3 essays in two hours. Crazy, right? Here are some tips to help you for each essay.
DBQ: 40 minutes + 10 minutes for reading documents
- Use and analyze all the documents given in your essay.
- Don’t simply quote/paraphrase a document- analyze. Explain how the document’s meaning supports your thesis.
- Analyze point of view in 2+ documents. Determine how who the person is affects what is in the document.
- You need one additional document, but it’s safe to write two in case one is not written properly.
- Try to bring in some relevant historical evidence if at all possible.
CCOT: 40 minutes
- I use a timeline to plan out this essay. That way, you stay in the time period given in the prompt. I put changes on top (marking dates if I can remember them) and continuities below.
- Analyze global context/historical context. Bring in information from other regions outside the prompt.
- Analyze reasons for continuity/change. You’ll get credit for saying what changed or stayed the same, but do your best to explain why those changes/continuities occurred.
Comparative: 40 minutes
- Make sure you pick the right regions and time frame from the prompt.
- Make clear, direct comparisons between regions. (exm. “Slave labor was widely used in Rome, while in Han China, agricultural labor relied on peasants.)
- Analyze reasons for similarities/differences. Again, it’s nice to list the similarities/differences, but it’s better to explain why those occurred.
Other tips and tricks
- You’re going to have to know information for the CCOT and Comparative essays from the top of your head. Review your textbook, notes, study books (5 Steps to a 5, Strive for a 5, Cracking the AP World History Exam) or watch Crash Course (x).
- PLAN PLAN PLAN. Even if you don’t feel like you have enough time, try and plan out your essay and organize your thoughts. That way, writing will be easier because you know exactly what to write.
- Don’t dawdle. It seems simple, but try to stay focused.
- The recommended times (for total work on an essay and planning times) are actually accurate and good guidelines. Try not to spend more than 5 minutes planning and 35 minutes writing.
- Get a good night’s rest- i.e., don’t cram all night. That’s no good. Also, eat a nice breakfast. (I think we’ve all done enough standardized testing to know this.)
- Don’t panic. You know a lot of stuff- you’ve been learning all year! Just calm down, breathe, and show the AP readers that you know what you’re talking about.
- Throughout the exam, you may not know everything. This isn’t a memorization test- make comparisons and inferences from things you know. You may not know much about the Gupta empire, but you probably know it’s in India- which was primarily Hindu. And you know a lot about Hinduism.
The best of luck to you all tomorrow morning!