• Summer Work
  • Period 1: (1491-1607)
  • Period 2: (1607-1754)
  • Period 3: (1754-1800)
  • Period 4: (1800-1848)
  • Period 5: (1844-1877)
  • Period 6: (1865-1898)
  • Period 7: (1890-1945)
  • Period 8 & 9: (1945- Present)
  • Short Answer Question (SAQ)
  • Document-Based Question (DBQ)
  • Long Essay Question (LEQ)
  • Polls/Surveys

 AP U.S. History: Long Essay Question (LEQ)

Short description, breakdown of essay:.

  • The AP U.S. History exam gives students a choice between two long-essay questions. You chose ONE !
  • A thesis statement is required.
  • You will have 35 minutes to answer the one question you select.
  • Makes up 15 % of final exam score.
  • Graded on a 0-6 point scale.

Different Types of LEQ Questions:

  • Argumentation:  Develops a thesis or relevant argument that addresses all parts of the question.
  • Use of Evidence:   Supports the thesis using specific evidence, clearly linked to the thesis.
  • Targeted Historical Thinking Skill:  Each question will assess an additional thinking skill, such as causation, comparison, continuity and change over time, or periodization.
  • Synthesis:   Written answers need to extend the argument of the essay, connect it to a different time historical context, or connect it to a different category of analysis.

Thesis Statement:

Steps to completing the leq:.

  • Analyze the Question
  • Organize the Evidence
  • Develop a Thesis
  • Write the Introductory Paragraph
  • Write the Supporting Paragraphs and Conclusion
  • Evaluate Your Essay​
  • Take the time to consider what the question really asks, which is often overlooked in the rush to start writing.
  • Stop and ask yourself, "What is the targeted historical thinking skill in the question? Causation? Comparison? Continuity and change over time? Periodization?"
  • You might try reading over the question or prompt three times. What is the key word(s) or phrase in the question? CIRCLE it. It could be verbs such as "analyze,“ "explain" or "support," "modify," or "refute."
  • All questions have one thing in common: They demand the use of historical thinking skills and analysis of the evidence.
  • A long-essay answer will not receive full credit by simply reporting information. Therefore, be on your guard for questions that start out with the verbs "identify" or "describe."
  • Such a question is usually followed by "analyze“ or some other more demanding thinking skill.
  • Identify what you know about the question and organize your information by making a brief outline of what you know.
  • Write your outline in the test booklet.
  • List facts pertaining to the question to help organize your thoughts.
  • Ask yourself, do I have enough evidence to support my thesis? It is obviously not very productive to select an essay or take a position that you cannot support.
  • A strong thesis is necessary in every APUSH essay answer.
  • Don’t be afraid of making a mistake!
  • The direction for the long-essay may give clear directions on the formation of the thesis, such as "support, modify, or refute" an interpretation.
  • The setting, time, and place by providing the background or historical context for the question or your thesis.
  • The thesis statement.
  • The “blueprint” or “controlling ideas” to the main arguments of the essay, which will be developed in the body or supporting paragraphs.
  • The number and length of the supporting paragraphs forming the body of the essay should vary depending on the thesis ( not necessarily 5 paragraphs! ), the main points of your argument, and the amount of historical evidence.
  • To receive the highest possible AP score, you must explain how specific historical evidence is linked to your thesis.
  • Each essay will also have a targeted historical thinking skill, which should shape one argumentation and choice of evidence.
  • More essay writing does not necessarily produce better essays.
  • Breaking down the process into manageable a nd sequential steps is one key for improvement.
  • Peer evaluation and self-evaluation both help students internalize the elements of an effective essay and learn ways to improve.

Tips/ Suggestions:

  • Write essays in the third person, not 1st person ("I," "we").  
  • Use specific words. 
  • Define or explain key terms. 
  • Communicate awareness of the complexity of history. 
  • Anticipate counterarguments. 
  • Remain objective. 
  • Communicate the organization and logical development of your argument.  
  • Focus on the thesis in the conclusion. 

