AP European History Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about the course


In AP European History, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in four historical periods from approximately 1450 to the present. The course is structured around six themes, and students develop disciplinary practices and reasoning skills as they investigate similar events in different time periods.

For a bit more detail on the course, download this two-page course overview (.pdf/62.3KB).

AP European History corresponds to two semesters of a typical introductory college European history course.

No, although students should be able to read a college-level textbook and write grammatically correct, complete sentences.

Any motivated student should be given the chance to benefit from an AP course. If your school offers the PSAT/NMSQT, use AP Potential. This free online tool allows you to identify students who are likely to succeed in AP based on their PSAT/NMSQT or SAT scores. Such scores have been proved to be stronger predictors of AP success than have high school grades or GPA.

The College Board does not recommend specific textbooks. However, a list of example textbooks appropriate for the course appears on the AP Course Audit page for this course.

These resources will help:

  • The AP European History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/5.18MB) is the core document for the course. If you only download one thing this year, it should be this.
  • AP European History Course Planning and Pacing Guides demonstrate several approaches to teaching the course. The guides were written by teachers from different areas of the country, working in a variety of teaching environments. These guides are currently being revised to align with the 2017-18 AP history updates.
  • Teaching and Assessing AP European History is a set of online professional development modules that provide samples of the free-response questions, video modeling of key instructional strategies, and resources to help implement these strategies in the classroom. Note that some modules are being revised to align with the 2017-18 AP history updates.
  • Other professional development opportunities, such as one-day workshops, specialty conferences, and weeklong AP Summer Institutes, are great for novices and experts alike.
  • The AP European History Teacher Community gives you the opportunity to learn from colleagues and create a library of resources.
  • The Teacher's Guide (.pdf/1.18MB) was developed to support the course prior to the redesign that took effect in 2015-16, but still provides relevant information about teaching AP European History.

Yes, provided that the class meets all year long so that students can cover the course content.

The AP European History Teacher Community might be the best source for answers. You'll also find articles, tools, and resources to help you teach every aspect of the course on the course home page.

Questions about the AP Course Audit


The AP Course Audit is a course authorization process that provides teachers and administrators with guidelines and requirements for offering AP courses. It also ensures that AP courses across high schools meet the same college-level criteria.

Yes. Every school wishing to offer an AP course must participate in the AP Course Audit.

The AP Course Audit requires the online submission of two documents: the AP Course Audit form and the teacher’s syllabus. The AP teacher and the school principal (or designated administrator) submit the Course Audit form, acknowledging the curricular and resource requirements. The syllabus, detailing how the AP course requirements will be met, is submitted by the AP teacher for review by college faculty.

No. If you already have an authorized AP European History course, you won't be required to revise and resubmit your syllabus for the 2017-18 school year.

The AP Course Audit page for this course will give you the tools you'll need to create and submit your syllabus for authorization, including information and guidelines, sample syllabi, and a tutorial.

Go to AP Course Audit for more FAQs, resources, and information about the whole course audit process.

Questions about the Exam


The exam measures students' knowledge of European history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on learning objectives, key and supporting concepts, course themes, and AP history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills. The exam features multiple-choice, short-answer, document-based, and long essay questions.

For detailed information about the exam, visit the Exam page.

These resources will help:

  • A full practice exam reflecting the 2017-18 changes is available in the AP European History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/5.18MB).
  • Secure exams for classroom use are available on the AP Course Audit website. Log in to your account and then click on the Secure Documents link within the Resources section of your Course Status page. These resources are being revised to reflect the 2017-18 AP history updates.
  • Teaching and Assessing AP European History features sample free-response questions and scoring practice using real student responses. Some modules are being revised to align with the 2017-18 AP history updates.
  • Free-response questions (FRQs) with student samples and scoring guidelines from the 2016 exam and later can be accessed from the exam page. Please note that these resources do not reflect the format of the 2018 exam.
  • Scroll down the "Scoring" column in the free-response questions table to find yearly Student Performance Q&A's from the Chief Reader that describe how students performed on the FRQs, typical student errors, and specific concepts that challenged students the most that year.
  • Sample Questions: AP European History Exam (.pdf/2.1MB) contains questions originally published in the fall 2013 curriculum framework. Note that this document does not reflect the 2018 exam format.
  • The Past Exam Questions page features questions and scoring information from the May 2015 exam administration and earlier. Note that these questions do not reflect the content, scope, or design specifications of the redesigned AP European History Exam, which was administered for the first time in May 2016.
  • Released exams can be purchased in the College Board store.

The exam is given each year in early May. Go to the Exam Calendar for the most current exam dates.

That depends on the college. Tell your students to use the AP Credit Policy Info tool to verify the credit/placement policies at the colleges they are considering.

Go to the AP European History Exam page. You'll find specifics about the exam format and more.