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The AP ® U.S. History exam, also known as APUSH, is a college-level exam administered every year in May upon the completion of an Advanced Placement U.S. History course taken at your high school. If you score high enough, you could earn college credit!
Check out our AP U.S. History Guide for the essential info you need about the exam:
- AP U.S. History Exam Overview
- AP U.S. History Sections & Question Types
- AP U.S. History Scoring
- How to Prepare
What's on the AP U.S. History Exam?
The College Board requires your AP teacher to cover certain topics in the AP U.S. History course. As you complete your APUSH review, make sure you are familiar with the following topics:
- Period 1 (1491–1607) : Native American Societies Before European Contact; European Exploration in the Americas; Columbian Exchange, Spanish Exploration, and Conquest; Labor, Slavery, and Caste in the Spanish Colonial System; Cultural Interactions Between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans
- Period 2 (1607–1754) : European Colonization; The Regions of British Colonies; Transatlantic Trade; Interactions Between American Indians and Europeans; Slavery in the British Colonies; Colonial Society and Culture
- Period 3 (1754–1800) : The Seven Years’ War (The French and Indian War); Taxation Without Representation; Philosophical Foundations of the American Revolution; The American Revolution; The Influence of Revolutionary Ideals; The Articles of Confederation; The Constitutional Convention and Debates over Ratification; The Constitution; Shaping a New Republic; Developing an American Identity; Movement in the Early Republic
- Period 4 (1800–1848) : The Rise of Political Parties and the Era of Jefferson; Politics and Regional Interests; America on the World Stage; Market Revolution: Industrialization; Market Revolution: Society and Culture; Expanding Democracy; Jackson and Federal Power; The Development of an American Culture; The Second Great Awakening; An Age of Reform; African Americans in the Early Republic; The Society of the South in the Early Republic
- Period 5 (1844–1877) : Manifest Destiny; The Mexican–American War; The Compromise of 1850; Sectional Conflict: Regional Differences; Failure of Compromise; Election of 1860 and Secession; Military Conflict in the Civil War; Government Policies During the Civil War; Reconstruction; Failure of Reconstruction
- Period 6 (1865–1898) : Westward Expansion: Economic Development; Westward Expansion: Social and Cultural Development; The “New South”; Technological Innovation; The Rise of Industrial Capitalism; Labor in the Gilded Age; Immigration and Migration in the Gilded Age; Responses to Immigration in the Gilded Age; Development of the Middle Class; Reform in the Gilded Age; Controversies over the Role of Government in the Gilded Age; Politics in the Gilded Age
- Period 7 (1890–1945) : Imperialism: Debates; The Spanish–American War; The Progressives; World War I: Military and Diplomacy; World War I: Home Front; 1920s: Innovations in Communication and Technology; 1920s: Cultural and Political Controversies; The Great Depression; The New Deal; Interwar Foreign Policy; World War II: Mobilization; World War II: Military; Postwar Diplomacy
- Period 8 (1945–1980) : The Cold War from 1945 to 1980; The Red Scare; Economy after 1945; Culture after 1945; Early Steps in the Civil Rights Movement (1940s and 1950s); America as a World Power; The Vietnam War; The Great Society; The African American Civil Rights Movement (1960s); The Civil Rights Movement Expands; Youth Culture of the 1960s; The Environment and Natural Resources from 1968 to 1980; Society in Transition
- Period 9 (1980–Present): Reagan and Conservatism; The End of the Cold War; A Changing Economy; Migration and Immigration in the 1990s and 2000s; Challenges of the 21 st Century
Read More: Review for the exam with our AP U.S. History Crash Courses
Sections & Question Types
The APUSH exam takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete and is comprised of two sections: a multiple-choice/short answer section and a a free response section. There are two parts to each section.
APUSH Multiple Choice Questions
Questions are grouped into sets of three or four questions and based on a primary source, secondary source, or historical issue. Each set of questions is based on a different piece of source material. This section will test your ability to analyze and engage with the source materials while recalling what you already know about U.S. history.
