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The Ultimate Guide to Acing the AP World History Exam

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a globe in front of a bookshelf

The Ultimate Guide to Acing the AP World History Exam

When it comes to AP courses and exams such as the AP World History Exam, there are many fantastic reasons for students to invest their time and energy in enrolling and succeeding in them! AP courses are a way for high schoolers to expand their knowledge on topics they are passionate about, and it is a way to improve their GPA and chances at admission at many of the country’s top colleges or universities.

Here at AdmissionSight, we are committed to helping all high school students succeed, which is why we have spent a lot of time breaking down each and every AP course and exam in our blog. When it comes to the AP World History Exam, there is a lot of great material that high school students can look at to get a better idea of whether or not it is the right course and exam for them.

Before we do that, however, let’s break down three of the primary reasons why high school students continue to take advantage of all that AP courses and exams offer.

Young woman smiling at the camera.

Why high schoolers take AP courses

The College Board has developed AP courses to help advanced high school students prepare for their coming years at university. For those reasons, AP courses closely replicate intro college courses on the same topic.

Here are three primary reasons why high schoolers should consider taking an AP course:

  1. College admission officers love seeing AP courses on college applications: The reason why college admissions officers often look for AP courses on a high school student’s transcript is that merely taking the course can say quite a lot about a student. First, it tells admissions officers that a student is looking to dive deep into a tough subject by signing up for an AP course. On top of that, it also proves that students can deal with the high course load and pressures of a typical college course. AP courses help students gain acceptance to even the most challenging of schools.
  2. AP courses enable high school students to earn college credits and placement: One of the top benefits of taking and excelling in an AP course is that a score of 3 or higher can help high school students get a head start on their college education and degrees. It varies from university to university, but students who can score a passing grade on an AP exam are eligible to earn credits and/or placement at a college or university. Of course, colleges have different policies regarding how much credit a high school can earn through AP exams, so it is essential to check the policy of a given school if that is indeed the school of your dreams.
  3. AP courses allow students to dive deep into a topic they are passionate about: In college, students can handpick which classes they take and what major or majors they pursue. That means that they get the chance to dive deeply into topics that excite and engage them. AP courses are a great way to take advantage of that ability while still in high school. Some AP courses are pretty challenging and advanced, but if a student is especially interested in the topic that an AP course covers, then that is likely exactly what they are looking for!

What is the AP World History Exam?

The AP World History Exam is a standardized test administered by the College Board. It is designed to measure a student’s knowledge of world history and their ability to analyze historical evidence and interpret historical events. The exam is typically taken by high school students who have completed a college-level world history course.

Preparing for the AP World History Exam requires a deep understanding of various historical periods and civilizations. Students must demonstrate knowledge of significant events, developments, and themes from prehistory to the present. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of different societies.

The AP World History Exam is one of the most popular exams for high schoolers, with over 300,000 students taking the AP World History Exam last year alone.

One important thing to mention before we continue going over the AP World History Exam is that the 2019-20 school year was the first year in which the College Board changed the exam format for this course. The exam is now formally known as the AP World History: Modern exam, with a still unreleased course, still being created that, will cover ancient history. Because of this change, the new AP World History Exam will only cover history from 1200 AD onward. Therefore, when studying material using practice exams and past actual exams, you only focus on questions that deal with information from the year 1200 onward.

One of the critical skills tested in the AP World History Exam is the ability to analyze primary and secondary sources. Students are presented with historical documents, maps, charts, and other forms of evidence and must evaluate them to support their arguments and interpretations critically. This skill is crucial in developing a nuanced understanding of historical events and their significance.

Furthermore, the exam assesses students’ ability to construct well-reasoned and coherent arguments based on historical evidence. It challenges students to think critically and develop historical interpretations supported by factual information. This skill is crucial for success in the exam and future academic pursuits and careers that require analytical thinking and research skills.

Preparing for the AP World History Exam involves studying content knowledge, practicing analytical skills, and familiarizing oneself with the exam format. Many students find reviewing textbooks, primary and secondary sources, and other study materials helpful to deepen their understanding of different historical periods and civilizations.

Additionally, students often benefit from participating in study groups or attending review sessions led by experienced AP World History teachers. These opportunities allow students to engage in discussions, ask questions, and gain insights from their peers and instructors. Collaborative learning can enhance understanding and retention of historical information.

