Is the AP European History Hard? And What Does It Cover?

The AP European History exam is one of the more difficult AP exams.

That being said, many students are able to score a passing grade of 3 or more.

Like any exam, the key is to be prepared: study up on the subject matter, get an idea of the structure of the exam beforehand, and take some practice tests. By doing this you will be prepared to pass with flying colors.

How many students pass the exam?

The statistics from the 2019 AP European History exam reveal an overall passing rate of 58.1%. About a quarter (25.9%) of that percentage passed with a 3.

Only 11.7% were able to pass with the top score of 5. The rest, 20.5%, passed with a score of 4.

As you can see, getting the highest possible score is no easy task. But it is not an impossible one.

What does the exam cover?

The AP European History course focuses on key aspects of European history.

If you did well in the course, then you probably have at least a decent understanding of the major events, significant individuals, and technological advancements that took place in Europe over the years.

The exam for this course is made up of nine units that cover key developments in Europe from 1450 to the present day.

  1. Renaissance and Exploration
  2. Age of Reformation
  3. Absolutism and Constitutionalism
  4. Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments
  5. Conflict, Crisis, and Reaction in the Late 18th Century
  6. Industrialization and its Effects
  7. 19th Century Perspectives and Political Developments
  8. 20th Century Global Conflicts
  9. Cold War and Contemporary Europe

The exam lasts for 3 hours and 15 minutes and consists of 55 multiple choice questions, 3 short answers, 1 document-based question, and 1 long essay with 3 prompts to choose from.

Skills you’ll need to pass

Like any exam, and especially any AP exam, you’re going to need a solid understanding of the subject matter in order to pass.

You will also need good writing skills in order to properly display your written answers, particularly in the long essay. Being able to make your point and demonstrate your knowledge on the topic is essential.

How to tackle the exam

To tackle this exam, there are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Take a practice test to determine what you know well and what you need to study up on. Write down the things you need to review.
  2. Do plenty of studying on the topics you need to review.
  3. Retake the practice test after studying to see how much you’ve improved and if you need to improve any further.
  4. Approach it calmly and reassure yourself.

While this exam is one of the harder AP exams, it is by no means impossible to pass. With the right preparation and the proper approach, you will be able to score a passing grade.

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

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