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Home > AP Courses and Exams > AP Exam Information > The AP United States History Exam

The AP United States History Exam

For the May 2015 Exam Administration and Beyond

Exam Content

The AP U.S. History Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and includes both a 100-minute multiple-choice/short-answer section and a 95-minute free response section. Each section is divided into two parts, as described below. Student performance on these four parts will be compiled and weighted to determine an AP Exam score.

The U.S. History Course and Exam Description, Effective Fall 2014 (.pdf/2MB) provides complete details about the exam.

Section I: Multiple-Choice/Short-Answer Section

Part A – The multiple-choice section will contain a number of sets of questions, with between two and five questions per set, that ask students to respond to stimulus material  a primary or secondary source, including texts, images, charts, graphs, maps, etc. This stimulus material will reflect the types of evidence that historians use in their research on the past.

Part B – Short-answer questions will directly address one or more of the thematic learning objectives for the course. At least two of the four questions will have elements of internal choice, providing opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best.

Section II: Free-Response Section

Part A – The document-based question measures students ability to analyze and synthesize historical data and to assess verbal, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence. As with the long essay, responses to the document based question will be judged on students ability to formulate a thesis and support it with relevant evidence.

Part B – To provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best, they will be given a choice between two comparable long essay options. The long essay questions will measure the use of historical thinking skills to explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history as defined by the thematic learning objectives.

AP U.S. History Exam Format

Section Question Type Number of Questions Timing Percentage of Total Exam Score
I Part A: Multiple-choice questions 55 questions 55 minutes 40%
Part B: Short-answer questions 4 questions 50 minutes 20%
II Part A: Document-based question 1 question 55 minutes 25%
Part B: Long essay question 1 question 35 minutes 15%

Sample Exam Questions
These sample exam questions (.pdf/923KB) were originally included in the AP U.S. History Curriculum Framework, first published in fall 2012. The AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description, includes that curriculum framework, along with a new, unique set of exam questions. Because we want teachers to have access to all available questions that support the new exam, we are making those from the fall 2012 curriculum framework available in this supplementary document.

Past Exam Questions

The College Board provides free-response questions from past AP U.S. History Exams. These questions do not reflect the content, scope, or design specifications of the redesigned AP U.S. History Exam, which will be administered for the first time in May 2015. 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 2014 administrations and before.

Important Note: PDF Files
The links to exam questions for this course are in Adobe® PDF format, and you will need to use the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® to view them. If you don't have Acrobat Reader 4.0 or higher installed on your computer, choose the link for the Adobe Web site below for installation instructions. For help downloading and printing PDF files, choose the link "PDF Troubleshooting" below in "See also."

More About U.S. History

See Also...

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