How well do you know your history?

May 05, 2011|Lisa Prejean

If you are reading this between 8 a.m. and noon today, you probably are not an AP U.S. History student.
But could you be? We’ll see.

For just over three hours today, students who are attempting to earn Advanced Placement credit in U.S. History will answer multiple-choice questions and will write essays on topics ranging from the American victory at Yorktown to the Great Depression.
Their performance on this exam could possibly allow them to gain college credit and advanced placement. Advanced Placement courses provide a wonderful opportunity for students who are willing to accept a challenge.

Are you up for a challenge? Perhaps.
The U.S. History exam is just one of many Advanced Placement tests that are administered by the College Board during the first two weeks of May.
The exam has two parts. The multiple-choice questions test factual knowledge and analytical skills. The essay questions allow a student to demonstrate historical interpretation and to express views and knowledge in writing.


I would give examples of the essay questions, and I’d love to read your responses, but I have enough end-of-the-year essays to read right now.

Besides, I think you’d rather try some multiple-choice questions, wouldn’t you?
These questions are taken from a diagnostic exam in the book “Five Steps to a Five: AP U.S. History.”

1. Samuel Gompers
A. used the state militia to break up the Boston police strike
B. led the American Federation of Labor
C. directed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s War Labor Board
D. was a Populist candidate for governor in Kansas
E. advocated Socialism as head of the Industrial Workers of the World

2. The trial of John Peter Zenger in 1735 contributed to the codification of which of the following principles in the Constitution?
A. Freedom of religion
B. Freedom of the press
C. Separation of powers
D. Checks and balances
E. Taxation by elected representatives

3. Who wrote “The Jungle” in response to the disgusting conditions in the meatpacking houses of Chicago?
A. Upton Sinclair
B. Henry George
C. John Spargo
D. Jacob Riis
E. Ida Tarbell

4. Cesar Chavez is significant because he
A. led the AIM occupation of Alcatraz Island
B. wrote the Pentagon Papers
C. integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962
D. was the first Hispanic mayor of a major U.S. city
E. organized farm workers into a powerful union

5. Which of the following represents an attempt to curb the arms race during the Nixon administration?
A. Test Ban Treaty
C. War Powers Act
D. Strategic Defense Initiative
E. INF Treaty

6. Which of the following individuals presented a direct challenge to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal with the introduction of his “Share the Wealth” program?
A. Al Smith
B. Alf Landon
C. Thomas E. Dewey
D. Huey Long
E. Francis Townsend

As a Louisiana State University graduate, I had to include that last question. The Kingfish would be proud. Check the answers to see how you did. Students can earn college credit for answering 60 percent of the questions correctly and for writing acceptable essays. Keep in mind, though, that the real exam has 80 multiple-choice questions that need to be answered in 55 minutes. That requires fast thinking.
For more information about Advanced Placement courses, go to

1. B;  2. B; 3. A; 4. E; 5. B; 6. D

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