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AP®︎/College US History
Course: ap®︎/college us history > unit 10.
- AP US History periods and themes
- AP US History multiple choice example 1
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- AP US History short answer example 1
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AP US History DBQ example 1
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- AP US History DBQ example 4
- AP US History long essay example 1
- AP US History long essay example 2
- AP US History long essay example 3
- Preparing for the AP US History Exam (5/4/2016)
- AP US History Exam Prep Session (5/1/2017)
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, every ap us history practice exam available: free and official.
Advanced Placement (AP)
If you want to do well on the AP US History exam, you have to practice! Practice tests can help you organize your prep logically around areas of the curriculum that are most challenging for you. This article provides a complete list of all official and unofficial AP US History practice test materials available online , as well as detailed instructions and tips on how to use them in your studying.
Official AP US History Practice Exams and Questions
This section lists all the free official practice tests and questions available online for AP US History. These practice tests and free-response questions come directly from the College Board. You can use the free-response questions to practice writing essays at any point during the school year, but I'd save the full exams for the final stages of your study process .
The closer you get to the AP US History exam, the more important it'll be to understand exactly where your weaknesses lie and which aspects of the test present the most significant challenges. Official materials provide the best practice because the questions are a consistently accurate representation of the content and format of the real test .
Full-Length AP US History Practice Exams
There is one full-length, official AP US History practice tests available for download:
- 2017 Practice Exam
Though the practice test comes with answer keys for the multiple-choice part, you'll have to use the official scoring guidelines to score your own free-response answers. You could also ask your AP US History teacher if they'd be willing to grade your practice essays for you.
This test is the very best free practice exam available online, so try to save it for when you're closer to test day and want to get an accurate estimate of your score level.
AP US History Free Response Questions, 2015-2020 and 2021
Free-response questions for AP US History have undergone some minor changes in recent years, but these sample questions will still closely resemble the format of the free-response section of the test that you're taking . You'll also find scoring guidelines here and some sample student responses.
I encourage you to save the most up-to-date questions for later on in the study process so that you can get a better idea of what your scores will look like on the real AP test.
AP US History Course and Exam Descriptions
Official AP US History Course and Exam Descriptions offer plenty of multiple-choice questions and free-response questions—just not in the format of a full-length test . You can get some great practice with these materials, especially if you're looking to zero in on specific weaknesses.
Here are the APUSH Exam Descriptions that are currently available online:
- Course and Exam Description : Updated for current AP exam format. Contains 17 multiple-choice questions, one short-answer question, one DBQ, and one Long Essay prompt.
- 2017-18 Course and Exam Description : Mostly updated for current exam format. Contains the same questions as those in the 2017 practice test linked above.
There is also this document with sample questions from the 2012 AP US History curriculum framework . With this, you'll get 11 multiple-choice questions, three short-answer questions, one DBQ, and two Long Essay prompts.
This new and innovative tool by the College Board allows you to complete and submit homework for your AP US History class online through a special portal managed by your US History teacher. What's really cool, though, is that your teacher can also assign you official practice questions here as a way to supplement your exam prep.
AP US History Document-Based Questions, 1973-1999
This document includes a bunch of DBQs from past versions of the AP US History test. This question has remained relatively consistent throughout the years, so I'd say these are totally fine to use as practice materials.
You never know exactly what the documents will look like on the test, so you should practice analyzing them until you feel comfortable with all different types of sources.
Unofficial AP US History Practice Tests and Questions
The following AP US History tests are not directly from the College Board, but they will still help you become familiar with the material. This section includes links to both full unofficial practice tests and small-scale, topic-specific quizzes. The short quizzes may be useful in the early stages of your studying when you want to target certain eras or avoid questions on material your class hasn't covered yet.
AP US History Prep Books
Even though I'm emphasizing online practice materials in this article, it's also worth mentioning that some APUSH prep books include high-quality practice tests that are modeled directly after the newest version of the exam. If you're willing to part with some of that sweet cash money, check out our list of the best review books for AP US History .
High School Test Prep Practice Tests
This site has nine quizzes, each covering a different time period. The quizzes are each 20 questions long and are multiple choice. They're not a great match for the actual AP US History exam, but they can be good practice for basic dates and facts, especially if there's a time period you're particularly shaky on.
