U.S.

History The United States History Subject Test assesses your knowledge of and ability to use material commonly taught in U.S. History and social studies courses in high school. Anticipated Skills  Familiarity with historical concepts, cause-and-effect relationships, geography, and other data necessary for understanding major historical developments A grasp of concepts essential to historical analysis An ability to use historical knowledge in interpreting data in maps, graphs, charts, or cartoons

  Recommended Prep  

A one-year, comprehensive course in U.S. History at the college preparatory level is essential. Social studies courses and outside reading could be helpful also. Overall, prepare with a variety of reading approaches and academic courses, including courses in United States History that focus on pre-Columbian times to the present.

More specifically, review the sample questions here. Review your U.S. History textbook, too, paying careful attention to any areas you're weak in, as well as to "periodization," the trends within major periods. Timelines are useful tools for doing this. What's the best textbook? The test is not tied to any one particular textbook. Periodically, teachers are surveyed about what they teach in their U.S. History courses and how much time they spend on specific topics. This data is used to set the specifications for the test. U.S. History Test Format There are 90 to 95 multiple-choice questions covering political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural history, as well as foreign policy. Material Covered Approximate Percentage of Test

Political History*

32-36

Economic History*

18-20

Social History*

18-22

Intellectual and Cultural History*

10-12

Foreign Policy*

13-17

Periods Covered Pre-Columbian history to 1789 1790 to 1898 1899 to the present

Percentage of Test 20 40 40

*Note: Social science concepts, methods, and generalization are incorporated in the material above. Total score on the 200-to-800 scale Scores Reported Total score on the 200-to-800 scale All questions on the U.S. history Tests are multiple-choice, requiring you to choose the best response from five choices. Questions may be presented as separate items or in sets based on quotes, maps, pictures, graphs, or tables.

The chief reason given by Woodrow Wilson for requesting a declaration of war against Germany in 1917 was the Top of Form

(A) refusal of Germany to accept the Fourteen Points as a basis for peace negotiations

(B)

need to establish a League of Nations after the war

(C)

resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany

(D)

economic rivalry between the United States and Germany

(E)

cultural ties between the United States and England

Correct Answer: C Explanation: Several factors drew the United States into the war, but Wilson's declaration was made in response to Germany's decision to resume unrestricted U-boat attacks. Earlier unrestricted U-Boat attacks (such as on the liner Lusitania) had resulted in United States casualties, and the threat of more attacks was cited by Wilson as the central reason to declare war against Germany. Wilson did not put forth the Fourteen Points declaration until 1918 as a part of his proposal for a postwar settlement. The League of Nations was created at the Versailles peace conference in 1919, and was not pronounced in 1917 as a central reason to enter the war. While economic concerns did enter into the debates over whether the United States should formally enter the war, economic rivalry between the United States and Germany was not given by Wilson as the main justification for declaring war. Similarly, cultural ties with England did influence the debate, but were not cited by Wilson as a central justification.

Which of the following statements about social trends in the United States between 1945 and 1970 is INCORRECT? Top of Form (A) There was an overall increase in college enrollment.

(B)

The proportion of blue-collar jobs in the economy decreased.

(C)

Increasing numbers of African American children attended racially integrated schools.

(D)

There was an exodus of population from the cities to the suburbs.

(E)

By the end of the period, a lower proportion of women were working outside the home than at the beginning.

Correct Answer: E Explanation: After the dramatic increase of women in the workforce during the Second World War, there were large- scale layoffs of women. Even so, women soon returned to work outside the home in large numbers, and the proportion of women in the labor force continued to grow from that time forward. So the key is not an accurate statement of a social trend between 1945 and 1970. All of the other statements are accurate descriptions of social trends during the time between 1945 and 1970.

Which of the following statements best represents a nativist attitude toward the influx of immigrants around 1900? Top of Form (A) Slavs and Italians will be assimilated as easily into the American way of life as were earlier immigrant groups.

(B)

Ellis Island should be enlarged to accommodate the huge influx of immigrants.

