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Important Updates

Secure Exam for Classroom Use 
A secure 2018 AP United States History Exam is available on the AP Course Audit website. To access, sign in to your AP Course Audit account, and click on the Secure Documents link in the Resources section of your Course Status page. 

  • Event
    • Fri, May 10, 2019

    AP United States History Exam Day 2019

    • 8 a.m. | 3 hrs 15 mins

Exam Overview

The AP U.S. History Exam measures students' knowledge of U.S. history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on key and supporting concepts, course themes, and the disciplinary practices and reasoning skills outlined in the course and exam description.

Encourage your students to visit the AP United States History student page for exam information and exam practice.

Exam Format

Section I: Part A

Multiple Choice—55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions appear in sets of 2 to 5.
  • Students analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section I: Part B

Short Answer—3 Questions | 40 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

  • Analyze historians' interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.
  • Questions provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
  • Students choose between two options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period.
    • Question 1 (required): periods 3-8
    • Question 2 (required): periods 3-8
    • Students choose between Question 3, periods 1-5, and Question 4, periods 6-9

Section II: Part A

Document Based—1 Question | 60 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • The document-based question focuses on topics from periods 3 to 8.

Section II: Part B

Long Essay—1 Question | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

  • Explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • The question choices focus on the same theme and skill, but students choose from three options, each focusing on a different range of time periods:
    • Option 1: periods 1-3
    • Option 2: periods 4-6
    • Option 3: periods 7-9

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions from recent exams, along with scoring information, check out the tables below.

Be sure to review the Chief Reader Report. In this invaluable resource, the Chief Reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the reading leadership to describe how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.

Exam questions from the May 2014 administrations and before are also available. 

2015: Free-Response Questions
Questions Student Performance Samples, Scoring Guidelines, and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Introduction and Preface

Short Answer Question 1

Short Answer Question 2

Short Answer Question 3

Document-Based Question 1

Long Essay Question 2

Long Essay Question 3

Score Distributions

The 2015 sample response PDFs (.pdf/32.8MB) were updated to reflect changes to the rubrics that took effect with the 2016 AP U.S. History Exam.

Exam Resources