Ap human Geography frq instructions

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Each AP course has its own style of essay. In AP Human Geography, the essay is a Free Response Question (FRQ). The point of a FRQ is to provide an opportunity for you to show that you can THINK and WRITE like a geographer.
Because the FRQ is a timed writing, it is not expected to be a polished essay. Focus on content. Write neatly, in complete sentences, and your handwriting is legible. Points are not deducted for crossing things out, spelling, or grammatical mistakes that do not detract from the overall meaning of the writing.

  1. Begin by carefully reading the question.

  1. Underline or highlight key directive words (see below).

  1. Set up a framework for your response that is formatted in the same way as the question.

Question 1 is a two part question. Each part requires the student to identify two examples and provide explanations for each.

1. a. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

b. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

2. a. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

b. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples


A. 1. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

2. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

B. 1. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

2. Identified proper topic and gave correct examples

  1. Brainstorm anything you know that is related to the topic and take a few minutes to organize your thoughts into the framework.

  1. Then, begin writing. You do not need an introduction or conclusion. Directly answer the question.

  1. Provide specific, detailed support for your answer. Use examples from the text, class discussion, assignments and current events.

  1. Whenever possible, integrate appropriate geographic terms - affectionately called “geowords”!

Directive Words
Effective answers to essay questions such as FRQs depend upon a clear understanding of the meanings of directive words. For example, if you describe when you are asked to compare, or list when you are asked to evaluate, your responses will be less than satisfactory. An essay can only begin to be correct if it answers directly the question that is asked.

Here are the meanings of several key directive words:

  1. Analyze: determine component parts and examine their nature and relationship

  1. Assess/Evaluate: judge the value or character of something; evaluate the positive points and the negative ones; discuss the advantages and disadvantages of

  1. Compare: examine in order to show similarities

  1. Contrast: examine in order to show differences

  1. Describe: give an account of; tell about; give a word picture of

  1. Discuss: consider or examine from various points of view; debate; present the different sides of

  1. Identify/Explain: make clear or plain; make clear the causes or reasons for; make known in detail; tell the meaning of

Basic types of free-response questions in AP Human Geography
Although there is no official model for a free-response question for the exam, most of the questions that have been asked fall in to one, or a combination, of the following categories. This list is not meant to be in any way comprehensive or exhaustive of possibilities.

  1. Definition and illustration/example

Specific terms/vocabulary are defined and appropriately illustrated.

  1. Geographic model

One of the major models is presented and students are asked to deal with it in some way…

    • explanation

    • analysis

    • critique

    • application

  1. Topic in depth

A specific topic is introduced and students are asked to demonstrate understanding by dealing with a variety of aspects of, or related directly to, it.

  1. Synthesis

Content material from several different major topics in Human Geography must be pulled together by the student to demonstrate a skill or content understanding.

  1. Case study

Students are asked to provide a specific geographic illustration from a short list of regions/countries/topics. A greater degree of knowledge, demonstrated through a more thorough discussion and more details is expected than from a simple “example” as in number 1 above.
6. Regional question

This question asks a student to illustrate a topic, define a term, or apply a principle/concept to a specific region. The student may be asked to use the entire region, a country from the region, or possibly a region at the sub-state level.

7. Analytical/Application question

The student is expected to apply or analyze specific geographic content in some way.

Guidelines to answering a constructed-response question

1. Read the question carefully. Underline key words/phrases in the question itself. Circle specific requirements of the question.

2. Jot down (brainstorm) key terms/people/examples/etc. that will be a part of your response. Make a “thumbnail outline.”

3. Answer the question in the order it is asked. If the question is organized, “A., B., C.,” answer it “A., B., C.”

4. A formal introduction is NOT needed, launch right into your answer.

5. Answer each section of the question COMPLETELY. When you have answered a part of the question

(now underlined or circled), cross it off. Provide everything you can about your topic.

6. Be specific. Avoid vague statements. Do NOT assume the reader is an expert in the topic. Elaborate.

Think/Write like a Geographer.

7. Do not give your opinion. State the obvious/facts. Be concise. Use “GEOWORDS”.

8. A formal conclusion is not needed.

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