Navigating AP World History: A Comprehensive Guide

04/03/202410 minute read
Navigating AP World History: A Comprehensive Guide

AP World History is a college-level course commonly taken by high school students. The course explores the complexities of human history from ancient civilizations to the modern era. Through in-depth study of different historical periods, students analyze how societies have evolved over time, examining key events, movements, and cultural developments that have shaped the world we live in today.

AP World History Overview

Throughout AP World History, you will examine cultural, economic, political, and social changes that have influenced global development. Through analysis of texts, visual materials, and historical evidence, you will develop the skills to construct historical arguments and express your insights through essay writing.

Units Covered and Prior Knowledge

The course is divided into nine chronological periods:

UnitTime PeriodsSubjects CoveredOn The Exam
Unit 1: The Global Tapestryc. 1200 – c. 1450- How states formed, expanded, and declined in areas of the world - The related political, social, and cultural developments of that time.8% - 10% of exam score
Unit 2: Networks of Exchangec. 1200 – c. 1450- How areas of the world were linked through trade - How these connections affected people, cultures, and environments8% - 10% of exam score
Unit 3: Land-Based Empiresc. 1450 – c. 1750- The empires that held power over large contiguous areas of land12% - 15% of exam score
Unit 4: Transoceanic Interconnectionsc. 1450 – c. 1750- Advances in ocean exploration, the development of new maritime empires - The effects of new cross-cultural encounters12% - 15% of exam score
Unit 5: Revolutionc. 1750 – c. 1900- New political ideas and developments in technology that led to large-scale changes in governments, society, and economies12% - 15% of exam score
Unit 6: Consequences of Industrializationc. 1750 – c. 1900- How the different states acquired and expanded control over colonies and territories12% - 15% of exam score
Unit 7: Global Conflictc. 1900 – present- Global conflicts that dominated this era12% - 15% of exam score
Unit 8: Cold War and Decolonizationc. 1900 – present- Colonies’ pursuits of independence - The global power struggle between capitalism and communism8% - 10% of exam score
Unit 9: Globalizationc. 1900 – present- The causes and effects of the unprecedented connectivity of the modern world8% - 10% of exam score

Exam: Special Rules or Policies

  • Calculators and equation sheets are not permitted on the AP World History exam.
  • Students are expected to bring a valid government-issued photo ID to the exam for identification purposes if you do not attend the school where you are taking the AP Exam.
  • Students should arrive at the exam location at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time.
  • The use of electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, and smartwatches is strictly prohibited during the exam.
  • Students should adhere to the College Board's policies regarding academic integrity and exam conduct.

Exam Scoring

The AP World History exam is scored on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score and 1 being the lowest.

Once all raw scores are calculated, they are converted into scaled scores on the 1 to 5 scale. The score conversion process ensures that the difficulty of each exam is taken into account, allowing for fair comparison of scores across different years.

A score of 5 indicates that the student is extremely well qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement in college-level courses, while a score of 1 indicates that the student's performance is not qualified for college credit or advanced placement.

The score distribution below shows the percentages of 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s for the 2023 World History AP exam:


Preparing for the AP World History Exam

  1. Start Early: Begin your preparation early to allow enough time to cover all the material thoroughly. Cramming at the last minute is not effective for a comprehensive exam like AP World History.
  2. Understand the Format: Familiarize yourself with the exam format, including the types of questions asked in each section.
  3. Create a Study Plan: Develop a study plan that breaks down the material into manageable chunks. Allocate specific time slots for reviewing different historical periods, themes, and skills. Consistency is key, so stick to your plan.
  4. Use Reliable Resources: Utilize reputable study materials and resources to supplement your classroom learning. Look for textbooks, review books, online resources, and study guides specifically designed for AP World History.
  5. Practice Active Reading: Improve your reading comprehension and analysis skills by actively engaging with historical texts, primary sources, and documents. Take notes, highlight key points, and ask questions to deepen your understanding.
  6. Master Historical Thinking Skills: Focus on developing historical thinking skills such as contextualization, comparison, causation, and continuity/change over time. Practice applying these skills to different historical contexts and events.
  7. Review Periodically: Periodically review the material you've covered to reinforce your understanding and retention. Use flashcards, summary notes, and mnemonic devices to aid memorization of key concepts and events.
  8. Take Practice Tests: Take full-length practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the exam experience. Analyze your performance, identify areas of weakness, and adjust your study plan accordingly.
  9. Seek Help When Needed: Don't hesitate to seek help from your teacher, classmates, or online resources if you encounter difficulties with certain topics. Join study groups, participate in review sessions, and ask questions to clarify any confusion.

Crimson AP Online Tutoring

For personalized online tutoring assistance with AP World History and other subjects, explore Crimson's AP online tutoring services.

Our team of AP tutors comprises graduates from various prestigious universities, including the Ivy League. With expertise in their respective subject areas and achieving top scores of 5 in their own exams, our tutors provide personalized, one-on-one tutoring tailored to meet the individual needs of each student.

This approach ensures the optimization of each student's test performance. We offer tutoring services for all AP courses, covering a wide range of subjects.

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Navigating the rigorous AP World History course and exam can be challenging without the proper tools. However, by arming yourself with effective preparation strategies and resources, you can excel in this course. From grasping the exam structure and scoring to accessing practice materials and seeking tutoring support, you'll be empowered to approach this AP course and exam with confidence.