AP US history multiple choice questions can look strange, confusing, or downright impossible to answer based on what you know. Fortunately, the AP US history exam is a standardized test, which means that by understanding the system we can find strategies that make answering multiple choice questions easier. These strategies won’t help with the essay questions or DBQ, which require a little more preparation to conquer, but hey, you take what you can get.
The first rule of taking multiple choice questions is always use process of elimination and guess if you are down to 2 or three answer choices. Let’s consider the following example multiple choice question:
1. Which of the following is true defined the era of good feelings?
A. American businesses were uniquely successful during the period
B. Trade with France and England increased
C. Fierce competition among political parties led to an era of more responsible government
D. There was only one major political party
E. Major gains were made in the field of international relations
This question seems hard to answer unless you know exactly what the era of good feelings was. Actually, all you need to know is that the phrase referred to the political situation. With this knowledge, answer choices A, B and E are obviously false. You can guess between C and D, which gives you a 50% chance of getting the right answer. Not bad for only vaguely understanding the question!
Here’s another example. Assume that this question came just after the last example.
2. The ‘ironclad oath’ referred to
A. An agreement between the original settlers of Massachusetts Bay
B. A provision of the Townshend Acts
C. An anti-British book written during the Revolutionary War
D. One of George Washington’s policies
E. A declaration in which individuals pledged to have never supported the Confederacy
This question can also be answered using only a basic grasp of AP US history. On the AP exam, small groups of questions will refer to topics in chronological order. All of the above answer choices refer to a period that comes before the period covered by the previous question. The only answer is further in US history than the last question is answer choice E, which is the correct answer.
Here’s a final tip to remember when reviewing for the AP us history multiple choice questions. The multiple choice portion of the exam mostly tests your knowledge of key terms. Get a review guide with bold terms and definitions to make this portion of the review easier.