Exam preparation materials

The "Multiple” Multiple-Choice Question

In contrast to the question types reviewed so far, the “multiple” multiple-choice has not been common on recent exams. It has a format different from that of any other question. In addition to the five choices lettered A through E. there are four answers numbered I through IV; the right choice is usually a combination of those answers. There are often several correct answers presented in a “multiple” multiple-choice question. The best way to approach this type of question is to circle the correct answers and look for that combination in the lettered choices.

Example 1

1. Armed conflicts between white settlers and Native Americans were common during the seventeenth century. Which of the following involved Native Americans?

I. Pequot War

II. Whiskey Rebellion

III. Bacon’s Rebellion

IV. King Philip’s War

A. I only

B. I and IV only

C. II and III only

D. I, II, and III only

E. I, III, and IV only

The correct answer is E. The Pequot War (1637) in Connecticut led to the tribe’s virtual extermination; King Philip’s War (1675-1676) involved Native American tribes in New England; Bacon’s Rebellion (1675-1677) began as a conflict between settlers and Native Americans in Virginia. Even if you don't know that the Whiskey Rebellion (1794) was a farmers’ revolt over taxes, you might remember that it took place after American independence and not in the seventeenth century.

Example 2

2. Most immigrants arriving in the United States between 1890 and 1925 came from

I. Russia

II. Great Britain

III. China

IV. Italy

A. I only

B. I and III only

C. I and IV only

D. II and III only

E. I, II, and III only

The correct answer is C. This question asks about the New Immigration. From the 1890s to 1925, the overwhelming majority of immigrants came from southern and eastern Europe, for example, Russia and Italy. Chinese immigration to the United States was effectively ended by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Example 3

3. As a direct result of the Spanish-American War, the United States gained control over


the Philippines




Puerto Rico




I and II only


I and III only


I and IV only


I, II, and III only


I. III, and IV only

The correct answer is B. Cuba gained its independence as a result of the war; although Hawaii came under U.S. control in 1898, its annexation was unrelated to the war with Spain.

Example 4

4. President Hoover responded to the Depression by

I. making loans available to financial institutions, railroads, and insurance companies

II. supporting private relief efforts by established charities

III. creating numerous new federal programs to provide jobs for the unemployed

IV. taking the United States off the gold standard

A. I and II only

B. I and III only

C. I and IV only

D. II and IV only

E. I, II, and IV only

The correct answer is A. Hoover’s basic response to the Depression was to rely on private relief efforts. Late in his term, as the Depression continued to worsen, he did establish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to put federal money into the economy.

Example 5

5. In the period after World War II, which of the following were intended to contain the expansion of the Soviet Union?


II. Camp David Accords

III. United Nations

IV. Truman Doctrine

A. I only

B. I and III only

C. I and IV only

D. Ill and IV only

E. I, III, and IV only

The correct answer is C. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is the military alliance that confronted the Soviet Union and Eastern European nations of the Warsaw Pact. The Truman Doctrine committed the United States to protect Greece and Turkey and to use American military and economic resources to check the expansion of the Soviet Union. The Camp David Accords refer to the peace settlement negotiated by President Jimmy Carter between Egypt and Israel in 1979. The United Nations was not an instrument of American foreign policy.

Even with the different formats, the examples of multiple-choice questions given so far are rather straightforward. The AP exam may also use quotations, visuals (such as maps, photographs, cartoons, and artwork), and statistical data to test your ability to analyze documents, a crucial skill for the historian. Analytical questions, or “stimulus” questions as they are sometimes called, also require you to recall factual information in a different context. For example, you might be asked to locate, on a map of the thirteen colonies, where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Knowing how to handle analytical questions is important because you’ll come across the same types of documents on the DBQ. If you can correctly interpret the meaning of a passage or glean information from a photograph here, you’ll have little difficulty integrating documents into your essay on the DBQ.

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