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AP Exam Advice
Mr. Temple's US History

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Mr. Temple's Advice

Start your review for the AP Exam now!

Review your notes, exams, and papers you have written (including DBQ's). Review by first studying all the pre-Revolutionary War notes, exams, and papers; then all the Articles of Confederation notes, exams, and papers; then do the same chronologically through the course. Make sure you know well the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, the Constitution, the Federalist Era, the Jefferson and Madison administration, the Jacksonian Era, the coming of the Civil War including the institution of slavery, Reconstruction, post-Civil War industrialization, Populism/Progressivism, American foreign policy from 1898-1920, the New Deal, the events leading up to American entry into World War II, and the dropping of the bomb, Yalta and Potsdam.

The untapped areas included: a post World War II domestic question dealing with McCarthyism or Eisenhower's two terms, a foreign policy question on U.S.-Latin American relations starting in the 1900's and moving to the present, a question on the Native Americans especially in the second half of the 19th century, and American Foreign policy 1780-1815.

Select ten themes we have discussed this year and prepare essays (the outlines only) for each. You might be looking for these as you go through the above topics.

Go over the essay questions from past AP exams.

Know conflicting interpretations of major issues. You need not know the names of the historians associated with these interpretations. (For example, it is enough to know some different interpretations about the contributions/or lack thereof of the businessmen of the last half of the 19th century -- you don't have to know the names of the historians who take part in this historical debate.)

ONCE YOU HAVE REVIEWED ALONE IT IS A VERY GOOD IDEA TO REVIEW WITH TWO OR THREE OTHER STUDENTS.

Starting Friday, May 7, confine yourself to something on the order of Crum (Arco), Billington, or Excellence in U.S. History. Start with a quick run through the Colonial Era (no matter how smart you think your review book is - do not, repeat do not, try to answer one of the optional essay questions if it happens to be a colonial question). The Salem witch trials would make a good DBQ so make sure you know more than a cliched version of that event.

Do get a good nights' sleep -- by order of Mother Spencer.

On the day of the exam:
On the objective portion, gamble if you can eliminate ANY of the choices. Take an educated guess. You should complete this section. About 10% of the questions will be between 1945-1989. They tend to be somewhat easier, so don't be afraid of going after them. There probably will be three or four data charts. You can handle them, but don't get hung up on them if you find them difficult. Pass on them and then come back to them after you have answered all the other questions. Remember, if you are getting 2/3 of the objective questions correct, you are doing fine.

The AP exam writers do not put the questions in chronological order. They arrange them in a series of eight or nine questions arranged chronologically with the first series being relatively easy, the second a little more difficult and so on. The last full series is quite difficult; often the final three or four questions are easy again. You can tell when the exam makers have started another tier because the questions will go back to early American history again. Given the structure of the exam you should be more than halfway through 25 minutes into the exam.

On the DBQ, as soon as you identify the time period covered, list events that took place during those years on the top of the page. Next write a brief outine without reading the documents. Then read the documents noting what issues or event each document is referring to. The author of each document may be worth looking at closely as well. Finally, take 3 or 4 additional minutes to complete the outline of your essay. When writing, get right into the essay; avoid an overly long introduction, although you may use a "setting the scene" paragraph to bring in outside material and a "concession" paragraph or statement early or late in your paper to do the same. Try to see each of the documents in the course of your DBQ. No one is killed, however, if you omit one or two. In general there is only one major reason for each document to be included so don't over-complicate things for yourself. Make sure you bring in all the outside information you can muster to throw light on the documents and on the question asked. Make sure you READ THE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY!

On the "free response" essay questions where you can choose among four essays, by all means take the ones you know the most about. Remember that you chose one from Set One - up to the Civil War and one from Set Two - post Civil War. Think through the papers you have written. You may well be able to write a revised version. Do NOT answer questions which, because they look broad and easy, appear to be a cinch. They are the hardest. Stuff your essays with as many facts as possible and organize them as well as you can. Try to have at least four separate parts to your essay. The people who will be grading these become a little impatient with disorganization after reading about 500 essays. Make sure you have a clearly stated hypothesis eary in the opening paragraph. (Use Black Ink - everything helps.)

GOOD LUCK!

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