It is important to note that the AP World History Exam is challenging and requires diligent preparation. However, success in the exam can lead to college credit, advanced placement, and a competitive edge in college admissions. Moreover, studying world history gives students a broader perspective of the world and its interconnectedness, fostering cultural awareness and global citizenship.

How long is the AP World History Exam?

The AP World History: Modern Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long. It is divided into two main sections. Section I includes a multiple-choice component with 55 questions to be completed in 55 minutes, and a short-answer component with 3 questions to be completed in 40 minutes. Section II is the free-response section, which includes a document-based question to be completed in 60 minutes and a long essay to be completed in 40 minutes.

About the AP World History Course

While students can of course self-study for the AP World History Exam just like they can for all other AP exams, the difficulty of the exam makes the course quite popular with high school students.

In the course, students will get the chance to learn about the events, individuals, technological developments, and processes that helped shape the history of the world from 1200 AD to the present. Not only that, but students will also get the chance to develop their ability to understand and analyze historical sources to develop historical arguments critically. Students will do this by fine-tuning their historical thinking skills to gain success in the course and on the exam. These include the following:

  • Developments and processes: Identifying and explaining historical developments and processes.
  • Sources and situation: Analyzing primary and secondary sources.
  • Claims and evidence in sources: Understanding arguments in primary and secondary sources.
  • Contextualization: Seeing the bigger picture of historical events, developments, or processes.
  • Making Connections: Using comparison, causation, continuity, and chance to analyze patterns and connections between historical developments and processes.
  • Argumentation: Developing a sound argument and clear thesis based on sources and outside knowledge.

On top of that, students will also explore six primary themes of the course, which will help them understand specific facts and events and overarching themes that bind the information they will learn in the course together.

Group of students looking at a gadget.

  • Humans and the environment: Students will learn how the environment has shaped human societies and how human societies have shaped their environment.
  • Cultural developments and interactions: ideas, beliefs, and religions illustrate a group’s self-perception, along with influencing political social, and cultural life.
  • Governance: the creation and destruction of States and the workings of government.
  • Economic systems: societies create, exchange, and consume goods and services.
  • Social interactions and organization: societal grouping and the influence is that interactions between two or more groups have on politics, economics, and cultural institutions.
  • technology and innovation: the intended and unintended consequences of human adaptation and innovation.

Beyond what we just went over, there are nine total units in which the AP World History course is broken into. Below is a typical structure in which the course is presented as well as the range of percentages that each unit may take upon the AP World History Exam:

Unit Exam Weighting
Unit 1: The Global Tapestry 8%–10%
Unit 2: Networks of Exchange 8%–10%
Unit 3: Land-Based Empires 12%–15%
Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnections 12%–15%
Unit 5: Revolutions 12%–15%
Unit 6: Consequences of Industrialization 12%–15%
Unit 7: Global Conflict 8%–10%
Unit 8: Cold War and Decolonization 8%–10%
Unit 9: Globalization 8%–10%

The course and exam description for AP World History: Modern delineates specific skills that students are encouraged to cultivate throughout the academic year. These skills aim to assist them in developing the mindset and practices characteristic of historians.

Skill Description
1. Developments and Processes Identify and explain historical developments and processes.
2. Sourcing and Situation Analyze sourcing and situation of primary and secondary sources.
3. Claims and Evidence in Sources Analyze arguments in primary and secondary sources.
4.Contextualization Analyze the contexts of historical events, developments, or processes.
5.Making Connections Using historical reasoning processes (comparison, causation, continuity and change), analyze patterns and connections between and among historical developments and processes.
6.Argumentation Develop an argument.

Format of the AP World History Exam

When it comes to mastering any AP course an exam, the best way to approach it is quite similar to the best way to approach standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. That means that students want to not only study the information and subject matter that they will face on the exam, they also want to study and prepare for the format of the exam itself.

Here at AdmissionSight, we know that our job is to help high schoolers who want to succeed in any way possible. Therefore, we have broken down the specifics of the AP World History Exam so that you can know what kind of exam to expect before you even enroll in the class.

When it comes to the exam itself, it is one of the longer AP exams that high school students can take. It clocks in at a fairly astounding three hours and 15 minutes total. Within that time, students will tackle the information they have learned in the course in three different sections that make up the total score of an exam. the first section is multiple choice. The second section of the exam is the short answer. The final section for the AP World History Exam is the challenging free-response long essay known as well as a DBQ or document-based question.

