3 APUSH Short Answer Question Examples (2023)

3 APUSH Short Answer Question Examples (1)

The APUSH Short Answer is one of the newer components of the APUSH exam. The purpose of the short answer question is to combine the content knowledge you will display in the Multiple Choice section, while asking you to demonstrate key historical thinking skills. The short answers make up20% of your total score, making them the third most important component of your overall APUSH exam score. Keep reading for some practice APUSH short answer questions – and the scoring guidelines to match!

What’s the format for the short answers?

For the short answers, you will be asked a series of short questions related to some historical topic. Some questions may include historical documents, charts, or tables. Regardless of the content you receive to answer the question, the goal is the same: you are todemonstrate what you know best. You will receive a point for every complete and correct response you give. You could receive partial credit (seeOfficial Scoring Guide),butyou want to receive maximize points: answer all parts of the question.

Here’s an example of a short answer question from the 2016 APUSH exam.
3 APUSH Short Answer Question Examples (2)
FromAPUSH 2016 Exam.

What will short answers ask me to do?

There is no specific format a short answer question will take: some may have sources for you to draw upon, others may not. But the overarching point of a short answer isfor you to show what you know. Generally speaking, the short answers will ask you to demonstrate one of the following types of thinking:

  1. Explain
  2. Compare and contrast
  3. Extend

Explainingwill require you to describe as many relevant pieces of information as you can to answer the question.Comparing and contrastingwill require you to look for similarities (comparing) and differences (contrasting) between two different viewpoints or events (this will likely be asked if you are looking at two different documents from two opposing points of view). Finally,extendingwill require you to use the information given to you in the prompt and draw on knowledge outside of the prompt to answer the question.

If we use the 2016 example above to demonstrate these concepts, it seems obvious that prompts (a) – (c) ask you toexplain. However, imagine if this short answer also included the image below:
3 APUSH Short Answer Question Examples (3)
FromStanford History Education Group. Thomas Nast, Cartoon, Harper’s Weekly, December 7, 1876

You can now imagine several different questions that would ask you tocompare and contrastthe information presented in the graph, as well asextendthe themes in the two sources to events beyond those directly mentioned. From the table below, you can see how the types of thinking overlap.

Sample Questions
Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period 1820-1880 could be used to support the sentiment expressed in the political cartoon
Identify ONE specific example from history about anti-Irish immigration sentiment

Below, I will give three short answer examples for you to practice; check your responses against the scoring guide provided at the end of the blog post. Remember that your goal is to demonstrate what you know through a combination ofexplaining, comparing and contrasting, and extending

Happy studying!

APUSH Short Answer Question Examples

Example Short Answer Question 1

Excerpted fromThe DBQ Project: How Democratic Was Andrew Jackson?

“The present Bank of the United States…enjoys an exclusive privilege of banking…almost a monopoly of the foreign and domestic exchange. It appears that more than a fourth part of the stock is held by foreigners and the (rest) is held by a few hundred of our own citizens, chiefly of the richest class. Of the twenty-five directors of this bank five are chosen by the government and twenty by citizen stockholders…It is easy to conceive that great evils to our country…might flow from such a concentration of power in the hands of a few men irresponsible to the people…”
Andrew Jackson’s Bank Veto Message to Congress July 10, 1832

(Video) Get a PERFECT SCORE on the SAQ (APUSH, AP World, & AP Euro)

“(President Jackson’s message) extends the grasp of (the chief executive) over every power of the government….It sows…the seeds of jealousy and ill-will against the government of which its author is the official head. It raises a cry that liberty is in danger, at the very moment when it puts forth claims to powers heretofore unknown and unheard of… It manifestly seeks to inflame the poor against the rich, it wantonly attacks whole classes of people, for the purposes of turning against them the prejudices and resentments of the other classes.”
Daniel Webster’s Reply to Andrew Jackson’s Bank Veto Message July 11, 1832

Answer (a), (b), and (c)

(a) Briefly describe ONE significant difference between Jackson’s interpretation of government powers as expressed in his message to Congress and Webster’s.
(b) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period 1790-1840 could be used to support the sentiment expressed in Jackson’s message.
(c) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period 1790-1840 could be used to support the sentiment expressed in Webster’s message.

Example Short Answer Question 2

Answer (a), (b), and (c)

(a) Briefly explain ONE important goal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
(b) Briefly explain ONE reason why this compromise was successful in achieving the goal you outlined in part (a).
(c) Briefly explain ONE reason why this compromise was unsuccessful in achieving the goal you outlined in part (a).

