How Hard Is AP World History: Modern?

Are you considering taking AP World History: Modern? It’s natural to wonder how difficult the course might be.

After all, the Advanced Placement program is known for its challenging curriculum and rigorous exams. In this article, we’ll explore just how hard AP World History: Modern really is.

Course Overview

AP World History: Modern is a two-semester course that covers the history of the world from 1200 CE to the present day. The course is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills, as well as an understanding of the causes and effects of historical events.

Course Content

The content of AP World History: Modern can be divided into six main themes:

  • Interaction Between Humans and the Environment
  • Development and Interaction of Cultures
  • State-Building, Expansion, and Conflict
  • Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems
  • Development and Transformation of Social Structures
  • Cultural, Intellectual, and Religious Developments

Within each theme are various topics that students must study in-depth. For example, under the theme “Interaction Between Humans and the Environment,” students must learn about topics such as climate change, disease pandemics, and natural disasters.

The Exam

At the end of the course, students take a three-hour exam that consists of two sections:

  • Section 1: Multiple Choice (55 questions)
  • Section 2: Free Response (three essay questions)

The multiple-choice section tests students’ knowledge of historical events and trends. The free-response section requires students to analyze primary sources, develop arguments based on historical evidence, and write essays that demonstrate their understanding of key concepts.

How Hard Is It?

So, the big question: how hard is AP World History: Modern? The answer is that it depends on a few factors.

Firstly, the course requires a significant amount of reading and writing. Students must be able to analyze complex texts and develop nuanced arguments based on historical evidence. If you struggle with reading comprehension or writing skills, you may find the course challenging.

Secondly, the course covers a lot of material. There are six themes with numerous topics under each one. Keeping track of all of this information can be overwhelming for some students.

Lastly, the exam itself is difficult. The free-response questions require students to think critically and write clearly under time pressure.

Tips for Success

If you’re considering taking AP World History: Modern, here are some tips for success:

  • Stay organized. Keep track of notes and readings in a way that makes sense to you.
  • Develop strong reading comprehension skills.

    Practice analyzing complex texts and identifying key ideas.

  • Improve your writing skills. Practice writing clear, concise essays that demonstrate your understanding of historical concepts.
  • Use online resources such as Khan Academy or Crash Course to supplement your learning.
  • Take practice exams to get familiar with the format and time constraints of the test.


AP World History: Modern is a challenging course, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. By studying world history from 1200 CE to present day, students gain a deeper understanding of how societies have developed over time. With dedication and hard work, anyone can succeed in this course and potentially earn college credit through their performance on the AP exam.