AP World History: Modern Short-Answer Questions Strategy

Short-Answer Questions

In Section I, Part B, of the test, you will be given a series of four free-response questions. Each of the questions is divided into two or three parts. You must answer Questions 1 and 2, but you have your choice of answering either Question 3 or 4. These questions account for 20 percent of your score. You will be given 95 minutes to answer Parts A and B of Section I; it’s recommended that you spend 40 minutes of that time on the short-answer questions.

Many of the short-answer questions are based upon a stimulus such as a quotation, graph, chart, picture, or map. Other questions in this portion of the exam may ask you to identify and explain examples of a process, an AP World History: Modern theme, or events occurring within a given era. For example, you may be asked to identify and explain the reasons for two types of migration during the twentieth century. Yet another question may require you to read a short summary of an argument and provide examples from world historians to support and refute the argument. You are not required to include a thesis statement in your answers to any of the questions in this portion of the exam. Since you have only 40 minutes to complete this section, you need to read the question and the stimulus, if provided, and then compose an answer that is accurate, brief, and right to the point of the question.

Here are some strategies that will help you succeed on the short-answer questions:

Read the question stem, paying close attention to the task(s) you are required to address for that question.

Remember that you must answer three questions in this section, Questions 1 and 2 and then either Question 3 or 4. Remember, too, that you must answer all parts (A, B, and C, if there is a Part C) of each question.

Remember that the short-answer questions do not require a thesis statement and that taking the time to compose a thesis statement will not add to your score.

Keep your answers concise and to the point. In other words, just answer the specific questions you are asked.

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