Jamie Goodwin

How to Prepare for the APUSH FRQ Section

APUSH FRQ-magoosh

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The APUSH FRQ section provides two free-response questions you need to answer in the allotted time. The questions could address just about anything you learned during the course of AP U.S. History. So, what can you do to prepare for this section? Try these 4 tips to help you face the APUSH FRQ section on the exam.

1. Read and Study

You don’t know what you’ll be asked on the exam. Therefore, the best ways to prepare to answer the questions are to listen in class, do your reading, and study. As you pay attention to the APUSH material, you’ll have the information you need.

To strengthen your essay, you need to remember people, events, dates, and facts. Use flashcards and other methods to memorize these, so you can provide detailed evidence to support your thesis.

2. Write Solid Theses

Those scoring APUSH FRQ essays will start by reading your thesis. Is it clear and easy to understand? Is it well developed? Does it answer every part of the question? Does it outline your supporting details so the reader knows what to expect? Your thesis needs to do more than reiterate the question. Practice developing a strong thesis, so you can be better prepared to attack these questions on the exam.

3. Work on Your Pacing

You have five minutes to plan your essay. During this time, you should read the question, make notes, and write an outline. Then, use the 30 minutes for writing each essay. During this time, you need to craft a strong essay with well-developed supporting details. Practice writing essays, so you can write the essay in the given time.

If you run out of time, skip the conclusion and take the last minute or two to read through the essay and check your spelling and grammar.

4. Practice Proofreading

Although your ideas are more important, good writing can bump an essay from a 7 to an 8 or 9. So, if you want one of the top scores, you need to practice good writing techniques. Most students attack the APUSH FRQ essays with the 5-paragraph format. Of course, your essay doesn’t have to rigidly follow this format. Just make sure that you have good organization and few (if any) spelling and grammar errors.

The best way to prepare for the APUSH free-response questions is to practice. Practice makes perfect, right? As you complete practice essays, work to recall information from class, write a solid thesis, pace yourself, and proofread. Then, have an APUSH classmate or teacher check it for you. Get feedback, so you can improve and get top scores on exam day!

About Jamie Goodwin

Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!


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