Full Old-Format Practice Exam
This old-format AP US History practice test was created by an AP teacher. It has 80 multiple-choice questions, each with five answer choices (the current test format has 55 questions and four answer choices for each question, so you'll need to tweak this old exam a lot). It also has one DBQ and some essay prompts that are a little different from the current Long Essay requirement.
Historyteacher.net Mini Practice Quizzes
Here, you'll find practice quizzes for every topic covered in the US History course. There are multiple-choice questions and for some topics "short answer" questions (there's a drop-down menu of 12 answer choices). These won't help much with the more analytical elements of the test, but if you want to test your factual recall, they'll serve you well.
Albert AP US History Practice Quizzes
Albert maintains a series of free, high-quality practice quizzes on every topic covered by the AP US History curriculum (and all have been updated for the 2020 exam format and units). Some resources other fee, other require a paid membership. As you take them, the site will display stats that detail how you're faring on questions of each difficulty level. This should help you figure out the areas in which your memory is shakier.
Practice Quizzes for The American Pageant , 12th Edition
This site has chapter-by-chapter practice quizzes organized around an old edition of The American Pageant textbook. Questions are multiple choice and true/false. Again, this is more helpful for factual recall than for analysis questions.
AP US History Notes Multiple-Choice Practice Test
This test has just 40 questions, but the website also includes a list of frequently asked AP US History multiple-choice questions that will prepare you better for the exam.
McGraw-Hill American History Chapter Quizzes
This site contains 32 multiple-choice quizzes, one for each chapter of the 13th edition of the McGraw-Hill US History textbook. The quizzes follow the organization of the textbook, but they can still be useful even if your class uses a different book. Each quiz is titled so you can know what part of US History it's testing you on.
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Additional Resources for Practice Quizzes on All US History Topics
These are a few additional sites that have a bunch of short practice quizzes on every topic in the APUSH curriculum. Use these resources if you're looking for additional questions that will test your basic knowledge of events in US History, or if you're looking for more questions dealing with a specific time period.
- CourseNotes Practice Quizzes for AP US History
- Varsity Tutors AP US History Practice Quizzes
- Matching and Multiple-Choice Short Practice Quizzes
- Crack AP Multiple-Choice Practice Tests
How to Use AP US History Practice Exams in Each Semester
Now, you have all sorts of AP US History practice resources—but what's the best way to use them? In this section, we go over exactly how you should be studying with AP practice exams during each semester of the APUSH class.
At this point, you can mostly rely on unofficial AP US History tests and quizzes that only deal with the topics your class has covered. Many of the websites listed above have large collections of questions for each unit of the course. Work on building a strong foundation of knowledge so that you'll be prepared to answer more advanced analytical questions in the future.
You can also look through the official free-response practice questions to find some you feel confident answering based on what you've learned so far. It's never too early to start practicing for the free-response section, especially when it comes to the Document-Based Question, or DBQ.
Writing a coherent argumentative essay that incorporates six or seven different sources in just 50 minutes is a tough skill to master! Try to come up with an essay-writing process that works well for you so that you're a pro by the time the AP test rolls around.
Start taking full AP US History practice tests and assessing your score level midway through the second semester (March is a good time to get the ball rolling on this). By then, you've learned enough of the material for your scores on APUSH practice tests to be fairly accurate predictions of your final AP exam scores.
Since the US History test has undergone various changes in recent years, you won't have many full official practice tests that reflect the current format. Use your limited resources wisely by carefully assessing your performance on each practice test and studying your weak areas before you take additional tests.
We recommend taking and scoring an initial APUSH practice test (with accurate time constraints!) before you do any studying. As you take the test, mark any questions you're unsure about; you will want to study that material later even if you end up guessing correctly. After you score your test, categorize your mistakes by time period and theme to see whether there are any patterns .
Next, start studying the areas that need work . You can turn to unofficial AP US History practice questions here to test your knowledge. You should also practice writing essay outlines so you're more prepared for the free-response section. Once you feel that you've mastered all the AP topics that stumped you on the first test, take another practice test to see whether you've improved.
Decide whether or not you want to repeat this process based on your score on the second test. If you haven't improved much, you should reconsider your prep methods. Spend a longer time checking in with yourself to make sure you've retained information. You can also plan on doing more practice questions between full tests so that you're prepared for both the format and the content tested.
