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Ap Human Geography Lingua Franca Essay Format

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If you’re considering taking the AP Human Geography exam in the spring, but haven’t entirely decided, then this is the AP Human Geography study guide for you! The AP Human Geography exam is one of a wide selection of AP classes that students take in high school. AP Human Geography is similar to other AP classes in the fact that the exam consists of a multiple-choice section and an AP Human Geography FRQ section, as well as AP Human Geography practice tests you can take to help you prepare.

While AP Human Geography isn’t the hardest AP class you can take in high school, it does have its own format and content that takes proper preparation. Fortunately, whether it’s the preparation portion or reviewing test-taking tips, we are here to help! This guide will analyze the test for you, covering things like the AP Human Geography exam pass rate, the exam’s content and difficulty, how the exam is structured, what skills are required to succeed in the course, and, most importantly, whether it is worth your time. Then if you feel that AP Human Geography is a class that you want to pursue, we can help you begin preparing for it. Why don’t we get started?

By the Numbers

First, we’ll do a statistical breakdown of the AP Human Geography exam so you can get a better idea of the statistics surrounding it. According to CollegeBoard, the national nonprofit that administers the AP exams every year, 184,663 students took the AP Human Geography exam. This is up 16% compared to the data collected from the 2015 Human Geography exam, with just over 25,000 new students taking the exam this year. 4,730 schools offered the exam and if their particular school did not order or administer AP Human Geography, they were able to take the test at another school.

If you were looking to transfer the Human Geography credit to college, then you are in luck. In 2016, 2,100 colleges and universities accepted the AP Human Geography credit in place of another college class, allowing incoming students to save both time and money.

However, to earn that college credit, you need a certain score. Most colleges will only accept AP Human Geography scores above a three. You will want to look into what your prospective college takes as a transferable college credit because it varies on a school-by-school basis. If you are interested in the score breakdown, then look no further! The score distribution for the 2016 round of AP Human Geography scores is as follows:

  • Students who scored a 5 – 22,054
  • Students who scored a 4 – 37,103
  • Students who scored a 3 – 36,531
  • Students who scored a 2 – 35,360
  • Students who scored a 1 – 53,615

Of the 184,663 students who took the exam, 51.8% scored a three or higher. Of these 184,663 students, only about 12% scored a 5, which is typically the score that guarantees a college will accept the AP credit. Remember that to pass the exam, you need to score at least a three, but most colleges only take fours and fives as transferable credit. Now that we have a better understanding of numbers surrounding the AP Human Geography exam, let’s look at the content and what you need to study.


What exactly is AP Human Geography? According to CollegeBoard, the AP Human Geography exam “introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of the Earth’s surface.” In simple terms, AP Human Geography looks at how humanity has studied and affected its environment, either directly or indirectly. The topics you will study include, but are not limited to, the following list:

  • problems of economic development and cultural change
  • consequences of population growth, changing fertility rates, and international migration
  • struggles over political power and the monopoly of force by a sovereign nation within a particular geographic location
  • the role of climate change and humanity’s effects on the environment and its continuing role in the alteration of landscapes

As you can see, AP Human Geography is a broad topic, but don’t worry, we’ve put together this AP Human Geography study guide to help. Regarding difficulty, the AP Human Geography exam requires you to read and comprehend at a college level. Your success in the course depends on your ability to summarize dense, college-level passages of information and evaluate them textually. Further indications of the AP Human Geography exam’s difficulty depends on your level of comfort with being able to think critically. Can you discuss controversial topics maturely? Are you able to work collaboratively with students to analyze data derived from the real world? You should ask these questions before signing up for the course and taking the exam.

