AP World History: Modern

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About the Exam

Important Update

Updated April 8 You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

AP World History: Modern Exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June. 

The paper and digital versions of the AP World History: Modern Exam will be full length and cover the full scope of course content, giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP World History: Modern only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.


As the exam approaches, take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Exam Overview
The AP World History: Modern 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.

Exam Duration
3hrs 15mins

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP World History students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has a shortened multiple-choice section (11 questions, 11 minutes), a 1-minute pause, and full-length free-response sections. These consist of: 3 short-answer questions (SAQs) in 40 minutes, a shortened break of 5 minutes, and 1 document-based question (DBQ) and 2 SAQs in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–3 multiple-choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 2 free-response questions (1 DBQ, 1 SAQ)

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Updated April 8

Taking the Digital Exam

You should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • As a reminder:
    • You will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but you cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses
    • You cannot go back to questions you’ve already answered, and cannot  skip ahead. 
  • Please note that you will respond to the DBQs and the last two SAQs in the same combined time limit of 1 hour and 40 minutes. You must ensure you have enough time to answer all the questions in that section. This is equivalent to Section II on the paper and pencil exam.  Similarly, you will answer the first three SAQs within the same 40-minute time limit, just as on the paper and pencil exam.
  • On the DBQ, you’ll view the Documents directly in the exam app. You can click on the tabs on the left side of the screen, numbered 1 through 7, to view one source at a time. You may need to scroll down to view the tabs and the complete documents.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Exam Dates

  • Mon, May 10, 2021,
    8 AM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP World History: Modern Exam

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP World History: Modern Exam.

  • Thu, May 20, 2021,
    12 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP World History: Modern Exam

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP World History: Modern Exam.

  • Thu, Jun 3, 2021,
    12 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP World History: Modern Exam

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP World History: Modern Exam.

Exam Components

Note on 2021 Exams

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP World History: Modern only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Both the paper and digital versions of the AP World History: Modern Exam will be full length and cover the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description.

Early May Exam (Paper)

Late May and Early June Exams (Digital)

Section 1, Part A: Multiple Choice

55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam 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:

  • Analyze the provided sources
  • Analyze the historical developments and processes described in the sources

Section 1, Part A: Multiple Choice

55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam 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:

  • Analyze the provided sources
  • Analyze the historical developments and processes described in the sources

Section 1, Part B: Short Answer

3 Questions | 40 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score

 

In the short-answer section, you’ll write answers to questions in your test booklet. Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

  • Question 1 is required, includes 1 or 2 secondary sources, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
  • Question 2 is required, includes 1 primary source, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
  • You can choose between Question 3 (which focuses on the period from 1200 to 1750) and Question 4 (which focuses on the period from 1750 to 2001) for the last question. No sources are included for either Question 3 or Question 4.

You'll be asked to:

  • Analyze the provided sources
  • Analyze historical developments and processes described in the sources
  • Put those historical developments and processes in context
  • Make connections between those historical developments and processes

Section 1, Part B: Short Answer

3 Questions | 40 Minutes | 21% of Exam Score

 

In the short-answer section, you’ll type answers to questions in the digital exam app. Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

You’ll answer 3 required questions, each one assessing historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001, with each one focusing on a different time period:

  • Question 1  includes a primary source text.
  • Question 2includes a map source.
  • Question 3 includes a primary source image.

You'll be asked to:

  • Analyze the provided sources
  • Analyze historical developments and processes described in the sources
  • Put those historical developments and processes in context
  • Make connections between those historical developments and processes

Section 2: Document-Based Question and Long Essay

2 Questions | 1Hr 40Mins | 40% of Exam 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.

 

Document-Based Question

Recommended Time: 60 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Score

 

The 60-minute recommended timefor 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 1450 and 2001.

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 but the questions focus on different historical time periods (either the period from c. 12001750, from c. 1450–1900, or from c. 1750–2001).
  • You'll be asked to develop and support an argument based on evidence.

Section 2: Document-Based Question and Short-Answer Questions

3 Questions | 1Hr 40Mins | 39% of Exam Score

 

Please note that you will respond to the DBQs and the last two SAQs in the same combined time limit of 1 hour and 40 minutes.

 

In this section, you’ll type answers to questions in the digital exam app. There are three questions: one document-based question and two short-answer questions.

 

Section 2A: Document-Based Question

Recommended time: 60 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

 

The 60-minute recommended time 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 1450 and 2001.

2 Short-Answer Questions

Recommended time: 40 Minutes | 14% of Exam Score

 

  • You’ll answer two required questions, each one assessing historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001, with each one focusing on a different time period.
  • Question 2 includes a source with a data set (such as a chart, table or graph)
  • Question 3 includes a secondary source text and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1200 and 2001.
  • You’ll be asked to analyze historians’ interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.

As indicated above, the exam section weightings are slightly different on the digital exam as compared to the paper and pencil exam:

  • The multiple-choice section (40% of exam score) and the DBQ (25% of exam score) are weighted the same on the digital exam as on the paper exam.
  • On the digital exam, there is no LEQ and there are more SAQs. Each SAQ on the digital exam counts for 7% of the exam score.

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