The AP World History Program aims to provide high school and college students with a basic and firm knowledge of history.
This program is designed to prepare high school and college students for higher education. Students are required to use their reasoning and assessment skills to analyze and comment on the significant historical events of the US.
This guide will walk you through the basic requirements to introduce you to the AP World History Program to help you pass your exam with flying colors.
What is the AP World History Exam?
The main goal of the AP World History Exam is to test your capabilities to develop and make historical arguments as well as comparisons. It is equivalent to the World History Introductory course comprising two semesters in a college or university.
It aims to provide an in-depth understanding of significant advancements, events, and famous individuals that are a prominent part of our documented history.
AP World History Course Themes
The course comprises five major themes to help students build relevant connections between historical developments. It encompasses nearly all major and minor developments that took place in different places of the world at different times.
The themes include:
- Humans and the Environment
- Cultural Developments and Interactions
- Economic Systems
- Social Interactions and Organization
- Technology and Innovation
The course contents contain nine units that range from different periods and carry different percentages in the exam. Here is the detailed outline of the course units:
Period c 1200 -1450 | Exam percentage: 8-10%
- The Global Tapestry
- Networks of Exchange
Period c 1450-1750 | Exam percentage: 12-15%
- Land-based empires
- Transoceanic interconnections
Period c 1750 – 1900 | Exam percentage: 12-15%
- Consequences of industrialization
Period c1900 – present | Exam percentage: 8-10%
- Global conflict
- Cold war and decolonization
The duration of the AP World History Exam is three hours and 15 minutes which is divided into two sections. The first section is further divided into two parts called Part A and Part B. The timelines for each section are as follow:
- Section 1- Part A: 55 minutes.
- Section 1- Part B: 40 minutes.
- Section 2: 1 hour and 40 minutes (1 hour for the first question and 40 minutes for the second question)
Format & Sample Questions
The AP World History Exam requires students to present answers that are supported by the references to the relevant historical events.
As the documents are already provided in section 2, you can use them to support your answers. Do not just simply quote the document, you must describe why the document supports your argument.
Section 1, Part A – reserves 40% of the exam score – is composed of 55 multiple choice questions for the time duration of 55 minutes. It means you will get one minute for each question.
Section 1, Part B – reserves 20% of the exam score – requires you to give short answers to the free-response questions in minutes. The questions can range in the form of texts, maps, images, or graphs.
Question 1 – compulsory – contains one or two secondary sources and aims at the historical advancements that transpired during 1200 years to present.
Question 2 – compulsory – has one primary source and aims at the historical advancements that occurred during 1200 years to present.
Questions 3 & 4 – optional – you can select one of them. Question 3 is based on the years 1200 to 1750 whereas question 4 is aimed at the years 2001 to 2001. These questions do not contain any source.
Section 2 of the AP World History Exam has two questions that make 40% of the total exam score.
Question 1 – compulsory – is related to the historical events from 1754-1980. You will be given seven documents and are required to support your answer with the help of those documents. This question has a time duration of 1 hour and makes 25% of the exam score.
Question 2 – is a long essay question and makes 15% of the exam score. You will get to choose one question from the three questions that cover different historical periods such as, 1200 – 1750, 1450-1900, or 1750- 2001. You are required to propose a thesis and support your argument based on your knowledge and the lessons AP history class.
To ace any exam, it is necessary to understand its pattern and how the scoring works. Here we have explained the scoring guidelines for each section so you can understand the influence and concept of each question of each section.
Scoring guidelines for Section 1
Section 1A is composed of 55 multiple-choice questions. Each question has 1 mark that can only be scored by choosing the correct answer out of 4 choices given in the question.
There are three sub-questions for every question to be answered in Section 1-B which allow students to earn 0 to 3 points for each question. Following is the essential scoring criteria based on the response content:
Score 3: The response covers all three requirements of the question.
Score 2: The response covers two of the requirements of the question.
Score 1: The response covers any one of the requirements of the question.
Score 0: The response covers none of the requirements of the question.
Score NR: No or blank response.
Scoring guidelines for Section 2
Section 2 has two parts that require 1 answered question each part. The first part is a document-based question, while the second is a long essay.
For question one, you can earn a maximum of 7 points. To score high, your answers should demonstrate your knowledge and skills as you support your answer with the evidence. Further, break down of point scoring for question 1 is as follow:
- Thesis/Claim: 0-1 point
- Contextualization: 0-1 point
- Evidence: 0-3 points
- Analysis and Reasoning: 0-2 points
In part B, you can earn a maximum of 6 points. The response requirements remain the same as that of part one. Further breakdown of scoring criteria for part B is as follow:
- Thesis/Claim: 0-1 point
- Contextualization: 0-1 point
- Evidence: 0-2 points (1 point for single evidence and 2 points for supporting argument)
- Analysis and Reasoning: 0-2 points
Who should take the AP World History Exam?
This exam is best for high school students having an interest in world history. Students wanting to get better at world history should take this exam and the best part is, you can earn college credit if you perform well.
How to Prepare for the AP World History Exam
The best way to prepare for this exam is to review some past AP World History papers and memorize critical historical events to refer to them in support of your arguments. Furthermore, reading good books by credible authors can help you prepare for this exam. One such example would be, History Adventures: World Of Characters. It relates and interactively illustrates historical events in an engaging way by adopting a lively narrative style to make history easy for you. Detailed books covering every aspect of important historical events is what you need to pass this exam with flying colors and History Adventures: World Of Characters is certainly one of those.
Essential Tips to Prepare For AP World History Exam
Selecting the best study material: An important thing to consider while preparing for this exam is to always use the best study resources. It’s highly recommended to use books that cover all the aspects of the course comprehensively so that you don’t miss out on any important details. So, a good book like History Adventures: World Of Characters can make all the difference.
Time Management: Time management is a crucial factor in this exam because every section and question is strictly timed. You will have to be very careful while attempting every question and the amount of time you invest in it.
Planning: Never start attempting the questions as soon as you read them. It is always good to read the whole question paper once at least and start with questions that seem easy to you.
Practice: Practice is the key to success, similarly practicing with AP World History free-response questions will help you succeed in this exam. Find solved papers and compare your answers with them for a better understanding or learn how the evidence and references are used accurately. Practice until you have perfected every aspect of your exam.
The AP World History Exam is designed to enhance students’ skills in terms of analyzing, reasoning, and comparing historical events. To pass this 3 hours and 15 minutes exam, you need to have an inclusive knowledge of all major events that span over 1200 CE to the present.
The past papers available online can help you identify the consistent historical events. It will enable you to narrow down the mass of information to selected few occasions that are most likely to be present in your exam.
From there you only need all-inclusive books like History Adventures: World Of Characters that teach everything you need to learn to clear your exam in a super interactive style with the help of different effects. It is one of those kinds of books that makes the learning process highly stimulating and engaging for the students leading to an effective and firm grasp of the AP World History Course contents.