Regarding volume, the AP Human Geography exam has seven key sections, with a special focus on subsections that you will want to be very familiar with if you want to score well. These seven sections and subsequent subsections are as follows:

  • Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives
    • space
    • place
    • scale of analysis
    • pattern
    • regionalization
    • globalization
    • Population and Migration
    • cultural patterns
    • political organization of space
    • food production issues
    • economic development concerns
    • natural resource management
    • urban systems
  • Cultural Patterns and Processes
    • language
    • religion
    • ethnicity
    • gender
    • the relationship between humans and the environment
  • Political Organization of Space
    • the rise of nation-states
    • colonialism and imperialism
    • supranational organizations
    • devolution of states
  • Agriculture, Food Production, and Rural Land Use
    • major agricultural production regions
    • settlement patterns
    • land survey systems
    • sustainability
    • global food supply issues
    • impact of agribusiness
  • Industrialization and Economic Development
    • patterns of industrialization
    • economic core and periphery
    • international division of labor
    • economic inequality
    • energy use
    • pollution and the environment
  • Cities and Urban Land Use
    • the political, cultural, and economic functions of cities
    • theories of settlement geography
    • urban land usage
    • architectural traditions
    • types of transportation and communication between cities

Next, we’ll talk about how the AP Human Geography exam is structured and how you will want to prepare for it.

Exam Structure

The AP Human Geography exam lasts two hours and fifteen minutes. It is divided into two sections that will require different types of preparation. The first section is an AP Human Geography multiple-choice section. The AP Human Geography multiple-choice section consists of 75 questions. For the first section, you will have 60 minutes to complete it. To succeed in this section, you will want to be familiar with a wide array of definitions, concepts, and models. The information is taken from the material you will study the whole school year before taking the exam. The AP Human Geography multiple-choice section makes up 50% of your total score.

The second section is the constructed response, or more frequently known as the free-response questions (AP Human Geography FRQ). This section is composed of three different questions. You will have 75 minutes to complete all three questions. The AP Human Geography FRQ section makes up the other 50% of your AP Human Geography exam score.

Skills Required

The focus of AP Human Geography is to help students understand the relationship between humanity and the world. By engaging students in international issues and presenting multicultural perspectives, AP Human Geography will increase your literacy in global topics and geopolitics. For you to work towards this goal and an overall greater understanding, you will need a broad skill set. Due to the nature of the topic, you will be required to interpret maps and analyze the accompanying spatial data.

The course will present geographic information systems (GIS), satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and other measures of data that you will need to interpret. For example, you may encounter maps that trace human migration between South America and the United States. You will then need to use this data to create predictions about the economic effects of these movements on population centers. Another skill you will need is the ability to recognize patterns. A graph that presents an increase in civil instability in one country may be accompanied by a question asking for its effects in the surrounding area. Additionally, you may be asked to analyze information on a qualitative level rather than a quantitative one. You may see an FRQ that wants you to illustrate how cultural values of a particular group, transplanted in a previously homogenous society, can affect a nation’s government at the national level as well as on the international stage.

To put it in simpler terms: can you acquire, analyze, and answer geographic questions? If you have decided that AP Human Geography is a course you are interested in, but still have some reservations about its value, then keep reading!

Is AP Human Geography Worth it?

This particular question is subjective, as there are many factors that can play into your perception of the value of AP Human Geography. While you may be highly interested in the material we have discussed so far, you may have other AP classes that are more interesting to you. One of the first things you will want to think about is how difficult you think AP Human Geography would be for you. We have laid out the facts, such as the skills required and the material that you would study, but only you know what kind of student you are. AP Human Geography is not like a regular high school class. You will need the discipline to pursue self-study outside of the classroom.

Regardless of the difficulty of the content, you cannot succeed if you don’t study. Important things to include in your assessment would be what your course load looks like for the coming academic year. Is AP Human Geography going to be the only AP class you take? If you are planning on AP Chemistry as well as AP Psychology, you might want to think carefully about how you are going to balance all your studies.

Another factor to consider is which teacher is going to lead the course. What have you heard about this teacher from friends who have already taken the class? Would you be willing to take AP Human Geography if your teacher was teaching the material for the first time? Perhaps you have already had this teacher for a different class, and you know that your learning style does not mesh well with her teaching style. Are you capable of the self-study necessary to supplement her teaching? These vital elements will have an impact on your ability to pick up the material.

