AP United States History
About the Exam
Exam Day 2014
The 2014 exam is approximately three hours and 5 minutes long and has two parts — multiple choice and free response. Each section is worth 50% of the final exam score.
Section I: Multiple Choice — 80 questions; 55 minutes
The portion of questions covering each time period is:
- Period through 1789 (20%)
- 1790–1914 (45%)
- 1915–Present (35%)
Within those time periods, the portion of multiple choice questions covering each course theme is:
- Political Institutions, behavior, and public policy (35%)
- Social and cultural developments (40%)
- Diplomacy and international relations (15%)
- Economic developments (10%)
A substantial number of the social and economic history questions deal with such traditional topics as the impact of legislation on social groups and the economy, or the pressures brought to bear on the political process by social and economic developments.
Total scores on the multiple-choice section are based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers and no points are awarded for unanswered questions.
Section II: Free Response — 3 questions; 1 hour and 55 minutes plus a mandatory 15 minute reading period
The free-response section covers the period from the first European explorations of the Americas to 1980.
- Part A: 1 Document Based Question (DBQ); 45 minutes
- This section tests your ability to analyze and synthesize historical data and assess verbal, quantitative, or pictorial materials as historical evidence.
- You will assess the value of a variety of documents and relate them to a historical period or theme to demonstrate knowledge of major periods and issues.
- Documents will vary in length and format and may include charts, graphs, cartoons, and pictures, as well as written materials.
- Parts B: 2 Standard Essay Questions; 70 minutes
- The standard essay questions may require you to relate developments in different areas (e.g., the political implications of an economic issue); analyze common themes in different time periods (e.g., the concept of national interest in United States foreign policy); or compare individual or group experiences that reflect socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, or gender differences (e.g., social mobility and cultural pluralism).
Essays will be graded on the strength of the thesis developed, the quality of the historical argument, and the evidence used to support your argument, rather than on the factual information per se.
In the free response section, Part A is worth 45% and Parts B is worth 55% of your free response score.