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Continuity and Change Examples

Compare and Contrast Examples

Causes and Effects Examples

Turning Points Examples 



AP History Reasoning Skills

The exam focuses on four AP History Reasoning Skills and two AP History Disciplinary Practices. How they are applied to your DBQ and Long Essay will be explained later. The skills to know are:




Contextualization - It is important to connect history to the bigger picture by describing historical context accurately, and explaining how that context influenced the development or process of history. Furthermore, you should grasp the significance of such historical development. For instance, the counterculture movement not only coincided with the Vietnam War, but also the Civil Rights Era. Abolition coincided with the Second Great Awakening.



Comparison - You need to find similarities and/or differences between specific developments or processes and explain the relative significance.  For instance, you might compare the similarities and differences of the Progressive Era and New Deal, yet also see how there were people who were adversaries to both reform movements. Or, you could see how both the North and the South viewed the Civil War differently. Get concrete examples of this skill on the following pages.






Causation - You need to be able to understand and analyze the complex causes and effects of history (both long-term and short-term, and primary and secondary). For instance, Lincolnís election was a short-term cause for the Civil War, while sectionalism was a long-term cause. A short-term effect of the French and Indian War was Britain needing money and issuing tax acts. A long-term effect was the American Revolution. Get concrete examples of this skill on the following pages.



Patterns of Continuity and Change Over Time - Sometimes issues of history continue down the same path. Other times, there is change over time. For instance, for decades minorities continued to be denied basic freedoms before the Civil Rights Era brought about change. The Civil Rights Era can be considered a continuation of other reform movements in history as well. See examples in the pages that follow. Get concrete examples of this skill on the following pages.






You also need to understand the following two AP History Disciplinary Practices:

Analyzing Historical Evidence - You must be able to describe and evaluate relevant evidence from both primary and secondary sources. On primary sources, you should describe arguments and explain how the source helps emulate the larger historical setting. As will be seen in the DBQ, you should be aware of the sourceís credibility, context, situation, purpose, point of view, and audience. For example, the Fireside Chats had the purpose of easing fears, amidst an audience of Americans concerned about the economy.  On secondary sources, you must understand arguments and use of evidence, explain and analyze patterns or trends in data, comprehend argument construction and effectiveness, and explain how context could influence claims.



Argument Development - As will be explained with the essay writing, you must construct an argument using specific and relevant information. You must show the relationships between the historical evidence. You must use extensive analysis to create and support a convincing thesis. You should be able to find diverse information that could modify the argument. Indeed, itís also helpful to know both sides of an argument. What were the pros and cons of dropping the atomic bomb? Why was Reconstruction a success? Why a failure? You can argue either side if you have enough evidence, and should be able to distinguish perspectives or contradictions.


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