Is AP World History or AP US History Harder?

When it comes to Advanced Placement (AP) history courses, many students often find themselves asking, “Is AP World History or AP US History harder?” Both courses are challenging in their own right, but there are some key differences between the two that may influence which one you should choose. Let’s take a closer look at each course and compare their difficulty levels.

AP World History

Overview: AP World History covers world history from the foundations of civilization to the present day. The course is divided into six different historical periods, each with its own theme and focus.

Content: The content of AP World History is vast and covers a wide range of topics from different regions of the world such as Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Students are required to learn about the development of civilizations, cultural interactions, political structures, economic systems, and social changes throughout history.

Difficulty Level: AP World History is considered to be one of the most challenging AP courses due to its extensive curriculum and global focus. Students need to have strong analytical skills and be able to make connections between different events and concepts across time and space.

AP US History

Overview: AP US History covers American history from pre-Columbian times to the present day. The course is divided into nine different historical periods that focus on different themes such as colonization, revolution, industrialization, civil rights movements, and globalization.

Content: The content of AP US History is more focused on American history and culture than AP World History. Students need to learn about key events such as the American Revolution, Civil War, Great Depression, Cold War, and 9/11 attacks. They also need to understand how American society has evolved over time in terms of politics, economics, social issues, and cultural values.

Difficulty Level: AP US History is also a challenging course, but it may be slightly easier than AP World History due to its narrower focus and more familiar subject matter. However, students still need to have strong critical thinking skills and be able to analyze historical documents and interpret data.


In conclusion, both AP World History and AP US History are challenging courses that require dedication, hard work, and critical thinking skills. The choice of which one is harder may depend on your personal interests and strengths.

If you are interested in global history and enjoy analyzing different cultures and societies, then AP World History may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you are more interested in American history and want to focus on understanding the development of the United States as a nation, then AP US History may be a better fit.

Whatever course you choose, it’s important to remember that success in an AP history course requires consistent effort throughout the year. You should work on developing your reading comprehension skills, note-taking strategies, essay writing abilities, and time management skills. By doing so, you’ll be able to master the content of the course and perform well on the AP exam.