Example Short Answer Question 3

3 APUSH Short Answer Question Examples (4)
From theLibrary of Congress

Answer questions (a), (b), and (c)

(a) Briefly explain how ONE major historical factor contributed to creation of the image.
(b) Briefly explain ONE historical response to the image.
(c) Briefly explain ONE historical response to the image that diverges from what you wrote in part (b).

Brief Answer Key

Short Answer Question 1

Examples of responses to (a) that would earn the point:

  • Jackson believed that the Bank of the United States (BUS) was an institution that was appointed and was therefore not accountable to citizens
  • Webster believed that Jackson was acting inappropriately as President in discrediting another government institution, as the President of the United States is the leader of the government
  • What’s most important is that you connect your response about the two different interpretations to views about the role and power of the government.

    Examples of responses to (b) that would earn the point:

    (Video) How to Write a SHORT ANSWER QUESTION (SAQ) for AP World, APUSH, & AP Euro

  • The BUS charter of 1791 was opposed by states’ rights advocates such as Thomas Jefferson who did not think the federal government had the power to establish a bank
  • The Panic of 1819 was the result of the more conservative lending practices of the BUS, such as a sharp decrease in lending to western banks
  • Historical events that show how centralized power (i.e. the BUS) was harmful to Westerners, agrarians, and other “common men” would support Jackson’s point of view.

    Examples of responses to (c) that would earn the point:

  • Establishment of the Whig Party where Webster would oppose unfettered populism
  • The various economic panics that were the result of a weak central bank practices, such as liberal lending policies and support of land speculation
  • Historical events that show how unified, centralized power was beneficial to the United States, as a whole – and Northerners like Webster in particular – would support Webster’s point of view.

    Short Answer Question 2

    Examples of responses to (a) that would earn the point:

  • Create balanced representation of politicians from slave and free states in the federal government
    Appease southern slaveholders in Congress
  • Big idea for the Missouri Compromise: have a clear idea of what new territories would be admitted as slave and free states.

    Examples of responses to (b) that would earn the point:

  • List of states that were admitted in pairs under this compromise (Maine as free, Missouri as slave; Arkansas as slave, Michigan as free)
  • For a short period of time, the Missouri Compromise did what it intended to do.

    Examples of responses to (c) that would earn the point:

  • Another compromise was required in 1850 that addressed the shortcomings of the compromise of 1820
  • The most important idea is that the Missouri Compromise did not deal with the issue at hand: the expansion of slaveholding power in the United States government.

    Examples of responses to (a) that would earn the point:

  • The 13th-15th Amendments
  • The Reconstruction Acts
  • These black legislators in Louisiana were the result of Radical Reconstruction.

    (Video) How to Write the APUSH SAQ (Short Answer Question)

    Examples of responses to (b/c) that would earn the point:

  • Radical Republican proposed legislation (i.e. militarization proposed by Thaddeus Stevens, Reconstruction Act of 1867)
  • The development of the Ku Klux Klan
  • The Compromise of 1877
  • A discussion of the political and/or social support and backlash for black voting rights and legislative rights would be appropriate.

    • 3 APUSH Short Answer Question Examples (5)

      Allena Berry

      Allena Berry loves history; that should be known upfront. She loves it so much that she not only taught high school history and psychology after receiving her Master's degree at Stanford University, she is now studying how students learn history at Northwestern. That being said, she does not have a favorite historical time period (so don't bother asking). In addition to history, she enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and scouring Craigslist for her next DIY project or midcentury modern piece of furniture.

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    Can an SAQ be 2 sentences? ›

    The Short Answer Questions, or SAQs, are questions meant to check your analytical skills (your ability to pick out meaning and explain it). The response to each question is no more than three to four sentences (hence, the SHORT description).

    What is an example of a SAQ question? ›

    How could it be improved? - How comfortable are you with expressing your opinion without fear of reprisal? - How would you feel about expressing your opinion to leadership concerning unit issues? - How would you describe the timing of releasing the boat's schedule?

    Can an SAQ be one sentence? ›

    Writing an SAQ Response

    For an “identify” or “describe” prompt, you should simply answer the question and include a piece of evidence to support your answer. This can typically be done in 1-2 sentences, depending on the prompt.

