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AP US History Exam: Everything You Need to Know

23/02/20249 minute read
AP US History Exam: Everything You Need to Know

Taking the AP US History Exam offers you the chance to earn college credit and demonstrate your strong understanding of American history to admissions officers. This rigorous course and exam also help develop critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills crucial for college success. For students passionate about history, the AP US History Exam provides an opportunity to explore American history in greater depth, delving into events, figures, and themes with enthusiasm and detail.

If you're considering taking the AP US History exam, read on to learn more about AP US History's:

  • Subject Overview
  • Exam Overview
  • Exam scoring
  • Exam Preparations

Subject Overview

The AP US History (APUSH) course explores the history of the United States from pre-Columbian times to the present day. This rigorous course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of key events, themes, and developments in American history.

The course overview is outlined below:

UnitExam Weight
Unit 1: Period 1: 1491–16074% – 6%
Unit 2: Period 2: 1607–17546% – 8%
Unit 3: Period 3: 1754–180010% – 17%
Unit 4: Period 4: 1800–184810% – 17%
Unit 5: Period 5: 1844–187710% – 17%
Unit 6: Period 6: 1865–189810% – 17%
Unit 7: Period 7: 1890–194510% – 17%
Unit 8: Period 8: 1945–198010% – 17%
Unit 9: Period 9: 1980–Present4% – 6%

Students are expected to have a strong understanding of American history, including key historical figures, events, documents, and themes prior to sitting the exam.

If your school does not offer AP US History, don't worry! You can learn how to analyze texts, visual sources, and other historical evidence and write essays expressing historical arguments in Crimson's online AP US History class.

Exam Overview

The AP US History Exam is a rigorous assessment that consists of two main sections: Section I - Multiple Choice and Section II - Free Response. The total exam duration is 3 hours 15 minutes. Below is a breakdown of the exam structure:

SectionQuestions/DurationExam Score Weight
Section I, Part A55 Questions / 55 Minutes 40%
Section I, Part B3 Questions / 40 Minutes 20%
Section II, Document-Based Question (DBQ) 1 Question / Recommended time: 1 Hour, 40 minutes (includes 15-minute reading period) 25%
Section II, Long Essay1 Question / Recommended time: 40 Minutes 15%

Exam Scoring

The AP US History Exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible. The scoring breakdown is as follows:

  • Multiple Choice: 50% of the total exam score
  • Free Response: 50% of the total exam score

Average Scores: The average AP US History Exam scores vary from year to year, but typically, a score of 3 or higher is considered passing.

The 2023 AP US History exam score distribution is outlined below:

54321
10.6% 14.8% 22.1% 22.7% 29.8%
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How to Prepare for the Exam

The APUSH exam covers a huge range of information, so It's important to start preparing sooner rather than later. Below are some expert tips to help you prepare effectively:

  1. Review Course Material: Thoroughly review each unit covered in the course and ensure you have a solid understanding of key concepts, events, and themes.
  2. Practice Multiple Choice Questions: Practice answering multiple-choice questions to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam.
  3. Master Free-Response Questions: Practice writing concise and well-structured free-response essays, paying attention to time management. You can review past APUSH free-response exam questions here.
  4. Utilize Resources: Take advantage of review books, online resources, and practice tests to supplement your studying.
  5. Seek Tutoring: Consider enrolling in Crimson's AP online tutoring services to receive personalized support and guidance from experienced tutors.

Conclusion

The AP U.S. History exam spans from approximately 1491 CE to the present, guiding students through various time periods. The exam requires students to analyze historical sources, making connections and forming historical arguments, while delving into concepts such as American and national identity, work, exchange, and technology, geography and the environment, migration and settlement, politics and power, America in the world, American and regional culture, and social structures.

By preparing early and understanding the exam structure, scoring, and the best study methods, you can significantly enhance your chances of success on exam day!

Students are expected to have a strong understanding of American history, including key historical figures, events, documents, and themes prior to sitting the exam.

If your school does not offer AP US History, don't worry! You can learn how to analyze texts, visual sources, and other historical evidence and write essays expressing historical arguments in Crimson's online AP US History class.

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