APUSH Short Answer Questions
The three questions in this section will be tied to a primary source, historical argument, data or maps, or general propositions of U.S. history. Students are required to answer the first and second questions and then answer either the third or the fourth question. You are not required to develop and support a thesis statement, but you must describe examples of historical evidence relevant to the source or question.
APUSH Document-Based Question (DBQ)
The DBQ question requires you to answer a question based on seven primary source documents and your knowledge of the subject and time period. All the documents will pertain to a single subject. Students should develop an argument about the question and use the documents to support this argument.
APUSH Long Essay Question
For the long essay question, you’ll be given a choice of three essay options on the same theme, and you must choose one. You must develop and defend a relevant thesis, but there won’t be any documents on which you must base your response. Instead, you’ll need to draw upon your own knowledge of topics you learned in your AP U.S. History class.
For a comprehensive content review, check out our book, AP U.S. History Prep
What’s a good AP U.S. History Score?
AP scores are reported from 1 to 5. Colleges are generally looking for a 4 or 5 on the AP U.S. History exam, but some may grant credit for a 3. Here’s how students scored on the May 2020 test:
Source: College Board
How can I prepare?
AP classes are great, but for many students they’re not enough! For a thorough review of AP U.S. History content and strategy, pick the AP prep option that works best for your goals and learning style.
- AP Exams
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AP®︎/College US History
Course: ap®︎/college us history > unit 10, ap us history periods and themes.
- AP US History multiple choice example 1
- AP US History multiple choice example 2
- AP US History short answer example 1
- AP US History short answer example 2
- AP US History DBQ example 1
- AP US History DBQ example 2
- AP US History DBQ example 3
- AP US History DBQ example 4
- AP US History long essay example 1
- AP US History long essay example 2
- AP US History long essay example 3
- Preparing for the AP US History Exam (5/4/2016)
- AP US History Exam Prep Session (5/1/2017)
AP US history periods and themes
Example ap us history problems, key terms, documents, and court cases to know, primary documents:.
John Winthrop, “City on a Hill” / “A Model of Christian Charity”
Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
Thomas Jefferson, “Declaration of Independence”
James Madison, “Constitution of the United States”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, “Declaration of Sentiments”
Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (main ideas)
Abraham Lincoln, “House Divided” speech, Second Inaugural Address
Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?”
Andrew Carnegie, “The Gospel of Wealth” (main ideas)
Josiah Strong, “Our Country” (main ideas)
Upton Sinclair “The Jungle” (main ideas)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, December 8 1941 address
George Kennan, “Long Telegram”
Martin Luther King Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, “I Have a Dream” speech
Betty Friedan “The Feminine Mystique” (main ideas)
Ronald Reagan “Evil Empire” speech
Supreme Court cases:
Marbury v. Madison
Dred Scott v. Sanford
Plessy v. Ferguson
Brown v. Board of Education
Roe v. Wade
Bush v. Gore
Foreign policy doctrines:
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
virgin soil epidemic
salutary neglect / benign neglect
Jim Crow segregation
non-violent protest (Civil Rights)
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AP® US History
Ap® us history faq: everything you need to know for 2023.
- The Albert Team
- Last Updated On: April 7, 2023
Read below for detailed answers to the most commonly-asked questions about the 2023 AP® US History exam!
What We Review
Is AP® US History easy? What can make it hard?
The AP® US History course is inherently more difficult than a regular US History course. The AP® courses are designed to teach at a college introductory level, and the AP® exams test your knowledge of college-level content. Within the realm of AP® exams, the AP® US History exam is more difficult than the majority of the AP® exams. Here’s why:
In 2022, 48.2% of students scored a 3 or above on the AP® US History exam, with a mean score of 2.57.
It is important to note the sample size when viewing statistics. The AP® US History exam has been the second most popular exam in the last three years, second only to AP® English Language.
Approximately 470,000 students take the AP® US History exam every year. In 2022, 456,520 students took the APUSH exam .
