AP US History‎ > ‎

AP US History Exam

Historical Thinking Skills

AP Content Areas

The New Exam: time/scoring%

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 demonstrate what 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 be choose between two options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period.
    • Question 1 (required): periods 3-8
    • Question 2 (required): periods 3-8
    • Students choose between Question 3, periods 1-5, and Question 4, periods 6-9

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 to 8.

Section II: Part B

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

  • Explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. 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 1-3
    • Option 2: periods 4-6
    • Option 3: periods 7-9

Period

Date Range

Conceptual Focus

% of Instructional Time

% of AP Exam

1

1491–1607

On a North American continent controlled by American Indians, contact among the peoples of Europe, the Americas, and West Africa created a new world.

5%

5%

2

1607–1754

Europeans and American Indians maneuvered and fought for dominance, control, and security in North America, and distinctive colonial and native societies emerged.

10%

45%

3

1754–1800

British imperial attempts to reassert control over its colonies and the colonial reaction to these attempts produced a new American republic, along with struggles over the new nation’s social, political, and economic identity.

12%

4

1800–1848

The new republic struggled to define and extend democratic ideals in the face of rapid economic, territorial, and demographic changes.

10%

5

1844–1877

As the nation expanded and its population grew, regional tensions, especially over slavery, led to a civil war — the course and aftermath of which transformed American society.

13%

6

1865–1898

The transformation of the United States from an agricultural to an increasingly industrialized and urbanized society brought about significant economic, political, diplomatic, social, environmental, and cultural changes.

13%

45%

7

1890–1945

An increasingly pluralistic United States faced profound domestic and global challenges, debated the proper degree of government activism, and sought to define its international role.

17%

8

1945–1980

After World War II, the United States grappled with prosperity and unfamiliar international responsibilities, while struggling to live up to its ideals.

15%

9

1980–present

As the United States transitioned to a new century filled with challenges and possibilities, it experienced renewed ideological and cultural debates, sought to redefine its foreign policy, and adapted to economic globalization and revolutionary changes in science and technology.

5%

5%