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What's Tested on the AP World History: Modern Exam

Learn more about what's covered on the AP World History exam, scoring, and registration.

AP World History Practice Questions

Test your AP World History readiness with a practice quiz.

Frequently asked questions

  • Are this year’s AP exams different because of the current COVID-19 pandemic?

    To allow schools maximum flexibility during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, CollegeBoard is offering three distinct exam dates in 2021. The first date is a traditional in-school, paper exam. The second two dates allow schools to choose between an in-school paper exam or an in-school digital exam. If a school will not be operating in person at all, it can authorize its students to take the digital AP exam at home. 

    All decisions on AP exam formats and dates will be made by your school. If you're not sure what your school has decided, ask your AP teacher. No matter what format you'll take the AP exam in, the content is exactly the same: it's the traditional, full-length AP exam you've been planning for all year. Focus on your studying and you'll be in great shape no matter what your school decides. 

  • What’s covered in each AP World History Review Course session?

    Each class session focuses primarily on reviewing about a month’s equivalent of AP material. Throughout the class, you’ll also answer AP exam questions and learn test strategies. After each class, you’ll receive a page of summary notes reviewing the most commonly tested topics you went over that session.

    The time periods covered in each class are:

    Session 1 - 1200-1300

    Session 2 - 1300-1450

    Session 3 - 1450-1600

    Session 4 - 1600-1750

    Session 5 - 1750-1850

    Session 6 - 1850-1900

    Session 7 - 1900-Present

    Session 8 - Overall review

  • What if I miss a session? 

    No problem! If you miss a class, you can watch a recording later - any time that works for you.

  • How long is the AP World History exam?

    The AP World History: Modern exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long. Section I lasts for 1 hour and 35 minutes:

    • Section I, Part A: 55 multiple-choice questions, 55 minutes, 40% of total score
    • Section I, Part B: 3 short-answer questions, 40 minutes, 20% of total score

    Section II is 100 minutes long:

    • Section II, Part A: 1 document-based question, 25% of total score
    • Section II, Part B: 1 long-essay question, 15% of total score
  • How do I do well on the AP World History exam?

    Completing practice questions is an important part of studying for the AP World History exam. In addition, applying strategies for each question type can help you maximize your score.

    Multiple-choice questions:

    • Move quickly but thoroughly through the exam. Don’t linger on any one question for more than approximately 30 seconds
    • Don’t leave any question blank; there is no wrong answer penalty
    • Do NOT change an answer you have made unless you are absolutely sure that your initial attempt is incorrect. Research shows that your first answer is usually the correct one
    • When eliminating tempting incorrect choices, look for choices that are out of the given time period or region or are not related to specific categories (e.g., the question asked for economic factors, and the answer choice mentions law codes)

    Short-answer questions:

    • Spend about 10–12 minutes on each question depending on how many parts it contains
    • Use the first minute to identify all of the parts of the question
    • Decide which historical examples you will use for each part
    • Your responses to each part should be 3–6 sentences long

    Long essay:

    • Identify the main task (analyze, compare/contrast, assess)
    • Formulate a thesis
    • Plan your evidence
    • Write your essay with organized, well-developed paragraphs

    Document-based question:

    • Read the documents and then group them
    • Craft a solid thesis statement
    • Write your essay, using evidence from the documents
    • Discuss point of view and additional historical evidence
  • What is on the AP World History exam? 

    The AP World History: Modern exam covers the time period from c. 1200 to the present.

  • What happened last year to the APs?

    In May 2020, since most schools were closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic AP exams were administered online. The exams were 45 minutes long and had only free-response questions. CollegeBoard is not currently planning to repeat this in May 2021. They anticipate a traditional, in-person exam administration this spring.


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