The exam is 3 hours and 5 minutes in length and consists of two sections: a 55-minute multiple-choice section and a 130-minute free-response section. The free-response section begins with a mandatory 15-minute reading period. Students are advised to spend most of the 15 minutes analyzing the documents and planning their answer to the document-based essay question (DBQ) in Part A. Suggested writing time for the DBQ is 45 minutes. Parts B and C each include two standard essay questions that, with the DBQ, cover the period from the first European explorations of the Americas to the present. Students are required to answer one essay question in each part in a total of 70 minutes. For each of the essay questions students choose to answer in Parts B and C, it is suggested they spend 5 minutes planning and 30 minutes writing.
Both the multiple-choice and the free-response sections cover the period from the first European explorations of the Americas to the present, although a majority of questions are on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the multiple-choice section, approximately 20% of the questions deal with the period through 1789, 45% with the period 1790 – 1914, and 35% with the period 1915 – to the present. Whereas the multiple-choice section may include a few questions on the period since 1980, neither the DBQ nor any of the four essay questions in Parts B and C will deal exclusively with this period. In the multiple-choice section, political institutions and behavior and public policy account for approximately 35%, social change and cultural and intellectual developments for approximately 40%. The remaining questions are divided between the areas of diplomacy and international relations, approximately 15%; economic developments, approximately 10%.
The questions in the multiple-choice section are designed to test students’ factual knowledge, breadth of preparation, and knowledge-based analytical skills. Essay questions are designed, additionally, to make it possible for students from widely differing courses to demonstrate their mastery of historical interpretation and their ability to express their views and knowledge in writing. Scores earned on the multiple-choice and free-response sections each account for one-half of the student’s examination grade. Within the free-response sections, the DBQ counts for 45 percent; the two standard essays count for 55 percent.
The 2013 AP US History exam is scheduled for May 15th – morning session. We will begin an intensive review beginning in mid-April.
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