The AP U.S. History course focuses on the development of disciplinary practices and reasoning skills and an understanding of content organized around seven themes:

  1. American and National Identity
  2. Politics and Power
  3. Work, Exchange, and Technology
  4. Culture and Society
  5. Migration and Settlement
  6. Geography and the Environment
  7. America in the World


The course is divided into nine chronological periods (some units overlap chronologically due to the different concepts covered in each unit):

  1. 1491-1607
  2. 1607-1754
  3. 1754-1800
  4. 1800-1848
  5. 1844-1877
  6. 1865-1898
  7. 1890-1945
  8. 1945-1980
  9. 1980-present


In this course, you’ll develop the AP history disciplinary practices and reasoning skills:

  • Practice 1: Analyzing historical evidence
  • Practice 2: Argument development
  • Skill 1: Contextualization
  • Skill 2: Comparison
  • Skill 3: Causation
  • Skill 4: Continuity and change over time


AP United States History will:

  • Provide you with the reasoning skills and enduring understandings necessary to deal critically with the main issues and documents of U.S. history
  • Prepare you for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon you equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses
  • Enable you to assess historical sources — their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance — and to weigh the evidence and interpretations of the past presented in historical scholarship
  • Develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in an essay format
  • Train you to analyze and interpret primary sources, including documentary materials, maps, statistical tables, and pictorial and graphic evidence of historical events
  • Teach you to take notes from both printed materials and lectures or discussions, to write essay examinations, and to write analytical and research papers
  • Enable you to express yourself with clarity and precision and know how to cite sources and credit the phrases and ideas of others

For a bit more detail, download this two-page overview. For a lot more detail,  download the AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description.

Learn about the exam.

Links to More AP Pages

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