(C)

Immigrants will work for low wages and break strikes, thereby hurting all American workers.

(D)

Native-born Americans should organize to help find jobs and homes for new immigrants so that they can become citizens as quickly as possible.

(E)

Political machines in the large cities should be responsible for providing immigrants with food, shelter, and jobs in return for their votes.

Correct Answer: C Explanation: Nativism in the United States, consisting of anti-immigrant sentiment and fear of foreign influence, was a major presence in politics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Thus, a nativist attitude would be one that reflects a bias against new immigrants. This points most clearly to the anti-immigrant attitude in answer choice C, which describes immigrants as a threat to American workers--an accurate description of an attitude held by many nativists around 1900.

Which of the following was true of Black soldiers in the United States Army during the First World War? Top of Form (A) Black soldiers and White soldiers served in fully integrated units.

(B)

Black soldiers served in segregated units often commanded by White officers.

(C)

Black Americans were drafted into the armed forces but were not allowed to enlist.

(D)

Black Americans were not allowed in the armed forces, but were encouraged to take factory jobs in war industries.

(E)

Because some Black leaders opposed the war, the government placed Black soldiers only in noncombat positions.

Correct Answer: B Explanation: Virtually all Black soldiers in the United States Army during the First World War served in segregated units, but they were often commanded by White officers. Black Americans were allowed to enlist in the armed forces, but Black and White soldiers did not serve in fully integrated units until after the Second World War. Many (but not all) Black units were kept out of combat, but this was due to racist assumptions about their inability to fight, and not to fears that they were influenced by some Black leaders' opposition to the war. In fact, one Black unit, New York's 369th Regiment, saw combat in the trenches longer than any other United States unit. From the sixteenth through the eighteenth century, the cultural patterns of the American Indians of the western plains were most dramatically influenced by Top of Form (A) major changes in ecological conditions

(B)

contact with tribes from eastern coastal areas

(C)

the adoption of European styles of dress

(D)

the adoption of European agricultural techniques

(E)

the introduction of the horse by Spanish explorers and settlers

Correct Answer: E Explanation: The introduction of the horse had a dramatic affect on the culture of American Indians of the western plains. The horse vastly improved the Indians'

ability to hunt buffalo and other game. As a result of adopting horseback riding, many tribes were transformed in a few generations: from semi-sedentary hunters, gathereres and farmers, to fully nomadic hunters. There was no major change in the ecology of the Plains in this period. Contact between Plains tribes and Eastern coastal tribes was indirect and unimportant. European styles of dress were not necessarily adopted by Plains Indians, nor would they have represented a major change in cultural patterns. The Indians of the plains did not adopt European farming practices in this period.

The primary reason the United States advocated the Open Door policy in 1899 was to Top of Form (A) consolidate good relations between the United States and European countries holding leases in China

(B)

encourage Asian nations to protect Chinese interests

(C)

expand the effort of European nations to Westernize China

(D)

protect United States missionaries in China

(E)

protect United States trading opportunities in China

Correct Answer: E Explanation: The Open Door policy, enunciated in a series of diplomatic notes to various European countries, was an effort to maintain equal trading access to Chinese markets for all nations, but was promoted by the United States primarily to secure its own trading rights against those of other powers that were trying to divide China into separate spheres of influence. The policy was an appeal to European countries that were occupying China to refrain from interfering with United States trade access, but it was not primarily focused on maintaining good relations with those countries. The other answer choices were not primary reasons for the Open Door policy.

The principal consequence of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was that it Top of Form (A) terminated the earlier system of land survey established by the federal government for the territories

(B)

established a procedure for bringing new states into the Union as the equals of the older states

(C) provided for the removal of American Indians from the East Coast to territories across the Appalachian mountains

(D)

encouraged the drafting of a new treaty with England concerning the disposition of the western territories

(E)

strengthened the role of the thirteen original states in Congress

Correct Answer: B Explanation: The Northwest Ordinances were intended to establish procedures for the settlement and administration of the areas in the Northwest Territory (the area ceded by Great Britain in 1783 that would later include Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois). The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established the procedure to bring territories into full statehood with the same status as the existing states.