AP US History Practice: 4 Essential Testing Tips
Before we wrap up, here are four critical test-day tips to remember on the day of your US History exam.
#1: Read Excerpts Carefully and Look for Direct Evidence
The multiple-choice section on AP US History is based on excerpts from historical source materials, or stimuli, so it tests both analytical skills and factual recall. You'll have to read the source material carefully to find the correct answer.
In many cases, several answer choices are historically accurate, but only one will be directly supported by the evidence in the excerpt or illustration. Look for direct connections, and don't make too many assumptions based on your prior knowledge.
#2: Plan Out Your Essays
When you have to write a timed essay, it can sometimes end up an unfocused, disorganized mess. This is exactly what you don't want to happen on the AP US History exam. Hold yourself back from starting the writing process immediately, even if you're anxious about not finishing in time.
Writing a preliminary outline is critical on this test. Without an outline, you run the risk of rambling and getting stuck when you can't identify a good piece of supporting evidence! It'll be far easier to write your essays if you already have a structure in place that makes sense.
#3: Get Comfy With the Document-Based Question
The Document-Based Question is different from other essay questions that you'll encounter on AP tests. In fact, it's probably the only question of its kind that you've ever seen on any test. DBQs can seem intimidating and weird, so make sure you practice them as much as possible before the real exam.
Write notes next to each piece of source material to give yourself a basic idea of what it is and how it could be used to support the points you plan on making in your essay. You should also come up with a strategy for approaching these questions that works well for you before you're face-to-face with the DBQ on test day.
#4: Incorporate Background Information (Wisely)
It's a great move to include outside historical references that support your arguments for the DBQ and/or Long Essay. Even though you're given seven sources to use as evidence in the DBQ, making additional outside connections will show that you've really mastered the material .
Just remember to be careful with using outside information. Don't fact-vomit all over the essay with everything you've ever learned about a topic. Structure your thoughts so that any outside information relates directly to the main argument of your essay.
Recap: Using AP US History Practice Tests to Ace the Exam
The AP US History practice tests in this article should serve as useful resources for you as you prep for the AP exam and any in-class assessments. Remember that official College Board questions are the highest quality practice materials, so use them wisely. We recommend trying to save most of the official practice resources for when you're closer to the actual APUSH test. You can use unofficial materials throughout the school year to brush up on specific topics in the course.
To recap, here are our four top study tips for AP US History :
- Read excerpts carefully and look for direct evidence in the source(s)
- Practice planning out and outlining your essays for free-response questions
- Get comfortable with the Document-Based Question
- Use background information without over using it
With these tips in mind, you can take full advantage of the practice materials, become a master of US History, and show the AP test who's boss!
Are you missing some of your notes from class? We've got links to great notes for AP US History that will give you tons of information on every topic in the course.
How can you know whether your AP US History practice test results are equivalent to a high or low AP score? Learn more about how AP tests are scored in our guide .
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The 2022 APUSH Free-Response Questions
If you’d like to know what the prompts and documents were for the 2022 APUSH free-response questions, you can download them here , on The College Board’s website.
Watch Tom Richey’s overview of these free-response questions here .
Click here to view Tom Richey’s sample responses to the 2022 APUSH SAQ items.
Click here to view Tom Richey view my sample response(s) to the 2022 APUSH DBQ. This file will be updated to include several sample responses that would earn different point values.
Based off of excerpts from Ray Allen Billingham’s Westward Expansion, A History of the American Frontier , 1949 and Carlos A. Schwantes’ The Concept of the Wagoners’ Frontier, 1987, this was Question 1 on the short answer question section of the 2022 APUSH Exam.
1. Using the excerpts, respond to parts a, b, and c. a. Briefly describe one major difference between Billington’s and Schwantes’ historical interpretations of the American West. b. Briefly explain how one historical event or development from 1848 to 1898 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Billington’s interpretation. c. Briefly explain how one historical event or development from 1848 to 1898 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Schwantes’ interpretation.
Question 2 of the short-answer section was based off of an excerpt from John Mercer Langston’s petition to the Ohio state legislature, 1854. It asked:
2. Using the excerpt, respond to parts a, b, and c.
a. Briefly describe the point of view of the excerpt.
b. Briefly explain how one specific historical event or development between 1783 and 1854 led to developments such as that depicted in the excerpt.
c. Briefly explain how one specific historical event or development between 1854 and 1877 resulted from developments such as that depicted in the excerpt.
