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AP Us History 2005An Apex Learning Guide
By Kaplan Educational Centers
KaplanCopyright © 2005 Kaplan Educational Centers
All right reserved.
Chapter One: Inside the AP U.S. History Exam
Congratulations! You should be proud of yourself for deciding to take the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam. If you have taken Advanced Placement U.S. History in high school or have a good foundation in American history, taking the AP exam can help you earn college credit and/or placement into advanced coursework. In addition to getting a head start on your college coursework, you can improve your chances of acceptance to competitive schools since colleges know that AP students are better prepared for the demands of college courses.
This book is designed to help you prepare for the AP exam in U.S. History. We've included information about the format of the exam, test-taking strategies, and an extensive review of essential topics. Each chapter includes review questions, which will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you to establish a plan for preparing for the exam. Also included are two practice tests with answers and explanations. With Kaplan's proven test-taken strategies, hundreds of practice questions, and guidelines for writing your essay responses, you will be able to take the exam with confidence.
An Overview of theTest Structure
The Advanced Placement U.S. History exam is designed yearly by the AP Test Development Committee. The exam is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have mastered skills equivalent to those typically found in introductory college U.S. History classes.
The AP United States History Exam is three hours and five minutes long and has two sections: a 55-minute, multiple-choice section and a 130-minute, free-response essay section.
Section I consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. The majority of the questions are on the 19th and 20th centuries. Approximately one-sixth of the questions will deal with the period through 1789, one-half with the period from 1790 to 1914, and one-third with the period from 1915 to the present.
Section II consists of the document-based essay question (DBQ) and two standard essays. Although the multiple-choice section may include a few questions on the period since 1980, none of the free-response questions will deal specifically with this period. Test-takers must answer two standard essay questions; usually they can select two questions from a total of four questions provided.
The free-response section begins with a required 15-minute reading period. Students are encouraged to spend most of the 15 minutes analyzing the documents and outlining their response to the document-based essay question (DBQ). The required DBQ is different from the standard essays because it emphasizes that the student both analyzes and synthesizes historical information. The DBQ will require students to relate documents as well as verbal, quantitative, or pictorial materials to a historical theme or period of time. It is important to remember to incorporate outside knowledge into the writing of the DBQ.
The multiple-choice and free-response sections cover a wide range of topics, including social and economic change, political institutions, behavior, and public policy. In the multiple- choice section these topics account for approximately 35 percent of the questions; social change accounts for another 35 percent. The remaining questions are spread over such topics as diplomacy and international relations, economic developments, and cultural developments. A number of the social and economic history questions deal with such traditional topics as the impact of legislation on social groups and the economy, or pressures created by the political process.
The AP U.S. History exam covers the major topical areas of a standard college level United States history course. The following outline is only to be used as a guide. As the AP exam covers the time period from discovery and the first European explorations to the present day, the student is reminded that questions can come from any time period. The following topical outline does not mention the personalities without whom our nation would not have made the jump from colony to world power.
Topic I: Foundations of U.S. History (1492-1764)
This topic covers the initial explorations of the Americas, the motivation for colonization, the growth of the colonies and the forms of government that were used.
Topic II: Defining Democracy (1764-1848)
This topic covers the period from 1764 (the end of the French and Indian War) to the American Revolution. Students are introduced to the concept of salutary neglect, the Articles of Confederation and the constitutional conventions that produced the U.S. Constitution. The Federalists and Antifederalists marched across the country, moved into Louisiana, and elected Andrew Jackson. By the time he entered the White House, the people of this nation knew what it meant to be Americans.
Topic III: The Civil War Era (1844-1865)
Slavery, ignored during the writing of the Constitution, would rear its ugly head on several occasions before the Civil War. The Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 served only to put off the confrontation. The sectional pressure was relentless, with the West working for equal treatment, the South to maintain its way of life, and the North to continue its expansion.
Topic IV: Reconstruction (1865-1877)
After the Civil War ended at Appomattox Court House, the country had just a few days before John Wilkes Booth fired the fateful bullets into Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Johnson faced a hostile Congress bent on exacting tribute from the South. He would fire a hostile Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, to test a new law passed by Congress requiring Congress to approve the dismissal of members of the president's cabinet. One vote short of the two-thirds majority needed, Johnson finished his term and slipped away. General Grant found running the country more difficult than running an army.
Topic V: Industrialization (1875-1900)
The United States was changing from an agrarian to industrial society. The millions of immigrants, the abundant natural resources, the available investors, and the entrepreneurs all came together to force expansion in all directions. Standing in direct opposition to the unregulated expansion of business were the Progressives. These reformers worked for reforms across society: slums, education, hospitals, meat packing plants, and working conditions.
Topic VI: Expansion and World War I (1895-1919)
Countries around the world were flexing their imperialistic muscles. European countries took control of the African continent. Theodore Roosevelt issued the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The Spanish-American-Cuban War, fought against a reluctant opponent, took four months. The Panama Canal began to become a reality. World War I shook the foundations of the monarchial structures in Europe. The United States entered the fray and provided the men and means for an Allied victory. The Treaty of Versailles would spawn a second war and push an American president to a breakdown.
Topic VII: Roaring Twenties and Economic Decline (1920-1939)
The isolationists wanted to turn their backs on Europe, "making the world safe for democracy" (Wilson's pledge). This was not glamorous; the trenches were always wet and the weapons of war were deadly. The newest weapon was the airplane. The scandals of the Harding presidency yielded to the Coolidge administration and the phenomenal growth of big business, often at the expense of the workers. When the economy began to slide, Herbert Hoover maintained that government should not interfere, and when it did, it was too little too late. Franklin Roosevelt was elected on the promise to put people to work. Congress passed more legislation in the first one hundred days of the Roosevelt administration than had ever been passed before.