"If the Creator had separated Texas from the Union by mountain barriers, the Alps or the Andes, there might be plausible objections; but He has planed down the whole [Mississippi] Valley including Texas, and united every atom of the soil and every drop of the water of the mighty whole. He has linked their rivers with the great Mississippi, and marked and united the whole for the dominion of one government, the residence of one people." This quotation from the 1840's can be viewed as an expression of

Top of Form (A) The New Nationalism

(B)

popular sovereignty

(C)

Manifest Destiny

(D)

the Good Neighbor policy

(E)

the frontier thesis

Correct Answer: C Explanation: The quotation is a clear example of the sentiments of Manifest Destiny, the idea that the domination and expansion of the United States across the North American continent is inevitable and divinely sanctioned. The author points to the geographical openness and interconnection of the Mississippi Valley as evidence that it is created for one people to lay claim to it.

During the period from 1492 to 1700, French activity in the Americas was primarily directed toward Top of Form (A) establishing trade with American Indians

(B)

plundering American Indian settlements for gold and silver

(C)

conquering Spanish and English colonies

(D)

encouraging the growth of permanent settlements

(E)

discovering a new route to Africa

Correct Answer: A Explanation: French activity in the Americas centered on development of extensive fur-trading with American Indians. The French were not known for plundering American Indian settlements for gold and silver nor anything else; their emphasis was on developing positive relationships that would foster the fur trade. Conquering Spanish and English colonies was not an objective of French activity; their concern with exploration and development far outweighed interest in fostering permanent settlements (though some were established); and discovering a new route to Africa was not a significant motive for French activity.

Which of the following best describes the role played by the People's (Populist) Party during the 1890's? Top of Form (A) An instrument to protect small businesses from governmental regulation

(B)

An organization foreshadowing the subsequent socialist movement

(C)

A vehicle for agrarian protest against railroad and banking interests

(D)

The political arm of the new labor movement

(E)

The medium through which urban ethnic groups entered national politics

Correct Answer: C Explanation: The Populist movement grew out of the farmers' alliances, and culminated in the rise of the People's (Populist) Party. The Party platform included, among other issues, nationalization of the railroads and reduction of the influence of bankers over the agricultural economy. The Populists were not looking to protect small business from government regulation. While they did argue that the powers of government should be expanded, not restrained; their pro-government stance was distinct from the complete government takeover of industries advocated by the socialists. The People's Party was a party of farmers and rural interests and was not part of the movement to organize industrial workers in the cities. In the Declaration of Independence, the theory of government used to justify the break with Britain was derived most directly from the ideas of: Top of Form (A) Rousseau

(B) Locke

(C) Montesquieu

(D) Hobbes

(E) Voltaire Correct Answer: B Explanation: John Locke's arguments that the legitimacy of government depends on the consent of the governed, that political authority is based on social contract, and that people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property were fundamental to the Declaration of Independence. Hobbes and Rousseau were important contributors to the development of contract theory and it was Montesquieu who put forward the idea of separation of powers later applied in the Constitution, but Locke's ideas were by far the most direct source for the Declaration's justification of the break with Britain. The Enlightenment philosophy of Voltaire did not directly contribute to the theory of government applied in the Declaration. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 is best summarized by which of the following statements: Top of Form (A) The United States would not permit the continuance of the African slave trade.

(B)

The United States would feel free to intervene in any case where a democratic nation was threatened by a non-democratic one.

(C)

The United States would not allow the creation of any new colonies in the Western Hemisphere, although it would not interfere with existing ones.

(D)

The United States would insist that all nations be given equal access to markets in the Far East.

(E)

The United States would not extend diplomatic recognition to any foreign government that came to power by force.

Correct Answer: C Explanation: The Monroe Doctrine asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonized by European countries, but also that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at the time when many Latin American countries were on the verge of becoming independent from Spain and the United States hoped to avoid having any European power take Spain's place.

