Get to know the AP Human Geography exam so there are no surprises on test day. Learn about the exam’s structure, including the topics covered and the number of questions you’ll encounter when you take the exam. Studying for the AP Human Geography exam can seem overwhelming, but reviewing what to expect will help guide your test prep. We’ll walk you through what you need to know about the AP Human Geography exam.
AP Human Geography Exam Structure
The AP Human Geography exam is divided into two sections, with a brief break in between. Section I gives you 60 minutes to answer 75 multiple-choice questions covering a variety of topics. The topics covered, along with the frequency of questions on each topic, are as follows:
|Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives (5–10%)|
|Population and Migration (13–17%)|
|Cultural Patterns and Processes (13–17%)|
|Political Organization of Space (13–17%)|
|Agriculture, Food Production, and Rural Land Use (13–17%)|
|Industrialization and Economic Development (13–17%)|
|Cities and Urban Land Use (13–17%)|
Section II of the AP Human Geography Exam gives you 75 minutes to answer three free-response questions. These questions can involve any of the content tested in the multiple-choice section, but will require you to make connections across a variety of ideas that relate to each question’s theme.
Student answer sheets for the multiple-choice section are scored by machine. Scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly. No points are deducted for wrong answers, and no points are awarded for unanswered questions.
The free-response section of the AP Human Geography exam is evaluated and scored by hand by trained AP readers. Rubrics based on each specific free-response prompt are released on the AP central website after the exams are administered. Readers do not see the rubrics until the official reading has commenced. The rubrics have specific point values, which are assigned by the chief reader.
The score from the multiple-choice section of the exam counts for 50% of your total AP Human Geography exam score. The other 50% is the combined score from the three free-response questions.
After your total scores from Sections I and II are calculated, your results are converted to a scaled score from 1 to 5. The range of points for each scaled score varies depending on the difficulty of the exam in a particular year, but the significance of each value is constant from year to year. According to the College Board, AP scores should be interpreted as follows:
5 = Extremely well qualified
4 = Well qualified
3 = Qualified
2 = Possibly qualified
1 = No recommendation
Colleges will generally award credit for a score of 3, with more selective schools requiring a 4 or 5. Note that some schools will not award college credit regardless of score. Be sure to research schools that you plan to apply to, so you can determine the score you need to aim for on the AP Human Geography exam.
Exam Registration and Fees
To register for the AP Human Geography exam, contact your school guidance counselor or AP Coordinator. If your school does not administer the AP exam, contact the College Board for a listing of schools that do.
There is a fee for taking AP exams, the current value of which can be found at the official exam website listed below. For students with acute financial need, the College Board offers a fee reduction equal to about one-third of the cost of the exam. In addition, most states offer exam subsidies to cover all or part of the remaining cost for eligible students. To learn about other sources of financial aid, contact your AP Coordinator.
Want some help studying? Check out this sample of Kaplan’s Rapid Review Live.