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The AP World History Exam

Important Updates

2017-18 AP History Updates

Updates to the AP history courses and exams will take effect in the 2017-18 school year. These changes do not require teachers to resubmit their syllabi to the AP Course Audit or attend professional development.

Exam Overview

The AP World History Exam measures students' knowledge of world history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on key and supporting concepts, course themes, and the disciplinary practices and reasoning skills outlined in the course and exam description.

The 2018 AP history rubrics will be available in early August 2017.

Encourage your students to visit the AP World History student page for exam information and exam practice.

Access online score reports for your students.

Policies

Learn about late testing policies, and see all late testing dates.

Exam Format

Section I: Part A

Multiple Choice — 55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Analyze historians' interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.
  • Questions provide opportunities for students to explain the historical examples that they know best.

Section I: Part B

Short Answer — 3 Questions | 40 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

  • Analyze historians' interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.
  • Questions provide opportunities for students to explain the historical examples that they know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
  • Update for 2017-18: The number of required short-answer questions has been reduced to three, and the time allotted has been decreased to 40 minutes. Students will choose between two options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period.
    • Question 1 (required): periods 3-6
    • Question 2 (required): periods 3-6
    • Students choose between Question 3, periods 1-3, and Question 4, periods 4-6

Section II: Part A

Document Based — 1 Question | 60 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • Update for 2017-18: Five minutes have been added to the time allotted for the document-based question, which will now focus on topics from periods 3-6.

Section II: Part B

Long Essay — 1 Question | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

  • Explain and analyze significant issues in world history.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • Updates for 2017-18: Five minutes have been added to the time allotted for the long essay. The question choices will continue to focus on the same theme and skill but will now allow students to select among three options, each focusing on a different range of time periods:
    • Option 1: periods 1-2
    • Option 2: periods 3-4
    • Option 3: periods 5-6

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

Looking for sample multiple-choice and free-response questions? You can find them in:

The Course and Exam Description (.pdf/1.44MB), which has everything you need to know about the course and exam, including a practice exam reflecting the 2017-18 updates.


Teaching and Assessing AP World History features sample free-response questions and interactive scoring practice using real student responses. Note that some content and scoring activities are currently unavailable, as the system is being updated to align with the 2017-18 AP history changes.


Secure exams for classroom use, on the AP Course Audit website. Log in to your account and then click on the Secure Documents link within the Resources section of your Course Status page. Note that these exams do not yet reflect the 2018 exam format. Updated secure exams will be available soon.


An AP World History Exam from 2013, previously available only through your AP Course Audit account. Since this exam is now publicly available, you can use the questions without restriction. Please note that the questions and scoring information are reflective of exams given in May 2016 and before.


The Student Performance Q&A. In this invaluable resource, the Chief Reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the reading leadership to describe how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.

Sample exam questions (.pdf/2.42MB) originally published in the fall 2014 course framework. Note that this document does not reflect the 2018 exam format.


The Past Exam Questions page. Note that these questions do not reflect the content, scope, or design specifications of the revised AP World History Exam, which was administered for the first time in May 2017. The questions and the scoring information reflect the exams given in May 2016 and before.

And for free-response questions from the 2017 exam, along with scoring information, check out the table below. Please note that these questions do not reflect the format of the 2018 exam. Similar resources for the 2018 exam will be available after the exam administration in May 2018.





2017: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

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