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Home > AP Courses and Exams > AP Exam Information > The AP World History Exam

The AP World History Exam

For the May 2012 Exam Administration
and Beyond


Exam Information

The AP World History Exam is 3 hours and 5 minutes long and includes both a 55-minute multiple-choice section and a 130-minute free-response section. The multiple-choice section of the examination accounts for half of the student's exam score, and the free-response section for the other half.

Question Type Number of Questions Timing
Multiple-choice 70 questions 55 minutes
Document-based question 1 question 50 minutes
(includes a 10-minute reading period)
Continuity and change-over-time essay 1 question 40 minutes
Comparative essay 1 question 40 minutes

Multiple-Choice Section

Section I consists of 70 multiple-choice questions designed to measure the student's knowledge of world history from Period 1 to the present. This section follows the percentages listed below; questions will draw from individual or multiple periods:

Periods Period Weights
1 Technological and Environmental Transformations to c. 600.B.C.E. 5%
2 Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies c. 600.B.C.E. to c. 600 C.E. 15%
3 Regional and Transregional Interactions c. 600 C.E. to c.1450 20%
4 Global Interactions c. 1450 to c. 1750 20%
5 Industrialization and Global Integration c. 1750 to c. 1900 20%
6 Accelerating Global Change and Realignments c. 1900 to Present 20%

Multiple-choice questions will also measure various geographical regions, with no more than 20 percent of multiple-choice questions focusing solely on Europe.

Free-Response Section
In Section II, the free-response section of the exam, Part A begins with a mandatory 10-minute reading period for the document-based question. Students should answer the document-based question in approximately 40 minutes. In Part B students are asked to answer a question that deals with continuity and change over time (covering at least one of the periods in the concept outline). Students will have 40 minutes to answer this question, 5 minutes of which should be spent planning and/or outlining the answer. In Part C students are asked to answer a comparative question that will focus on broad issues or themes in world history and deal with at least two societies. Students will have 40 minutes to answer this question, 5 minutes of which should be spent planning and/or outlining the answer.


If you are using assistive technology and need help accessing these PDFs in another format, please contact us at ssd@info.collegeboard.org. Note: versions of these PDFs with enhanced accessibility will be available in the upcoming academic year.

Free-Response Questions 2013 2012


2013: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics
Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Score Distributions


2012: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1
Sample Responses Q2
Sample Responses Q3
Score Distributions

Past Exam Questions
For sample multiple-choice questions, refer to the AP World History Course and Exam Description, Effective Fall 2011 (.pdf/2.74MB).

For sample Continuity and Change-Over-Time essay questions and comparative essay questions, refer to the AP World History Modified Essay Questions for Exam Practice (pdf/780KB).

For sample Document-Based questions, view questions from past AP World History Exams.

Still available are the 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 past administrations.



  
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