2015-16 AP European History Redesign: Overview

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Important Updates

Since the content on this page dates from 2015, it does not reflect the most recent changes to the AP European History course and exam. For up-to-date information about AP European History, visit the course home page.

The redesigned AP European History course that launched in 2015-16:

  • Is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in four different chronological periods, from approximately 1450 to the present—the same overall chronological time period that AP European History teachers are already teaching.
  • Allows students to spend more time learning essential concepts and developing the historical thinking skills necessary to explore European history by focusing on a limited number of key concepts. (These are the same historical thinking skills that informed the redesign of AP U.S. History and AP World History.)
  • Relieves the pressure on teachers to cover all possible events and details of European history at a superficial level.
  • Continues to prepare students for the rigors of advanced college-level work in history.

The curriculum framework is just that: a framework. It provides a systematic approach for presenting the essential skills and understandings that students should be able to demonstrate at the end of their AP European History course. It is not a detailed manual for how to teach the course; rather, it presents a clear set of skills and learning objectives that will be measured on the AP European History Exam. By helping teachers to prioritize among the possible topics to cover across the scope of European history, the framework allows teachers to explore certain topics in greater depth.

College department chairs and faculty members across the nation reviewed and affirmed each element of the redesigned course and exam. They identified the key concepts that history students must learn. In addition, they confirmed that within those parameters, AP teachers have the flexibility to select which specific historical topics, examples, and primary sources to teach. For more information, see the AP European History Validation Study.

To learn more about the role of college faculty in course and exam development, visit the AP higher education website.