    How do I get better at Saq? ›

    Things You Should Know
    1. Start each answer with a strong topic sentence that addresses the question. ...
    2. Address each part of the SAQ in its own mini-paragraph in about 1-3 sentences. ...
    3. Write your answer neatly in complete sentences, making sure to keep your writing within the answer box provided.
    Jan 12, 2023

    How do you write a strong SAQ? ›

    SAQ Overview
    1. Must write within square space, no exceptions.
    2. Do each part of the question (typically A, B, C) separately, not as one paragraph with all 3 responses.
    3. Each response can be a good sentence or two. Try to be brief and accurate.
    4. Must be complete sentences. No bullet points.

    How many paragraphs should an SAQ be? ›

    You will generally be expected to write 2-3 short paragraphs for an SAQ. For example, if only one study is required, then use the first paragraph as an introduction to what you will be talking about, and the second to talk about about your study.

    What makes a good SAQ? ›

    Each part of the SAQ (A, B, C) should have a specific, proper noun. This supports what you're trying to say and gives you credibility. The more specific you are, the better. A​Answer the question (this is the assertion or claim).

    How do you answer a short answer question? ›

    Short answer questions in exams
    1. Deconstruct the question. ...
    2. Rephrase the question in your own words.
    3. Plan the structure of your answer before starting to write. ...
    4. Use examples to give evidence and help give your writing credibility.
    5. Use plain language and keep your writing straight to the point.

    Do you have to answer all SAQ questions? ›

    Short answer questions will be used throughout the entirety of this course. The AP exam will consist of three SAQs, all of which you must answer. The short answer questions comprise 20% of your final AP Exam score. This portion of the test is often what separates the 3s, the 4s, and the 5s.

    How many questions are in Apush Saq? ›

    The 55 multiple-choice questions will be divided into sets of two to five questions based on a primary or secondary source, historian's argument, or historical problem. These questions assess your ability to understand and interpret the stimulus material as well as your knowledge of the historical issue being tested.

    How long should it take to write an SAQ? ›

    The SAQ section is designed to give you enough time to answer all three questions without rushing your answers. You can take about 12 minutes per question, which will give you a few minutes to plan your answers.

    Do you use quotes in an SAQ? ›

    Show or demonstrate some specific knowledge of history. NOT merely quote or paraphrase the stimulus or excerpt as your only attempt at a response.

    How much is SAQ worth on AP World? ›

    The SAQs on the AP World History exam are worth 20 percent of your overall exam grade which is more than the long-essay question. The good news is that the AP World History SAQ section is considered the most straightforward section of the test.

    Is it OK to fail the APUSH exam? ›

    If you fail or your score on the AP® US History exam is not high enough to receive college credit at the institution of your choice, it is important not to panic! You can retake the AP® US History exam as many times as you choose to achieve a higher score. The exam is given once a year in May.

    What is the hardest part of the APUSH exam? ›

    DBQ stands for Document Based Question and is arguably the most difficult component of the APUSH exam. The DBQ is in the essay-writing section of the exam, where students are expected to write a clear and concise essay that revolves around ten to twelve primary-source documents.

    How do I ace my APUSH exam? ›

    You need to learn to attack questions methodically and to plan your answers before putting pencil to paper. Carefully analyze the question, thinking through what is being asked, and identify the elements that must be addressed in the response. Each AP Exam asks different types of questions about each subject.

    What is the average SAQ score? ›

    Subscale scores and meaning are outlined below. 50-79 is average High average: 70-79: This is nearly a strength and may only require fine tuning to turn this into excellent.

    What is the highest score on SAQ? ›

    All SAQ domain scores and the summary score range from 0 to 100 with higher scores indicating less angina, fewer functional limitations, and better quality of life.

    How to study for SAQ? ›

    Revising for MCQs and SAQs
    1. Pay particular attention to fundamental terms and concepts that describe important events or features, or that tie related ideas together.
    2. Make lists and tables. ...
    3. Highlight vocabulary and key definitions, and be sure that you understand them.
    4. Re-organise your material into questions.
    Nov 10, 2021

    How does SAQ scoring work? ›

    The SAQ produces two scores, a total domain score and a global quality of life score. The total domain score for the last two weeks is produced by taking the mean of the 16 domain questions using the numbers 1-7 as shown on the SAQ. If all questions are answered, then add the question scores together and divide by 16.

    How long do you have for SAQ Apush? ›

    The APUSH exam takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete and is comprised of two sections: a multiple-choice/short answer section and a a free response section.

    How is Apush SAQ graded? ›

    Scoring Short Answer Questions

    Students are simply scored on whether or not they answered the prompt correctly. Students either receive one point or zero points for each part of the question (A, B, and C), for a maximum total of three points per prompt.

    How many points can you receive for one SAQ? ›

    The maximum score per SAQ is 9 marks, for a total of 27 marks for all three.

