APMacro: Answering FRQs

The FRQ questions do not require an essay such as you might write in a APUSH class. Think of them as being more like problems. You do not need a general introduction to the topic any more than you would solving a math problem. Many will require you to draw graphs, then amend the graphs to show changes. Some FRQs will show a graph and the subquestions will require you to analyze the graph and discuss the concepts involved.

FRQs frequently include key words or phrases that are clues pointing you toward a good answer. The most common of these key words or phrases are: 

  • Identify” means to provide a specific answer that might be a list or a label on a graph. Make sure to support your assertions with evidence.
  • List” prompts you to write a bulleted list of items.
  • Define” prompts you to write out the definition of a term.
  • Calculate” means to use mathematical operations to determine a specific numerical response, along with providing your work.
  • Draw a correctly labeled graph” or “Show” means to use a diagram to illustrate your answer. Correct labeling of all elements including the axes of the diagram is necessary to receive full credit. Changes in graphs should be clearly noted with notations like D to D1 or directional arrows.
  • Explain” means to take the reader through all of the steps or linkages in the line of economic reasoning. Graphs and symbols are acceptable as part of the explanation.

When constructing your answer to the FRQs, do not rush or leave your thoughts incomplete. The readers will not fill in the ideas or connections that you omit. Write complete sentences and always strive to express your ideas clearly. You can use well known economic abbreviations, but otherwise you should make every effort to spell things out.



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