Let’s go over what you can expect in all of these sections.

Multiple Choice

The first section of the exam is a multiple-choice section that contains 55 total multiple-choice questions and accounts for 40 percent of a student’s total score on the exam. these questions are supposed to test a student’s ability she’ll analyze and interpret historical texts and evidence.

Examples of questions that students may face on the exam are below:

Sample question of exam

Short Answer

The next section of the exam Is the short answer section, which students are given 40 minutes to complete, which accounts for 20% of a student’s final score. In this section, students will be expected to answer three different questions. The format of each question is as follows:

  1. the first short answer question will focus on a historical process and development between the years 1200 and 2001. Students will be able to call on one included secondary source.
  2. the second short answer question is still aimed at the same time frame (1200 to 2001) but includes one primary source.
  3. the final short answer question allows students to answer one of two different prompts. The first prompt focuses on historical development and processes from the year 1200 to 1750. The second prompt is focused on historical developments and processes from 1750 to 2001. Students will not be given source material for either question and will be expected to call upon. information and facts that they have learned through the course to make their argument and defend their claim.

Examples of a question that students may face on the exam are below:

Sample Question of Exam

Sample Question of Exam

Sample Question of Exam

Tackling the Multiple-Choice Section

To tackle the multiple-choice section of the AP World History Exam, follow these strategies:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the exam format: Understand the structure and types of questions that will be asked in the exam, as well as the time constraints.
  2. Practice with stimulus-based questions: Most multiple-choice questions on the AP World History Exam are paired with specific stimuli, such as historical documents, images, or graphs. Practice answering questions based on these stimuli to get a feel for the exam.
  3. Work through the questions in sections: The exam consists of 55 multiple-choice questions in a 55-minute section. Divide the questions into smaller sections and allocate time for each section to ensure you cover all the questions within the given time frame.
  4. Answer easy questions first: On your first pass, answer all the questions you know and are sure about. This will help you build confidence and maximize your score.
  5. Eliminate answer choices: When you’re unsure about an answer, try to eliminate at least two incorrect options before making an educated guess.
  6. Mark questions for later: If you’re unsure about a question or running out of time, mark it with an X in your exam booklet and come back to it later.
  7. Review your answers: With the remaining time, double-check your answers and make sure they correspond to the correct numbers on the answer grid.
  8. Get enough sleep and eat well: Ensure you are well-rested and have a good meal before the exam to maintain focus and energy throughout the test.

Free Response

The third and final section of the AP World History Exam is a free-response section that students will have one hour and 40 minutes to complete and accounts for 40 percent of the exam’s total score.

in this section, students will be expected to answer 2 questions. Students will receive one hour (including 15 minutes of reading time) to complete the data-based question, the DBQ. This DBQ accounts for 25 percent of the total score of the exam. As for the long essay, students will be given two choices of prompts of which they must choose one to complete but the remaining 40 minutes are left on the exam. This long essay accounts for 15 percent of the total score of the exam.

When it comes to understanding the specifics of the DBQ, it is quite simple. Students will be provided with seven documents of various perspectives of historical development or processes between the years 1450 and 2001. From there, students will be asked to assess the sources to develop an argument that is supported by an analysis of the historical evidence.

A few examples of sources that students may encounter while writing their DBQ are below:

silk factory

sample free question

For the long essay, students will choose to write about historical developments from one of three different time periods (1200 to 1750, 1450 to 1900, and 1750 to 2001). They must be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills such as causation, continuity, comparison, and change.

An example of an extended essay question that students may face on the exam is below:

Essay question on AP History

Tackling the Free-Response Section

The free-response section of the AP World History Exam consists of two parts: the document-based question (DBQ) and the long essay question (LEQ). Here are some strategies to tackle the free-response section:

  1. Read the prompt carefully: Make sure you understand what the prompt is asking you to do and what historical context you need to address.
  2. Plan your response: Take a few minutes to plan your response before you start writing. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you address all parts of the prompt.
  3. Use specific evidence: Use specific examples from the course or classroom discussion to support your argument.
  4. Address complexity: Address the complexity of the historical issue or event by considering multiple perspectives and interpretations.
  5. Connect historical time periods: Connect the dots between historical time periods and be able to navigate them with accuracy.
  6. Craft responses to fit the rubrics: Master the rubrics and craft responses that fit them to maximize your score.
  7. Practice with past exam questions: Use past AP World History exam questions to practice and familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions that will be asked.

