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Now it's time to look at how the Advanced Placement exam might address this topic. Advanced Placement Free-Response Questions require a certain amount of knowledge about a topic, but they also require you to think critically about the knowledge you have and to create something new out of it.

Let's look at an example from 2008:
Analyze the ways in which the events of the French Revolution and Napoleonic period (1789-1815) led people to challenge Enlightenment views of society, politics, and human nature.

A few things to understand about this question:

1. It covers a vast amount of information, the entire revolutionary period AND the reign of Napoleon. You have to decide what you can realistically include in 35 minutes.

2. The question requires you to draw on knowledge about the Enlightenment as well, meaning that you will need to think about the philosophes and their ideas. In order to get a good score, you will certainly need to cite specific thinkers and their ideas.

3. Three categories are provided for you (society, politics, and human nature), and the College Board requires that you treat all three somewhat equally.

4. Finally, the word "challenge" is tricky. What does it mean to "challenge" Enlightenment views?
OK, so now that you have a grasp of what is required, draw a tree diagram showing how you will answer the question and what information you will have to include in your answer. If you remember from class, a tree diagram will provide a general idea (which will eventually become your thesis) and three or four sub-ideas that categorize information you will need to successfully answer the question. Beneath each of the sub-ideas, use bullets to identify SPECIFIC EVENTS AND/OR PEOPLE that will explain your concepts. Remember that the use of specifics is essential in the writing process.
Thinking, analyzing, and discussing are the most important skills you can develop as a mature learner. Developing these skills will allow you to reach a higher level of success in AP Euro, your college career, and your career in the outside world. Practice is the only way to develop this skill.
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Now for the sharing part. Type up your ideas and post them below. Read the ideas of your peers, and feel free to comment on their ideas. You may agree or disagree, but you must respond to at least two other posts.
01/23/2015 • 
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