Questions 3 and 4 of the short answer section were as follows:
3. Respond to parts a, b, and c.
a. Briefly describe one way that one Native American society adapted to its environment prior to European contact.
b. Briefly explain one similarity in how Native American societies in two regions adapted to European contact from 1492 to 1763.
c. Briefly explain one difference in how Native American societies in two regions adapted to European contact from 1492 to 1763.
4.Respond to parts a, b, and c.
a. Briefly describe one way reform movements responded to economic conditions from 1880 to 1920.
b. Briefly explain one similarity in how two reform movements attempted to change United States society from 1880 to 1920.
c. Briefly explain one difference in how two reform movements attempted to change United States society from 1880 to 1920.
Section II of the AP U.S. History free-response section comprises of a document-based question (DBQ) and one long essay question (LEQ), which you can choose to answer from three different prompts.
Question 1, the document-based question on the 2022 APUSH Exam asked test takers to:
1. Evaluate the extent to which the United States developed an identity between 1800 and 1855.
For the long essay questions, students were asked to respond to one of the following prompts:
2. Evaluate the relative importance of causes of population movement to colonial British America in the period from 1607 to 1754.
3. Evaluate the relative importance of causes of the rise of industrial capitalism in the United States in the period from 1865 to 1900.
4. Evaluate the relative importance of causes of internal migration within the United States in the period from 1900 to 1970.
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APUSH Document Based Questions and Responses: A Study Guide
Document Based Questions tend to freak students out the most on the APUSH exam. This is understandable; not only do you have to read documents, you have to write a coherent essay about them.
However, we’ve got you covered here at Magoosh. For a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do to write a Document Based Question (DBQ), check out my other blog posts on 3 Steps to a DBQ Essay that Works and How to Write a DBQ Essay . This post, though, will focus on what other students have done to make their Document Based Question essays successful.
I will take you through one DBQ on a prior APUSH exam and give you the ins and outs, and the dos and don’ts. At the end, I will provide a link to a DBQ essay for you to practice some of the things that successful test-takers have done. There, you can compare your essay to the scoring notes provided by College Board. In fact, everything I present on this post will be provided by College Board – you can (and should!) check out their website for more tips.
Sound good? Let’s go!
Document Based Question #1
This is taken from the 2016 APUSH Exam . The DBQ for this section asks you to do the following:
Explain the causes of the rise of a women’s rights movement in the period 1940–1975.
You will have 55 minutes to answer that question. The College Board suggests 15 minutes for reading and 40 minutes for writing, although if you are a fast and careful reader, you can start writing before your 15-minute reading period is done.
I won’t post all of the documents that you have to reference (there are 7 after all!), but the following two documents are representative of the types of documents you will encounter on a DBQ.
As you can see, there’s a mix of photographs, advertisements, and text that you will be expected to incorporate into your essay.
Still with me? Good. Next, let’s look into what an essay should have in it.
Scoring Notes for Document Based Questions
The following (including descriptions) comes straight from the APUSH scoring notes. I’ll break down parts of it later to make sure that you understand what they want to see.
Your DBQ essay should have the following (for a maximum of 7 points):
- Thesis: Present a thesis that makes a historically defensible claim and responds to all parts of the question. The thesis must consist of one or more sentences located in one place, either in the introduction or the conclusion.
- Argument Development: Develop and support a cohesive argument that recognizes and accounts for historical complexity by explicitly illustrating relationships among historical evidence such as contradiction, corroboration, and/or qualification.
- Use of the Documents: Utilize the content of at least six of the documents to support the stated thesis or a relevant argument.
- Sourcing the Documents: Explain the significance of the author’s point of view, author’s purpose, historical context, and/or audience for at least four documents.
- Contextualization: Situate the argument by explaining the broader historical events, developments, or processes immediately relevant to the question.
- Outside Evidence: Provide an example or additional piece of specific evidence beyond those found in the documents to support or qualify the argument.
- A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or geographical area.
- A course theme and/or approach to history that is not the focus of the essay (such as political, economic, social, cultural, or intellectual history).
Yes, it’s a lot. But students have done it before, and so can you! Just because of the limits of space, I am only going to show you what to do – and what not to do – on the parts where I have seen students struggle most: thesis and synthesis.