By following these strategies, you can effectively tackle the free-response section of the AP World History Exam and improve your performance on the exam.

Format of the AP World History Exam

The AP World History Exam is designed to assess your understanding of world history and your ability to analyze historical sources, make connections between events and civilizations, and explain the causes and effects of historical developments. The exam consists of multiple-choice and free-response sections, each with its own unique format and time allocation.

Multiple-Choice Section

The multiple-choice section of the AP World History Exam is divided into two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A focuses on analyzing historical sources, while Part B consists of standalone multiple-choice questions.

In Part A, you will be presented with a series of historical sources, such as primary documents, maps, or charts. You will need to carefully examine each source and answer questions based on the information provided. This section tests your ability to critically analyze and interpret historical evidence.

Part B of the multiple-choice section consists of standalone questions that assess your knowledge of world history. These questions cover a wide range of topics and may require you to identify key historical events, individuals, or concepts. It is important to have a solid understanding of world history to succeed in this section.

Each part of the multiple-choice section is timed separately. You will have 40 minutes to complete Part A and 50 minutes to complete Part B. Time management is crucial, so make sure to allocate your time wisely between the two parts.

Free-Response Section

The free-response section of the AP World History Exam allows you to demonstrate your ability to construct well-reasoned and supported arguments in response to historical prompts. This section consists of three essay questions, each with its own set of requirements.

For each essay question, you will have 40 minutes to develop a thoughtful and cohesive response. The prompts may ask you to analyze primary and secondary sources, compare and contrast historical events or civilizations, or explain the causes and effects of historical developments. It is important to carefully read and understand each prompt before crafting your response.

When writing your essays, be sure to provide specific historical evidence to support your arguments. This can include citing specific examples from primary and secondary sources, referencing key historical figures or events, or drawing connections between different civilizations or time periods.

Remember to organize your thoughts and structure your essays in a clear and logical manner. A well-structured essay with a strong thesis statement and supporting evidence will help you earn maximum points in this section.

View of a woman studying.

AP World History Exam Scoring Breakdown

Your performance on the AP World History Exam is assessed on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. The scoring breakdown for the exam is as follows:

  1. Multiple-choice section: 55 questions, 1 point per question
  2. Essay section: 3 essays, scored on a 0 to 6 point scale

The composite score, which is the combination of your multiple-choice and essay scores, is then used to determine your final AP score. A score of 3 or higher is considered passing and may qualify you for college credit or advanced placement in a college course.

Let’s take a closer look at each section of the AP World History Exam scoring breakdown. The multiple-choice section consists of 55 questions, with each question worth 1 point. This section tests your knowledge of world history through a series of carefully crafted questions. It covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to ancient civilizations, major world events, cultural exchanges, and the impact of globalization. To excel in this section, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of historical facts, concepts, and analytical skills.

Next, we have the essay section, which is a critical component of the AP World History Exam. This section consists of 3 essays, each scored on a 0 to 6 point scale. The essays require you to analyze historical documents, make connections between different time periods and regions, and develop coherent arguments supported by evidence. The topics can vary, but they often revolve around major themes in world history, such as political systems, social structures, economic developments, and cultural interactions. To succeed in this section, it is essential to have strong writing skills, critical thinking abilities, and a deep understanding of historical context.

Once you have completed both the multiple-choice and essay sections, your composite score is calculated. This score is determined by combining your scores from the multiple-choice section and the essay section. The composite score is then used to determine your final AP score, which ranges from 1 to 5. A score of 3 or higher is considered passing and may grant you college credit or advanced placement in a college course.

Scoring well on the AP World History Exam not only demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of world history but also showcases your ability to analyze historical events, think critically, and communicate effectively through writing. It is a challenging exam that requires diligent preparation, extensive reading, and practice in both multiple-choice and essay writing. However, with dedication and the right study strategies, you can achieve a high score and open doors to exciting academic opportunities.

