AP United States History
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Important: Because of school closures due to COVID-19, we’re offering at-home testing for the 2020 AP U.S. History Exam as well as free resources to help you prepare. For more details, visit the 2020 AP Coronavirus Updates AP U.S. History exam page. Note that any related adjustments to 2020 AP Exams, such as length or content covered, may not be reflected on all AP Students pages.
The AP U.S. History Exam will test your understanding of the historical concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to analyze primary and secondary sources and identify patterns and connections that can support a historical interpretation.
55 questions 55mins 40% of Score
The questions in the multiple-choice section come in sets of usually 3–4 questions based on the same stimulus. The questions will include one or more sources to respond to such as primary and secondary texts, images (for example, artwork, photos, posters, cartoons), charts, and maps.
You'll be asked to:
3 questions 40mins 20% of Score
In the short-answer section, you’ll write answers to questions in your test booklet. Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
You'll be asked to:
2 questions 1hr 40mins 40% of Score
In the free-response section, you’ll write answers to questions in your test booklet. There are two questions: one document-based question and one long essay.
60 minutes | 25% of score
The 60-minute time limit for this section includes a 15-minute reading period. You’ll be presented with seven documents that give various perspectives on a historical development or process. You’ll be asked to develop and support an argument based on these documents and other evidence from your own knowledge. The topic of the document-based question will include historical developments or processes between the years 1754 and 1980.
Long Essay Question
40 minutes | 15% of score
You’ll have a choice of three questions; you’ll pick one to answer. Each tests the same skills and reasoning process (e.g., comparison, causation, or continuity and change) but the questions focus on historical developments and processes from different time periods (either the period from 1491–1800, from 1800–1898, or from 1890–2001). You’ll be asked to develop and support an argument based on evidence.
Practice in AP Classroom
Enrolled in an AP course? If you’ve already joined your class section online, your teacher can assign you practice questions through AP Classroom. Sign in to access them.
2019 AP United States History Free-Response Questions and Scoring Guidelines
Review the released free-response questions and the scoring guidelines.
AP United States History Exam Free-Response Question and Scoring Information Archive
Review free-response questions, sample student responses, and scoring guidelines from 2018 and earlier.