U.S. History I Final Exam Study Guide

This major two-hour exam consists of two (2) sections.  Students must complete ONE (1) of the essay choices (out of a choice of 5) in Section One. Students must also complete ALL four questions in Section Two.  It is worth 10 percent of your overall grade.

Section I (60 minutes) - One essay response from a choice of 5 questions (15 marks)

Section II (55 minutes) – There will be TWO comprehension questions (2 and 3 marks); ONE compare and contrast question (6 marks); and one Mini-Essay (9 marks) that will require the incorporation of two of the documents from the previous three questions. (20 marks)

Scoring:  Scoring will be based on 35 TOTAL MARKS using the sum of marks in Sections I & II.

Section I
Essay Questions

Below are 10 examples of essay questions based on material that we have studied during the second semester. You will be given a choice of five of these type of questions on the final exam and will have to choose ONE to answer.

1. To what extent did the U.S. Constitution attempt to solve the challenges faced by the new American Republic during the 1780s.

2. How did geography shape the creation of the United States from 1755 to 1860?

3. “Slavery caused the American Civil War.” To what extent do you agree with this statement.

4. Analyze the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as a means of effectively governing the colonies.  

5. To what extent did compromise effectively address the disagreements over the expansion of slavery in the new US territories?

6. Examine how legislation and court cases further divided the US between North and South between the years 1820 and 1860.

7. To what extent did nationalism and the "War Hawks" cause the War of 1812?

8. Analyze the causes of the Civil War.

9. Discuss the factors that contributed to feelings of nationalism and sectionalism between the turn of the nineteenth century and the early 1830s

Think About:

• Henry Clay and the American System

• the role of a national bank

• how transportation affects a nation’s economy

• differences in the economies of the North and South

• the Missouri Compromise of 1820

• the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 and how they were intended to protect the nation’s economy

• states’ rights and the idea of nullification

• the War of 1812 and America’s status as a nation

10. Analyze the events and factors that drove the United States expand its territory in the 1830s and 1840s?

Think About:

• practical and idealistic reasons for settling the West

• treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government

• territorial disputes with other countries

• advances in technology

• entrepreneurship

• developments in transportation and communication

Section II
Document-Based Question Topics
Below are topics where the primary source material will be drawn from for your four document-based questions. While you cannot specifically study for these questions, it is important that you remember the ideal way to answer each of the type of questions. 

- 2 Comprehension Questions: You can explain two or three (depending on the number of marks the question is worth) messages from each source in your own words AND provide evidence from the source demonstrating/proving your understanding (ie. Quotes).

- 1 Compare and Contrast Question: You will have made several comparisons and contrasts between two documents and an argument is made throughout your answer; arguments are based on specific evidence in the sources. You have also effectively used quotes from the sources to make direct links between the documents.

- 1 Mini Essay: You will answer a short-answer question and incorporate two documents to support your argument. This answer should be about three paragraphs long.

  • Westward Expansion
  • Native American Removal Act
  • Causes of the Civil War

Examples of Document-Based Questions


1. (a) According to Source C, which freedoms are “necessary to the

                  security of a Free State”?                             [2 marks]

(b)  Why, according to Source D, were the taxes on the colonies justified?     [3 marks]


2.        Compare & contrast the messages of Sources A and B with regards to

          Colonists’ complaints toward the British.                                                            [6 marks]


3. Using Documents B and D, and your own knowledge, to what extent did the Boston Massacre lead to the

         American Revolution?                                                     [9 marks]


I recommend you go back and look at your last essay and review your document-based answers to your mid-term exam (Find it on Classroom). These examples of YOUR past efforts will provide a snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses providing a great foundation to begin studying.

Markbands - out of 35

A+ = 28+

97 - 98 - 99 - 100

A = 22 - 27 marks

90 - 91 - 92 - 93 - 94 - 95

B = 17 - 21 marks

80 - 82 - 85 - 88 - 89

C = 13 - 16 marks

70 - 73 - 76 - 78

D = 9 - 12 marks

60 - 65 - 68

F = < 9 marks

< 59