WHAT THE COLLEGE BOARD SAYS:
"This essay question deals specifically with analysis of continuities and changes over time and covers at least one of the periods in the concept outline. It can address, for example, any of the course themes, such as technology, trade, culture, migrations, or environment. There may also be some internal choice within the question, so that students are able to choose to draw their evidence from a case that they know better. The continuity and change-over-time essay questions require students to demonstrate theirmastery of this historical thinking skill. Moreover, students are expected to construct an argument that responds directly to the question; doing so should cause them to use several of the other historical thinking skills (argumentation, causation, contextualization, and synthesis)."
1. DISCUSS BOTH CONTINUITIES AND CHANGES:
This is the same advice from the Compare/Contrast essay, but you'd be surprised. So many people will just talk about changes. Leaving out continuities means you can MAX out at a 5. Don't handcuff yourself. DISCUSS THEM BOTH!!!
2. "RELEVANT WORLD HISTORICAL CONTEXT"
This is where you have to show off your World History skills. "Zoom-out" your focus from the topic at hand and place it in the big picture. How does whatever you're talking about fit into the "grand scheme of things". Generally, these questions will cover the AP's predetermined historical eras. So, look these back over. Periodization plays a big role here. Find a way to make your changes and continuities fit into the themes of the period you are being asked about.
3. COVER THE TIME PERIOD
A few years back they asked about changes in the Atlantic World from 1450-1750. You should immediately think "Columbus". Things really started changing when that guy showed up in the New World. You could probably wax poetic about this huge change. You could talk about all kinds of other explorers and their effects. You're a genius on this topic. But, you need to cover the time period. What was going on in the New World in 1450? Once you've discussed what they were changing from, then mention the big change (1492). FAR TOO MANY PEOPLE STOP HERE. Let's not forget about 1750! What's going on at the end? How is 1750 affected by the big change? And then there is the other side of the issue: The Continuities. Don't say that the New World was consistently Christian. They weren't. Your continuity needs to be as true in 1450 as it is in 1750.