Topics Covered in the AP World History Exam

The AP World History Exam covers a wide range of topics, spanning from prehistory to the present day. It is a comprehensive examination that tests your knowledge and understanding of the world’s history and the interconnectedness of various civilizations and events. In order to succeed on this exam, it is crucial to have a strong grasp of the following major themes and topics:

  • Ancient Civilizations: One of the key areas of focus on the AP World History Exam is the study of ancient civilizations. This includes exploring the achievements and advancements of societies such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. You will delve into their political systems, social structures, cultural practices, and technological innovations. Understanding the contributions and legacies of these ancient civilizations is essential to comprehending the foundations of human history.
  • The Rise and Fall of Empires: Another significant aspect of the exam is the examination of empires throughout history. You will explore the rise and fall of major empires such as the Mauryan Empire, the Roman Empire, the Mongol Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. This includes analyzing the factors that contributed to their rise, the strategies they employed to maintain power, and the reasons behind their eventual decline and collapse. By studying these empires, you will gain insights into the complexities of imperial rule and its impact on societies.
  • The Spread of Religions and Philosophies: Religion and philosophy have played a crucial role in shaping human history. The AP World History Exam will require you to examine the spread of major religions and philosophies, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, and Hinduism. You will explore how these belief systems originated, their core principles, and the ways in which they influenced societies across different regions and time periods. This topic highlights the diversity of human spiritual and intellectual pursuits.
  • The Development and Impact of Trade Networks: Trade has been a driving force in the development of civilizations and the exchange of goods, ideas, and culture. The exam will assess your understanding of the development and impact of trade networks, such as the Silk Road, the Indian Ocean trade routes, and the Trans-Saharan trade routes. You will analyze the economic, social, and cultural consequences of these networks, including the diffusion of technologies, the spread of diseases, and the formation of global economic systems.
  • Political and Social Revolutions: Throughout history, political and social revolutions have brought about significant changes in societies. The AP World History Exam will require you to examine revolutions such as the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the Chinese Revolution. You will analyze the causes, key events, and consequences of these revolutions, as well as their impact on political systems, social structures, and individual rights. Understanding these revolutions will provide insights into the struggles for freedom, equality, and justice.
  • Industrialization and Globalization: The advent of industrialization and globalization has transformed the world in profound ways. This topic explores the Industrial Revolution, the spread of capitalism, and the emergence of global interconnectedness. You will examine the social, economic, and environmental impact of industrialization, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by globalization. Understanding these processes is essential to comprehending the modern world and its complexities.
  • World Wars: The two World Wars of the 20th century had a profound impact on global history. The exam will require you to analyze the causes, key events, and consequences of World War I and World War II. You will explore the political, economic, and social factors that led to these conflicts, as well as the far-reaching consequences they had on nations and societies. Understanding the causes and effects of these wars is crucial to understanding the modern geopolitical landscape.
  • Decolonization: The process of decolonization marked a significant shift in global power dynamics. This topic examines the dismantling of colonial empires and the struggles for independence in regions such as Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. You will analyze the causes and consequences of decolonization, including the challenges faced by newly independent nations and the legacies of colonialism. Understanding this topic provides insights into the complexities of post-colonial societies and the ongoing quest for self-determination.

As you can see, the AP World History Exam covers a vast array of topics that span across different time periods and regions. It is essential to develop a comprehensive understanding of these themes and their connections to each other in order to succeed on the exam. By studying the rich tapestry of human history, you will gain insights into the complexities of the world we live in today.

Why is the AP World History important?

The AP World History Exam is not only important for your academic record but also for your personal and intellectual growth. By studying world history, you gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of global events and the impact of historical developments on the present day. The skills you develop through studying for the exam, such as critical thinking, analytical writing, and historical interpretation, are invaluable and will serve you well in college and beyond.

How hard is the AP World History Exam?

The difficulty of the AP World History Exam can vary depending on your level of preparation and familiarity with the subject matter. Some students may find the exam challenging, while others may find it manageable. The key to success is to develop a study plan tailored to your needs and dedicate sufficient time to review and practice.

What factors affect the difficulty of the AP World History Exam?

