Once you’re comfortable with the format of the AP Human Geography free response section, as well as strategies that will help you be successful, review this sample free response prompt and response.
Sample AP Human Geography Free Response Prompt
Step 1: Analyze the Prompt
Since this sample question has no source stimulus, it would appear as Question 1 on the exam. Although there is no source to analyze, pay attention to the introductory paragraph, the content of the question, and the action words of each task.
- The introductory paragraph designates that the overall topic of this question concerns regionalization and globalization. The paragraph provides the details that these trends are powerful and sometimes may conflict with each other.
- The content of the question asks for definitions and examples of both terms, a factor that enables globalization, and explanations of the conflict between the trends and a benefit of globalization. Underline or circle the key terms that the tasks require.
- The action words include define, describe, and explain. Circle each action word so you can be sure to respond in a way that fulfills what each action word requires.
Step 2: Plan Your Response
The paragraphs below describe what a high-scoring writer might notice and think about when planning a response. Samples of what that high-scoring writer might write as notes are provided for each part of the prompt.
For Part (A), the prompt directs you to define regionalization. Since the action word is define, a response only needs to provide the meaning of the term.
Part A: classifying an area by its unique characteristics.
For Part (B), the prompt directs you to define globalization. Once again, only the meaning of the term is required.
Part B: world interactions that contribute to shared global culture.
Parts (C) and (D) ask for descriptions of specific examples of both terms. Since the action word is describe, the response should use details to indicate how each example demonstrates the term. While multiple examples would apply for each term, what the writer of this sample chose is shown below.
Part C: regional languages (Spanglish)
Part D: popular television (“Pop Idol”)
Part (E) asks for a description of a factor that enabled globalization. Since the action word is describe, the response should use details to describe the factor and how it enabled globalization. The high-scoring writer will brainstorm possible factors and choose the one for which he or she can provide the best description.
Part E: communication tech (Internet, television)—ideas and trends spread almost instantly
Part (F) asks for an explanation of the conflict between regionalization and globalization. Since the action word is explain, the response should use evidence and/or reasoning to explain how the two trends can be in conflict. The high-scoring writer will brainstorm possible sources of conflict and choose one for which she can write a reasoned explanation and/or provide specific evidence.
Part F: regional identity could be difficult to maintain due to pull of globalization (evidence: pressure to conform to English)
Part (G) asks for an explanation of a benefit of globalization. Since the action word is explain, the response should use evidence and/or reasoning to identify a possible benefit and explain why it is a benefit. The high-scoring writer will brainstorm possible benefits and choose one for which she can write a reasoned explanation and/or provide specific evidence.
Part G: more innovations when sharing ideas (evidence: Internet discussion boards for computer programming)
Step 3: Action! Write Your Response
Just write out the information, using your planning notes. As you write, remember to label each part of your response (A, B, C, etc.) and to keep your writing legible. Refer back to the question’s action words to make sure you’re doing the correct tasks.
Step 4: Proofread
Leave a minute or so for a quick proofread, neatly correcting any errors you catch.
Sample High-Scoring Response and Scoring Explanation
The following is a sample high-scoring response and scoring explanation. One of the best ways to improve your own free-response answers is to read sample responses, thinking carefully about what makes the responses effective and what features you can mimic in your own writing.
(A) Regionalization refers to describing an area in terms of its individual characteristics, such as a shared language or cultural identity, that make that place unique.
(B) Globalization is the spread of a cultural factor among many populations due to interactions throughout the world, resulting in a shared global culture.
(C) An example of regionalization can be found in regions that commonly use Spanglish, which is a hybrid of words and phrases from both English and Spanish in locations where there are many speakers of both languages. Regions that use Spanglish are common along the United States-Mexico border due to the interactions and migrations of speakers of both languages. There are even smaller pockets of particular dialects of Spanglish, creating even smaller regions within the Spanglish-speaking area.
(D) An example of globalization is “Pop Idol.” This TV show aired in the United Kingdom as a means for ordinary people to showcase their singing ability. This phenomenon diffused to North America, and the American version became one of the most popular television shows of all time in the United States. Today, many other countries around the world have used this idea and developed their own musical competition programs, creating a factor of cultural homogeneity that defines a globalized phenomenon.
(E) One factor that enables globalization is the development of improved communication technology that has enabled the almost instant spread of ideas throughout the world. Whereas trends in one region once took months or years to spread across boundaries or oceans, the Internet and television enable the rapid diffusion of images, videos, and trends at a worldwide scale—for instance, a dance style can be viewed in social media and video- sharing sites and become a worldwide trend in mere hours.
(F) Regional identity could be difficult to maintain due to the forces of globalization. For instance, speakers of Spanglish might be pressured to conform to the primary language spoken in their country, whether English in the United States or Spanish in Mexico, and find it difficult to maintain their regional language identity and traditional heritage. Additionally, regional dialects of English became less distinct as more Americans watched nationally broadcast television. Some people might embrace this common culture, while others might lament the loss of their traditional and unique ways of speech.
(G) A benefit of globalization is that more innovations are possible when ideas can easily be shared throughout the world. For instance, through Internet discussion boards and shared programming code, developers throughout the world can use the Internet to collaborate about the creation of computer programs. Rather than individuals working independently and starting programs from scratch, programmers can share their codes and tips, building off of each other’s work and developing new programs at a more rapid pace.
The following is information about how a free-response question would be scored. A successful short-answer response accomplishes all seven tasks set forth by the prompt. Each part of the prompt is worth 1 point, for a total of 7 possible points.
Part A (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must define the concept of regionalization as classifying a geographic area according to its unique characteristics.
Part B (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must define the concept of globalization as the processes of growing interconnectedness throughout the world, resulting in an increasingly worldwide culture.
Part C (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must use details to describe, not merely identify, a specific example of regionalization. The writer of the sample response effectively describes details about Spanglish that show how it is an example of regionalization.
Part D (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must use details to describe, not merely identify, a specific example of globalization. The writer of the sample response effectively describes details about a television show and its diffusion that show how it is an example of globalization.
Part E (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must use details to describe a factor that has enabled globalization. The writer of the sample response effectively describes details about improvements in communication that show how this development enabled globalization.
Part F (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must use reasoning and/or examples to explain the potential conflict between regionalization and globalization. The writer of the sample response effectively uses the evidence of the conflict between regional languages and dialects and national languages in the United States and Mexico to explain how regionalization and globalization can conflict.
Part G (1 point)
To earn the point, the response must use reasoning and/or examples to explain a benefit that can result from globalization. The writer of the sample response effectively uses the evidence of sharing computer programming information over the Internet to explain why ease of innovation is a benefit of globalization.