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Important Updates

Refining the AP World History LEQ prompt
Based on requests from AP teachers to make the wording clearer and more direct for students, the question prompt for the AP World History long essay questions (LEQs) has been refined. The AP World History Course and Exam Description and the sample student responses scored with the 2018 rubrics have been updated to reflect this change.

We encourage you to let your students know about the updated prompt, so that they’re familiar with the wording of the long essay question options they’ll see on exam day.

Updated and New AP History Resources
Teaching and Assessing AP World History and the AP World History course overview modules have been updated to align with the 2017-18 AP history updates. A secure practice exam reflecting the updates is also available on the AP Course Audit site.

2017-18 AP History Updates
Updates to the three AP history courses and exams will take effect in the 2017-18 school year. These changes do not require teachers to resubmit their syllabi to the AP Course Audit or attend professional development.

  • Event
    • Thu, May 17, 2018

    AP World History Exam Day 2018

    • 8 a.m. | 3 hrs 15 mins

Exam Overview

The AP World History Exam measures students' knowledge of world history and their ability to think historically. Questions are based on key and supporting concepts, course themes, and the disciplinary practices and reasoning skills outlined in the course and exam description.

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

Exam Format

Section I: Part A

Multiple Choice — 55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions appear in sets of 2 to 5.
  • 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

  • Analyze historians' interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.
  • Questions provide opportunities for students to explain the historical examples that they know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
  • Update for 2017-18: The number of required short-answer questions has been reduced to three, and the time allotted has been decreased to 40 minutes. Students will choose between two options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period.
    • Question 1 (required): periods 3-6
    • Question 2 (required): periods 3-6
    • Students choose between Question 3, periods 1-3, and Question 4, periods 4-6

Section II: Part A

Document Based — 1 Question | 60 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • Update for 2017-18: Five minutes have been added to the time allotted for the document-based question, which will now focus on topics from periods 3-6.

Section II: Part B

Long Essay — 1 Question | 40 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score

  • Explain and analyze significant issues in world history.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
  • Updates for 2017-18: Five minutes have been added to the time allotted for the long essay. The question choices will continue to focus on the same theme and skill but will now allow students to select among three options, each focusing on a different range of time periods:
    • Option 1: periods 1-2
    • Option 2: periods 3-4
    • Option 3: periods 5-6

Additional Update, November 2017: The question prompt for the AP World History long essay question has been refined to make the wording clearer for students.

Updated Rubrics for 2018

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions from the 2017 exam, along with scoring information, check out the table below. Please note that these questions do not reflect the format of the 2018 exam. Similar resources for the 2018 exam will be available after the exam administration in May 2018.

Past exam questions from the May 2016 administrations and before are also available. Note that these questions do not reflect the content, scope, or design specifications of the revised AP World History Exam.

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 reading leadership to describe 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.

2018: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

2017: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Chief Reader Report

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1 DBQ

Sample Responses Q1 SA

Sample Responses Q2 LEQ

Sample Responses Q2 SA

Sample Responses Q3 LEQ

Sample Responses Q3 SA

Sample Responses Q4 SA

Scoring Distributions

Note: The scoring guidelines in this table were used to score the 2017 AP World History Exam. Updated rubrics for the 2017-18 school year are available above, under Updated Rubrics for 2018.

Exam Resources