FRQ 101

FRQ 101
What is an FRQ?
 FRQ stands for Free Response Question
 You will be asked to write 2 separate FRQs on the AP
exam in May
The AP Exam – Free Response Section
 Time Limit: 130 minutes
 Percent of Total Exam Score: 50%
 PART A: 1 DBQ (Document Based Question)
 Suggested Time: 15 minutes reading & 45 minutes writing
 Counts for 22.5% of total score
 We’ll talk more about this essay at a later date
 PART B: 2 FRQs (Free Response Question)
 Suggested Time: 5 minutes reading & 30 minutes writing each
 Each essay counts as 13.75% of total score
 Standard essays chosen from two groups of questions each
containing two choices (four questions)
Format of FRQs
 The FRQ is your standard essay
 Typically, many students use the 5 paragraph essay
 However, do not feel confined to that! You may write as
many or as few paragraphs as you need to fully answer
the prompt
 You will need to write a strong thesis statement in your
intro paragraph
 Though a conclusion is the cherry-on-top, it is not
necessary as long as you have proven your thesis
throughout your essay
I only say this because some students spend so much time writing
the bulk of their essay & don’t get to the conclusion.
If you run out of time, do not worry about not finishing – worry more
about fully answering the question throughout the body of your essay
History Essay Writing Tips
Always think of your reader
Use black ink only
Do not use contractions
Write in the 3rd person
First person = I, we, our, us, me, mine, my
Second person = you, your
Write in the past tense
You may mark out mistakes. BUT…
Do not try to be cute
Use correct historical terms
i.e. “normalcy” is not a standard English word, but it is a historical term
 Facts are names, dates, people, events, places, things
Terms Often Used in AP Essay Questions
 Assess the validity of…
 To estimate, to appraise the value of
 Analyze the…
 Separate into parts or principles and examine each part
 Compare and/or…
 How much alike
 Contrast the…
 How much different
 Criticize the…
 Make judgments as to merit and faults
 Degree to which…
 One step or stage in a progression
 Define the…
 Say what something is; give its meaning
Terms Often Used in AP Essay Questions
 Discuss the…
Talk about; write about; consider or examine
 Describe the…
What does it look like; create a mental picture
 Extent: To what extent…
The range over which something goes; how far
 Evaluate the…
Ascertain or fix the worth of
 Explain the…
To make plain, comprehensible, make clear by detail
 Illustrate…
Explain or make clear by using examples
Terms Often Used in AP Essay Questions
 Justify…
 Use evidence to prove something is right, wrong, or just
 Prove…
 Establish the truth of something by providing factual evidence
 Reasons for…
 The motives for actions or inaction
 Relative importance of…
 Having pertinence; connected to
 Valid or validity…
 How sound, how well-grounded, how good is the stated
General Scoring Guideline for APUSH
 The 8-9 Essay
Contains a clear, well-developed thesis that addresses all parts of the
Provide substantial relevant information in support of the thesis
Provides effective analysis addressing all parts of the question
May contain minor errors
Is well organized and well written
 The 5-7 Essay
Contains a thesis that may be partially developed and addresses most
parts of the question
Supports the thesis with some relevant information
Provides some analysis of most parts of the question
May contain errors that do not seriously detract from the essay
Has acceptable organization and writing
General Scoring Guideline for APUSH
 The 2-4 Essay
Contains a thesis that may be underdeveloped or poorly developed
Includes minimal information relevant to the question
Provides little or no analysis, or contains on generalizations
May contain major errors
May be poorly organized and/or poorly written
 The 0-1 Essay
Lacks a thesis or restates the question
Has little or no relevant information regarding the question
Has little or no understanding of the question
May contain numerous errors
Is poorly organized and/or poorly written
 The – Essay
Is blank or completely off task
Before You Begin to Write:
Carefully read the question to make sure you
understand what it is asking you to do.
Pay careful attention to the TASK WORDS in the question
Look closely at the CHRONOLOGY (time periods) of the question
Many students write great essays that unfortunately don’t answer
the question that was asked! You must discuss those time periods,
locations, and topics that apply to the question and only those!
Take a few minutes to review what you already know
about the question and develop a thesis statement
3. Write a brief outline of your essay before you begin to
The Introduction
 This is where you make your first impression on the
reader. Therefore, it is important that you have a strong
introduction that defines your thesis and your argument.
 Your essay should be clearly organized around a thesis
The thesis should clearly respond to the question, without directly
repeating it
Should represent your own original interpretation or analysis of the
Should make a clear argument
Does not need to be the first sentence of your introduction and, in
fact, provides better essay organization if it is the last sentence in
your introduction.
The Introduction
 Define important terms (i.e. humanism, secular,
absolutism) to demonstrate that you understand the
question and the essay topics.
 Provide a concise statement (no more than 1 sentence)
that places the essay topic in its historical context
 Clearly identify the supporting arguments that you will
use in your essay. Again, make sure you are responding
to all parts of the question
 After reading your introduction, your reader should
know exactly what your argument is (your thesis) and
how you are going to prove it (your supporting
arguments) – sometimes called a “preview”
Other Tips
 Be sure to write with “voice” in your essay.
 In other words, pretend that you have some authority on the subject.
Make sure to take a stand in your answer and not be wishy-washy.
 Be sure that your essay includes historical facts to prove your
However, “data dumping” will not gain you any extra points and can
result in a lowering of your score. It also runs the risk of you including
incorrect data which would hurt your overall score.
 Avoid broad survey questions.
 They appear easy because you know a lot of information about them.
However, they are often the most challenging because of the breadth
required to answer them effectively. Writing a provable thesis can pose
real problems for these types of questions
 Content is critical, but so is your presentation
 Be attentive to grammar, syntax, spelling, penmanship, etc. A wellwritten essay is much easier to understand than a poorly written essay
 Write down the prompt on a clean sheet of paper.
 2005 FRQ:
 Compare and contrast the ways in which economic
development affected politics in Massachusetts and Virginia
in the period from 1607 to 1750.
 Your essay will be due FRIDAY SEPT. 21st