Muller's Golden Rules:

  • Assume your reader is an idiot . .. That’s right, a class A imbicile. In other words, spell things out… Don’t take it for granted that “he/she know what I mean/knows what I’m talking about.” You’ve never met the guy/gal who’s going to read & grade your essays.
  • Things, a lot, & stuff… NEVER !
  • Keep your eye on the ball… Are you answering what is being asked?
  • Are you staying in or straying from the time scope of your question?
  • Ditch “Happily Ever Aftersims.” To wit, “…and if the pilgrims had never landed here, we could not have become the great, freedom-loving nation that we are today.”
  • Keep conclusions narrow. Just like the frame of study. You don’t have to go from the beginning of time to the year 5000 in six paragraphs.
  • It’s cool to be P.C . Use “Native Americans” instead of “Indians,” and “African-Americans” instead of “Black.”
  • Tenses: Don’t shift them!!! This is the PAST that you are writing about.
  • Never write conversationally!!! ​ Don’t write like you talk, and don’t talk to the reader ; NO FIRST PERSON. NO RHETORICAL QUESTIONS .
  • Spelling & Capitalization , Spelling & Capitalization, Spelling & Capitalization!!
  • Along the lines of #9. Stay crisp and professional . Don’t beat around the bush. Write as an expert in the field.
  • Watch out for repetitions… avoid tendencies in word or phrase usage & sentence structure.
  • Stream of Conciousness… unless you’re William Faulkner, don’t just ramble on. Have a specific mental picture, an intellectual starting point & destination for your work.
  • Direct is nice, but jumping right in is not. Give the reader a thesis first —tell the reader what it is you’re going to prove/disprove, advocate/reject, agree with/disagree with, etc…
  • Don’t leave hanging points! JUSTIFY your conclusions . Express facts rather than imply them. In other words, demonstrate to me why I should believe you/your conclusions.
  • Responses should be free-standing : I should be able to read your work and right away know what the question must have been, even if I never say it.
  • No cuteness —leave humor and funnies to the Daily Show, Colbert & Letterman. Always display your scholarship, not your wittiness…
  • Identify your pronouns, and use “Them” sparingly … It’s pretty easy to confuse the daylights out of the reader in no time at all if he/she has to struggle to figure out who “them” is/are/could be…
  • “ LUMPING ” is as vague as it is inaccurate . Be cautious about placing too much unity into the thoughts & actions of the many, i.e. “The colonists felt… The Indians hated… The Europeans wanted…” Could there be subsets within the groups? Specifically, which groups or sorts of the aforementioned felt, hated or wanted? It’s like saying, “All teens are…”
  • Along the lines of #8. Don’t inject yourself into history by using “ WE ” when you really mean, “Americans who have been dead for a long time.” WE didn’t evict the Cherokees from Georgia, win World War I, give women the right to vote, build the railroads, land on the moon, etc; THEY/ the U.S. did!

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Try to fill up a specific number of pages but, instead write an insightful, persuasive and well-supported essay.
  • List a few generalities or a "laundry list" of facts.
  • Write in the narrative style by telling “stories,” but rather your goal should be to write analytically and support your argument with specific knowledge .
  • Use fillers and flowery language in an attempt to impress the reader. Write a a concise, coherent essay in which every word has a purpose. Don’t waste time! ​

Decode Essay Questions:

Leq packet:, past assignments:.

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AP®︎/College US History

Course: ap®︎/college us history   >   unit 10.

  • AP US History periods and themes
  • AP US History multiple choice example 1
  • AP US History multiple choice example 2
  • AP US History short answer example 1
  • AP US History short answer example 2
  • AP US History DBQ example 1
  • AP US History DBQ example 2
  • AP US History DBQ example 3
  • AP US History DBQ example 4

AP US History long essay example 1

  • AP US History long essay example 2
  • AP US History long essay example 3
  • Preparing for the AP US History Exam (5/4/2016)
  • AP US History Exam Prep Session (5/1/2017)

