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The AP World History Exam

Important Updates

2016-17 AP World History Revisions

This page has been updated to align with the AP World History revisions launching in the fall of 2016.

AP World History Practice Exam

A full practice exam reflecting the 2016-17 revisions, along with student responses and scoring commentaries, is now available from your AP Course Audit account.

Exam Overview


The AP World History Exam features short-answer, document-based, and essay questions that ask students to demonstrate historical content knowledge and thinking skills through written responses.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 to 5.
  • 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 explain the historical examples that they know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

Section II Part A: Document Based | 1 Question | 55 Minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period) | 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

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

Multiple-Choice Questions

For sample multiple-choice questions, refer to the Course and Exam Description, Effective Fall 2016 (.pdf/6.39MB). You can also access a full practice exam reflecting the 2016-17 revisions (as well as several older practice exams) by logging in to your AP Course Audit account.

An additional set of sample exam questions, originally published in the fall 2014 curriculum framework, is available in Sample Questions: AP World History Exam (.pdf/2.42MB).

Past Exam Questions

The College Board provides free-response questions from past AP World 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 2016 administrations and before.

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