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AP US History: Exam Details

The AP U.S. History Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and has a multiple choice/short answer section and a free response section.  Each section is divided into two parts.

Find all of this information and more on the AP Exam website.

Section I

Part A

Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 55 minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions appear in sets of 2 to 5.
  • You’ll be asked to analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

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 you to demonstrate what you know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
  • You’ll have a choice 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
    • Choose between Question 3 (periods 1-5) and Question 4 (periods 6-9)

Section II

Part A

Document Based | 1 Question | 60 minutes (includes a 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.
  • The document-based question will focus on topics from periods 3-8.

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.
  • You’ll select from one of three essay choices, each focusing on the same theme and skill but different time periods:
    • Option 1: period 1-3
    • Option 2: periods 4-6
    • Option 3: periods 7-9

Time Periods

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

Themes

Identity

Politics and Power

America in the World

Environment and Geography

Ideas, Belief, and Culture