three important writing assignment categories in AP World History. All of the categories are tested on the AP World History exam. This guide is meant to help you understand what is expected for each category and how to write for each type of assignment.

Before you understand how to write the required essays, you should know how to write an appropriate thesis for AP World History. While the thesis writing you learned may be appropriate in other academic classes, it must be enhanced for AP World History. All scoring guides on the AP World History exam (the same ones used to grade your work in class) emphasize the thesis statement. The rubric states you must have an acceptable thesis. The challenge lies in knowing what is acceptable.

THESIS WRITING

A thesis should be a specific argument that answers the question at hand.

Example Test Question Prompt: Compare and contrast the Roman Empire during 206 BCE-220 CE with the Spanish Empire of the sixteenth century.

Your thesis should include one comparison and one contrast while referencing both empires and time frames. A generic thesis would be:

“There were many similarities and differences between the Roman Empire during 206 BCE-200 CE and the Spanish Empire of the sixteenth century.”

For AP World History you need to do more than what is stated above. It is too general and simply repeats the prompt. In other words, you need to create a better thesis. An AP World History thesis would read:

“There were many similarities and differences between the Roman Empire during 206 BCE-220 CE and the Spanish Empire of the sixteenth century. One was land-based while the other was sea-based yet they both grew rich from conquest of territory outside their boundaries.”



All you must do is present an argument in your thesis. A short thesis is always better than a long one. A thesis that is too long may cause you to lose points. Additionally, do not split up your thesis. Make sure it is all in one place.

Developing better thesis writing is simply by practice. You will be offered multiple opportunities to develop you thesis writing skills. Please utilize them!



A WORD ABOUT SCORING!

Although scoring appears to be out of 7 points (or 9 if you do a really phenomenal job), your score is actually multiplied on the AP Exam. Since the multiplication scheme on the AP World History exam is quite complicated, your essay scores will be multiplied by 5 for the purposes of clarity. In other words, if you score a 9 on your essay, it would actually be a 45/45 since your score is multiplied by 5. It is also counted as 45 points. If you score a 4/9, your score is actually a 20/45.



DOCUMENT-BASED QUESTIONS (DBQ’s):

The purpose of DBQ’s is to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. This essay is about the documents! Make sure to keep focus on that concept. Each DBQ should have the following:



  • A relevant thesis with evidence from the documents

  • Use of all the documents

    • College Board says you must “Support the thesis with appropriate evidence from all documents.” Do not simply mention the document.

  • Analysis of documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible; not a simple summary of the documents individually

    • Ability to group shows that you have read and understand the document.

    • Groupings include

      • Time

      • Geography

      • Type of source

      • Type of author

      • Similar opinions

      • Those that are of the same religion, political party, social groups, or other groups

  • Accounts for all the sources of the documents and includes analysis of the authors’ points of view

    • Think about:

      • The author

      • Why he/she would think this

      • Where the document comes from in time and geography

      • What the document comes from (religious text, speech, letter, diary, newspaper)

      • Truthfulness of the document

  • Explanation for need of one additional document

Yes, an additional document! Your DBQ is not just about the documents you see on the paper, but also one you can recall from reading. There will be plenty to prepare you ahead of time. It is simply a matter of remembering what they consist of and including them.

DBQ Scoring Rubric

Basic Core

Points

Is the thesis acceptable?

1

Does the student address all of the documents and demonstrate understanding of all or all but one?

1

Has the student supported the thesis with appropriate evidence from all but one of the documents?
(Has the student supported the thesis with appropriate evidence from all but two documents?)

2
(1)

Has the student analyzed point of view in at least two documents?

1

Has the student analyzed the documents by grouping them in two or three ways?

1

Has the students identified and explained the need for one type of appropriate additional document?

1

TOTAL

7

If you score 7 out of 7 on the Basic Core you are eligible to receive points for the Expanded Core.

