Tips for Taking the AP World History Exam
The Multiple-Choice Question
The first part of the Advanced Placement World History examination is a section of 70 multiple-choice questions. You will have 55 minutes to complete the multiple-choice section.
Each multiple-choice question has five distracters, or answer choices. A few of the questions are based on the knowledge of facts. The question below is an example of a fact-based question.
Which peninsula has been the scene of ethnic cleansing?
The correct answer is Balkan (B).
Most questions, however, require you to analyze the material you have covered in the course. Many of the questions require you to compare among societies, events, or processes, or to indicate how they have changed over a period of time. A few of the questions require you to interpret a photograph, political cartoon, map, chart, or graph. The following question is an example of one that compares between two colonial societies during the new imperialism.
Compared to most African colonies, the British colony in India
- was allowed more practice in self-government.
- was a model of technology transfer.
- did not receive the benefits of improved transportation.
- did not rebel against its European imperialist power.
- was a settler colony.
Answer (A) is correct; the British allowed Indians to engage in some local rule. Answer (B) is incorrect; neither African colonies nor India were recipients of much technology transfer. Answer (C) is incorrect because both benefited from the transportation systems initially established for the colonizing nations. Answer (D) is incorrect; the Sepoy Rebellion was a revolt against British rule in India. Answer (E) is incorrect because India was not a settler colony.
The following are some frequently asked questions concerning the multiple-choice section.
- If I don't know an answer, should I guess or leave the question unanswered? There is no guessing penalty on the multiple-choice section. If you do not know an answer, you should select the answer choice that you think is correct. Unanswered questions will be scored as incorrect answers.
- What strategy should I use to narrow the possible answer choices? Of the five distracters found in each question, one is often obviously incorrect. In addition to the correct choice, there is often another answer which is almost correct. Another possibility is that two of the distracters are correct, but one is a better answer than the other. The best advice is to read the question very carefully to determine exactly what the question is asking, then eliminate the weaker answers until you arrive at the best answer.
- Will I be required to know a lot of dates and people to answer the multiple-choice questions? Some knowledge of specific dates and people will be necessary to answer the multiple-choice questions. For the most part, however, the multiple-choice questions on the Advanced Placement World History examination ask you to compare societies, issues, or trends within one or more of the Advanced Placement World History time periods or to analyze how societies, issues, or trends have changed and remained the same over one or more time periods.
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