Thesis Statements for Document Based Questions
Your thesis statement is the bread and butter of any essay you write for the APUSH exam. As I have stated before in previous posts, you should spend the most time on your thesis because a strong thesis will guide the rest of your essay.
But what makes a thesis strong? As mysterious as that question may seem, it is relatively straightforward:
A strong thesis directly answers the question being asked by referencing specific times, movements, or ideas.
It’s that simple! Well, it’s sort of simple. Developing a strong thesis is hard work, but let’s begin at the beginning. Here’s the question being asked: Explain the causes of the rise of a women’s rights movement in the period 1940–1975.
Notice that the question asks for causes, meaning MORE than one. Also, notice that the question gives you a defined time period to work with. Therefore, your thesis shouldn’t deal with any events, ideas, or people outside of that time period.
Let’s look at two student examples.
Example Thesis #1:
The women’s rights movement arose as a result of women’s experiences with inequality at work and the influence of other rights movements.
Does the student directly answer the question being asked? Yes. According to the student, the women’s rights movement was caused by the experiences of women dealing with inequality at work and the influence of other rights movements in the same time.
Is the student being specific? Yes. I know that this student will be organizing their essay in two big chunks: inequality in the workforce and civil rights movements.
Notice that this student didn’t give the longest answer possible, and the response was not necessarily the most eloquent, but that student still got a point for their thesis.
Example Thesis #2:
The woman’s rights movement was the product of unfair treatment in economics, politics, and society.
Does the student directly answer the question being asked? Well, yes, but I am unclear what “economics, politics, and society” means.
Is the student being specific? Not at all. There could be thousands of things that go under economics, politics, and society – and many things could be considered “unfair” – so I have no idea what the student will be arguing in this DBQ.
Thesis Statement Dos and Don’ts
- Directly answer the question being asked.
- Be specific.
- Write a thesis statement like the first example.
- Answer the question in a confusing way or answer some other question you think the test SHOULD be asking.
- Be general.
Synthesis in Document Based Questions
This is a newer component of the DBQ. You need to demonstrate your understanding of history by being able to go beyond the documents they provide you and make connections between different parts of history. This does NOT mean that you need to spend all of your time racking your brain for more evidence. However, it does mean that you should have a solid understanding of US History and can extend your argument to other time periods or themes. Let’s look at some student examples to explain what I mean.
Student Example #1:
The conditions that helped cause the rise of the women’s rights movement in the 20th century were similar to those that helped cause the rise of a movement for greater women’s rights in the 1840s. In both periods, calls for greater rights for African Americans led women to demand more of a voice in social and political reforms.
This student explains that the conditions for women’s rights movements were similar in two different time periods, extending the argument beyond this one moment in US history.
Student Example #2:
A development in a different historical period was when Alice Paul went on hunger strikes and protests in from of the White House to gain attention on passing an amendment that would give women their rights. Paul’s fight for women’s rights started with trying to get equal voting rights for women. This links to how in 1940-1975 women were fighting for equal rights in wages and other important rights.
This student makes a connection to another time period by arguing that the fight for equal rights did not begin in 1940; instead, women had been active for some time in US history to achieve equal rights.
Student Example #3:
The Seneca Falls convention also served to help inspire women around the world to gain equal rights. The speech given clearly stated the way things were being conducted was unconstitutional and women should not be socially inferior to men.
Unlike the first two student responses, this third response does NOT connect back to the time period in the question. I am unclear from this student response whether the connection is gaining equal rights for women, the persistence of inequality, or the changing interpretations of the Constitution. This student did not receive a point for the synthesis criteria.
Synthesis Dos and Don’ts
- Connect back to the time period of the question.
- State something that you feel is an “obvious” connection, but never make a connection yourself. You should be doing that work for your reader.
Document Based Question #2: Your Turn!
Although I haven’t outlined every single component of the DBQ, you should look at the two blog posts I linked to at the beginning of this article for more references.
But now it’s time for you to dive in! You will only get better by practicing.
You should practice with the 2015 Document Based Question 1 . In that document, you will have access to the questions and sample student responses.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
Allena Berry loves history; that should be known upfront. She loves it so much that she not only taught high school history and psychology after receiving her Master’s degree at Stanford University, she is now studying how students learn history at Northwestern. That being said, she does not have a favorite historical time period (so don’t bother asking). In addition to history, she enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and scouring Craigslist for her next DIY project or midcentury modern piece of furniture.