Because of the accessible nature of the content, it is likely that some students who take AP® US History lack the academic experience necessary to do well or do not adequately prepare for the exam . This at least partially explains why the pass rate for the APUSH exam is typically lower than the average pass rate of all AP® exams.
So while the passing percentage may appear low, it is possible that the percentage is skewed slightly due to a higher volume of unprepared test takers.
In order to maximize your study time for the AP® US History exam, it is useful to know how the exam sections are weighted so that you can focus your attention on the areas that carry more weight than others.
The AP® US History exam is fairly evenly weighted among all nine categories, but three of the nine categories carry a much lower weight than the others. These categories are:
- Unit 1: Period 1: 1491–1607 (4-6%)
- Unit 2: Period 2: 1607–1754 (6-8%)
- Unit 9: Period 9: 1980–Present (4-6%)
These units are only weighted at 4-8% of the exam, while the following 6 units are weighted at 10-17% of the exam:
- Unit 3: Period 3: 1754–1800
- Unit 4: Period 4: 1800–1848
- Unit 5: Period 5: 1844–1877
- Unit 6: Period 6: 1865–1898
- Unit 7: Period 7: 1890–1945
- Unit 8: Period 8: 1945–1980
When attempting a score of 3 or better of the AP® US History exam, it could be useful to know how many questions you need to answer correctly in each section to achieve that score. Our AP® US History score calculator (previewed below) shows that you must correctly answer 28 multiple-choice questions and at least half of the short answer and essay questions to achieve a passing score.
Is AP® US History worth it?
The AP® US History exam is worth taking for a variety of important reasons. First, AP® courses help build essential college skills, such as time management and study skills. AP® courses also help to build an academic confidence level for students going on to college.
Second, taking AP® courses lets colleges know that you are taking your academics seriously and that you are familiar with and prepared for the rigors of college-level courses. According to College Board research , “ students who receive a score of 3 or higher on AP® Exams typically experience greater academic success in college and have higher graduation rates than their non-AP® peers.”
Perhaps the most important benefit of taking the AP® US History exam is the potential for college credit, which can translate into thousands of dollars in savings on your college tuition. By completing college credits in high school, you can avoid the need for additional semesters beyond four years and, in some cases, even graduate early.
Earning college credit can translate into significant savings on college tuition. The list below of several top colleges outlines the savings realized when using AP® US History for college credit.
The chart clearly outlines that there are significant savings to be gained by taking and passing the AP® exams. Add to this the educational benefits and it is clear that taking the AP® US History exam is worth your time and effort.
When is the 2023 AP® US History exam?
The 2023 AP® US History exam will take place on:
Fri, May 5, 2023, at 8am local time
Curious about when other AP® exams are happening in 202 3? View or download the complete AP® exam schedule here .
Is the 2023 AP® US History exam a digital test?
Schools have a choice to take the 2023 AP® US History exam as a traditional paper-and-pencil test or as an in-school digital exam on computers. More information on the digital option is available here .
You should check with your teacher and AP® Coordinator to know if you’ll take a paper-and-pencil or digital version.
Return to the Table of Contents
When do AP® US History scores typically come out?
According to the latest update from the College Board exam season timeline , students will receive their AP® scores in July 2023. Historically, the College Board typically releases AP® scores early in the month of July.
You’ll be able to access your AP® scores online with your College Board account username and password.
How is AP® US History scored? What’s the weighting of different questions?
The multiple-choice section of the AP® US History exam requires answering 55 questions in 55 minutes. The questions are typically grouped in subject sets of three to four. The questions require you to analyze historical texts and evidence using primary and secondary sources. All sources, maps, and graphs needed to answer the question are included.
The AP® US History short answer section consists of three questions with a time limit of 40 minutes. This section actually consists of four total questions – the first two are required, and you can choose to answer either question 3 or question 4, for a total of three answered questions.
The first two (required) questions cover the years 1754 to 1980. The optional questions cover 1491 to 1877, and 1865-2001 respectively.
