AP® World History
Frequently asked questions
What’s happening to AP exams this year?
As most schools are closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, CollegeBoard has announced AP exams will be administered at home. This year’s tests will be free-response only, 45 minutes long, and taken online on any device. CollegeBoard will also accept photographs of written work.
What about multiple choice questions?
There will be no multiple choice questions on the 2020 AP World History exam. We know many students have been anticipating and studying for MCQs, and the switch to free-response questions is daunting. The good news is that you can apply all of that knowledge to the FRQs. We’ll teach you step-by-step methods for tackling the FRQs you’ll see on the exam.
How do I get access to my book?
As part of the course, you'll receive online access to a pdf of the Kaplan AP World History prep book. You'll receive an email within 48 hours of signing up with directions on how to access your copy.
How long is the AP World History exam?
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, in 2020 the AP World History exam will be a 45-minute at home test.
Traditionally, 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. The 2020 AP World History exam will have a single modified document-based question (DBQ).
Document-based question tips:
- 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
Traditionally, the AP World History exam includes three additional question types. Here are some recommended strategies:
- 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)
- 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
- Identify the main task (analyze, compare/contrast, assess)
- Formulate a thesis
- Plan your evidence
- Write your essay with organized, well-developed paragraphs
Are this year's AP exams open book?
Yes. The 2020 AP exams will be completely open book and open note. This may seem surprising, but it ensures a level playing field since tests will be taken at home.
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