The AP U.S. History Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and has a multiple choice/short answer section and a free response section.  Each section is divided into two parts.

Section I — Part A: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 55 minutes | 40% of Exam Score

  • Questions appear in sets of 2 to 5.
  • You’ll be asked to analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section I — Part B: Short Answer | 4 Questions | 50 minutes | 20% of Exam Score

  • Questions provide opportunities for you to demonstrate what you know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.

Section II — Part A: Document Based | 1 Question | 55 minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period) | 25% of Exam Score

You’ll be asked to:

  • Analyze and synthesize historical data.
  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.

Section II — Part B: Long Essay | 1 Question | 35 minutes | 15% of Exam Score

Select one question among two that will ask you to:

  • Explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history, or
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence

How your learning will be assessed on the AP Exam:

The following are general parameters about the relationship between the components of the curriculum framework and the questions that will be asked on the AP Exam:

  • Achievement of the thematic learning objectives will be assessed throughout the exam
  • Use of the historical thinking skills will be assessed through the exam
  • Understanding of all nine periods of U.S. history will be assessed throughout the exam
  • No document-based question or long essay question will focus exclusively on events prior to 1607 (Period 1) or after 1980 (Period 9)
  • You will always write at least one essay – in either the document-based question or long essay – that examines long-term developments that span historical time periods.
  • The coverage of the periods in the exam as a whole will reflect the approximate period weightings (which you can find in the Course and Exam Description).

Links to More AP Pages