The single document-based question on the AP® US History exam allows a 15-minute reading period and then allows for an additional 45 minutes to answer the question.
You must read 7 documents from a variety of historical perspectives. Based on your assessment of these documents, you must present and defend an argument that is supported by the provided documents. This question can cover any topic from the time period 1754-1980.
The last question on the AP® US History exam is the long essay question. You are allowed 40 minutes to answer this question. For this question, you can choose from three time periods. Option 1 is 1491-1800, Option 2 is 1800-1898, and Option 3 is 1890-2001. You should choose the option for which you feel most comfortable developing and defending an argument.
Pro tip : when answering the free-writing questions on the AP® US History exam, remember not to rely too heavily on quotations. Overusing quotations can signal to the exam reader that you are not confident in your understanding of historical content/context and lack the ability to adequately express that understanding.
The units are weighted according to the chart below. If you want to know how this weighting translates to an actual score, try our free AP® US History score calculator . As you can see from the chart below, units 3-8 are weighted more heavily than the rest, so be sure to prepare well for those sections.
The exam weighting breakdown for AP® US History is as follows:
What happens if you fail AP® US History?
If you fail or your score on the AP® US History exam is not high enough to receive college credit at the institution of your choice, it is important not to panic!
You can retake the AP® US History exam as many times as you choose to achieve a higher score. The exam is given once a year in May. You will be required to pay the exam fee every time you take the exam.
The impact of failing the AP® US History exam on your high school GPA will actually be negligible. Most high schools base your course grade on your coursework and course exams. They don’t typically factor your AP® exam score into your course grade, so it shouldn’t affect your GPA
For college admissions, the impact of failing the AP® US History exam depends on the reason for taking the exam. If you are taking the exam for college credit, typically a score lower than a 3 (or a 4 for some schools) will disqualify you from receiving college credit for the course.
Since the student is in control of where their AP® scores are sent, you can choose not to send a low score to the college of your choice. In addition, if you do send your AP® US History exam score to a college and then retake the exam and achieve a higher score, you can choose to cancel your lower score.
When do students typically take AP® US History? When is best?
Students typically take the AP® US History course later in their high school career.
The AP® US History exam does not have any prerequisite requirements, however, many schools require at minimum successful completion of the school’s regular US History course. Many also require a grade of C or better on either AP® European History or AP® World History. For these reasons, most schools recommend waiting until your junior or senior year to take AP® US History.
Waiting until 11th or 12th grade to take AP® US History means that you’re well-established in your high school career and more able to juggle the demands of more rigorous classes. This experience will allow you to handle this intensive survey course that covers the entirety of American history.
Taking other AP® courses before AP® US History also allows you to have more exposure to the in-depth and informed responses required for the College Board’s short answer and essay questions before tackling them in the detail-heavy environment of AP® US History.
Some students like to take more than one AP® class at a time. Many pair the reading and writing intensive AP® US History course with either an AP® language or AP® math course to balance the workload.
In the end, the decision of when to take AP® US History will depend on your academic abilities and your workload. You should discuss the decision with your parents and your guidance counselor to settle on the perfect time to take AP® US History.
Where can I find past AP® US History exams?
The College Board has made past AP® US History exam questions available on their AP® Central website .
In addition, the College Board has made practice tests available for the past several years. Using these practice tests allows you to gain familiarity with the level of depth of the questions and the types of responses that have been successful in the past.
Practice tests for the AP® US History exam for the most recent exam years can be found below:
- 2022 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
- 2021 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
- 2019 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
- 2018 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
- 2017 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
- 2016 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
- 2015 AP® US History Free-Response Questions
You can find some examples of the multiple choice questions from the AP® US History Course and Exam Description . There are only 17 questions in the guide, so this will not mimic the actual test in length and may omit some important learning objectives.
If you would like additional practice on the multiple choice portion of the exam, Albert provides thousands of practice questions that are aligned with the actual units covered by the AP® US History exam.
