AP® World History: Modern
The AP® World History exam consists of two primary sections: Section I consists of both multiple-choice (MCQ) and short-answer questions (SAQ). Section II consists of free-response questions (FRQ), which include document-based questions (DBQ) and long essay questions (LEQ). In this guide, we will focus on section I, part A, and take a look at the format of the AP World History multiple-choice questions and give you tips to score well on them. Additionally, we will provide a few examples of AP World History MCQs that have been on test in the past. By the end of this article, you will know the best ways to prepare for the MCQ section of the APWH exam.
Format of AP World History MCQ section
A frequently asked question is, “How many MCQs are on the AP World History exam?” On the AP World History exam, there are 55 multiple-choice questions. You will be given 55 minutes to complete this section of the test, and it counts for 45% of the exam score. Each question is weighted the same and can be from any of the nine units in the course. The table below is a summary of how each unit is weighted in this section.
|Unit 1||The Global Tapestry||8-10%|
|Unit 2||Networks of Exchange||8-10%|
|Unit 3||Land-Based Empires||12-15%|
|Unit 6||Consequence of Industrialization||12-15%|
|Unit 7||Global Conflict||8-10%|
|Unit 8||Cold War and Decolonization||8-10%|
How to Approach AP World History’s Multiple-Choice Questions?
For many students, the MCQ can be the most difficult section of the test because you must answer 55 stimulus-based questions within 55 minutes. That is one question a minute! It can be a challenge to understand the selections and pick the right answers in that amount of time. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the difficulty of the questions and work quickly.
Read the question first.
Because of the amount of time that you have to answer all the questions, you can’t afford to lose time by trying to understand everything about the stimulus. Instead, a good strategy is to read the question and then examine the stimulus for the information that will help you choose the correct answer. The question will give you the context in which to interpret the stimulus and make it easier to quickly locate relevant information.
Annotate as you read or examine the stimulus.
Make notes in the margins of the test booklet while you read or examine the stimulus. For example, you might call attention to word usage, patterns in data, or the point of view of political cartoons. You may also want to make notes on the historical context of the stimulus.
All parts of an answer must be accurate for the answer to be correct; partly right isn't close enough.
Sometimes students will be fooled into thinking an answer is correct because part of the answer choice is right. However, the rest of the answer may contain inaccurate information that makes the entire answer wrong. For example, eliminate answers that have historical inaccuracies or are beyond the time frame defined by the question.
If you can’t determine the right answer, focus on finding what makes each answer choice wrong instead.
Eliminating obviously wrong answers will help you narrow down the choices and make a better guess, if necessary.
Answer every question.
There is no penalty on the exam for incorrect answers, so you should always take your best guess at answers because the odds are better if you record an answer for every question.
AP World History multiple-choice examples
“Fellow countrymen and women, you, the people of Eastern Nigeria:
Conscious of the supreme authority of Almighty God over all mankind, of your duty to yourselves and posterity;
Aware that you can no longer be protected in your lives and in your property by any Government based outside Eastern Nigeria;
Believing that you are born free and have certain inalienable rights which can best be preserved by yourselves;
Unwilling to be unfree partners in any association of a political or economical nature;
Rejecting the authority of any person or persons other than the Military Government of Eastern Nigeria to make any imposition of whatever kind or nature upon you;
Determined to dissolve all political and other ties between you and the former Federal Republic of Nigeria;
Prepared to enter into such association, treaty or alliance with any sovereign state within the former Federal Republic of Nigeria and elsewhere on such terms and conditions as best to subserve your common good;
Affirming your trust and confidence in me;
Having mandated me to proclaim on your behalf, and in your name, that Eastern Nigeria be a sovereign independent Republic,
Now, therefore, I, Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority, and pursuant to the principles, recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim that the territory and region known as and called Eastern Nigeria together with her continental shelf and territorial waters shall henceforth be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of ‘The Republic of Biafra.'”
– Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, governor of Eastern Nigeria, Biafra’s Declaration of Independence, 1967
The passage above is best understood in the context of which of the following?
- African governors’ continued use of religion to create independent states
- The influence of the United States political system in Nigeria after the Second World War
- The expansion of the British Empire in West Africa
- The differential treatment of Muslims and Hindus in Nigeria
Correct Answer: C
This type of MCQ on the AP World History exam asks you to place the stimulus in a broader historical context. For these kinds of questions, it is helpful to consider the historical period and processes surrounding the events portrayed in the stimulus
How can I practice AP World History multiple-choice questions?
One of the best ways to improve your AP World History MCQ score is to practice by answering lots of questions. That way you become familiar with the kinds of information typically asked for and the language that is often used. It is a good idea at first to practice answering the questions at your own pace so you can think carefully about the answers. After you have developed your confidence and skill, it is wise to practice answering the questions at a pace similar to what you will experience on the exam: about a minute per question.
An excellent source of practice MCQs is the UWorld AP World History question bank. It contains hundreds of questions that closely resemble those found on the actual exam. UWorld provides explanations to help you understand the logic behind the correct answer as well as the wrong one. Knowing how to determine where you may have made a mistake in choosing an answer helps you avoid that mistake in the future. Additionally, the UWorld AP World History question bank gives you the option to practice with and without a timer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How are AP World History multiple-choice questions graded?
Each question is equally weighted. You need to answer about 55% of the questions correctly in order to receive a passing score on this section of the exam.
How long is the multiple-choice question section of the AP World History exam?
You are given 55 minutes to complete the MCQ section of the AP World History exam.
Where can I get the AP World History past exam multiple-choice questions?
The College Board does not typically make their MCQs from past exams available publicly. That is why a resource like UWorld is the best way to practice for that section of the exam.
Read more about the AP World History Exam
Learn how to handle free-response questions with UWorld. Get sample FRQs, AP World History study tips, and essential strategies to do your best in this section!
Answering a short-answer question can be difficult sometimes. Check out UWorld’s guide to answering AP World History Short Answer Questions effortlessly.
Get into your dream school with the help of UWorld. We are sharing all the tips, tricks, and resources in our AP World History Study Guide to succeed in the exam.
Want to get a better sense of the AP World History Exam? You can find everything about World History here: why to take APWH, exam prerequisites, difficulty, etc.