Summary of Free Response Questions Essay Sample

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In the free-response section of the AP World History Exam, all students are asked to answer three constructed-response (essay) questions:

Part A — An essay that requires comparison and analysis of up to ten “documents” which can include texts, pictures, graphs, maps, etc.—DOCUMENT BASED QUESTION (DBQ)

Part B — An essay question that deals specifically with continuity and change over time (covering at least one of the periods in the concept outline) and that is focused on large global issues such as technology, trade, culture, migrations, and environmental developments—CHANGE-OVER-TIME ESSAY

Part C — An essay that analyzes similarities and differences in at least two societies—COMPARATIVE ESSAY.

Example of Part A “Document Based Question”

Using the following documents, analyze similarities and differences in the mechanization of the cotton industry in Japan and India in the period from the 1880s to the 1930s. Identify an additional type of document and explain how it would help your analysis of the mechanization of the cotton industry. (Followed by 10 various documents including original sources, photographs, tables of information, quotations, etc.)

Example of Part B “Change-over-time essay”

Analyze continuities and changes in cultural beliefs and practices in ONE of the following regions from 1450 to the present. • Sub-Saharan Africa
• Latin America/Caribbean

Example of Part C “Comparative essay”

Analyze similarities and differences in techniques of imperial administration in TWO of the following empires. • Han China (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.)
• Mauryan/Gupta India (320 B.C.E.–550 C.E.)
• Imperial Rome (31 B.C.E.–476 C.E.)


Emma Taylor


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