Study Tips


1.      Physical Preparation:  Eat a healthy dinner the evening before the exam.   Get a good night’s sleep, and eat a good breakfast.  Wear comfortable clothes.   Bring a bottle of water and a small snack, if your school permits.  Wear comfortable clothes.   Bring several pens and no. 2 pencils with erasers for the exam.


2.      Section One of the exam is 105 minutes long.  Section One, Part A has 55 multiple-choice questions (40% of the exam score).  Your score on the multiple-choice section is based solely on the number of questions you answer correctly.  Points are not deducted for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.  Therefore, all questions should be answered, and "guessing" will not lower your score.  Allot your time so that you have the opportunity to read and answer all multiple-choice questions, and indicate one answer for each question.   You should allot 55 minutes to answer these 55 questions: on average, one minute for each question.

3.      When answering the multiple-choice questions, eliminate as many options as possible right away, to narrow your choices.  As you read the question, be aware of certain key words, such as EXCEPT, NOT, ALWAYS, NEVER, LEAST, MOST that could affect your choice of the "best" answer for the question.

4.      Section One, Part B has four short-answer questions (20% of the exam score). You will write your responses in the boxes on the free-response answer sheet.  You should allot 50 minutes to complete this section.  All responses must be written in complete sentences, in pen with black or dark blue ink, and in clear and legible handwriting  Read the questions carefully, and answer each question as directed.  Remember to answer all parts of each selected question as directed.


5.      Section Two of the exam is 1 hour, 30 minutes long. It features two essays.  The first essay is one mandatory Document-Based Question ("DBQ") (25% of the exam score) with a recommended time of 55 minutes. Spend approximately 15 minutes reading the question and the documents as well as planning and outlining your response and 40 minutes writing.  To plan and write your persuasive essay for the Document-Based Question ("DBQ"):

(a)    Pay special attention to the verbs (evaluate, compare, contrast, assess, etc.) and the interrogatives (How?  Why?  To what extent? etc.) in the question. These words determine the style and type of written response required for this persuasive essay. 

(b)   Most often, the "DBQ" question can be re-written as an opening topic sentence for your essay.  In this essay you should present and develop a thesis statement or viewpoint that addresses all aspects or parts of the question and is explained and supported with evidence from a number of documents.

(c)    Use "S.O.A.P" (Source, Occasion, Audience, Purpose) to help you interpret the document and understand its meaning.  Who is the author(s), artist(s), source, etc. of the document?  What is the occasion or setting of the document?  Who was the intended audience?  Why was this document written or created? 

(d)   Underline important phrases and/or sentences that highlight "supportive" or "refutative" evidence as they relate to your thesis statement or viewpoint. 

(e)    Use the supportive evidence and examples from the documents as well as your own historical knowledge to support your thesis statement and conclusions.  Present in each paragraph a main point related to your thesis statement. Then develop the main idea with factual evidence.

(f)    Convey an awareness of the complexity of history by referring to different viewpoints and conflicting evidence from the documents on this topic.

(g)   Your concluding paragraph should re-state and highlight your thesis statement or viewpoint with a brief summary of supportive evidence. 

6.      Section Two, 2nd Essay:  You will choose one of the two essay questions provided for your second essay (15% of the exam score). with the recommended time of 35 minutes for its completion.  Your persuasive essay response should demonstrate your historical knowledge on the topic of the question, present a well-written thesis statement or viewpoint that addresses all parts of the question, and be supported with historical evidence and examples.  Once again, please pay special attention to the verbs (evaluate, compare, contrast, assess, etc.) and the interrogatives (How?  Why?  To what extent? etc.) in the question.  Each paragraph of your persuasive essay should present a main point related to your thesis statement. You should then support the main point with factual evidence.