Is AP World History: Modern the Same as AP World History?

If you’re planning to take an Advanced Placement (AP) course in World History, you might be wondering whether AP World History: Modern is the same as AP World History. In short, the answer is no. While both courses cover global history from prehistory to the present day, there are some key differences between them.

History and Scope

One of the primary differences between AP World History: Modern and its predecessor is the scope of history covered. AP World History covers world history from approximately 8000 BCE to the present day, while AP World History: Modern begins with the year 1200 CE and ends with modern times. This means that while both courses cover many of the same themes and topics – such as trade, empire-building, and cultural exchange – AP World History: Modern focuses more heavily on events and developments that have occurred in the past few hundred years.

Exam Format

Another difference between these two courses is their respective exam formats. The AP World History exam consists of two sections: a multiple-choice section and a free-response section that includes both short-answer questions and an essay.

In contrast, the AP World History: Modern exam has three sections: a multiple-choice section, a short-answer section, and a modified document-based question (DBQ). The modified DBQ includes fewer documents than a standard DBQ but still requires students to analyze primary sources.

Skills Emphasized

Finally, while both courses emphasize critical thinking skills such as contextualization, comparison, and causation, they do so in slightly different ways. For example, because AP World History covers such a broad swath of history, students must be able to make connections across time periods and regions. In contrast, because AP World History: Modern covers a more limited timeframe, students may be asked to focus more closely on cause-and-effect relationships or comparisons between specific regions or cultures.


In summary, while AP World History: Modern and AP World History share many similarities, there are important differences between the two. If you’re deciding which course to take, consider your own interests and strengths as well as your long-term goals. Both courses offer an excellent opportunity to develop critical thinking and writing skills while deepening your understanding of global history.