Apush how to Write a Free-Response Essay Name: apush exam Format



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APUSH How to Write a Free-Response Essay Name:

APUSH Exam Format 3 Sections 3 Hours & 5 Minutes

  • Graded on a 5-Point Scale

    • 5-extremely well qualified

    • 4-well qualified Colleges typically accept Scores 3-5 for college credit; 4-5 for prestigious schools

    • 3-qualified

    • 2-possibly qualified

    • 1-no recommendation

Section

# of Questions

Time Limit

% of Score

  1. Multiple Choice Section

  • 20% covers Pre-Columbian period-1789

  • 45% covers 1790-1914

  • 35% covers 1915-1980 (some might cover more recent history)

  • Political History-35%

  • Social History-40%

  • Diplomatic History-15%

  • Economic Changes & Developments-10%

80

55 Minutes

50%

  1. Free Response Section

3 Essays

130 Minutes

50%

Part A- DBQ (Document Based Question)

    • You will be given 2 FRQ’s to choose from in Part B




1 Essay

60 Minutes

15 Min. Reading Period

45 Minutes to Write


25%

Part B & C-FRQ (2 Free Response Questions)

    • You will be given 2 FRQ’s to choose from in Part C



2 Essays

70 Minutes

30 Minutes for Part B

5 Minute Reading Period

30 Minutes for Part C

5 Minute Reading Period


25%

12 ½ %


12 ½ %



FRQ Basics


  • 55%-Part B & C-FRQ (2 Free Response Questions) 70 Minutes

    • You will be given 2 FRQ’s to choose from in Part B 35 Minutes-5 Minutes to plan; 30 Minutes to write

      • Select 1 Question to write about from Part B

      • Columbus-Civil War/Reconstruction-pre-1877

    • You will be given 2 FRQ’s to choose from in Part C 35 Minutes-5 Minutes to plan; 30 Minutes to write




    • Important-questions in these sections might have comparative questions that involve discussion of earlier or later periods

      • Ex: compare American social reform in the 1840’s with that of the 1960’s




  • You are given generalizations that you are expected to do the following:

    • State your thesis (what you intend to argue)

    • Defend your thesis with at least 3 points (3 supporting paragraphs)

    • Restate your thesis (what you have proven)

Differences between DBQ and FRQ

  • You have choice

    • Part B-2 Questions, you choose to write about one of them

    • Part C- 2 Questions, you choose to write about one of them

  • FRQ’s are typically not as long (only 5 min. to plan and 30 min. to write)-35 minutes each

  • With FRQ’s, you have much more latitude in how you construct your essay. Depending on how well you know the topic, this could be a blessing or a curse.

  • While DBQ’s often stick to one limited time period of 25 years or less, FRQ’s often ask you to compare two separate, yet somehow similar, time periods.

Types of FRQ Questions

  1. The straight-up question: Asks you to analyze a topic, and gives very little guidance beyond that.


Ex: Analyze the ways in which the federal government sought support on the home front for the war effort during the First World War.
Note: For these types of questions, it is almost always best to have three body paragraphs.



  1. Pick Two/Pick Three: Asks a question, and gives you choices for the topics you should use in your essay.


Ex: Analyze the influence of TWO of the following on American-Soviet relations in the decade following the Second World War.

Yalta Conference

Communist Revolution in China

Korean War

McCarthyism
Note: It is NOT sufficient to simply say that two of these things affected relations and then describe them. If you can make a comparison or a distinction between the two, you will get more credit for analysis.



  1. The time period comparison: Gives you two time periods that may be similar in some way, and asks you to compare some aspect of them.


Ex: In American politics the most significant battles have occurred within the major parties rather than between them. Discuss this statement with reference to the periods 1850 –1861 and 1900 –1912.
Note: In any question that gives a time period or an era and asks you to analyze something about it, proving CHANGE OVER TIME is golden.
Other FRQ Helpful Hints

  • How do I know which question to choose?




  • How do I plan my essay (5 minutes for each essay)?

    • Read the question thoroughly

    • Analyze and break the question down

      • Annotate the question-circle and/or underline important words and phrases

    • Create your categories-at least 3

      • Think of as much SFI/AC as possible to support your categories that will support your thesis




  • What are the AP Readers looking for in my essay?