The difficulty of the AP World History Exam can be influenced by various factors. Understanding these factors can help students prepare more effectively. Here are key elements that may impact the difficulty of the exam:

  1. Content Breadth and Depth:
    • The breadth and depth of historical content covered in the exam can affect its difficulty. A wider range of topics and more in-depth coverage may increase the level of challenge.
  2. Historical Thinking Skills:
    • The exam assesses students’ historical thinking skills, including the ability to analyze primary and secondary sources, make connections between historical events, and understand cause-and-effect relationships. The complexity of these skills can impact difficulty.
  3. Interpretation of Documents:
    • Document-based questions (DBQs) are a significant part of the exam. The difficulty can depend on the complexity of the documents provided and the analytical depth required to respond effectively.
  4. Essay Prompts:
    • The essay prompts require students to construct well-argued and evidence-based responses. The complexity of the prompts and the depth of analysis expected can influence difficulty.
  5. Historical Themes:
    • The emphasis on specific historical themes, such as political, economic, social, and cultural aspects, in a given exam can affect its difficulty. A balanced representation of these themes contributes to a comprehensive and challenging test.
  6. Time Constraints:
    • The AP World History Exam has time constraints for each section. Effectively managing time, especially during the DBQ and free-response sections, can impact the perceived difficulty.
  7. Course Preparation:
    • The effectiveness of students’ preparation throughout the course plays a crucial role. A well-structured and comprehensive AP World History course can better equip students to handle the exam’s challenges.
  8. Teacher Instruction:
    • The quality of instruction provided by teachers throughout the academic year influences how well students grasp and retain historical concepts. Effective teaching methods contribute to better exam preparedness.
  9. Historical Controversies:
    • Exam questions may delve into historical controversies and debates. The complexity of these topics can add an additional layer of difficulty as students navigate nuanced perspectives.
  10. Reading and Analytical Skills:
    • Strong reading and analytical skills are essential for success. The difficulty of the exam may be influenced by the level of reading comprehension required and the complexity of the analytical tasks.
  11. Test-Taking Strategies:
    • Familiarity with effective test-taking strategies, such as time management, question prioritization, and essay organization, can impact a student’s ability to navigate the exam successfully.
  12. Changes in Exam Format:
    • Any changes in the exam format or question types can introduce an element of unpredictability, potentially affecting how well students perform.

Group of students talking.

Who should take the AP World History Exam?

The AP World History Exam is designed for high school students who have completed or are currently enrolled in an Advanced Placement (AP) World History course. This exam is suitable for students who:

  1. Have a Strong Interest in World History:
    • Students who have a genuine interest in exploring the history of civilizations, cultures, and societies from different parts of the world may find the AP World History Exam engaging.
  2. Seek a Challenging Academic Experience:
    • The exam is known for its challenging content and analytical components. Students who are looking for a rigorous academic experience and are willing to engage with complex historical concepts may choose to take this exam.
  3. Are College-Bound:
    • Many colleges and universities recognize the AP World History Exam and may grant college credit for high scores. Students who plan to attend college and want to demonstrate their academic proficiency in history may opt for this exam.
  4. Plan to Pursue History or Related Fields:
    • Students considering majors or careers in history, political science, anthropology, or other related fields may benefit from taking the AP World History Exam. The exam provides a solid foundation in historical knowledge and analytical skills.
  5. Enjoy Analyzing Historical Trends:
    • The exam assesses students’ ability to analyze historical trends, make connections between different periods, and understand the global context of historical events. Students who enjoy critical thinking and analysis may excel in this exam.
  6. Are Curious About Global Perspectives:
    • The AP World History Exam offers a comprehensive view of world history, emphasizing global interconnections and exchanges. Students who are curious about understanding how societies interact and evolve on a global scale may find the exam intriguing.
  7. Want to Stand Out in College Admissions:
    • Success on the AP World History Exam can demonstrate a student’s commitment to academic excellence and can be a positive factor in college admissions. It shows that a student has engaged in a challenging and advanced history curriculum.
  8. Are Interested in Comparative Analysis:
    • The exam includes elements of comparative analysis, requiring students to evaluate similarities and differences between historical periods and regions. Those who enjoy making comparisons and drawing connections may find the exam fulfilling.

Do colleges care about the AP World History Exam?

Yes! Many colleges and universities care about the AP World History Exam, and success on the exam can have several positive implications for college admissions. Here are some reasons why colleges value the AP World History Exam:

