Free Response Questions: How to maximize your score
1. Pace yourself. You will have about 90 minutes to answer 4 essay prompts, or about 22
minutes each. Make sure you address all parts (a,b,c,d….).
2. Organize your thoughts before starting (Brainstorm first to come up with key ideas,
examples and terms you want to use! Organization is critical.)
3. Write very clearly and large enough for the reader to read your words.
4. Underline key points.
5. Always include complete explanations.
6. If you are going to write several points, write the best ones first. Graders are instructed to
only read the number asked for in the prompt. If the first ones you give are wrong, and the
latter are right, they won’t read the latter. If two examples are asked for, they will not read
more than 2.)
7. Do not add extraneous info. not pertaining to the question. Stay on topic.
8. You earn no points for re-stating the question. Don’t waste your time doing that.
9. Answers cannot be in bullets or outline form. They will not even be read. Use paragraph
style, but be concise and to the point. You may draw diagrams, but they must be labeled
and discussed in writing, or they will not be looked at.
10. You must demonstrate deep knowledge and understanding of the prompt. Just throwing
out vocabulary and factoids that do not show true depth of understanding will not help.
11. Make sure to “tie all the pieces together” in your answer.
12. Support your statements with examples or evidence (case studies are great for this).
Good examples let the grader know that you understand the issue. Most of the time,
examples are required to earn points.
13. Show all your work and units on math questions. You may never use calculators.
Of the 4 FRQ questions on the AP exam:
1 will be experiment/lab based
1 will be a DBQ (data will be provided to you and you will analyze it)
2 will be synthesis and/or analysis based with at least one involving calculations.
We will practice all 3 types many, many times. :)