Students planning ahead for AP success need to know not only what's tested on the exams but also how the tests are structured.
Here's an overview of the AP United States History exam, including what students can expect from this year's digital tests.
What's on the AP U.S. History test?
The AP U.S. History exam is designed to measure your understanding of U.S. history from 1491 to the present.
The course involves 9 major units of study:
- Period 1: 1491–1607
- Period 2: 1607–1754
- Period 3: 1754–1800
- Period 4: 1800–1848
- Period 5: 1844–1877
- Period 6: 1865–1898
- Period 7: 1890–1945
- Period 8: 1945–1980
- Period 9: 1980–Present
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How is the AP U.S. History test structured?
The AP U.S. History exam is a four-part test consisting of a multiple-choice section, short-answer section, document-based question, and long essay.
Because the AP U.S. History exam is a timed test, you will have to carefully pace yourself. This includes making determinations about whether you should skip and guess on any questions. In order to achieve the best possible score, you need to answer as many questions correctly as possible.
As you prepare for test day, you may come up with a personalized pacing plan, but as a starting point, here are rough guidelines based on the timing of each section:
- Multiple choice:
- 55 minutes to answer 55 questions
- 1 minute per question
- Short answer:
- 40 minutes to answer 3 questions
- ~13 minutes per question
- 60 minutes to answer 1 question
- 15-minute reading period
- 45-minute writing period
- Long essay:
- 40 minutes to answer 1 question
- 40-minute writing period
What will this year's digital exams look like?
The College Board will offer multiple exam dates and formats to AP students in 2021. There will be three testing dates for each subject. On certain dates, schools can offer digital exams that may be administered either in school or at home. The AP U.S. History exam will be offered on May 6 (paper exam in school), May 19 (digital exam in school or at home), and June 2 (digital exam in school or at home).
Here are the similarities and differences between the paper and digital versions of the test:
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