⏱️ 5 min read
October 28, 2020
The writing portion of AP exams is definitely the most daunting, but do not fear! Fiveable is here to give you all the tips and tricks to the AP HuG FRQs, so you can ACE the exam come May!
The free-response portion of the APHuG exam consists of 3 questions, which you will have an hour and 15 minutes to complete. Starting this year (the 2020 exam), the free-response section will have a new format than earlier exams:
We also already know the format of your FRQs 🎉:
FRQ 1: No stimulus
FRQ 2: 1 stimulus
FRQ 3: 2 stimuli
Expect comparing and contrasting on this FRQ👍
Before we even get into strategies to tackle the FRQ, the best way you can prepare for this section of the exam is with practice! Practice makes permanent (not perfect), so you must refine your skills to get to a 5️⃣ Practice your 🔥 FRQ writing with these past prompts:
FRQs are no easy task, but with practice and a little strategy, you will have no problem breezing through them! Before we look at examples, let’s go through the steps when writing your responses:
This may seem obvious, but it is an extremely important aspect of writing your FRQ. You must understand what the questions are asking. It also doesn’t hurt to underline keywords that connect to an overarching theme, as this will help you answer the questions that follow.
A critical piece in the development of your response is where you note the key points in your response. Annotating any stimulus given and briefly planning out your response may take a small chunk of your allotted time, but I guarantee that it will make your response more coherent
It’s time to compile the information you gained from the prompt and the notes you jotted down to form your response.
First label your response to give the grader a clear understanding of which part of the question you are answering (for example, if you are answering Part A of FRQ 1, you should put “1A.” next to your response).
Just like any formal response, you should always begin with a topic sentence so that the grader knows what they will be reading, and then tie the rest of your response into that topic sentence.
If the question is only asking for a definition, it’s not entirely necessary to have more than one to two sentences, but for broader questions that could have various responses, it’s important to provide specific examples to earn full points.
That being said, AP HuG FRQs are not meant to be crazy long and can usually be answered in one paragraph or less.
Also, remember that it’s quality over quantity. With limited time, you need to spend it wisely, so don’t fill it with vague information, unsupported claims, or unrelated words.
And finally, AP Human Geography free-response questions will never ask for your opinion, so refrain from using anything other than pure facts (which also means that you should never use personal pronouns in your responses).
At this point, all of your content should be in your response, so all you have to do is check for any pesky imperfections! Set aside a small bit of your time to read through your responses, paying special attention to big grammatical errors or irregularities that could affect the clarity of your response.
Don’t just write any and all examples that come to mind! 🙅
Writing one example that you know is accurate is worth more that writing multiple examples that may not all be correct (and it saves you valuable time).
Pay attention to the time! ⏰
Dividing your time evenly will keep you efficient and calm throughout the exam. With 75 minutes, you should give yourself about 20-25 minutes per prompt, leaving about 5 minutes to proofread your responses.
Stay focused in your response 📍
Keep your response organized and to the point, starting with key points and then providing examples. Don’t try to stuff key terms in just to have them. Make sure you have a clear structure in your response, so it’s easy for the reader to follow.
Free-Response Question 1: No stimulus
For FRQ 1, you will receive a short piece of background text followed by a series of questions.
Here is an example of a question you can expect to see on the newly formatted AP Exam this year (provided by the College Board):
In most countries, the concept of the state as a political unit is subject to the tensions between centrifugal and centripetal forces. Governments are often challenged by the devolutionary factors that challenge state sovereignty.
Free-Response Question 3: Two Stimuli
In FRQ 3, you have two stimuli that may be qualitative or quantitative (or both). You will need to write a response that provides insight into geographic phenomena relevant to the question and stimuli. Below you will find an example pulled directly from College Board:
The National Capital Territory of Delhi, India, includes the old city of Delhi; the national capital city of New Delhi; and surrounding districts, where much of the city’s population resides.
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92% of Fiveable students earned a 3 or higher on their 2020 AP Exams.
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