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Important Updates

Support for Students and Schools Impacted by Coronavirus
In response to school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re offering at-home testing for 2020 AP Exams. Note that any related adjustments to 2020 AP Exams, such as length or content covered, may not be reflected on all AP Central pages. Visit Taking the Exams for the latest exam information.

New Secure Practice Exam
The international version of the 2019 AP U.S. History Exam is now available on the AP Course Audit site and in the AP Classroom question bank, along with scoring guidelines and a scoring worksheet.

You continue to have access to the international versions of the 2018 and 2017 exams. The scoring guidelines for the 2017 exam have been updated to reflect the rubric changes that were implemented in 2018. All are available as secure, full practice exams on the AP Course Audit site and as individual secure questions in the question bank. 

As a reminder, these exams are most appropriate for student practice late in the school year, as the exam date approaches.

Get Real-Time Feedback from Personal Progress Checks
Personal progress checks in AP Classroom are a great way to ensure your students are continuing to build mastery of content and skills. The real-time results can help you and your students prioritize additional practice before the AP Exam.

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Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information on exam weighting, download the AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description (CED). Scoring guidelines for each of the sample free-response questions in the CED are also available.

Scoring rubrics – general scoring criteria for the document-based and long essay questions, regardless of specific question prompt – are available in the course and exam description (CED).

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

 

  • Event
    • FRI, MAY 15, 2020, 2 PM ET

    AP U.S. History Exam Day

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Exam Format

The AP U.S. History Exam will continue to have consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day. The overall format of the exam—including the weighting, timing, and number of questions in each exam section—won’t change.

Section 1A: Multiple Choice

55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions usually appear in sets of 3–4 questions.
  • Students analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section 1B: Short Answer

3 Questions | 40 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

  • Students 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 2 options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period:
    • Question 1 is required, includes 1–2 secondary sources, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1754 and 1980.
    • Question 2 is required, includes 1 primary source, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1754 and 1980.
    • Students choose between Question 3 (which focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1491 and 1877) and Question 4 (which focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1865 and 2001) for the last question. No sources are included for either Question 3 or Question 4.

Section 2A: Document-Based Question

1 Question | 1 Hour (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

  • Students are presented with 7 documents offering various perspectives on a historical development or process.
  • Students assess these written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.
  • Students develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • The document-based question focuses on topics from 1754–1980.

Section 2B: Long Essay

1 Question | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

  • Students explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history.
  • Students develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • The question choices focus on the same skills and the same reasoning process (e.g., comparison, causation, or continuity and change), but students choose from 3 options, each focusing on historical developments and processes from a different range of time periods—either 1491–1800 (option 1), 1800–1898 (option 2), or 1890–2001 (option 3).

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions (FRQs) from the 2019 exam, along with scoring information, check out the table 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 AP Reading leadership to explain 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.