2016-17 AP World History Revisions: Key Changes

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Key Change 1

Less essential topics were removed from the concept outline, making the scope of the revised course more manageable.

Key Change 2

Learning objectives were incorporated into the framework to clearly define the focus of the revised exam.

Previous Course 2016-17 Course

The curriculum framework specified historical thinking skills, themes, and key concepts but did not specify targets of assessment.

Learning objectives for each theme clearly state the exam's goals for student understanding and historical reasoning and clearly link to relevant topics in the concept outline.

Key Change 3

The exam format was revised to provide greater opportunity for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do.

Previous Exam 2017 Exam

Emphasis on discrete multiple-choice questions focused on mastery of content knowledge:

Section I

  • 55 minutes; 50 percent of exam score
  • 70 multiple-choice questions
  • One continuity and change-over-time essay
  • One comparative essay

Section II

  • 130 minutes; 50 percent of exam score
  • One document-based question

The number of multiple-choice questions has been reduced, and short-answer questions have been added:

Section I

  • 55 multiple-choice questions (55 minutes; 40 percent of exam score)
  • Four short-answer questions (50 minutes; 20 percent of exam score)

Section II

  • One document-based question (55 minutes, which includes a 15-minute reading period; 25 percent of exam score)
  • One long-essay question, chosen from a pair (35 minutes; 15 percent of exam score)

The exam formats and specifications in the table above do not align with the current exam. Visit the exam page for up-to-date information.

Key Change 4

Multiple-choice questions were newly organized into sets around the analysis of a historical source (e.g., text, map, chart) as a stimulus material.

Key Change 5

The 2017 exam featured new short-answer writing questions focused on students' use of particular historical thinking skills.

Previous Exam 2017 Exam

No short-answer questions; instead, greater number of multiple-choice questions.

Short-answer questions gave students some flexibility to demonstrate their historical understanding.

Key Change 6

The document-based question remained a critical part of the exam but featured fewer documents and required students to bring in "outside knowledge" in addition to document analysis.

Key Change 7

Instead of two required long essay questions, only one was required. Students could choose one of two options. Both long-essay question options targeted the same skill, which would vary from year to year, and the tasks required of the students were very similar.