  1. Demonstration of Academic Rigor:
    • Success on the AP World History Exam is a strong indicator of a student’s willingness to tackle challenging and rigorous coursework. Colleges often appreciate students who engage in advanced placement courses to demonstrate their academic capabilities.
  2. Potential for College Credit:
    • Depending on the college’s policies, a high score on the AP World History Exam may allow students to earn college credit. This can enable students to place out of introductory-level history courses, giving them more flexibility in their college curriculum.
  3. Preparation for College-Level Work:
    • The content and skills assessed in the AP World History Exam closely mirror those found in introductory college-level history courses. Excelling in this exam suggests that a student is well-prepared for the demands of higher education.
  4. Interest in Global Perspectives:
    • The AP World History Exam emphasizes a global perspective, requiring students to understand and analyze historical events from various regions and time periods. Colleges value students who have a broad understanding of world history and global interconnections.
  5. Skills in Analysis and Critical Thinking:
    • The exam assesses students’ ability to analyze historical documents, make connections between different historical periods, and think critically about global events. These skills are transferable to various college majors and are highly valued by institutions.
  6. Stand Out in Admissions:
    • Success on AP exams, including AP World History, can make a student’s college application stand out. It demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and a willingness to challenge oneself in the high school curriculum.
  7. Alignment with College Admissions Priorities:
    • Colleges often consider a student’s performance in challenging courses when making admissions decisions. High achievement on the AP World History Exam aligns with the priorities of colleges seeking academically dedicated and capable students.
  8. Preparation for College Essays and Interviews:
    • The analytical and critical thinking skills developed through AP World History coursework and exam preparation can enhance a student’s ability to articulate their thoughts in college essays and interviews.

It’s important to note that the value placed on AP World History Exam scores can vary among colleges. Some institutions may use exam scores to determine course placements, while others may consider them as part of a holistic admissions review. Students are advised to research the policies of the colleges to which they plan to apply and understand how AP World History Exam scores fit into the overall admissions process.

A female student using a laptop.

How to register for the AP World History Exam

To register for the AP World History Exam, follow these general steps. Please note that specific procedures may vary by school, so it’s crucial to communicate with your AP coordinator and follow the guidelines provided by your school.

  1. Enroll in an AP World History Course:
    • Typically, students take the AP World History Exam after completing or while enrolled in an AP World History course at their high school. Ensure you are enrolled in the appropriate course and speak with your teacher or school counselor if you have any questions.
  2. Create or Access Your College Board Account:
    • If you don’t have one already, create an account on the College Board website (collegeboard.org). If you have an account, log in. This account is where you will register for the exam, view scores, and access other College Board resources.
  3. Join Your Class Section:
    • Your AP teacher will provide you with a unique join code for your AP class section. Log in to your College Board account, navigate to the “My AP” section, and join your class using the join code provided by your teacher.
  4. Review the Exam Schedule:
    • Familiarize yourself with the AP Exam schedule, including the date and time of the AP World History Exam. This information is available on the College Board website.
  5. Submit Exam Fees:
    • Some schools cover the cost of AP exams, while others may require students to pay a fee. Check with your school’s AP coordinator regarding the exam fee payment process. Fee reduction or financial assistance may be available for eligible students.
  6. Complete the Registration Process:
    • Log in to your College Board account, navigate to the “My AP” section, and complete the exam registration process. Ensure that you provide accurate information and review your registration details before submitting.
  7. Print Confirmation:
    • After successfully registering, print or save the confirmation page for your records. This page includes important information such as your exam confirmation number.
  8. Prepare for Exam Day:
    • As the exam date approaches, review the AP World History Exam format, content, and any additional resources provided by your teacher. Be sure to know the location and time of your exam.
  9. Attend the Pre-Exam Session:
    • Your school may conduct a pre-exam session to provide important information and guidelines for exam day. Attend this session to ensure you are well-prepared.
  10. Obtain Testing Accommodations if Needed:
    • If you require testing accommodations, work with your school’s AP coordinator to ensure that the necessary arrangements are made well in advance of the exam date.

How to study for the AP World History Exam

Here at AdmissionSight, we have made it our job to help high school students all over the country succeed in every way they can so they can get into the college or university of their dreams. Part of finding success in that goal may be based on their ability to study and prepare for AP exams. Therefore, we want to break down the best way to prepare for this, and any other, AP exam.

Here is how to best prepare for the AP World History Exam:

Analyze your knowledge and ability

The very first step to preparing for the AP World History Exam is to take a sample exam that you can either find online or in one of the many great study guides for sale. while you do not have to time yourself during this first practice exam, make sure you do take the time to cross-check your answers with the provided answers. This will not only serve as a learning opportunity for you, but it will also help you identify the areas in which you need to pay special attention if you want to score that perfect 5 out of 5.

