The free response essay section of the AP United States history examination has had four significant transitions in the last thirty years: 1964, 1965, 1973, 1976 (Figure 1). (It will change again in 1994 with students answering two essays in addition to the DBQ.) Most of the modifications occurred with the introduction of the Document-Based Question (DBQ) and the expansion of the multiple-choice section of the exam from 25 percent of the test to 50 percent of the test.
Begin your outline by writing out your thesis. A thesis is generally one to three sentences, which summarizes your argument as succinctly as possible. Generally, you should start your free response essay with an introduction, which ends with your thesis clearly stated, and end your essay with a conclusion, which reiterates your thesis. We cannot stress this enough: having a well-defined thesis is critical to your success on the essay. For example, in the 2012 AP exam essay scoring rubric, quality of thesis was mentioned as the first criteria for each and every scoring section!
Writing the Free Response Essay - Brightstorm
Transformation of the Essay Portion of the Test
The AP United States history program has not only grown dramatically over the years, it has also changed considerably. No part of the test has undergone more dramatic transformation than the essay portion. From the mid-1950s through 1982, the essay section had 75 percent of the examination's value. In recent years, the essays and the multiple-choice section have had equal value. Until 1973, students answered three free response essays. That year, however, the committee of examiners introduced the Document-Based Questions, and students were required to answer the DBQ along with one or two free-response questions on the essay section of the exam (Henry 1986).