Expanded Core

Points

Does the student have a comprehensive, analytical, and explicit thesis?
Has the student shown careful and insightful analysis of the document?
Has the student used the documents persuasively as evidence?
Has the student analyzed bias and point of view in most or all documents?
Has the student analyzed the documents in additional ways-syntheses, comparisons, or groupings?
Has the student brought in relevant “outside” historical content?
Has the student explained the need for more than one type of appropriate additional documents?

0-2

Total

2

Words and what they mean on a writing prompt or exam:

Word

Definition

Analyze

Study or examine the structure of something or how its parts are put together

Assess/Evaluate

Examine something in order to judge it

Compare

Examine things or people in order to discover the similarities and differences. You need to deal with both the similarities and the differences. When you see compare, think compare and contrast.

Contrast

Examine things or people in order to discover the differences

Describe

Give an account of something by discussing the details or its characteristics

Discuss

Consider a topic in writing or to write about

Explain

Tell why something is or give an account with clarity and detail to be understood by someone else


OTHER FREE RESPONSE QUESTIONS (FRQ’S):

CONTINUITY AND CHANGE OVER TIME ESSAY (CCOT):

For this writing component you will be given some choice. You will be offered a general question and then a choice of two to five regions to write about. These will usually be related by themes.

Example Question Prompt: Discuss the effects of migration from 1200-1400 on THREE of the following regions:

South America

Southeast Africa

India and the Himalayas

Eastern Europe

Overall, this question is designed to have you discuss how something in world history has changed over time and what has stayed the same. The essay will likely require you to write over more than one time period specified by the College Board. In other words, the essay may cover more than one unit. Please keep the following in mind:



  • Show CHANGE OVER TIME and avoid discussing simply the beginning and end of a process.

  • Remember to show continuity- how things have not changed over time.

  • Include as much historical evidence as possible.


CCOT Scoring Rubric

Basic Core

Points

Does the student have an acceptable thesis?

1

Has the student addressed all parts of the question?
(Has the student addressed most parts of the question?)

2

(1)



Has the student substantiated the thesis with appropriate historical evidence?
(Has the student done so partially?)

2

(1)



Has the student made effective use of historical context to show the continuity and change over time?

1

Has the student analyzed the process of continuity and change over time?

1


Total

7



Expanded Core

Points

Does the student have a clear, analytical, and comprehensive thesis?
Has the student analyzed all parts of the question as relevant: global context, chronology, causation, change, continuity, and effects?
Has the student given ample historical evidence to substantiate his or her thesis?
Has the student provided connection with relevant ideas, events, and trends in an innovative way?

0-2

Total

2

COMPARATIVE ESSAY:

For this writing component you will be asked to write about two major societies and how they interacted with one another. You may also be asked to compare and contrast them based on a major theme or event.

Please keep the following in mind:



  • A comparison essay implies that you will contrast as well.

  • Do not discuss just one region or culture and then the other. The AP World History Comparative Essay calls for more than just that. The scoring guides require direct comparisons.

  • Provide evidence!

Comparative Essay Rubric

Basic Core

Points

Does the student have an acceptable thesis?

1

Has the student addressed all parts of the question?
Has the student addressed most parts of the question?

2
(1)

Has the student substantiated the thesis with appropriate historical evidence?
Has the student done so partially?

2

(1)


Has the student shown at least one relevant, direct comparison between or among the societies?

1

Has the student analyzed at least one reason for similarity or difference identified in a direct comparison?

1

Total

7



Expanded Core

Points

Does the student have a clear, analytical, and comprehensive thesis?
Has the student addressed all parts of the question thoroughly: comparisons, chronology, causation, connections, themes, interactions, and content?
Has the student given ample historical evidence to substantiate his or her thesis?
Has the student related comparisons to a larger global context?
Has the student made direct comparisons consistently between and among societies?
Has the student consistently analyzed the causes and effects of relevant similarities and differences?


0-2

Total

2


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