One purpose of the Marshall Plan of 1948 was to Top of Form (A) rebuild European economies to make communism less appealing

(B)

aid the depressed agricultural economies of Latin American nations

(C) aid communist nations that would agree to embrace democracy

(D) give military aid to those nations resisting communist subversion

(E) help the peoples of Asia establish heavy industries Correct Answer: A Explanation: Following the Second World War, the United States' European Recovery Program (best known as the Marshall Plan) was designed to help rebuild the economies of European countries with the hope that stable economies would support democratic government. The United States was concerned that weak economies, and the social conditions that would result from economic instability, might make communism more appealing to European countries ravaged by war. Harriet Tubman was known as the "Moses" of her people because she Top of Form (A) helped slaves escape from the South

(B) was instrumental in bringing about suffrage reform

(C)

advocated emigration to Africa for Black people

(D)

organized mass civil rights demonstrations

(E)

traveled as a lay minister preaching the gospel

Correct Answer: A Explanation: Harriet Tubman was a notable African American abolitionist. As the use of the name "Moses" may help you to remember, Tubman led many slaves to freedom in the North along the route of the Underground Railroad. This achievement is not noted in any of the other choices, which describe activities that Tubman did not pursue nor advocate.

From 1870 to 1930, the trend in industry was for hours to be generally reduced, while both money wages and real wages rose. What factor was primarily responsible for this trend? Top of Form (A) A reduction in profit margins

(B)

Minimum wage laws

(C)

Restriction of the labor supply

(D) Increased output per hour of work

(E)

Right-to-work legislation

Correct Answer: D Explanation: The best answer to this question is choice D. To arrive at this answer, you must be aware that the trend referred to in the question came about primarily because of technological advances that resulted in increased productivity. None of the other answer choices satisfactorily accounts for all the conditions described in the question. World History The World History Subject Test measures your understanding of key developments in global history and your use of basic historical techniques. Basic techniques include the application and weighing of evidence and the ability to interpret and generalize. Anticipated Skills    Familiarity with terminology, cause-and-effect relationships, geography, and other data necessary for understanding major historical developments A grasp of concepts essential to historical analysis An ability to use historical knowledge in interpreting data in maps, graphs, charts, or cartoons Recommended Prep Overall, prepare with a variety of reading approaches and academic courses, including courses in world history that focus on world cultures or area studies. More specifically, review the sample questions here. Then take the real practice test included in The Official Study Guide for all SAT Subject Tests. Review your world history textbook, too, paying careful attention to any areas you're weak in, as well as to "periodization," the trends within major periods. Timelines are useful tools for doing this. What's the best textbook? The test is not tied to any one particular textbook. Periodically, teachers are surveyed about what they teach in their world history courses and how much time they spend on specific topics. This data is used to set the specifications for the test. World History Test Format One hour long, the test consists of 95 multiple-choice questions, covering the entire history of the world, from ancient times to the present, including all inhabitable continents. It also covers all historical fields: political and diplomat intellectual and cultural, and social and economic. A breakdown of the topics and how the questions are distributed: Chronological Material Covered Approximate Percentage of Test

Pre-history and Civilizations to the year 500 Common Era (C.E.)

25

500 to 1500 C.E.

20

1500-1900 C.E.

25

Post-1900 C.E.

20

Cross-chronological

10

Geographical Material Covered Europe Africa Southwest Asia South and Southeast Asia East Asia The Americas (excluding the United States)

Approximate Percentage of Test 25 10 10 10 10 10

Global or Comparative Back to top

25

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All questions on the World history Tests are multiple-choice, requiring you to choose the best response from five choices. Questions may be presented as separate items or in sets based on quotes, maps, pictures, graphs, or tables.