There is quite a bit more useful information on the AP® Central website that you should review if you want to maximize your score on the AP® US History exam. This includes:
- AP® US History Scoring Guidelines 2022 / 2019 / 2018 / 2017 / 2016
- AP® US History Chief Reader Reports 2022 / 2019 / 2018 / 2017 / 2016
- AP® US History Scoring Reports 2022 / 2019 / 2018 / 2017 / 2016
The scoring guidelines are useful to review because they outline how points are allocated or withheld on the short answer questions.
Unlike multiple choice, the short answer questions can be more subjective to judge. The scoring guidelines provide examples of answers that would be awarded full or partial credit. This information can be invaluable to students trying to milk every point out of the AP® US History test.
In the Chief Reader Reports, the Chief Reader for each year shares insights on each short answer and essay question. The reports outlines the expectations for each question and the elements that were present in successful responses. The report also provides information on where students missed the mark on the question.
According to the 2019 Chief Reader Report for AP® US History, one common mistake that students made was relying too heavily on quotations. To the reader this signaled an inability to show comprehension by expressing the ideas from the excerpts in their own words. From this report data, you can learn not to rely on quotations and to restate concepts to demonstrate a higher level of understanding.
Another useful tool is the AP® US History Scoring Report. This report lets you see at a glance which questions students struggled with and which ones they were successful in answering. For example, question #3 on the 2019 exam had the lowest mean score of 1.34 points (out of a possible 3).
Correctly answering this question required an understanding of the economics of different colonial groupings from 1607 to 1754. According to the Chief Reader Report, students who missed this question often failed to correctly identify the geography of the colonies or discussed factors that occurred outside the specified time frame.
After reviewing the Scoring Guidelines, the Chief Reader Reports and the Scoring Reports, you can also review the sample responses. For example the sample response for question #3 provides three actual student responses to the question, one that received full credit, one that received two points, and one that received one point.
If you’re looking for powerful practice with AP® US History FRQs, Albert has practice questions for each type of FRQ along with examples of responses that would earn full points. Albert even provides a detailed explanation of how the sample response earned each point in the rubric!
AP® Central provides a lot of information on the short answer and essay questions, but it is important to remember that 40%of the exam score comes from the multiple choice section. Albert provides thousands of AP-aligned practice questions for the AP® US History exam along with the detailed explanations for each question.
You can learn more about Albert here
Who should take AP® US History? What sort of students may like it more than others?
The decision to take AP® US History depends on your academic interests and goals after graduation. If you have enjoyed history courses in the past and are interested in learning more about the events and cultures that went into founding the United States, AP® US History could be a good choice for you. You can read more detail in the course overview .
You are not required to take AP® US History to graduate, so if history and analytical writing are not strengths for you, it might be better to choose a different AP® course. It really does depend on your interests and academic strengths.
If college is your goal, taking AP® US History looks good on your transcript and can boost your overall GPA. AP® courses carry more weight than the average high school class, or even honors classes, since they are considered college-level. The combination of AP® classes on your transcript, a higher weighted GPA and a higher class rank can make the difference when applying to colleges with more competitive admissions.
If you are considering taking AP® US History to get a perfect score, you’ll want to be aware of the difficulty level and the percentage of 5s awarded for this exam. Approximately 10-11% of students who take the AP® US History exam typically score a 5 on the exam.
This is comparable to several of the other AP® History exams. The AP® US Government exam awarded 12.9% of students a perfect score in 2019, and AP® European History awarded a 5 to 11.7% of students. AP® World History had the lowest percentage, with only 8.7% of students being awarded a perfect score.
No matter which AP® courses you choose, achieving a perfect score will always be difficult, so you should choose AP® courses based on your interests and academic strengths. You should decide after weighing advice from your parents and guidance counselor, but the ultimate decision should be yours.
How do students typically score on AP® US History? What’s the score distribution?
