AP Human Geography Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about the course


AP Human Geography introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. The curriculum reflects the goals of the National Geography Standards (2012). For more details go to the course home page.

AP Human Geography course is equivalent to an introductory college-level course in human geography.

No. Students only need to be able to read college-level texts and apply the conventions of Standard Written English in their writing. However, a background in world history, world regional geography, physical geography, comparative world religions, and economics will give students a solid foundation for building conceptual understanding.

Any motivated student should be given the chance to benefit from an AP course. And if your school offers the PSAT/NMSQT®, you should 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 proven to be stronger predictors of AP success than high school grades or GPA.

AP does not recommend specific textbooks or other teaching materials, but a list of appropriate textbooks is available on AP Course Audit.

These resources will help:

  • The Human Geography Course Description (.pdf/1.5MB) is the core document for this course. It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and AP Program in general. If you download only one thing this year, make this it.
  • Professional development such as one-day workshops, specialty conferences, and weeklong AP Summer Institutes are great for novices and experts alike.
  • The AP Human Geography Teacher Community gives you the opportunity to learn from colleagues and create a library of resources.

We recommend teaching the course over one year, giving students time to learn the material. If your school offers the course in one semester at the beginning of the school year, students should have an opportunity to review the material again before the exam in May to ensure their success.

The AP Human Geography 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 an 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. To give you more time to familiarize yourself with the new resources and supports launching in August, teachers won’t be required to submit a syllabus for course authorization until the 2020-21 school year. Go to the AP Course Audit page for this course for more information and guidance about the requirements for the 2019-20 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.

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

Questions about the Exam


These resources will help:

  • 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.
  • Starting in August 2019, you will have access to AP Classroom, a dedicated online platform designed to support you and your students throughout your AP experience. The platform features a variety of powerful resources and tools to give you year-long support and enable your students to receive meaningful feedback on their progress as they prepare for the AP Exam.
  • A full practice exam is available by logging into your AP Course Audit account.
  • Free-response questions (FRQs) with student samples and scoring guidelines can be accessed from the course’s exam information page.
  • Scroll down the “Scoring” column in the free-response questions table to find yearly Chief Reader Reports (former title: 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.
  • Released exams can be purchased at 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 schools they are considering.

Go to the AP Human Geography Exam Information page. You’ll find specifics about the exam format and more.