The Maya of Mesoamerica are best known for their achievements in: Top of Form (A) Ship building and navigation

(B) Mathematics and astronomy

(C)

Animal husbandry

(D)

Carpentry

(E)

Literature

Correct Answer: B Explanation: No other American Indian group demonstrated such extraordinary achievements in mathematics and astronomy. The Maya developed a sophisticated mathematical system, chiefly used for their study of the stars and planets. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 77% of test-takers. Which of the following is the correct chronological order, from earliest to latest, of the origins of the religions listed below? Top of Form (A) Buddhism, Christianity, Islam

(B) Buddhism, Islam, Christianity

(C) Christianity, Buddhism, Islam

(D) Christianity, Islam, Buddhism

(E) Islam, Christianity, Buddhism

Hint

Place the origins of these religious traditions in historical context:   Buddhism was based on the teachings of Buddha in India hundreds of years before the rise of Christianity. The Christian religion, which grew out of Judaism, was based on the teachings of Jesus Christ in Palestine during the first century C.E. (standing for "Common Era"). Islam drew from both the Jewish and Christian traditions. It was introduced in the Arabian Peninsula by the prophet Muhammad. During the seventh and eighth centuries, Islam expanded rapidly into Africa, Asia, and Europe. Correct Answer: A Explanation: To answer this question you need to know an important chronological sequence in world history: in what order major world religions developed. Buddhism developed in the sixth century B.C.E., Christianity in the first and second centuries C.E., and Islam in the seventh century C.E. Therefore the only correct response can be (A). Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 37% of test-takers.

 

 The lined portion of the map above indicates areas at the beginning of the ninth century included within the  Top of Form (A) Byzantine Empire

(B)

Islamic world

(C)

Mongol dominions

(D) Holy Roman Empire

(E)

Carolingian Empire

Hint Map questions often test your understanding of both geographical and chronological data. Pay close attention to the information provided on the map and in the question. The shaded area on the map includes Spain, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Persia (Iran). As you are told in the question, the time-period to focus on is the beginning of the ninth century (around 800 C.E.). The list of possible answers includes five political and/or religious entities. Identify which one was dominant in the indicated area during the indicated time-period.  Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form

Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Correct Answer: B

of of of of of of of

Form Form Form Form Form Form Form

Explanation: The Islamic world came into existence in the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century and it rapidly expanded geographically into North Africa, Asia, and Spain during the seventh and eighth centuries. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 55% of test-takers. When the Portuguese sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean in the late fifteenth century, they found Top of Form (A) numerous ports under the control of merchants from Genoa.

(B)

colonial domination of ports and sea lanes by the navy of the Ottoman Empire.

(C)

a region where sea trade had not yet developed.

(D)

a region defended and patrolled by fleets of the Chinese navy.

(E)

a network of long distance trade routes dominated by Muslim merchants.

Correct Answer: E Explanation: Trade was flourishing in the Indian Ocean in the late fifteenth century. Muslim traders had controlled the rich spice trade of the region for centuries, having established a network of long-distance trade routes. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 29% of test-takers.

Top of Form The rapid colonization of Africa by the European powers after 1880 was motivated primarily by Top of Form (A) the demand for slaves to cultivate New World cotton and sugar

(B) the desire for new markets, raw materials, and strategic advantage

(C)

the need to tap the hydroelectric potential of the African rivers

(D)

the heavy demand for African workers in European factories

(E) heightened interest by Europeans in tourism and big-game hunting

Correct Answer: B Explanation: You need to remember why Europeans chose to colonize Africa at this particular time. In the late 1880's European countries became more nationalistic and more economically competitive. European leaders laid down the ground rules for "carving up" Africa at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885; Europeans then established political and economic control over most of the African continent. Note that the question asks for the primary reason. So, while it is true, as (E) says, that Europeans became more interested in big game hunting, this was a minor motivation for African colonization in comparison to (B).

Top of Form Which of the following is an accurate statement about the right of Latin American women to vote? Top of Form (A) It was won when Latin America gained its independence.

(B)

It has typically been won as a result of mass political action and civil disobedience.

(C) It has been won only where socialist or Marxist governments have come to power.

(D)

It has been tied to property ownership in most countries.

(E)

It was generally won by the mid-1900's.