  • Note: Readers only spend between 30 seconds & 1 minute 15 seconds on each essay.

    • 5 Paragraph Essay

    • Did you answer the question? Do this in both Thesis & Conclusion

    • Begin with a strong thesis that outlines your 3 categories (3 support paragraphs)

    • Follow a reasonable outline

      • The less confusing the better for the reader

    • Be straightforward

    • Reveal an understanding of the history

    • Specific Factual Information (SFI)-Details, Details, Details—It will jump out at them!!!

    • Readers are experts in history (don’t try to fool them)

    • If they give you dates, you give them events; if they give you events, you give them dates

      • Ex: “…from the years 1789-1815…” You would write “…from the ratification of the Constitution through the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans”


FRQ Writing Guidelines

1.Plan your Essays. Take 5 minutes for each essay to brainstorm/make categories & think of SFI/AC

2.Have a Thesis Statement. The thesis must state the argument and everything in your essay must support your argument.

3.Answer the question being asked.

4.Stay in the time period that is given in the prompt.

  • If they give you dates, you give them events; if they give you events, you give them dates

5. Get to the Point. Make your case, don’t make sweeping generalizations. Don’t waste time using fluff and stuff, tell it like it is.

6. Use Plenty of SFI/AC. Your thesis is only valid if the evidence supports it. The evidence gives the reader reason to believe your thesis and shows the reader you know what you are talking about

  • Evidence, Evidence, Evidence—Support, Support, Support—Why? Why? Why?

7. Take Contrary Evidence Into Account. Showing that there is at least another side to the story is not only necessary, it helps strengthen your argument not weaken it.

8. End the Essay Simply and Cleanly. If you must use a concluding sentence or paragraph, don’t introduce new evidence or make moral judgments.

9. Do NOT use Personal Pronouns. Using such words as I, you, we, us, my, or they is not acceptable.

10. Do NOT Misspell Words or Use Poor Grammar. An abundance of misspelled words or grammatical errors can detract from a well-written essay.

11. Do NOT Ask Rhetorical Questions. Stick to answering the question, not to introducing another.

12.Write Neatly. Your essay needs to be easy to read

13.Use transition words. It is important to show where you are going next.

12.Write a 5-Paragraph Essay

  • From your brainstorming select three of your best points

  • Each point becomes the subject of a paragraph; prove one big picture idea per paragraph

    • Save strongest point for last

  • 3 Paragraphs-Topic sentence – then support

  • Opening paragraph/Thesis – tell them what you are going to tell them; answers the question

  • Final paragraph – what you have proven—this is the final impression that you leave the reader with; answers the question; tell them what you told them

FRQ & DBQ Categories & Brainstorming

Essay prompts will require you to understand various categories historians use to analyze and break down the components of an era of U.S. History. PERSIA is an acronym that is easy to remember and utilize to create your categories or 3 body paragraphs. PERSIA can be used if the prompt does not give you the categories.


Ex: What was the significance of the War of 1812 for American economic development?

Categories: Political, Economic, Social




P political system

Presidents/political leaders; judicial rulings; legislation; political reform movements; rebellions/revolutions; foreign policy; domestic policy; taxes; tariffs

E economic system

Taxes; Tariffs; recessions/depressions/panics; inflation; currency issues; Manufacturing; trade; wealth/poverty

R religious beliefs

Religious Movements; how they influenced the development of society/culture & government; religious divisions; major religious leaders who influenced the US

S social structure

The way people interact with one another & how this has been altered due to an event; race, gender, ethnic relationships; social or cultural norms; culture/tradition of each time period; social reform

I intellectual/

technological

Achievements-literature, science, technology, academia, and schools; ideology; how technology changed American life; what series of events caused each school of thought to emerge; how does literature reflect the events of the time period?

A artistic/cultural

Impact of art on a given time period; how does the art portray events, people or feelings of the era?; How was the art received by the community?; art, music, architecture, movies

Some prompts give you the categories. These will be the ones that you will use to develop your three body paragraphs.