Speaking of course material, another component that will contribute to your success is the accessibility of additional resources and the quality of the material available. You will need up-to-date textbooks that you can reference. You will also need supplementary AP Human Geography study guide materials, such as AP Human Geography practice tests, past AP Human Geography FRQs, sample AP Human Geography multiple choice questions, as well as explanations of correct answers. Furthermore, you will need an overarching study plan to keep it all organized. Preparing for the AP exam is no simple task, and you will need the whole year before the test to achieve the score you are looking for.

We believe that AP Human Geography is a class worth pursuing. The broad material may lead you to a subject that you will want to continue in college. Additionally, the class will teach you how to study for a college course if you haven’t taken an AP class before. Furthermore, if your school administers the exam, pays for the course, and you pass, you have the opportunity to transfer the credit to your future college. This means that you will have a chance to skip over an introductory course and go straight to a higher level course within your major. It’s like free money!

Next Steps

If you are a determined to take AP Human Geography and feel that you have the necessary discipline and motivation to get that vaunted 5 on the exam, then your next move is to start preparing. It’s never too early to start learning and studying the material that is going to be on the exam. If you are signed up for the class, you will want to make a schedule for yourself. Aside from regularly attending and listening to your teacher, you are going to want to begin planning when you will review the material. For example, let’s say that at the start of the week your teacher discusses the different ways population densities are measured. A week from then you will want to set aside a few hours to review the definitions and terms you have learned. You might also want to schedule in AP Human Geography practice tests Depending on your learning style; you ought to review a few days sooner or perhaps even two weeks after. Don’t think you can skip reviewing old material! The best way to score well on the AP Human Geography exam is through repetition and practice.

To give you a better idea of the question format of the AP Human Geography exam, we have included two sample questions.

Sample Multiple Choice Question

Physiological population density is viewed as a superior measure of population density for which of the following reasons?

A. It is more reflective of population pressure on arable land.

B. It yields the average population density.

C. It is more reflective of the world’s largest population concentrations.

D. It measures the average by dividing total land area by total number of people.

E. It best reflects the percentage of a country’s population that is urbanized.

The correct answer is A. If you got it right, then you are already on your way to AP Human Geography success! Option A is the right answer because populations trend toward arable land, as it is typically supportive of life. Physiological population does not reflect how a population is spread on average, so options B and D are incorrect. Options C and E are wrong because they are inaccurate definitions of physiological population density.

Sample Free-Response Question:

English is the most widely used language in the world, thus becoming the world’s lingua franca.

  • Define the term “lingua franca.”
  • Identify and describe ONE historical factor that contributed to the worldwide use of English.
  • Identify and explain TWO examples that show how globalization is contributing to English becoming the world’s lingua franca.

A sample response to this AP Human Geography FRQ is as follows:

A lingua franca is a language mutually understood and commonly used in trade by people who have different native languages. An historical factor that contributed to the worldwide use of English was the prevalence of Great Britain as a dominant naval trading power during the Age of Navigation and subsequent Age of Colonialism. One example of globalization’s effect on English transforming into the world’s lingua franca is the usage of the American dollar as the standard currency of business. Since the American dollar is tied to the United States, which uses English primarily, and the US is a key player in global commerce, English continues to be the key language of trade. Another example is the prevalence of Hollywood film across the globe. The films are produced in English, and with the rise of the American cultural monopoly, it is becoming easier to learn English. 

In conclusion, AP Human Geography is not difficult if you prepare properly. Whether you are looking to get the transferable college credit or you are simply interested in the material, the best way to succeed in the course is both a desire to succeed and the willpower to study on your own outside of class. We have outlined what it takes, the content, the skills required, and the actual format of the test. However, at the end of the day, you have to make the decision and take the test once AP exam season rolls around. Have we helped you decide whether or not to take AP Human Geography?

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