AP U.S. History Course and Exam Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about the course

 

In AP U.S. History, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in nine historical periods from approximately 1491 to the present. Students develop and use the same disciplinary practices and reasoning skills employed by historians.

For more details on AP U.S. History, go to the course home page

AP U.S. History is the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college course in U.S. history.

There are no prerequisite courses, but 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 proven to be stronger predictors of AP success than have high school grades or GPA.

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

These resources will help:

The AP 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 information 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.
  • Free-response questions (FRQs) with student samples and scoring guidelines can be accessed from the exam page. 
  • Scroll down the Scoring column in the free-response questions table to find the Chief Reader Report, a resource previously known as the Student Performance Q&A. In it, the Chief Reader describes how students performed on the FRQs, typical student errors, and specific concepts that challenged students the most that year.
  • The Past Exam Questions page features questions and scoring information from exam administrations.

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 United States History Exam page. You'll find specifics about the exam format and more.