Ex: Analyze the ways in which the Vietnam War heightened social, political, and economic tensions in the US. Focus your answer on the period 1964-1975.

Categories: Social, Political, Economic



FRQ & DBQ Thesis Generator

  • Introductory Paragraph-- Must be at least 3 sentences.

    • Attention-grabber

    • Thesis-take a position & answer the question

    • Answer the Question

    • Road Map-Tell them what you are going to tell them-introduce reasons you are taking this stance (paragraph 1-3)




  • Thesis Statement-What you plan to argue+ how you plan to argue it (attitude, angle, argument) =Thesis

      • Grab reader’s attention/Hook (give them dates if they give you events, give them events, if they give you dates)

      • Take an angle

      • Tell them what you are going to tell them (the topics of your 3 Body paragraphs)


FRQ & DBQ Layout

  • You must have at least 5 sentences per body paragraph

  • You must have at least 3 sentences in concluding paragraph

Introduction

_____ Attention-grabber

_____ Thesis-take a position & answer the question

_____ Road Map-Tell them what you are going to tell them-introduce reasons you are taking this stance (paragraph 1-3)


Body Paragraph One:

_____ Topic sentence (subtopic from thesis-Reason 1)

_____ First supporting example (SFI)

_____ Analysis or explanation ( explains importance and connects to thesis)

_____ Second supporting example (SFI)

_____ Analysis or explanation (explains importance and connects to thesis) Give as much SFI as possible, even

_____ Concluding sentence (so what? Why did you choose these SFI?)) though this layout only shows 2

_____ Transition –connects paragraph to next subtopic (at end of first supporting details.

paragraph or beginning on next)
Body Paragraph Two:

_____ Topic sentence (subtopic from thesis-Reason 2)

_____ First supporting example (SFI)

_____ Analysis or explanation ( explains importance and connects to thesis)

_____ Second supporting example (SFI) Give as much SFI as possible, even

_____ Analysis or explanation (explains importance and connects to thesis) though this layout only shows 2

_____ Concluding sentence (so what? Why did you choose these SFI?) supporting details.

_____ Transition –connects paragraph to next subtopic (at end of first

paragraph or beginning on next)
Body Paragraph Three:

_____ Topic sentence (subtopic from thesis-Reason 3)

_____ First supporting example (SFI)

_____ Analysis or explanation ( explains importance and connects to thesis)

_____ Second supporting example (SFI) Give as much SFI as possible, even

_____ Analysis or explanation (explains importance and connects to thesis) though this layout only shows 2

_____ Concluding sentence (so what? Why did you choose these SFI?) supporting details.

_____ Transition –connects paragraph to next subtopic (at end of first

paragraph or beginning on next)
Conclusion:

_____ Restates the thesis (not in the exact same words)

_____ Tell you what you told them

_____ Discuss the impact of this issue upon US History



_____ Discuss how this issue fits into the broader sense of US History-Make Connections!
FRQ & DBQ RUBRIC
The 8-9 Essay 9=99% 8=96%

  • Contains a clear, well developed thesis addressing the question

  • Provides effective analysis of all parts of the question

  • Develops the thesis with considerable, relevant information

  • Is well-organized; excellent essay

  • May contain minor errors that do not detract from the overall quality of the essay


The 5-7 Essay 7=93% 6=90% 5=85%

  • Contains a thesis that addresses the question

  • Provides some analysis; could be imbalanced in treating the question

  • Supports the thesis with some accurate/less specific information

  • Acceptable organization

  • May contain errors that do not seriously detract from the quality of the essay


The 2-4 Essay 4=80% 3=76% 2=73%

  • Confused, undeveloped, or unfocused thesis

  • Has little or no analysis; the essay is primarily a narrative

  • Provides few relevant facts, or relies heavily on generalizations

  • Weak organization

  • May contain major errors


The 0-1 Essay 1=70% 0=Rewrite

  • May demonstrate an incompetent or inappropriate response

  • Has little or no understanding of the question

  • Poorly organized; incompetent essay

  • Contains substantial factual errors or little or no factual information


The “–” Essay

  • Is completely off topic or the test booklet is blank



| APUSH Northwest Cabarrus High School K. DelliSanti



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