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Video transcript

  • The Daily Buzz
  • 1.1 Contextualizing Period 1
  • 1.2 Native American Societies Before Euro Contact
  • 1.3 Euro Exploration in the Americas
  • 1.4 Columbian Exchange, Spanish Exploration, and Conquest
  • 1.5 Labor, Slavery, & Caste in the Spanish Colonial System
  • 1.6 Cultural Interactions Between Euros, Native Americans, & Africans
  • 1.7 Causation in Period 3
  • 2.1 Contextualizing Period 2
  • 2.2 European Colonization
  • 2.3 The Regions of British Colonies
  • 2.4 Transatlantic Trade
  • 2.5 Interactions Between Am Indians & Euros
  • 2.6 Slavery in the British Colonies
  • 2.7 Colonial Society & Culture
  • 2.8 Comparison in Period 2
  • 3.1 Contextualizing Period 3
  • 3.2 The French & Indian War
  • 3.3 Taxation Without Representation
  • 3.4 Philosophical Foundations of the Am Revolution
  • 3.5 The American Revolution
  • 3.6 The Influence of Revolutionary Ideals
  • 3.7 The Articles of Confederation
  • 3.8 The Constitutional Convention and Debates over Ratification
  • 3.9 The Constitution
  • 3.10 Shaping a New Republic
  • 3.11 Developing an American Identity
  • 3.12 Movement in the Early Republic
  • 3.13 Continuity and Change in Period 3
  • 4.1 Contextualizing Period 4
  • 4.2 The Rise of Political Parties
  • 4.3 Politics & Regional Interests
  • 4.4 America on the World Stage
  • 4.5 Market Revolution: Industrialization
  • 4.6 Market Revolution: Society & Culture
  • 4.7 Expanding Democracy
  • 4.8 Jackson & Federal Power
  • 4.9 The Development of Am Culture
  • 4.10 The 2nd Great Awakening
  • 4.11 An Age of Reform
  • 4.12 African Americans in the Early Repubic
  • 4.13 The Society of the South...
  • 5.2 Manifest Destiny
  • 5.3 The Mexican War
  • 5.4 Comp of 1850
  • 5.5 Sectional Conflict
  • 5.6 Failure of Compromise
  • 5.7 Election of 1860 & Succession
  • 5.8 Military Conflict
  • 5.9 Government Policies
  • 5.10 Reconstruction
  • 5.11 Failure of Reconstruction
  • 6.2 Westward Expansion: Economic Development
  • 6.3 Westward Expansion: Social and Cultural Development
  • 6.4 The “New South”
  • 6.5 Technological Innovation
  • 6.6 The Rise of Industrial Capitalism
  • 6.7 Labor in the Gilded Age
  • 6.8 Immigration and Migration in the Gilded Age
  • 6.9 Responses to Immigration in the Gilded Age
  • 6.10 Development of the Middle Class
  • 6.11 Reform in the Gilded Age
  • 6.12 Controversies over the Role of Government in the Gilded Age
  • 6.13 Politics in the Gilded Age
  • 7.2 Imperialism: Debates
  • 7.3 The Spanish-American War
  • 7.4 The Progressives
  • 7.5 World War I: Military and Diplomacy
  • 7.6 World War I: Home Front
  • 7.7 1920s: Innovations in Communication and Technology
  • 7.8 1920s: Cultural and Political Controversies
  • 7.9 The Great Depression
  • 7.10 The New Deal
  • 7.11 Interwar Foreign Policy
  • 7.12 World War II: Mobilization
  • 7.13 World War II: Military
  • 7.14 Postwar Diplomacy
  • 8.2 The Cold War from 1945 to 1980
  • 8.3 The Red Scare
  • 8.4 Economy After 1945
  • 8.5 Culture after 1945
  • 8.6 Early Steps in the Civil Rights Movement (1940s and 1950s)
  • 8.7 America as a World Power
  • 8.8 The Vietnam War
  • 8.9 The Great Society
  • 8.10 The African American Civil Rights Movement (1960s)
  • 8.11 The Civil Rights Movement Expands
  • 8.12 Youth Culture of the 1960s
  • 8.13 The Environment and Natural Resources from 1968 to 1980
  • 8.14 Society in Transition
  • 9: 1980- present
  • Stimulus-Response Questions
  • Short Answer
  • AP History Disciplinary Practices and Reasoning Skills
  • Thematic Learning Objectives
  • Time to GO!

LEQ Structure

Leq strategies, long essay rubric, ccot leq rubric, leq peer scoresheet, dbq-leq revision protocols, leq sample essays with comments.

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