Tuesday, May 08, 2012

don't know much about history

My goddaughter suddenly canceled her geometry tutoring session with me because of a "music thing" (a performance, apparently) she hadn't known about until the last minute. This left me with some free time, so I spent some of it taking part of an AP World History exam. The College Board has a PDF that contains, among other things, thirty multiple-choice questions. Knowing full well that I'm terrible at history, I decided to see how I'd fare.

Final score: 23/30. Not horrible, but also not enough to rate more than a mediocre 3 on the exam. For the most part, I used a combination of guesswork and common sense-- strategies available to anyone who's facing a multiple-choice test.* Some of the questions were easy to figure out because they weren't exclusively history-oriented: they could just as easily have appeared in the SAT's Reading Comprehension section.

Here are the seven questions I got wrong:

8. Inca and Aztec societies were similar in that both

(A) developed from Mayan civilization
(B) acquired empires by means of military conquest
(C) independently developed iron technology
(D) depended entirely on oral record keeping

(The map below applies to question #10.)

10. The map above shows what significant economic developments?

(A) Trade connections that linked the Hellenistic and Maurya
empires to African cities from 300 through 150 B.C.E.
(B) Trading networks that promoted the growth of new cities
from 600 C.E. through 1450 C.E.
(C) Chinese dominance of Indian Ocean trading networks
because of the voyages of Zheng He in the 1400s C.E.
(D) Changes in Indian Ocean trading networks that resulted
from technological innovations from 1450 C.E. through 1750

12. The Columbian Exchange involved which of the following new
connections in the era 1450–1750?

(A) European food to the Western Hemisphere; Western
Hemisphere diseases to Europe; African population to Europe
(B) Western Hemisphere technology to Africa; African food to
Europe; European population to the Western Hemisphere
(C) European technology to Africa; Western Hemisphere
population to Africa; African food to the Western Hemisphere
(D) African population to the Western Hemisphere; Western
Hemisphere food to Europe and Africa; African and European
diseases to the Western Hemisphere

14. Which of the following is most likely to have influenced
eighteenth-century population trends in both Europe and

(A) A sharp decline in average global temperatures
(B) Introduction of Western Hemisphere crops
(C) Innovation in birth control measures
(D) Improvement in surgical procedures

16. In recent decades, many world historians have challenged the
commonly held view that Europeans controlled the largest
share of world trade in the seventeenth through the eighteenth
centuries. Which of the following evidence from the period
would best support this historical reinterpretation?

(A) Prices for Chinese goods were much higher in Europe than
in China.
(B) European trading companies often backed their long-distance
trading ventures with the threat of military force.
(C) Asian trading companies dominated trade in the Indian
Ocean region.
(D) European merchants transported only a fraction of the
goods shipped globally.

19. Which of the following statements is true about both the
Mughal and Ottoman empires in the sixteenth century?

(A) In both empires the majority of the people were Muslims.
(B) Both empires had powerful navies that engaged European
(C) Both empires expanded through the use of gunpowder
weapons and extensive bureaucracies.
(D) Both empires gave little monetary support to artistic and
cultural endeavors.

22. In contrast to initial industrialization, the second Industrial
Revolution in the last half of the nineteenth century was
particularly associated with the mass production of which of
the following?

(A) Textiles, iron, and coal
(B) Textiles, automobiles, and plastics
(C) Airplanes, ships, and radios
(D) Electricity, steel, and chemicals

Feel free to try your hand at these questions by leaving a comment. If you want, I can supply answers, but only to the curious, and only after they've tried to respond. History buffs will probably find the above questions easy.

*Long-time readers know I consider multiple choice to be the worst possible testing format.



Nathan B. said...

None of this is my historical cup of tea, but I'll try my hand regardless. And yes: I'm curious!

#8: B, I think.
#10: Tough, but I think it's D.
#12: D, I think, though I've never heard of the term in question.
#14: No idea at all. Guessing A, but perhaps it's D.
#16: D, I think.
#19: A, I think. I'm not familiar with the Mughal empire; I have only the most distant of recollections of it. But perhaps D.
#22: A.

Again, though, none of this is what I usually read about.

Nathan B. said...

For #22, I hope I wrote "A"--I'm awfully tired, and I hope I didn't write "D."

Kevin Kim said...


Since I'm hoping that others will attempt these questions before I reveal the answers, I'll tell you only that you got 3 of the 7 correct. That's better than I did: I got none of the above correct!

Nathan B. said...

Hmm! Well as Lord Voldemort said, "I must say, I'd hoped for better!" ;-)

John said...

With varying degrees of confidence (I'm only sure of one) here you go:

8. a

10. b

12. D

14. a

16. b

19. b

22. a

Charles said...

Haven't looked at any of the comments yet... any chance of getting that PDF? I took an AP in history, but I honestly cannot remember if it was American history or world history. I do remember that I got a 3 (which qualifies you for college credit)--and I got the highest score in my AP class. I'd be interested in seeing how I'd do now.

(Took the AP in English Lit as well. Did better.)

Kevin Kim said...


The link for the PDF is here.


2 out of 7, my friend.

Nathan, John, Charles, and anyone else,

Now that I've put up the link for the PDF, you can take the entire set of questions and see the answer key for yourselves.

Charles said...

PDF downloaded... will take when bored.