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AP US History (APUSH) Score Calculator – 2024
November 14, 2023
Thinking about how you’ll score on the APUSH exam? There are many AP US History score calculators that can be confusing to navigate. Through our own APUSH Score Calculator, you’ll be able to calculate ahead of time just how well you’ll do. You may already know how challenging APUSH can be as a subject. So this fun fact probably isn’t a surprise: APUSH is listed not as one of the easiest AP classes but as one of the hardest AP classes .
With our APUSH Score Calculator and the right preparation, you’ll be sure to set yourself up for success. Often students will want to know how they will score on the APUSH exam before they’ve even done it. We can’t recommend it enough to practice as much as you can. Our APUSH Score Calculator is an excellent motivational tool for you to improve your study habits before the exam. By using the APUSH Score Calculator, see which APUSH areas you can spend more time studying. It’s an efficient way to get ready for a 3, 4 or 5 on the APUSH exam, which are all good scores.
AP US History (APUSH) Score Calculator
Enter scores, total composite score:, predicted ap ® score:.
If you haven’t begun doing so, familiarize yourself with the layout of the APUSH exam. This will only help you by the time the exam date rolls around. Early preparation is the key here. Knowing what type of questions and writing sections ahead of time will only help you in the long run. The AP US History score calculator can help you with just that.
But what does it exactly entail? What can you expect? The APUSH exam lasts for 3 hours and 15 minutes, and is divided into two sections. The first section lasts for 95 minutes and consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and 3 short answer questions. The second section lasts for 100 minutes and includes 1 document-based question (DBQ) and 1 long essay question. It’s absolutely important to be informed about these specific questions and know what to expect.
When reviewing the APUSH exam, you will see that the longest part of the APUSH exam is the APUSH DBQ. The APUSH DBQ lasts for 60 minutes, including a 15-minute reading section, and it makes up 25% of the exam. So it’s no wonder that many students can get intimidated by the APUSH DBQ. However, it often comes down to really understanding what types of questions and materials you’ll be reviewing on the big day.
When you’re about to answer the APUSH DBQ during the APUSH exam, you’ll come across seven documents that describe different views of a historical event or development. These documents will come in visual, numerical or written form. They are there for you to use as evidence to your written argument. You’ll be asked to demonstrate the depth of your knowledge of the prompt’s subject and the time period in question. The time periods can range from any historical event or development from 1491 until present day. Be sure to write a well-supported, thoroughly analytical and argumentative response in your written response. Having a strong grasp of historical developments and the surrounding relevant events will only help elevate your APUSH DBQ. You might see that this is one area you need to improve on, which an AP US History score calculator can show you.
APUSH Score Calculator/AP US History Score Calculator
Some examples of the APUSH DBQ are:
- – Evaluate the extent to which commercial development changed United States society from 1800 to 1855.
- – Evaluate the extent to which the definitions of United States citizenship changed from 1865 to 1920.
- – Evaluate the extent of change in United States political parties in the period 1791 to 1833.
- – Evaluate the extent to which economic growth led to changes in United States society in the period from 1940 to 1970.
See those words “evaluate the extent”? The more strongly you can support your answer, the better. Oftentimes this is the section that students can struggle with the most. Once you use our APUSH Score Calculator, take a look at any rooms for improvement here.
APUSH DBQ Rubric
According to the APUSH DBQ rubric , the highest score you can get is 7 points. The following is how the APUSH DBQ rubric is determined:
Thesis/Claim – 1 point
The thesis/claim is usually one or two sentences, either in the introduction or conclusion. You must answer the prompt with a thesis/claim that is historically supported and relays your perspective on the topic. It is important here to make sure to answer the prompt fully, rather than reiterating and rewording the prompt. The exam reviewers will want to see a clear, thoroughly supported answer.
Contextualization – 1 point
With contextualization, you want to be able to write about the larger historical context that relates to the prompt. Think about what other historical factors are at play here. Focus on how the wider historical events taking place at the time of the prompt affected the subject you are addressing. But make sure not to focus too much on any events that don’t directly support your stance and have you veer off track.
