What is tested on the ap world history modern exam

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

In preparing for the AP World History: Modern exam, you build a solid foundation of knowledge about world history in the years 1200 to the present. While this knowledge is critical to your learning, keep in mind that just being able to recall isolated facts, dates, and events does not ensure success on the exam.

World history is about big ideas, such as how various civilizations developed and how different regions of the world are interconnected. The College Board (the maker of the AP exam) asks you to apply the knowledge you’ve learned at a higher level in order to show evidence of college-level abilities.

AP World History: Modern Exam Structure

The main goal of the College Board (the makers of the AP exam) is to help students think like historians. To that end, some skills and methods you’ll be expected to demonstrate are:

  • Analyzing primary and secondary sources
  • Explaining and analyzing historical processes, developments, and events
  • Making connections using historical reasoning (specifically, comparison, causation, continuity, and change)
  • Developing historical arguments

What are the ap world history exam periods, units and weights?

The AP World History Modern exam is broken down into four historical periods with multiple units contained in each period.

  • Units
  • The Global Tapestry
  • Networks of Exchange
  • Land-Based Empires
  • Transoceanic Interconnections
  • Revolutions
  • Consequences of Industrialization
  • Global Conflict
  • Cold War and Decolonization
  • Globalization
  • Exam Weights
  • 8-10% of exam score
  • 8-10% of exam score
  • 12-15% of exam score
  • 12-15% of exam score
  • 12-15% of exam score
  • 12-15% of exam score
  • 8-10% of exam score
  • 8-10% of exam score
  • 8-10% of exam score

What are the ap world history exam components?

The AP World History exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and is divided into two sections.

  • Section
  • I (58 Questions)
  • Short-Answer
  • II (2 Questions)
  • Long Essay
  • Part
  • Multiple-Choice
  • Short-Answer
  • Document-Based
  • Long Essay
  • Weight
  • 40%
  • 20%
  • 25%
  • 15%
  • Timing
  • 55 minutes
  • 40 minutes
  • 60 minutes
  • 40 minutes

AP World History Question Types

Let’s take a brief look at what question types you’ll see on the AP World History exam.
  • Multiple-Choice Questions

    The 55 multiple-choice questions will be divided into sets of two to five questions based on a primary or secondary source, which could be a text excerpt, image, graph, or map. These questions assess your ability to understand and analyze historical texts and interpretations, as well as your ability to make larger historical connections. Keep in mind that even if a question set is based on a specific historical period, the individual questions may require you to make connections to other periods and events.

  • Short-Answer Questions

    The three short-answer questions assess your ability to think like a historian by analyzing sources and interpretations, including text excerpts, images, graphs, or maps. In composing your answer, you do not need to develop and support a thesis statement, but you do need to synthesize your ideas into cohesive paragraphs. The short-answer section allows you to demonstrate what you know best since you get to choose what historical examples to discuss in relation to the prompts. Also, while two of the short-answer prompts are required, you will choose between two prompts for your final short-answer question.

  • Document-Based Questions

    The document-based question (DBQ) assesses your ability to develop an argument based on your assessment of historical evidence. The documents on which this essay is based can vary in length and format, including written, quantitative, or visual materials. You are expected to make sophisticated connections based on the given documents; therefore, it is essential to demonstrate your knowledge of larger historical themes (rather than just events, dates, and people) in order to earn the highest scores.

  • Long Essay Questions

    Like the document-based question, the long essay question (LEQ) also assesses your ability to develop an argument using historical evidence. This time, the emphasis is on explaining and analyzing significant issues in world history. In this section, you will answer one of three prompts, each of which focuses on different time periods. Make sure to choose the prompt that best showcases the extent of your knowledge.

How the AP World History Exam is Scored?

Once you complete your AP exam, it will be sent to the College Board for grading. Student answer sheets for the multiple-choice section (Section I, Part A) 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 sections (Section I, Part B and Section II) are 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.

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 = Very well qualified

3 = Qualified

2 = Possibly qualified

1 = No recommendation

Colleges will generally not award course credit for any score below a 3, with more selective schools requiring a 4 or 5. Note that some schools will not award college credit regardless of your 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 exam.

AP World History Unit 1 Practice Question

For more help prepping for the AP World History exam, check out our AP World History Prep Plus Book.