AP World History: Modern

Learn all about the course and exam.

About the Course

Study the cultural, economic, political, and social developments that have shaped the world from c. 1200 CE to the present. You’ll analyze texts, visual sources, and other historical evidence and write essays expressing historical arguments.

Skills You'll Learn

  • Evaluating primary and secondary sources

  • Analyzing the claims, evidence, and reasoning you find in sources

  • Putting historical developments in context and making connections between them

  • Coming up with a claim or thesis and explaining and supporting it in writing

Equivalency and Prerequisites

College Course Equivalent

An introductory college course in modern world history

Recommended Prerequisites

None

Exam Dates

About the Units

The course content outlined below is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. Your teacher may choose to organize the course content differently based on local priorities and preferences.

Course Content

You'll explore how states formed, expanded, and declined in areas of the world during the period c. 1200–c. 1450 and the related political, social, and cultural developments of that time.

Topics may include:

  • States in:
    • Africa
    • Afro-Eurasia
    • East Asia
    • Europe
    • South and Southeast Asia
    • The Americas
  • Global and regional religions and belief systems

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

As you continue your study of the period c. 1200–c. 1450, you’ll learn how areas of the world were linked through trade and how these connections affected people, cultures, and environments.

Topics may include:

  • The Silk Roads
  • The Mongol Empire
  • The Indian Ocean trading network
  • The trans-Saharan trade routes
  • The effects of cross-cultural interactions

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

You'll begin your study of the period c. 1450–c. 1750 with an exploration of the empires that held power over large contiguous areas of land.

Topics may include:

  • The development of the Manchu, Mughal, Ottoman, and Safavid empires
  • How rulers of empires maintained their power
  • Religious developments in empires

On The Exam

12%–15% of exam score

Continuing your study of the period c. 1450–c. 1750, you’ll learn about advances in ocean exploration, the development of new maritime empires, and the effects of new cross-cultural encounters.

Topics may include:

  • The influence of scientific learning and technological innovation
  • The Columbian Exchange
  • Development and expansion of maritime empires
  • Internal and external challenges to state power
  • Changes to social hierarchies linked to the spread of empires

On The Exam

12%–15% of exam score

You’ll start your study of the period c. 1750–c. 1900 by exploring the new political ideas and developments in technology that led to large-scale changes in governments, society, and economies.

Topics may include:

  • The Enlightenment
  • Revolutions against existing governments and the birth of new nation-states
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • Trade policies
  • The development of industrial economies

On The Exam

12%–15% of Score

You'll continue to investigate the period c. 1750–c. 1900 and learn how the different states acquired and expanded control over colonies and territories.

Topics may include:

  • State expansion in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Resistance to imperialism
  • The growth of the global economy
  • Economic imperialism
  • Causes and effects of new migration patterns

On The Exam

12%–15% of exam score

You'll begin your study of the period c. 1900–present by learning about the global conflicts that dominated this era.

Topics may include:

  • Changes in the global political order after 1900
  • World War I: its causes and how it was fought
  • The interwar period
  • World War II: its causes and how it was fought
  • Mass atrocities after 1900

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

As you continue exploring the period c. 1900–present, you’ll learn about colonies’ pursuits of independence and the global power struggle between capitalism and communism.

Topics may include:

  • The causes and effects of the Cold War
  • The spread of communism
  • How colonies in Asia and Africa achieved independence
  • The creation of new states after decolonization
  • The end of the Cold War

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

You'll continue your study of the period c. 1900–present by investigating the causes and effects of the unprecedented connectivity of the modern world.

Topics may include:

  • Advances in technology and their effects
  • Disease
  • Environment
  • Economic change
  • Movements for reform
  • How globalization changed culture
  • New international institutions

On The Exam

8%–10% of exam score

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