How students usually score on the AP® US History exam depends on a variety of factors. First, it is important to note that the AP® US History exam is the second most popular AP® exam, so the trends over the past three years are based on an extremely large sample size. The larger sample size increases the reliability of the data.
Over the last three years, the scoring trends for the AP® US History exam are as follows:
Over the last few years, the percentage of students who achieved a passing score has remained mostly stable, with about 50% of students passing the exam with a score of 3 or higher.
For 2022, the mean score on the AP® US History exam was 2.57, which was based on 456,520 total test takers .
Need help preparing for your AP® US History exam?
Albert has thousands of AP® US History practice multiple-choice questions, free-response questions, and full-length practice tests to try out.
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Advanced Placement (AP)
If you want to do well on the AP US History exam, you have to practice! Practice tests can help you organize your prep logically around areas of the curriculum that are most challenging for you. This article provides a complete list of all official and unofficial AP US History practice test materials available online , as well as detailed instructions and tips on how to use them in your studying.
Official AP US History Practice Exams and Questions
This section lists all the free official practice tests and questions available online for AP US History. These practice tests and free-response questions come directly from the College Board. You can use the free-response questions to practice writing essays at any point during the school year, but I'd save the full exams for the final stages of your study process .
The closer you get to the AP US History exam, the more important it'll be to understand exactly where your weaknesses lie and which aspects of the test present the most significant challenges. Official materials provide the best practice because the questions are a consistently accurate representation of the content and format of the real test .
Full-Length AP US History Practice Exams
There is one full-length, official AP US History practice tests available for download:
- 2017 Practice Exam
Though the practice test comes with answer keys for the multiple-choice part, you'll have to use the official scoring guidelines to score your own free-response answers. You could also ask your AP US History teacher if they'd be willing to grade your practice essays for you.
This test is the very best free practice exam available online, so try to save it for when you're closer to test day and want to get an accurate estimate of your score level.
AP US History Free Response Questions, 2015-2020 and 2021
Free-response questions for AP US History have undergone some minor changes in recent years, but these sample questions will still closely resemble the format of the free-response section of the test that you're taking . You'll also find scoring guidelines here and some sample student responses.
I encourage you to save the most up-to-date questions for later on in the study process so that you can get a better idea of what your scores will look like on the real AP test.
AP US History Course and Exam Descriptions
Official AP US History Course and Exam Descriptions offer plenty of multiple-choice questions and free-response questions—just not in the format of a full-length test . You can get some great practice with these materials, especially if you're looking to zero in on specific weaknesses.
Here are the APUSH Exam Descriptions that are currently available online:
- Course and Exam Description : Updated for current AP exam format. Contains 17 multiple-choice questions, one short-answer question, one DBQ, and one Long Essay prompt.
- 2017-18 Course and Exam Description : Mostly updated for current exam format. Contains the same questions as those in the 2017 practice test linked above.
There is also this document with sample questions from the 2012 AP US History curriculum framework . With this, you'll get 11 multiple-choice questions, three short-answer questions, one DBQ, and two Long Essay prompts.
This new and innovative tool by the College Board allows you to complete and submit homework for your AP US History class online through a special portal managed by your US History teacher. What's really cool, though, is that your teacher can also assign you official practice questions here as a way to supplement your exam prep.
AP US History Document-Based Questions, 1973-1999
This document includes a bunch of DBQs from past versions of the AP US History test. This question has remained relatively consistent throughout the years, so I'd say these are totally fine to use as practice materials.
You never know exactly what the documents will look like on the test, so you should practice analyzing them until you feel comfortable with all different types of sources.
Unofficial AP US History Practice Tests and Questions
The following AP US History tests are not directly from the College Board, but they will still help you become familiar with the material. This section includes links to both full unofficial practice tests and small-scale, topic-specific quizzes. The short quizzes may be useful in the early stages of your studying when you want to target certain eras or avoid questions on material your class hasn't covered yet.
