AP® World History
Modern Exam Guide
What Is on the AP World History Exam?
The AP World History exam will test your historical thinking skills, which include:
- Developments and Processes: Explaining historical processes and events.
- Sourcing and Situations: Analyze primary and secondary sources and context.
- Claims and Evidence in Sources: Analyze primary and secondary sources for arguments.
- Contextualization: Analyze the historical contexts of events, developments, or processes.
- Making Connections: Analyze patterns and links using historical reasoning (comparison, causality, continuity, and change).
- Argumentation: Construct an argument.
The exam will also test your knowledge of the six “Themes” of the course themes:
- Humans and the Environment: Understanding and analyzing population growth-related environmental changes.
- Cultural Developments and Interactions: Understanding how a society's ideas, beliefs, and religions develop has political, social, and cultural implications.
- Governance: Understanding how the government maintains order through administrative institutions, policies, and procedures to obtain, retain, and exercise power.
- Economic Systems: Knowing how developing societies' production, exchange, and consumption affect them.
- Social Interactions and Organization: Understanding how societies group their members and the norms that influence political, economic, and cultural interactions.
- Technology and Innovation: Understanding how human adaptation, innovation, and technological advances have shaped human development and interactions.
Each theme is divided into commonly taught units to make teaching and learning efficient and comprehensive. Let us look at these 9 units and their exam weight.
|Units Tested||Chronological Period||Weight on the Exam|
|1. The Global Tapestry||c. 1200 to c. 1450||8%–10%|
|2. Network of Exchange||c. 1200 to c. 1450||8%–10%|
|3. Land-Based Empires||c. 1450 to c. 1750||12%–15%|
|4. Transoceanic Interconnections||c. 1450 to c. 1750||12%–15%|
|5. Revolutions||c. 1750 to c. 1900||12%–15%|
|6. Consequences of Industrialization||c. 1750 to c. 1900||12%–15%|
|7. Global Conflict||c. 1900 to the present||8%–10%|
|8. Cold War and Decolonization||c. 1900 to the present||8%–10%|
|9. Globalization||c. 1900 to the present||8%–10%|
AP World History Exam Format for 2022
The AP World History exam duration is 3 hours and 15 minutes. Let us look at these two different sections and their two different parts.
|Sections||Parts||Question Types||Time Allocated||Weight|
|Section I||Part A||55 Multiple-Choice Questions||55 minutes||40%|
|Part B||3 Short-Answer Questions||40 minutes||20%|
|Section II||Part A||1 Document-based Question||60 minutes||25%|
|Part B||1 Long-Essay Question||40 minutes||15%|
Let us explore these question types.
Section I, Part A: Multiple-Choice
It contains 55 multiple-choice questions, which typically appear in sets of three to four questions. They include excerpts from historical documents, images, graphs, and maps. This section tests your ability to analyze sources and recall world history knowledge.
Section I, Part B: Short Answers
In this section, you need to respond to short-answer questions.
- Question 1 (required) uses a secondary source to discuss 1200 to 2001.
- Question 2 (required) includes primary sources and focuses on 1200–2001.
- For the last question, students can answer #3 about historical events between 1200 and 1750 or #4 about 1750 to 2001.
While answering these questions, you will need to
- Analyze the source
- Analyze source-described historical events and processes
- Contextualize historical events and processes
- Make historical connections
Section II, Part A: Document-Based Questions (DBQ)
In this part of the section, you will be shown seven documents that offer different perspectives on a historical event or process. You must assess the viewpoints and develop an argument based on historical evidence. This question covers 1450–2001.
Section II, Part B: Long Essay
You must write a long essay based on historical evidence from 1200–1750, 1450–1900, or 1750–2001. You should indeed develop a thesis and use historical evidence to support it, but there are no required documents. Instead, use your AP World History knowledge. You have three essay options, each covering a different time period.
Both sections of the exam are timed, so prepare thoroughly with a trusted online resource.
Is AP World History Hard?
AP World History's difficulty and suitability can be subjective. However, here are a few pointers to help you determine how difficult the course may be.
- If you have done well in social studies and enjoy history, APWH will be easier for you.
- AP World History: Modern covers a lot of material in a year. Students will learn about historical events from 1200 CE to the present, so there is a lot to process and remember.
- Despite being a popular AP course, APWH has a lower pass rate and fewer students are scoring a 5. This could be due to the amount of material covered or taken early in high school before students have AP experience.
- See if your high school schedule allows for AP classes and prep work. APWH is usually taken in 9th or 10th grade before students have much AP experience.
Here is the AP World History exam score information for the year 2022:
AP World History Exam Score
In 2019, 55.3% of test-takers received a score of 3 or higher, rising to 60.2% in 2020. However, as a result of COVID-19, the pass rate fell to 52.2% in 2021. The good news is that the APWH success rate has jumped back to 61.8% in 2022.
What Are Some AP World History Review Tips?
Now that you have reviewed the information about the exam, you’re probably curious about the best ways to prepare for the AP World History Modern exam so that you can earn a 3, 4, or 5 on exam day.
- Have a schedule and commit to it. Pace yourself; there is a lot to read. Exam preparation takes time and effort. Self-discipline and a schedule are essential.
- Practice is all you need. Practice is the most important way to begin preparing for the exam. It is important to practice with exam-like questions and to become familiar with the free-response question rubric.
- Pick the right resources. You cannot gauge your progress without enough quality practice tests. It shows if your hard work paid off. Invest in UWorld's online tests and study guides. You will have better odds.
- Know the exam format. It prepares you. Thus, the exam would not surprise you.
If you prepare with UWorld, take AP World History Modern practice tests, apply yourself in the classroom, and stick to a well-thought-out study plan, you will increase your GPA and ace your exam.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You are allowed to bring:
- No.2 pencils for multiple-choice answer sheets
- Black or dark blue pens
- A government or school-issued photo ID
- A watch without internet access or an alarm
You can find AP World History past exam questions on the College Board®’s website.
If you do not do well on the APWH exam, you can always take it again the next year and request that the College Board report only your highest score.
The APWH exam costs $96 in the US, Canada, and US Territories and $126 for international students. Visit the Exam Policies and Guidelines page for more information.
The AP World History test will be conducted on May 11 at 8 a.m. local time.
Usually, tenth graders take AP World History. Students are encouraged to take the course in junior high as it is more of a basic foundational course.
Read More About the AP World History Exam
You will have an edge over the competition if you’re aware of the exam format. So, we’ve put together an easy-to-read article that talks about the exam format, question types, and more
Reviewing all the pages of the College Board CED pdf can be overwhelming. Click on our simple AP World History Course and Exam Description for clear info on the exam, units, and topics!
Ever wondered if there’s a calculator to predict your score? Here’s a detailed article about the AP World History scoring system with a score calculator to help you see where you stand.
Get the advantage of our easy-to-read AP World History Study Guide and the most effective resources designed by experts, and get college admissions without any struggle.