In response to valuable feedback from AP teachers, we’re making changes to AP World History in 2019-20 that better align it with the scope of content that most colleges and universities cover in a single course.
These changes will help give students more time during the school year to develop understanding through sustained focus on key concepts and practice of essential skills.
What’s changing, and why?
Beginning in the 2019-20 school year:
- The AP World History Exam will assess content only from c. 1450 through the present (Periods 4–6).
- The exam format and rubrics will stay the same, in alignment with the other two AP history exams.
- Some content (i.e., world religions) from Periods 1–3 will be reviewed in Periods 4–6.
- Some content clarifications will be provided.
The current AP World History course and exam cover 10,000 years of history across all seven continents. No other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year. AP World History teachers have told us over the years that the scope of content is simply too broad, and that they often need to sacrifice depth to cover it all in a single year.
Colleges and universities typically do not cover all of world history in a single course, but in two or more separate courses. Additionally, most colleges only provide one course credit for AP World History even though the current course covers the scope of two or more college semesters.
What about early world history?
Early world history is crucial, and students need time to explore it in depth. Ideally, the 10,000 years of history covered in the current AP World History course should be taught over two school years.
To cover early world history at the right depth, schools might consider offering world history as two separate year-long courses:
- Pre-AP World History and Geography, where schools could choose units focusing on the three earliest historical periods:
- The Ancient Period, Before 600 BCE
- The Classical Period, c. 600 BCE to c. 600 CE
- The Postclassical Period, c. 600 CE to c. 1450
- AP World History, where schools could focus on world history since c. 1450:
- Global Interactions, c. 1450 to c. 1750
- Industrialization and Global Integration, c. 1750 to c. 1900
- Accelerating Global Change and Realignments, c. 1900 to the Present
While AP World History teachers can continue to include early world history in their AP course to fulfill local standards or personal preferences, the AP World History Exam starting in 2019-20 will assess content only from c. 1450 to the present (Periods 4-6).
In 2019, we will share an updated course and exam description (CED) for the 2019-20 school year, along with updated AP Summer Institutes and brand-new support materials for teachers and students.
AP World History teachers will not be required to submit an updated syllabus through the AP Course Audit, but will simply confirm their awareness of these changes through a short attestation on the 2019-20 AP Course Audit form.