AP US History Prep Books
Even though I'm emphasizing online practice materials in this article, it's also worth mentioning that some APUSH prep books include high-quality practice tests that are modeled directly after the newest version of the exam. If you're willing to part with some of that sweet cash money, check out our list of the best review books for AP US History .
High School Test Prep Practice Tests
This site has nine quizzes, each covering a different time period. The quizzes are each 20 questions long and are multiple choice. They're not a great match for the actual AP US History exam, but they can be good practice for basic dates and facts, especially if there's a time period you're particularly shaky on.
Full Old-Format Practice Exam
This old-format AP US History practice test was created by an AP teacher. It has 80 multiple-choice questions, each with five answer choices (the current test format has 55 questions and four answer choices for each question, so you'll need to tweak this old exam a lot). It also has one DBQ and some essay prompts that are a little different from the current Long Essay requirement.
Historyteacher.net Mini Practice Quizzes
Here, you'll find practice quizzes for every topic covered in the US History course. There are multiple-choice questions and for some topics "short answer" questions (there's a drop-down menu of 12 answer choices). These won't help much with the more analytical elements of the test, but if you want to test your factual recall, they'll serve you well.
Albert AP US History Practice Quizzes
Albert maintains a series of free, high-quality practice quizzes on every topic covered by the AP US History curriculum (and all have been updated for the 2020 exam format and units). Some resources other fee, other require a paid membership. As you take them, the site will display stats that detail how you're faring on questions of each difficulty level. This should help you figure out the areas in which your memory is shakier.
Practice Quizzes for The American Pageant , 12th Edition
This site has chapter-by-chapter practice quizzes organized around an old edition of The American Pageant textbook. Questions are multiple choice and true/false. Again, this is more helpful for factual recall than for analysis questions.
AP US History Notes Multiple-Choice Practice Test
This test has just 40 questions, but the website also includes a list of frequently asked AP US History multiple-choice questions that will prepare you better for the exam.
McGraw-Hill American History Chapter Quizzes
This site contains 32 multiple-choice quizzes, one for each chapter of the 13th edition of the McGraw-Hill US History textbook. The quizzes follow the organization of the textbook, but they can still be useful even if your class uses a different book. Each quiz is titled so you can know what part of US History it's testing you on.
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Additional Resources for Practice Quizzes on All US History Topics
These are a few additional sites that have a bunch of short practice quizzes on every topic in the APUSH curriculum. Use these resources if you're looking for additional questions that will test your basic knowledge of events in US History, or if you're looking for more questions dealing with a specific time period.
- CourseNotes Practice Quizzes for AP US History
- Varsity Tutors AP US History Practice Quizzes
- Matching and Multiple-Choice Short Practice Quizzes
- Crack AP Multiple-Choice Practice Tests
How to Use AP US History Practice Exams in Each Semester
Now, you have all sorts of AP US History practice resources—but what's the best way to use them? In this section, we go over exactly how you should be studying with AP practice exams during each semester of the APUSH class.
At this point, you can mostly rely on unofficial AP US History tests and quizzes that only deal with the topics your class has covered. Many of the websites listed above have large collections of questions for each unit of the course. Work on building a strong foundation of knowledge so that you'll be prepared to answer more advanced analytical questions in the future.
You can also look through the official free-response practice questions to find some you feel confident answering based on what you've learned so far. It's never too early to start practicing for the free-response section, especially when it comes to the Document-Based Question, or DBQ.
Writing a coherent argumentative essay that incorporates six or seven different sources in just 50 minutes is a tough skill to master! Try to come up with an essay-writing process that works well for you so that you're a pro by the time the AP test rolls around.
Start taking full AP US History practice tests and assessing your score level midway through the second semester (March is a good time to get the ball rolling on this). By then, you've learned enough of the material for your scores on APUSH practice tests to be fairly accurate predictions of your final AP exam scores.
Since the US History test has undergone various changes in recent years, you won't have many full official practice tests that reflect the current format. Use your limited resources wisely by carefully assessing your performance on each practice test and studying your weak areas before you take additional tests.