    How do you write a topic sentence for a SAQ? ›

    1. Your first sentence of each paragraph is your topic sentence and include part of the question in that sentence. For example, if the question is “Identify and explain one trade route that had developed by 600 C.E.” Your topic sentence could be, “One trade route that had developed by 600 C.E. was the Silk Roads.”

    What not to write in a short answer essay? ›

    Here are some tips to help you ace your short answers: Don't repeat the question. Don't use unnecessarily large words. Not only will you come off as pretentious at best and ignorant at worst, but it's unlikely that you'll be able to keep the same tone throughout your response.

    What do short answers look like? ›

    Short answers are brief but complete—they can answer "yes or no" questions or more complicated queries. Conventionally, the verb in a short answer is in the same tense as the verb in the question asked.

    How long should a short answer response be? ›

    What is a shorter or single paragraph response? Typically, a shorter response will be one to two paragraphs and often your assignment or exam will give you a specific word limit. A key difference between an essay and a shorter response is length; this means you must be very concise and focused.

    How many saqs are on the apush exam 2023? ›

    In the first section, you will have 55 minutes to answer 55 multiple-choice questions and 40 minutes to answer 3 short answer questions. The first two short answer questions are required, but you can choose between two prompts to answer the third question.

    What percent is a 5 on APUSH? ›

    What percent is a 5 on AP US History? Based on the 2022 AP score distributions, only 10.8% of students received a 5. Alternatively, you would need to have earned 74.6% of the total available composite points on the AP US exam to score a 5.

    Is it hard to get a 5 on APUSH? ›

    If you're one of the many high school students wondering how to get a 5 on APUSH, exam prep time can be stressful. But even though the test is notoriously difficult, it's 100% possible to get a perfect score!

    How many paragraphs is a Leq? ›

    Each body paragraph will follow this general format, and there is no set number of paragraphs for the LEQ (minimum or maximum.) Write as many paragraphs as you need to fully answer the prompt by developing the argument (and counter-argument if applicable) from your thesis.

    What is the difference between SAQ and ERQ? ›

    The IB Psychology exams consist of either Extended Response Questions (ERQs) or Short Answer Questions (SAQs). An ERQ is a 22 mark question and an SAQ is an 8 mark question in Papers 1 and 2.

    What is a short answer question in AP World History? ›

    Short-answer questions do not require a thesis statement or an organized essay response. Directly and concisely address each required task, then move on. You will choose EITHER Question 3 or Question 4.

    How do you score short answer questions? ›

    A short-answer question is worth the same number of points as the multiple-choice questions. For example, say an assignment has 4 assessment questions (3 multiple-choice and 1 short-answer question). In this case, each question is worth 25 percentage points.

    What is a short answer response? ›

    In spoken English and informal writing, a short answer is a response made up of a subject and an auxiliary verb or modal. Short answers are brief but complete—they can answer "yes or no" questions or more complicated queries.

    What makes a good short answer response? ›

    Doing well in short answer exams relies on your ability to: Answer the question directly (rather than write about the topic) Write clearly, precisely and succinctly.

    How many words should a short answer response be? ›

    Short Answer: Typically, very short--no more than 3 to 4 sentences. The more concise the better. Short Essay: Answer may vary in length, but ranges from 200-800 words or more.

    Is AP World History an easy AP? ›

    The Pass Rate

    That falls below the average 71% pass rate for AP classes. In addition, a below-average number of World History test-takers earn a perfect score of 5. Data from previous years indicates that AP World History ranks among the more difficult AP exams.

    Is world history an easy AP? ›

    Is AP World History Easy Or Hard? AP World History is considered quite hard, with class alumnae rating it 6.1/10 for overall difficulty (the 10th-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed). The pass rate is about average vs other AP classes, with 62% graduating with a 3 or higher.

    How do you get an A in AP World History? ›

    AP World History Exam Tips
    1. Don't try to memorize everything. ...
    2. Keep up with class content. ...
    3. Read a prep book in the Spring. ...
    4. Practice answering questions quickly. ...
    5. Practice speed-writing. ...
    6. Answer every question.
    Mar 8, 2022

    What are the 3 parts of a short answer response? ›

    The most important elements to a short answer response (one-paragraph answer) are (1) the answer, (2) the evidence, and (3) the explanation.

    What does a short answer essay look like? ›

    Short-answer questions are more concise than essay answers - think of it as a “mini-essay” - and use a sentence or two to introduce your topic; select a few points to discuss; add a concluding sentence that sums up your response.


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