Study the material

The next step to preparing for the exam will be to study the material. This will be especially helpful after you take your practice exam and identify the areas you need to improve most. Memorizing essential periods, events, people and more is very important, you will also want to make sure that you have total mastery over the six themes of the class. Those include:

  • developments and processes
  • sourcing and situation
  • claims and evidence and sources
  • contextualization
  • making connections
  • argumentation

Some of the best ways to learn the material for this exam include purchasing one of the many fantastic study guides, working with the teacher who taught the course at your school, or forming a study group with some of your fellow classmates and friends who are also looking to ace the exam.

Practice questions

Once you feel comfortable with the material that will be covered on the exam, it is time to gain mastery of all of the kinds of questions that you may face on the day of the actual exam. This means that you will want to spend quite a lot of time studying multiple choice questions, short answer questions as well as long answer and document-based questions. The more sample questions you can face the more likely you will be able to answer the real questions that you face on the actual exam.

Take timed practice exams

The final step to preparing for the AP World History Exam is to take fully timed practice exams. It is essential that your mind is prepared for the arduous task of the long exam. It is also imperative that you know what it feels like to answer all of the questions within the time given to you. Quite simply, the only way to achieve both is to take as many full practice exams as possible within the actual time that you will be given on the day of the exam.

Tips on the day of the exam

The day of the AP World History Exam can be quite nerve-wracking, but with the right strategies, you can approach it with confidence:

  • Arrive early: Give yourself enough time to find your testing location and settle in.
  • Read instructions carefully: Make sure you understand what is expected of you in each section of the exam.
  • Manage your time: Pace yourself and allocate appropriate time for each question or essay.
  • Answer all questions: Even if you’re unsure, it’s better to provide an educated guess than to leave a question blank.
  • Stay focused and calm: Take deep breaths and stay confident in your abilities. Don’t let anxiety hinder your performance.

Post-exam tips

After completing the AP World History Exam, take some time to reflect on your performance and celebrate your hard work. Here are a few post-exam tips:

  • Avoid dwelling on the exam: Try not to obsess over the questions you may have found difficult. Instead, focus on the effort you put forth.
  • Take care of yourself: Get enough sleep, eat nourishing meals, and engage in activities that help you relax and rejuvenate.
  • Reflect on the exam experience: Consider what went well and areas you can improve on for future exams.
  • Continue learning: Don’t let your passion for world history fade away. Explore more books, documentaries, and resources to deepen your knowledge.

View of a student using her laptop while writing.

When is the AP World History Exam in 2024?

The AP World History Exam in 2024 will be administered on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at 8:00 a.m.

For a complete list of the 2024 AP Exam dates, here’s a full list:

Week 1 Morning 8 a.m.

Local Time

Afternoon 12 p.m.

Local Time

Monday,

May 6, 2024

United States Government and Politics Art History

Chemistry

Tuesday,

May 7, 2024

Human Geography

Microeconomics

Seminar

Statistics

Wednesday,

May 8, 2024

English Literature and Composition Comparative Government and Politics

Computer Science A

Thursday,

May 9, 2024

Chinese Language and Culture

Environmental Science

Psychology
Friday,

May 10, 2024

European History

United States History

Macroeconomics

Spanish Literature and Culture

Art and Design: Friday, May 10, 2024 (8 p.m. ET), is the deadline for AP Art and Design students to submit their three portfolio components as final in the AP Digital Portfolio.
Week 2 Morning 8 a.m.

Local Time

Afternoon 12 p.m.

Local Time

Afternoon 2 p.m.

Local Time

Monday,

May 13, 2024

Calculus AB

Calculus BC

Italian Language and Culture

Precalculus

Tuesday,

May 14, 2024

English Language and Composition African American Studies

Physics C: Mechanics

Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Wednesday,

May 15, 2024

French Language and Culture

World History: Modern

Computer Science Principles

Music Theory

Thursday,

May 16, 2024

Spanish Language and Culture Biology

Japanese Language and Culture

Friday,

May 17, 2024

German Language and Culture

Physics 1: Algebra-Based

Latin

Physics 2: Algebra-Based

When do AP scores come out?

AP scores are typically released in early to mid-July of the year the exams were taken. The exact release date may vary slightly from year to year, but students who took their AP exams in May can generally expect their scores to become available.

You can check for updates on the College Board’s official AP scores website if you are waiting for your AP scores. They will also email you when your scores are added to your score report. If you haven’t received your scores by mid-August, contacting AP Services for Students is recommended for assistance.

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