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Important Updates

2021 Exam Information
AP World History: Modern Exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June.

The paper and digital versions of the AP World History: Modern Exam will be full length and cover the full scope of course content, giving students the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP World History: Modern only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

AP Daily and AP Classroom
Short, searchable AP Daily videos can be assigned alongside topic questions to help you cover all course content, skills, and task models, and check student understanding. Unlock personal progress checks so students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills unit by unit and use the progress dashboard to highlight progress and additional areas for support. As the exam approaches, assign AP practice exams in the AP Classroom question bank and encourage students to take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

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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 World History: Modern Course and Exam Description (CED).

Encourage your students to visit the AP World History: Modern student page for exam information.

Exam Dates

  • Event
    • MON, MAY 10, 2021, 8 AM LOCAL

    AP World History: Modern Exam—Administration 1

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • THU, May 20, 2021, 12 PM EDT

    AP World History: Modern Exam—Administration 2

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  
  • Event
    • THU, JUN 3, 2021, 12 PM EDT

    AP World History: Modern Exam—Administration 3

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  

Exam Format

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

Note on 2021 exams: There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP World History: Modern only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Both the paper and digital versions of the AP World History: Modern Exam will be full-length and cover the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description.

Early May Exam (Paper) Late May and Early June Exams (Digital)

Section IA: 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 IA: 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 IB: 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 secondary source, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
    • Question 2 is required, includes 1 primary source, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
    • Students choose between Question 3 (which focuses on historical developments or between the years 1200 and 1750) and Question 4 (which focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1750 and 2001) for the last question. No sources are included for either Question 3 or Question 4.

Section IB: 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 answer 3 questions, each one focusing on a different time period:
    • Question 1 is required, includes 1 primary source text, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
    • Question 2 is required, includes 1 map source, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
    • Question 3 is required, includes 1 primary source image, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.

Section IIA: 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 1450 to 2001.

Section IIA: 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 1450 to 2001.

Section IIB: Long Essay
1 Question | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score 

 

  • Students explain and analyze significant issues in world 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 primarily on historical developments and processes in different time periods—either 1200–1750 (option 1), 1450–1900 (option 2), or 1750–2001 (option 3).

Section IIB: Short Answer Questions
2 Questions | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

 

  • Students explain and analyze significant issues in world history.
  • 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 answer 2 questions, each one focusing on a different time period:
    • Question 5 is required, includes a source with a data set (such as a chart, table, or graph), and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
    • Question 6 is required, includes secondary source text, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.

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).

2020 (Last Year’s) Free-Response Questions

Last year’s free-response questions are available in the AP Classroom question bank for teachers to assign to students as homework or in class, and do not require secure assessment using the LockDown Browser. Since the 2020 exams had to be designed for highly unusual circumstances, these questions were updated, where possible, to best match the format of free-response questions in the course and exam description and on traditional AP Exams.

Sign in to AP Classroom to access resources including personal progress checks and a question bank with topic questions and practice exams aligned to the current course and exam.

To preserve the large number of new FRQs for teacher use, only teachers have access to the 2020 FRQs. If you are a higher education faculty member interested in seeing questions, please fill out this request form.

2019 Free-Response Questions

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.