AP World History Modern – A Comprehensive Study Guide

No matter if you’re getting ready for the multiple-choice portion or the free-response part of this test, you’ll require a diverse range of materials. Start by identifying how you best learn: reading, writing notes, or watching videos.

Next, familiarize yourself with the exam format. This will include the number of questions and time limits.

Exam Format

The AP World History exam is a three-hour, free-response test that assesses students’ knowledge of course units and ability to apply historical reasoning skills. It includes multiple-choice and free-response questions, as well as a document-based question and extended essay question. The exam is scored on a scale of 1-5. Students who score three or higher can receive college credit and advanced placement. However, colleges and universities have different policies regarding AP credit.

The first part of the exam includes 55 multiple-choice questions, which last for 55 minutes and account for 40% of your overall score. This section requires students to use their content knowledge and historical thinking skills to identify, evaluate, and interpret evidence from primary and secondary sources.

The exam’s second portion includes three short-answer questions, each lasting 40 minutes and accounting for 20% of your total score. In this portion of the exam, students are asked to write an argument based on a set of documents that provide different perspectives about a particular historical development or process. Students then must develop and support their ideas using evidence from the records and their knowledge of the subject. Unlike the multiple-choice questions, the short-answer questions do not have any fixed set of answer options. Students are encouraged to review the AP world history study guide, such as the one on the website, to become familiar with the types of questions they will face on exam day.

Units Covered

AP World History may seem like one of the most challenging courses, but with some preparation and planning, you can succeed in class and on the exam. Start by familiarizing yourself with the Course using resources and talking to your AP teacher. Then, create a study schedule and plan to spend 30 minutes a day reviewing your textbook or classroom notes. Carve out this time every day for at least two units.

The Course is divided into nine total units, but the most important ones are Units 3-6 (covering a period from 600 B.C.E to the present). These units are a large portion of the exam, so it’s essential to understand these concepts and be able to apply them when answering questions. You won’t be expected to memorize every detail, but you should be able to recognize critical patterns and developments.

It’s also worth knowing that the exam’s DBQ and Comparative essay portions cover a wide range of years, and the long essay question covers any unit in the Course. So, it’s essential to be able to read and write about any of these topics, particularly the ones you’re most vital in.

Test-Taking Tips

Unlike other exams, World History focuses on significant trends instead of specific events and people. You need to be able to recognize large patterns that occur over long periods, and you must also be able to relate those themes to other areas of the Course.

The best way to prepare for the exam is by taking practice tests. Then, you can identify which areas of the Course you are most prone to fail. This can help you focus your studying on the areas that need improvement. You can also review AP World History study guides or online notes to fill in any gaps you have.

Some popular study guides help students ace their exams. They are considered solid resources.

Another critical aspect of the AP World History exam is its long essay question. The essay makes up 15% of the total score, so crafting a solid response is essential. To improve your writing skills:

  1. Try practicing with more straightforward journal prompts.
  2. Find a topic you’re interested in, then set a timer—between 10 and 15 minutes is ideal.
  3. Write as much as you can about the issue in that amount of time.
  4. Keep track of how many words you’ve written, and repeat this process a few times weekly.

Study Tips

Most provide many resources to help you prepare for the AP World History Modern exam. For example, the document outlines the skills and content covered on the exam. It also includes sample free-response questions and suggests pacing and sequencing for units of study.

Another great resource is a prep book that helps you review the material. These books aren’t intended to replace your textbook, but they can help you identify and fill in gaps in your knowledge that might hurt you on the multiple-choice section of the exam. A good prep book will also give you practice with the questions on the exam and show you how to approach them.

While a three is okay, if you apply to highly selective colleges, you’ll want to aim for a 4. The extra studying time will be well worth it if a four can make the difference in your admissions decision.

If you’re having trouble getting motivated to study, try using a reward system. For example, each time you complete a unit, you can check it off on your list of things to do. Seeing your progress will encourage you to keep up the work. And remember to find a study buddy to motivate you and provide feedback on your work.


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