We recommend taking and scoring an initial APUSH practice test (with accurate time constraints!) before you do any studying. As you take the test, mark any questions you're unsure about; you will want to study that material later even if you end up guessing correctly. After you score your test, categorize your mistakes by time period and theme to see whether there are any patterns .
Next, start studying the areas that need work . You can turn to unofficial AP US History practice questions here to test your knowledge. You should also practice writing essay outlines so you're more prepared for the free-response section. Once you feel that you've mastered all the AP topics that stumped you on the first test, take another practice test to see whether you've improved.
Decide whether or not you want to repeat this process based on your score on the second test. If you haven't improved much, you should reconsider your prep methods. Spend a longer time checking in with yourself to make sure you've retained information. You can also plan on doing more practice questions between full tests so that you're prepared for both the format and the content tested.
AP US History Practice: 4 Essential Testing Tips
Before we wrap up, here are four critical test-day tips to remember on the day of your US History exam.
#1: Read Excerpts Carefully and Look for Direct Evidence
The multiple-choice section on AP US History is based on excerpts from historical source materials, or stimuli, so it tests both analytical skills and factual recall. You'll have to read the source material carefully to find the correct answer.
In many cases, several answer choices are historically accurate, but only one will be directly supported by the evidence in the excerpt or illustration. Look for direct connections, and don't make too many assumptions based on your prior knowledge.
#2: Plan Out Your Essays
When you have to write a timed essay, it can sometimes end up an unfocused, disorganized mess. This is exactly what you don't want to happen on the AP US History exam. Hold yourself back from starting the writing process immediately, even if you're anxious about not finishing in time.
Writing a preliminary outline is critical on this test. Without an outline, you run the risk of rambling and getting stuck when you can't identify a good piece of supporting evidence! It'll be far easier to write your essays if you already have a structure in place that makes sense.
#3: Get Comfy With the Document-Based Question
The Document-Based Question is different from other essay questions that you'll encounter on AP tests. In fact, it's probably the only question of its kind that you've ever seen on any test. DBQs can seem intimidating and weird, so make sure you practice them as much as possible before the real exam.
Write notes next to each piece of source material to give yourself a basic idea of what it is and how it could be used to support the points you plan on making in your essay. You should also come up with a strategy for approaching these questions that works well for you before you're face-to-face with the DBQ on test day.
#4: Incorporate Background Information (Wisely)
It's a great move to include outside historical references that support your arguments for the DBQ and/or Long Essay. Even though you're given seven sources to use as evidence in the DBQ, making additional outside connections will show that you've really mastered the material .
Just remember to be careful with using outside information. Don't fact-vomit all over the essay with everything you've ever learned about a topic. Structure your thoughts so that any outside information relates directly to the main argument of your essay.
Recap: Using AP US History Practice Tests to Ace the Exam
The AP US History practice tests in this article should serve as useful resources for you as you prep for the AP exam and any in-class assessments. Remember that official College Board questions are the highest quality practice materials, so use them wisely. We recommend trying to save most of the official practice resources for when you're closer to the actual APUSH test. You can use unofficial materials throughout the school year to brush up on specific topics in the course.
To recap, here are our four top study tips for AP US History :
- Read excerpts carefully and look for direct evidence in the source(s)
- Practice planning out and outlining your essays for free-response questions
- Get comfortable with the Document-Based Question
- Use background information without over using it
With these tips in mind, you can take full advantage of the practice materials, become a master of US History, and show the AP test who's boss!
Are you missing some of your notes from class? We've got links to great notes for AP US History that will give you tons of information on every topic in the course.
How can you know whether your AP US History practice test results are equivalent to a high or low AP score? Learn more about how AP tests are scored in our guide .
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Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar. Her goal is to help students adopt a less stressful view of standardized testing and other academic challenges through her articles. Samantha is also passionate about art and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College as a Studio Art major in 2014. In high school, she earned a 2400 on the SAT, 5's on all seven of her AP tests, and was named a National Merit Scholar.
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