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Quick guide to the 2020 AP US History exam

What's different in the 2020 AP US History test? Kim walks you through what to expect with the new exam format and scoring. If you or a student you know needs help getting access to the technology they need to complete the online test, fill out the College Board's form here: https://collegeboard.tfaforms.net/74 If you'd like to check out the College Board's updated scoring rubric for the 2020 DBQ, you can find it here: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-history-rubric-2020-dbq.pdf. Created by Kimberly Kutz.

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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user Divyanshu Singh
    what do you need to get out of 10 on the DBQ to get a 4 or 5 on the test?
    (21 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Gloaming_Hour
    I have a question: Miss Kutz says that you are awarded one evidence point for accurately describing the content of 2/5 sources—that means not just quoting from them but demonstrating your understanding of its purpose/what’s going on. Then she says we get 2 analysis points (1 point for each document) explaining the point of view, purpose, situation, or audience of 2 documents. My question is, what's the difference between the two? Any help would be greatly appreciated, especially before the exam on May 15th : )
    (3 votes)
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  • leaf orange style avatar for user matthew.molan
    I know it is kinda the day of the test but, I was wondering if you had any tips to help me write when I m crunched on time. Also I just am like really bad at writing, any tips could really help
    (2 votes)
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  • male robot donald style avatar for user Progressive Parth
    will there be multiple sections in the test?
    (1 vote)
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  • leaf blue style avatar for user Ken
    Would the test just be 1 DBQ? Or will there be multiple sections?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user gloria
    what are the basic for writing a Thesis?
    (1 vote)
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  • duskpin seedling style avatar for user Leo Zhang
    WOuld it be the same for next year? I will be taking AP US History next year (if I am not mistaken), and so I want to have as much preparation and details as possible before I even start the course. I know sometimes the format or the rubrics changes each year, so is there anything that is unlikely to change that I could remember to help me?
    (0 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Kim] Hey historians. Kim from Khan Academy here with a quick guide to the 2020 AP U.S. History exam. I'm gonna go over the details about the new exam format and how the scoring system has changed. Okay, here's what you need to know. First, the exam is taking place on Friday, May 15th, 2020. The time depends on where you live. So, you'll get all the information you need on when and how to sign in from the College Board if you've registered for the exam. The overall scoring system for the exam hasn't changed. You'll still receive a score between one and five, and it's still up to colleges to decide how many credits they'll award you based on that score. The College Board says they're confident that most colleges will accept this year's AP scores just as they would for any other year. You'll have 45 minutes to take the exam plus five minutes for uploading at the end of that period. You can type the exam if you've got access to a computer, or you can write it out longhand on paper and take pictures of your essay if you wanna upload it through your smartphone. If you need help accessing technology so you can take and submit the exam, reach out to the College Board as soon as you can. I'll put a link to the forum in the description. So now let's talk about the format of the exam. It's a little different. The whole exam is just going to be one document-based question, DBQ. So there won't be any multiple choice or short answer questions or a long essay. The good news is that this year there will be fewer documents than your standard DBQ. Five documents instead of seven. And one of those will be something other than a text-based source. So, a political cartoon, a photograph, map, something like that. And, the exam will also cover fewer periods of U.S. history. Just Periods 3 through 7. So that goes from 1754, or the start of the Seven Years' War, through 1945, the end of World War II. The exam is going to be open book. So you can have any books or notes you want with you. But you can't copy and paste from sources or collaborate with other students. So, don't text your friends the minute you get the prompt. The College Board has said they're gonna crack down very hard on cheating, and they'll use plagiarism software to detect similar essays. All right, now let's talk about how this DBQ will be scored. It's a little different from previous DBQs, since there are fewer documents and less time overall. You'll be able to earn up to 10 points instead of seven. So let's go through the points you can earn one by one. First, there are the thesis and contextualization points. These are the same as they have been in past exams. You get one point for including a historically defensible claim that gives a line of reasoning in either the introduction or the conclusion. This means you've gotta answer the question prompt with an argument that's factual, and you need to say why you think it's true. Contextualization gives a broader sense of what was happening in the time period in a way that's relevant to your thesis. So, if the question is about industrialization in the Gilded Age, you wanna explain the context of the expansion of factory work and urbanization, not something about the impact of the Dawes Act on indigenous people in the West. Just because something's happening at the same time doesn't mean that it's relevant context for the argument you're making. Okay, now let's talk about the evidence points. This is the area where there are the most differences from the usual DBQ scoring. Here's how you can earn the points. You get one point for describing the content of two of the five documents accurately. That means not just quoting from them, but showing your understanding of what's happening in the document. And you can earn another point for using those two documents to support your argument, tying them back directly to your thesis. And you can earn another point by going above and beyond by accurately describing four documents and using those to support your argument too. Then there's evidence beyond the documents. You can earn up to two more points by bringing in one or two more pieces of evidence to support your thesis, drawing on your own knowledge of the material. Now, it's not just mentioning some other piece of evidence, you have to show that you know what you're talking about when you use it. So you can't just say, "Another example of reform was "the Temperance Movement." You need to say something like, "The Temperance Movement was another reform movement "that encouraged Americans to make a voluntary change "for the better by abstaining from alcohol." The analysis and reasoning points are also slightly different this year. So, instead of requiring you to provide a source analysis for three of the seven documents, the College Board is being considerably more lenient, and awarding one point for explaining the relevance of the point of view, purpose, situation or audience of one of the provided documents. And another point for doing so for a second document. Remember that your source analysis needs to go deeper than just a surface mention. Don't just say, "The Emancipation Proclamation was written in "the context of the Civil War." But something like, "Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation after "the U.S. Army won the Battle of Antietam, "hoping that the victory and the new commitment "to ending slavery would prevent European powers "from allying with the Confederacy." So make sure that you explain why the extra information you provide about the source connects back up to your thesis. The last point is for demonstrating a complex understanding of the topic. This is the same as in the old rubric. So you get a point for corroborating, qualifying or modifying your argument. In other words, you show that you understand that history isn't neat and tidy. There are exceptions, ways that historical actors or movements fell short of their goals or ideals, or other sides to consider when making a statement about the past. Now, I know all of this has a lot to take in. I'm gonna provide a link to the new rubric in the description so you can check it out for yourself. But in essence, it's just a shorter form of the DBQ. So don't sweat the details. You've got this.