The AP U.S. History Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and includes both a 105-minute multiple-choice/short-answer section and a 90-minute free-response section. Each section is divided into two parts, as described below. Your performance on these four parts will be compiled and weighed to determine your AP Exam score.

Section I:

  • Part A: Multiple Choice (55 questions; 55 Minutes; 40% of total exam score)
  • Part B: Short-answer questions (4 questions; 50 minutes; 20% of total exam score)

Section II:

  • Part A: Document-based question (1 question; 55 minutes (includes 15 minute reading period); 25% of total exam score)
  • Part B: Long essay question (1 question (chosen from a pair); 35 minutes; 15% of total exam score)


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