Essay writing is over half of the APUSH test. You cannot pass the exam without passing the writing portions. Below is a description of each writing and portion, and some tips! In my class you will be practicing essay writing. You will be writing an essay every two weeks plus write a short answer every week! You must practice, practice, practice! I do not want you to be surprised on test day! The most important thing when writing an APUSH essay is answer the prompt! Many in the APUSH world say AP does not stand for Advanced Placement, but Answer the Prompt! That is so important I put it on my wall by the thinking skills!
I will go in order of what you will see on the Exam. First is the Multiple Choice section then Short Answer (part B). Remember College Board knows your phone and computer can tell you any answer! So they want you to be a historian! That is why there is a large emphasis on writing, and they have added this part - Short Answers.
You will have 4 questions to answer with 3 parts. You must answer ALL parts. You do not have to develop a thesis. You may write in bullet points, but in complete sentences. You will also have limited space. You will have 23 lines, and 45 minutes. Again each question may or may not come with a stimuli (chart, image, or graph). Here is an example of a short answer:
Answer a,b, and c:
a. Briefly explain ONE example of how contact between Native Americans and Europeans brought changes to Native American societies in the period 1492 to 1700.
Section 2 - Part A is the Document Based Question or D.B.Q
Now you really have to use AP - Answer the Prompt, and have a good thesis! Having a good thesis is everything! Your thesis tells the reader where you are going! For your thesis you must use the exact words from the prompt! There is no reason to think of new words for the American Civil War. Use those words, but it is not restating the prompt because the other part of thesis writing is answer the question. The essay prompt will ask a question, and you must answer it, and include your groupings.
A fun activity to do in class is divide the class into groups. Give each group a bag of random candy, and tell them to put the candy into 3 groups. The obvious groups are decided. List all the groups on the board, Then tell the groups to come up with new groupings, but you cannot use any of the groups listed on the board. That is when groups become very creative! This is what you must do for your essay! Look at all the information, and come up with at least 2 groupings. Try to be generic so you can be more detailed in your essay. If this seems overwhelming - don't worry we'll practice in class!
When writing your D.B.Q. brainstorm first! See what you know about the topic before you read the documents. Most students like the D.B.Q most of all because College Board gives you enough information in the documents to answer the prompt. But they know that - so with the D.B.Q the College Board will be looking at Outside Information. That is why it is smart to brainstorm first!
The D.B.Q will have one of the following Historical Thinking Skills as their focus causation, continuity and change over time, comparison, interpretation, and periodization. You will have 55 minutes to write your D.B.Q. Many say you should plan for 15 minutes and write for 40 minutes.
The rubrics are core rubrics! There is very specific things they are looking for! Here is the rubric. If you have these things - they have to give you the points! Max points 7 points. I am going to tell you the highest points possible because that is what you should be shooting for. You will also be getting a copy of these rubrics!
1. Thesis - 1 point
2. Analysis of historical evidence and the support of arguments - 4 points
a. Analysis of ALL the documents and relate back to your thesis and discuss one of the following for ALL documents:
1. Intended Audience
2. Author's Point of View
4. Historical Context
We will do these four things every time we analyze documents!
b. Include Outside Information Analysis - 1 point
3. Contextualization - 1 point
4. Synthesis - 1 point
a. Conclusion - restate your thesis
This is a GREAT video!
Section 2 Part B: Long Essay
When you see your prompt, and the great thing about the Long Essay is you WILL have choice! You will choose between 2 prompts. One will be early American History, and the other will be later American History. When you choose your prompt you need to read it 3 TIMES! Why 3? That way you answer the whole prompt! An APUSH essay prompt will most likely be very detailed and complex! You need to Answer the Whole Prompt!
Do everything we discussed in the D.B.Q - write a Thesis Statement, Brainstorm, and Groupings. When we write a long essay in class it will be great to brainstorm because it will be a great review! The Long Essay Rubric will really depend on what Historical Skill you are using! You must know them! Max Points - 6 points. Here is the Long Essay Rubric:
1. Thesis - 1 point
2. Support for the argument/thesis - 2 points
a. Must use adequate amount of historical evidence
3. Application of targeted historical thinking skills - 2 points
a. Continuity and Change Over Time - Must do BOTH and have analysis
This is a great video showing change over time!
b. Comparison - MUST show similarity and difference and have analysis
c. Causation - Shows BOTH Cause and Effect and Analysis
d. Periodization - Show how it was similar and different before and after the period stated and analysis
4. Synthesis - 1 Point
a. Again your Conclusion with a restated thesis
With all the essays there is NO DOUBLE DIPPING!