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Important Updates

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Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information, download the AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description (CED).

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.

Exam Date

  • Event
    • FRI, MAY 6, 2022, 8 AM LOCAL

    AP U.S. History Exam

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Exam Format

The AP U.S. History Exam has consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day.

Section I, Part A: 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 I, Part B: 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 II: Document-Based Question and Long Essay

2 questions | 1 Hour, 40 minutes | 40% of Exam Score

Document-Based Question (DBQ)

Recommended Time: 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 to 1980.

Long Essay

Recommended time: 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

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).

2021: Free-Response Questions

Questions Scoring

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines