Is AP World History Hard? Can You Scale It Easily?

While the AP World History exam is one of the most popular AP exams, it is also one of the more difficult ones based on the passing rate.

Then again, considering the high number of students who take it, there are bound to be more who are not prepared for the contents of the exam, meaning that they will not pass.

Like any exam, the difficulty is mainly based on how prepared the student is. How knowledgeable they are on the subject and how prepared they are for the exam itself.

What does the exam cover?

The exam lasts for three hours and fifteen minutes. Most of the questions (55 to be exact) are multiple-choice. There are also three short answers that the students must write themselves, one essay, and one DBQ.

The exam’s contents consist of six historical themes and nine units.

The six themes are:

  • Humans and the environment
  • Cultural development and interactions between cultures
  • Governments
  • Economic systems
  • Social interactions and organization
  • Technology and its advancements over the years

The nine units go over various time periods. They are:

  • The Global Tapestry (1200-1450)
  • Networks of Exchange (1200-1450)
  • Land-Based Empires (1450-1750)
  • Transoceanic Interconnections (1450-1750)
  • Revolutions (1750-1900)
  • Consequences of Industrialization (1750-1900)
  • Global Conflict (1900-present)
  • Cold War and Decolonization (1900-present)
  • Globalization (1900-present)

With the document-based question, students are given seven documents to use as evidence in their written response, and they must use at least six of them. The response is in the form of an essay.

For the long essay, students are given three prompts to choose from.

The exam as a whole is divided into two sections. The first section consists of multiple-choice questions and short answers, while the second consists of the DBQ and long essay.

What skills are required?

In order to obtain a passing grade, you’re going to need a few skills. If you took the AP World History course, chances are you’ve developed these skills already.

The key ones are:

A solid understanding of major historical events, as well as the events leading up to them.

This way you can give descriptive, knowledgeable answers in the exam, and you’ll be able to pick out the correct choice on the multiple-choice questions with ease.

The ability to properly write out your answers in a way that shows your knowledge on the subject.
Good studying skills, though really this is a skill you’ll need for just about any exam.

Prepare yourself

To prep for the exam, take a practice test. This way you can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your knowledge of the various topics.

From there you can make a list of any subjects you struggled with and study them in preparation for the real test.

With proper preparation and enough studying, this exam, while difficult, will not be impossible to pass.

Related: Is AP Art History Hard? Can You Scale It Easily?

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