AP Human Geography Free Response Help - FRQs

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#tipsandtricks

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#sustainability

โฑ๏ธย ย 5 min read

written by

Harrison Burnside

harrison burnside

my avatar

(editor)

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!

How the AP Human Geo FRQ Works

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:

  • On each of the three questions, you can receive a maximum of 7 points.
  • You can expect each question to consist of multiple parts related to an overarching theme/concept, so be well-versed in the major themes!
  • We also already know the format of your FRQs ๐ŸŽ‰:

    • FRQ 1: No stimulus

    • FRQ 2: 1 stimulus

    • FRQ 3: 2 stimuli

      • Expect comparing and contrasting on this FRQ๐Ÿ‘

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 5๏ธโƒฃ Practice your ๐Ÿ”ฅ FRQ writing with these past prompts:

FRQ Strategies ๐ŸŒŸ

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, letโ€™s go through the steps when writing your responses:

Read and Understand the Prompt ๐Ÿ‘€

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 doesnโ€™t hurt to underline keywords that connect to an overarching theme, as this will help you answer the questions that follow.

Outline your Response ๐Ÿ“‹

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

Start Writing ๐Ÿ“

Itโ€™s time to compile the information you gained from the prompt and the notes you jotted down to form your response.

  1. 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 โ€œ1A.โ€ next to your response).

  2. 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.

    1. If the question is only asking for a definition, itโ€™s not entirely necessary to have more than one to two sentences, but for broader questions that could have various responses, itโ€™s important to provide specific examples to earn full points.

    2. That being said, AP HuG FRQs are not meant to be crazy long and can usually be answered in one paragraph or less.

  3. Also, remember that itโ€™s quality over quantity. With limited time, you need to spend it wisely, so donโ€™t fill it with vague information, unsupported claims, or unrelated words.

  4. 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).

Proofread your work ๐Ÿ”

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.

FRQ Tips

Donโ€™t just write any and all examples that come to mind! ๐Ÿ™…

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! โฐ

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 ๐Ÿ“

Keep your response organized and to the point, starting with key points and then providing examples. Donโ€™t try to stuff key terms in just to have them. Make sure you have a clear structure in your response, so itโ€™s easy for the reader to follow.

FRQ Examples

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.

  1. Define the concept of a multinational state.
  2. Explain how ethnicity can be a factor that leads to the devolution of a state.
  3. Explain how communication technology plays an important role in the goals of devolutionary groups and democracy movements.
  4. Explain the limitations of communication technology in furthering the goals of devolutionary groups and democracy movements.
  5. Describe ONE centripetal force that governments use to promote the state as a nation.
  6. Explain how uneven development within a state can act as a centrifugal force.
  7. For a multinational state facing the realities of devolution, explain why a government would choose to create an autonomous region or choose to maintain a unitary state.


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:

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2FScreen%20Shot%202019-12-29%20at%209.10-hzsWqiOEuNxo.png?alt=media&token=77994a68-2c1e-4898-bda4-fbad81c6379e

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 cityโ€™s population resides.

  1. Describe the data in the table that classifies Delhi as a megacity.
  2. Describe a pull factor that has contributed to Delhiโ€™s total population change over time.
  3. Explain how local housing development has contributed to the change in Delhiโ€™s population density, as shown in the data table.
  4. Given Delhiโ€™s population density, describe a challenge related to urban infrastructure that the cityโ€™s government is likely to face.
  5. Explain the degree to which Indiaโ€™s level of economic development as a country contributes to Delhiโ€™s local challenges to environmental sustainability.
  6. Explain a possible solution to the challenge of environmental sustainability that is shown in the photograph.
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