Jump to page content Jump to navigation

College Board

AP Central

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

The AP World History Exam

AP World History Revisions

A revised AP World History Exam format and minor revisions to the AP World History course will launch in 2016-17. Learn more.

Exam Overview

AP WORLD HISTORY EXAM: 3 HOURS AND 5 MINUTES

The AP World History Exam questions measure students' knowledge of world history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on key and supporting concepts, course themes, and historical thinking skills. Exam questions represent various geographical regions, with no more than 20 percent of the multiple-choice questions focusing solely on Europe.

Format of Assessment

Section I: Multiple Choice: 70 Questions | 55 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Discrete items with an occasional set of two items
  • Historical source material, such as images, charts, maps, and text-based passages, may be included in some items.

Section II: Free Response: 3 Questions | 130 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Document-Based Question (DBQ) (50 minutes, including a 10-minute reading period)
  • Change-over-time question (40 minutes)
  • Comparative essay (40 minutes)
  • Each question in this section is weighted equally

Multiple-Choice Questions

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

Free-Response Questions

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.

Free-Response Questions 2015 2014 2013 2012


2015: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines


2014: 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


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.

More About World History

Are You a Student?

See Also...



  ABOUT MY AP CENTRAL
    Course and Email Newsletter Preferences
  AP COURSES AND EXAMS
    Course Home Pages
    Course Descriptions
    The Course Audit
    Teachers' Resources
    Exam Calendar and Fees
    Exam Information
  PRE-AP
    SpringBoard®
  AP COMMUNITY
    About Electronic Discussion Groups
    Become an AP Exam Reader

Back to top