Correct Answer: E Explanation: Ecuador in 1929 became the first Latin American nation to adopt woman suffrage. Within four years Brazil, Uruguay, and Cuba followed suit. In most Latin American nations, women had gained the right to vote by the mid-twentieth century. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 57% of test-takers. The 1907 painting by Picasso shown here reveals the influence of which of the following? Top of Form (A) Chinese art

(B)

African art

(C)

Indian art

(D) European medieval art

(E) European Romantic art

Correct Answer: B Explanation: Picasso's art showed many influences, but none was more important than the art of Africa, as is evident in the masklike rendering of the face in the featured picture. Picasso's geometrical treatment of the human form was inspired by African art. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 65% of test-takers. The Great Leap Forward in China was primarily designed to do which of the following? Top of Form

(A)

Achieve rapid industrialization of the Chinese economy.

(B)

Oust the imperial government.

(C)

Promote capitalism within the Chinese economy.

(D)

Strengthen the Chinese so they could expel the Japanese from Manchuria.

(E)

Expand Chinese influence in the Third World.

Correct Answer: A Explanation: The Great Leap Forward was an ambitious economic development campaign undertaken by Mao Tse-tung's Chinese Communist government of the late 1950's. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 73% of test-takers. Percentage of 18-22 Year Olds of Working-Class Backgrounds Enrolled in Institutions of Higher Learning in 1960 Yugoslavia 56.0%

Czechoslovaki 39.3% a Poland Great Britain France 32.9% 25.0% 5.3%

West Germany 5.2% Which of the following statements is supported by the table above? Top of Form (A) A private enterprise system provided the greatest access for students to higher education.

(B)

European women and men had equal access to higher education.

(C)

In Eastern Europe the nationalization of industry had not displaced the former ruling classes from their social prominence.

(D)

Students from working-class backgrounds in Eastern Europe had greater access to higher education than did students from similar backgrounds in Western Europe.

(E)

Students in Eastern and Western Europe had approximately equal access to higher education.

Hint This question requires you to evaluate carefully the data listed in the chart, and to decide what it tells you and what it does not tell you. You need to keep in mind that during the 1960s, Europe was in the midst of the Cold War, and was divided into Eastern and Western blocs that had different economic and political systems. Then you need to determine which of the countries listed were, during that period, located in Eastern Europe and which ones were located in Western Europe and see what differences emerge. Correct Answer: D Explanation: The Eastern European countries on the list were Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Poland; the Western European countries were Great Britain, France, and West Germany. A larger percentage of students were from working class backgrounds in Eastern Europe than was the case in Western Europe. This difference was in part due to the communist philosophy prevailng in the regimes of Eastern Europe that the working class was the most "historically progressive" class. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 88% of test-takers.

The Leading Role of the Party. A. Krauze, 1981 The cartoon above reflects a critical view of the Communist party leadership in which of the following countries? Top of Form (A) The Soviet Union

(B)

Poland

(C)

Hungary

(D)

Romania

(E)

Bulgaria

Hint This is an example of a question based on the interpretation of a political cartoon. When you come to such a question in the test, carefully study the image and any text in it to understand the cartoonist's message. This political cartoon from 1981 depicts hard times (the rocky road), an economy in shambles (the rickety cart), and an unfeeling and remote political leadership (the loud-mouthed official barking out orders). The burden of keeping society working falls on the Catholic Church (symbolized by the priest pushing the cart) and the unionized workers (indicated by the man in work clothes pulling the cart). Correct Answer: B Explanation: The term "Solidarnosc" (Solidarity) written on the back of the person representing the unions and the figure of the priest pushing the cart are clues to you that the correct answer is (B). The Polish union movement, Solidarity, started at the Lenin shipyards in Gdansk in 1980, and had 10 million members by 1981, the date shown on the cartoon. The Solidarity movement and the Catholic Church were the two major opponents of the Communist regime in Poland in this period. Difficulty: This question was answered correctly by 52% of test-takers.

Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form Bottom of Form

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