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The AP European History Exam

Updates to the Rubrics and Skills

The rubrics for the AP history document-based questions and long essays have been improved based on teacher feedback. The rubrics continue to use an analytic structure, but the definitions within that structure have been refined to be clearer and more precise. In addition, modifications to the structure of the rubric change how points are assigned during the scoring of student essays.

To align with these changes, we’ve also made minor adjustments to the language of the historical thinking skills and presented the skills and related skill proficiencies in an easier-to-read table layout.

Download the updated rubrics and historical thinking skills (.pdf/555KB).

Exam Overview


The AP Exam questions measure students' knowledge of European history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on key and supporting concepts, course themes, and historical thinking skills.

The new exam will feature short-answer, document-based, and essay questions that ask students to demonstrate historical content knowledge and thinking skills through written responses. Multiple-choice questions will ask students to use content knowledge to analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources.

Format of Assessment

Section I Part A: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions appear in sets of 2-5.
  • Students analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section I Part B: Short Answer | 4 Questions | 50 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

  • Questions provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

Section II Part A: Document Based | 1 Question | 55 Minutes | 25% of Exam Score

  • Analyze and synthesize historical data.
  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.

Section II Part B: Long Essay | 1 Question | 35 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

  • Students select one question among two.
  • Explain and analyze significant issues in European history.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.

The AP European History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/7.18MB) provides additional details about the exam. Note: An updated version of this PDF reflecting the updated rubrics and historical thinking skills will be available soon.

Multiple-Choice Questions

For sample multiple-choice questions, refer to the Course and Exam Description.

Sample Exam Questions

Past Exam Questions

The College Board provides free-response questions from past AP European History exams. Included with the questions are scoring guidelines, sample student responses, and commentary on those responses, as well as exam statistics and the Student Performance Q&A (Chief Reader's Report) for the May 2015 administrations and before.

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