Exam preparation materials


There are two types of maps used on the AP Exam: (1) maps that are historically significant themselves, for example, maps drawn by Lewis and Clark during their expedition, and (2) maps created to visually present historical information. The latter are far more common and are the type found in your textbook or a historical atlas. They are useful in describing the results of elections, the territorial growth of the United States, and military campaigns. Maps can also be used to present social and economic data — population density, agricultural and industrial development, migration patterns.

Like charts and graphs, map questions test your ability to “read” a visual document. It’s important to note the title as well as the legend or key before trying to answer the question. You should be aware that this information is not provided on all maps.

Example 1


1. According to the map above, which was the first state to ratify the Constitution?






New York




New Jersey

The correct answer is A. This is an example of a straightforward map question. You can easily see which state ratified the Constitution first by the date; all you need to do is be able to name the state from the map.

Example 2

2. Based on the above map, the Constitution was formally adopted after which state ratified it?

A. Rhode Island

B. Maryland

C. Delaware

D. New Hampshire

E. Massachusetts

The correct answer is D. Here you need to know that the Constitution provided for ratification by nine of the thirteen states. The ninth state to approve the Constitution was New Hampshire.

Example 3

3. The shaded area on the above map refers to

A. states admitted to the Union after the Missouri Compromise

B. the area surveyed under the Land Ordinance of 1785

C. states where the Ku Klux Klan was strong in the 1920s

D. states that were formed out of the Louisiana Purchase

E. states that had major industrial development in the period 1800-1820

The correct answer is B. The shaded area is the old Northwest Territory, which was surveyed under the Land Ordinance of 1785. Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio were admitted before the Missouri Compromise, and significant industrial development was not evident in the region until after 1820.

Example 4



4. Which of the following statements about the states in Region II on the map is true?

A. They were slaveholding states that remained loyal to the Union.

B. They include Virginia, which was the first state to secede from the Union.

C. They seceded from the Union after Fort Sumter was fired on.

D. They seceded from the Union before Fort Sumter was fired on.

E. They were the states with the highest number of slaves.

The correct answer is C. Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded after the attack on Fort Sumter. South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union on December 20, 1860. Given the title of the map, it is extremely unlikely that the correct answer would deal with the slave population.

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