Topic VIII: World War II and its Aftermath (1930-1950)
Appeasement in Europe did not stop Hitler and the Nazis from taking over the continent in a series of quick strikes; only Great Britain stood in the way. Roosevelt and Churchill, negotiating the Atlantic Charter, pledged to work towards peace. Creative funding of the war effort kept the Americans out of the war until the Japanese changed the perspective by bombing Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Two days later the United States was fighting a war on two fronts. The watershed year was 1945. Franklin Roosevelt died in his sleep and Harry Truman was president, the wars were over, two atomic bombs had been exploded, and the Soviets had not de-mobilized in Europe. In 1949 the North Koreans invaded and the United States was again involved in an armed conflict. The policy of containment was implemented.
Topic IX: The Modern Age (1950-2003)
President Eisenhower negotiated the end of the Korean conflict; Eisenhower was president during the decade when Americans were more interested in home and hearth than in continuing to be players on the world stage. Although there was the move to ignore world events, the United States' status as the only legitimate challenge to the Soviet Union made that impossible. Several times the two superpowers stood face-to-face (Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis) and several times they stepped back. It would take visionary leader Mikhail Gorbachev to step forward and negotiate with the American Ronald Reagan. As a result, the Berlin Wall was torn down, the Soviet Union's satellite states became independent, and the world watched the leading Communist country remake itself into a capitalistic state.
Currently, the world watches as the United States and 28 other nations declare war on terrorism after the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City. Whether or not the United States likes the role, it is the only world superpower today. With that designation comes both glory and criticism.
You might be tempted to skip some sections from your AP course, such as civil rights or public policy. Perhaps you're short on time, or you assume you won't be tested on these topics. This is a mistake! All course topics are covered in the multiple-choice portion of the test. If you lack substantive knowledge about certain topics covered in the course, your score will suffer.
How the exam is scored
The AP exam is graded on a scale of 1-5.
5: Extremely well qualified
4: Well qualified
2: Possibly qualified
1: No recommendation
The score distribution among test takers on a recent test was as follows:
Each college and university sets its own policy regarding granting of college credit based on an AP grade; some colleges require a 5 while others may only require a grade of 3. Check with the colleges you are applying to in order to find out their policies regarding granting of credit based on the AP test.
To arrive at an AP grade of 1-5, raw scores on both the multiple-choice section and the free- response section are first computed. The two scores are combined to provide a composite score between 0 and 170 points. Your composite score is not reported to you or to institutions; you will only receive your score on a 1-5 scale so you will not know how many questions you missed or how you did on the essays.
Scoring the Multiple-Choice Section
The multiple-choice section generally accounts for one half of the total test score. It is graded by computer. The level of difficulty is deliberately set so that the student has to answer about 60 percent of the questions correctly to receive a grade of 3 (if the essay questions are not factored into the score).
Random guessing on the multiple-choice questions is unlikely to improve your score because one-fourth of a point is subtracted from your score for each incorrect answer, while no points are subtracted for a blank answer. However, it would be to your advantage to answer a question if you can eliminate one or more of the answer choices.
Scoring the Free-Response Section
The free-response section of the AP U.S. History exam is scored by college professors and AP teachers known as "faculty consultants." During the annual AP Reading, which takes place during the two weeks in June, hundreds of faculty consultants converge at a location to grade the essays of the thousands of students that take the AP U.S. History test. A different faculty consultant reads each of the students three essays and grades the essay based on detailed scoring standards for that question. Each free-response question is scored on a scale of 0-9, with 9 standing for excellent.
As you know, the free-response section of the tests consists of a DBQ and two standard essay questions. The free-response section (Section II) of the test accounts for about half of your AP U.S. History raw score. Within that section, the DBQ is the most important question since it is weighted to account for about half of the points possible on Section II. Each of the other two essay questions accounts for about a quarter of the points possible. The precise scoring formula varies slightly for each test; on a recent exam; for example, the DBQ accounted for 24 percent of the raw score, the two standard essay questions together accounted for 29 percent, and the multiple-choice section accounted for 47 percent.
The practice tests in this book are followed by formulas that will allow you to compute your estimated AP score. However, remember that it is impossible to provide a completely accurate score on the practice tests largely because it is difficult for you to grade your own essay questions.
Registration and Fees
To register for the exam, contact your school guidance counselor or AP Coordinator. If your school does not administer the exam, contact AP Services for a listing of schools in your area that do.
The fee for each AP Exam is $82. The College Board offers a $22 credit to qualified students with acute financial need. A portion of the exam fee may be refunded if a student does not take the test. There may be a late fee for late exam orders. Check with AP Services for applicable deadlines.
You should bring the following items to the test center on test day:
Your secondary school code number (see your Guidance Counselor or AP Coordinator)
Your social security number
Several sharpened No. 2 pencils
A watch, in case your exam room doesn't have a clock you can see easily
Here are items you should NOT bring:
Scratch paper (you will make your notes in the test booklet)
Books, dictionaries, notes, or correction fluid
Beepers or cell phones, or anything that has a beeper function
Food or drink
For more information on the AP Program and the U.S. History Exam, please contact AP Services at:
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Toll-free: (888) CALL-4-AP (888-225-5427)
Fax: (609) 530-0482
TTY: (609) 882-4118
Copyright © 2005 by Apex Learning Inc.
Excerpted from AP Us History 2005 by Kaplan Educational Centers Copyright © 2005 by Kaplan Educational Centers. Excerpted by permission.
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