The Course of History

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How the Exam Works.
The APUSH exam consists of two parts. Part 1 is the 80 question multiple choice section in which you have 55 minutes to complete. Part 2 consists of writing a total of three essays. The first essay is called the document-based question (DBQ) because you are given 9-13 documents which should be used to answer the essay prompt. The next two essays are the free-response questions (FRQ). You will be given four essay promts to read. Two prompts are from pre-civil war era and the other two are from post-civil war era. Test takers are expected to write one essay from each set for a total of two essays. Timing for part 2 of the exam is as follows: 15 minutes - Mandatory reading for Document-Based Question (DBQ) and free-response questions. 115 minute - Essay writing. Which should be utilized in the fashion below. •45 minutes - Essay writing for the DBQ

35 minutes - Writing free-response to one of the questions in part A •35 minutes - Writing free-response to one of the questions to part B It is important to note that the DBQ is worth more than each of the FRQs, so more time should be spent on that essay. The essays are scored on a scale of 1 to 9. One being poor and 9 being great. These are the characteristics that each essay should have: The 8-9 essay:

Contains a well-developed thesis that clearly addresses the nature of the question •Presents an effective analysis of both sides of the item in question; treatment may be uneven (the better essays try to devote about equal coverage to both sides) •Supports thesis with substantial and relevant information •Is clearly organized and well written

May contain minor errors
In a DBQ question, a substantial number of documents are used •In a DBQ question. significant outside information is also included in the response

The 5-7 essay:
Contains a thesis which addresses the topic of the question (limited development) •Has limited analysis and exhibits limited understanding of complexity •Is mostly descriptive
Deals with only one aspect of the question in some depth or deals with both aspects in a more general way •Supports thesis with some information
Shows evidence of acceptable organization and writing; language errors do not interfere with comprehension •May contain factual errors that do not seriously detract from the quality or argument of the essay •In a DBQ question, some documents are used effectively

In a DBQ question, supports thesis with some outside information

The 2-4 essay:
Presents a limited, confused and/or poorly developed thesis •Contains little or no analysis and is mostly descriptive •Deals with one aspect of the question in a general way or both aspect in a superficial way; simplistic explanation •Has minimal or irrelevant supporting information

Confusing organization and writing; organization and language errors interfere with comprehension •May contain major factual or interpretive errors
In a DBQ question, quotes or briefly cites documents
In a DBQ question, contains little outside information, or information that is generally comprehension

The 0-1 essay:
Contains no thesis, or a thesis which does not address the question •Exhibits inadequate or inaccurate understanding of the question (analysis is absent) •Contains no supporting information, or only irrelevant information •Is so poorly organized or written that it inhibits understanding •May simply paraphrase or restate the question

Contains numerous errors, both major and minor
In a DBQ question, exhibits little or no understanding of documents, or ignores them completely •In a DBQ question, offers inappropriate or no outside information

Now that you know exactly what to expect during the exam lets cover how to write a very effective APUSH exam essay. I like to teach the essay writing in such a fashion that we break down each paragraph into smaller section and...
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