Students frequently freeze when confronted with the AP free response questions. They begin writing without properly analyzing the question. This check list is intended to provide a method by which you can quickly (a) analyze a question, (b) clarify the topics to be covered, (c) identify the mental processes required by the writers of the question and (d) compose an answer that meets the requirements of the question.
You cannot take a hard copy of these questions into the exam. However, if you master this process and apply in on exam day, you will freatly enhance your chances of doing well on the exam.
1. Which of the units covered in the course is referred to in the question ? (ex. Constitution, campaigns, the Judiciary, the Bureaucracy, etc.)
2. What specific subdivision(s) of that unit is the specific focus of the question ? (ex. If the unit is political behavior the subdivision(s) could be: Why do African-Americans vote for Democrats ? or Why do people not vote ?)
3. What does the question ask you to do ? ( Operative terms: describe, list, identify, discuss, explain, compare, etc. ?)
4. Is there more than one operative term in the question ? (ex. list and explain)
5. How much detail is required by the operative term presented in the question ? (ex. sentence, paragraph, bullet style list)