On Thursday, May 17, nine brave students sat down for the three and a half hour AP World History exam. After spending the past nine months preparing for this test, in which they studied the entirety of human history, they were ready. Some of these brave students were ready to take the exam and some were just ready for the exam to be over. I’m sure it was a very long three and half hours because this is not an ordinary test.
First, the students take 55 stimulus based multiple choice questions (MCQs). What’s a stimulus based multiple choice question? I’m glad you asked. There is usually a short primary source excerpt that they students read and then answer three to four questions based on it. The stimulus could also be a map, a painting, or a picture of an ancient artifact. Did I mention that there is a 55 minute time limit for this section? Immediately after the multiple choice questions, the students have 40 minutes to write three short answer questions (SAQs). Each question has three parts and it’s about one page of writing per question.
After a short break, the students come back to write two essays. The first essay is the dreaded document based question (DBQ). Students have 60 minutes to read, understand, and analyze seven primary source documents, and then to write an amazing essay based on the essay prompt. This is no easy task! After this, the students have 40 minutes to answer the long essay question (LEQ). To be able to do this, students need to have a good grasp of world history. That’s nine months for a three and a half hour exam. The results will be announced in July and hopefully everyone will be happy with their result.
Now that the exam is over, the students are working on a project that shows how societies have influenced and been influenced by scientific developments and technological developments. Two of the essential questions the students are trying to answer are:
- Is contemporary human life better or worse off because of modern scientific developments and because of modern technological developments?
- What role do social factors play in the impact of new technologies?
These are some fun issues to explore after a tough year in AP World History.