Evidence – 3 points
How you analyze and use the evidence depends on how far you can go with them. You can score 1 or 2 points through the way you use the evidence from the documents. This corresponds to whether you used at least three or four documents to answer the prompt. To earn 1 point here, you’ll need to specifically describe the evidence you are using, instead of just quoting it or restating what the reviewer can see. Then to earn 2 points, you’ll need to do the same, but also carefully explain the evidence in four documents. The more you can provide a fuller picture using the evidence at hand, the better chance you have of attaining a higher score.
To then score 1 more point, be sure to provide evidence that goes beyond the documents. This means if you use at least one form of evidence, not already in any of the documents provided, to support your argument. Be as detailed as you can when mentioning this piece of evidence because you’re referring to something the reviewers won’t be able to refer to in the documents. The 1 point here will only be granted if the evidence differs from what you provided in the contextualization part, mentioned above. Just remember, don’t repeat any points you’ve already made. Think, what else could I mention that I haven’t done yet?
Analysis and Reasoning – 2 points
This part of the APUSH DBQ rubric is divided into 2 points because the first point will be given if you write about two documents. For each document you choose, you’ll then need to write out exactly how or why it answers the prompt in question. Consider if there is a specific point of view, historical outlook, or intended audience for the documents.
You can get the other point if you show a thorough, complex understanding of the historical development relevant to the prompt. The APUSH DBQ reviewers will be looking for an intelligent, sophisticated answer that shows how well you understand the question. Think of ways to explain multiple points of view, various similarities, or differences that can strongly support your argument. You can also analyze four or all seven documents in your response to the prompt. The ultimate key here is to write with well-informed nuance and acute awareness to help demonstrate your level of understanding.
Keep in mind: It’s important to not just write one or two sentences here, but to create a strongly supported, reasonable argument.
What is the average APUSH score?
Many students think about how many APs they should take and what the average scores for AP exams are, in order to gauge how well they’ll do. Though the average often changes every year, there is most times an even distribution for each subject. Often, as a result, you’ll end up noticing a trend in how students perform when looking at a timespan of several years. Referring to the APUSH score distributions, the average APUSH score was 2.83 in 2020, 2.71 in 2019, 2.66 in 2018, 2.65 in 2017, 2.70 in 2016, 2.64 in 2015. From the data gathered over those six years, the average APUSH score is around 2.70.
How can knowing this help you in your APUSH exam? Instead of viewing this data as a daunting block, it’s another reminder to help inform how exactly you’ll need to approach your exam preparation. By using our APUSH score calculator, you can continue practicing to ensure that you’re on top of it before the big exam day. The more you use our APUSH Score Calculator, you’ll have a stronger grasp on how you’ll fare on the APUSH exam, compared to the average APUSH score.
And in case you’re wondering when to expect the APUSH exam results, this year’s AP scores came out on July 5, 2023. AP scores are usually published in July, but as the exact date can sometimes change, it’s best to always keep yourself updated.
Overall, here are some statistics on how students did for the APUSH score in 2023:
- 11% of students received a 5
- 15% of students received a 4
- 22% of students received a 3
- 23% of students received a 2
- 29% of students received a 1
Knowing all this, it’ll be helpful to be aware of how to realistically prepare for the APUSH exam and interpret the average APUSH score.
How to get a 5 on APUSH
It’s a question that many students ask themselves. How can I get a 5 on APUSH? What can I do to increase my chances of getting a 5? As most of us would love to get that score, the data above shows that it’s evidently harder to achieve. There’s sadly no clear-cut answer as to how you can score a 5, but through constant practice and well-informed preparation, like using our APUSH Score Calculator, it’s still very possible.
It will be incredibly rewarding for you to get a head start. Start practicing how to reason well, form a strong, sophisticated argument with relevant historical evidence, and gather information with differing points of view to support your written answer.
One thing to understand is that achieving a 3, 4, or 5 are all good scores. There are a plethora of colleges and universities that will offer you college credit if you get a 3, 4 or 5, which you can find more about through the AP credit policy .
With a BA from Pitzer College and an MA from University College London, Joanna has worked in London, Berlin, and Los Angeles covering many cultural and political issues with organizations such as Byline Media, NK News, and Free Turkey Media. A freelancer for The New York Times, her work has also appeared in Newsweek, Dazed and Confused Magazine, and The Guardian, among others. In addition, Joanna was the recipient of the 2021 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship in Fiction and is currently completing her first novel.
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