Is AP World or AP US History Harder?

When it comes to choosing between AP World History and AP US History, students often wonder which one is harder to tackle. Both courses are rigorous and require a lot of dedication and effort, but there are some key differences that make them distinct. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these differences and explore which course might be the best fit for you.

Content Coverage

One of the primary differences between AP World History and AP US History is the scope of their content coverage. As the name suggests, AP US History focuses solely on the history of the United States, from its colonial beginnings to modern times. On the other hand, AP World History covers world history from prehistoric times to present-day, including major civilizations such as Ancient Greece, Rome, China, India, and more.

Difficulty Level

Given that AP World History covers a much broader range of historical events than AP US History does, it’s fair to say that it may be more challenging. Students taking AP World History have to memorize a vast amount of information across multiple time periods and regions. However, this doesn’t mean that AP US History is easy by any means – it still requires significant effort and time commitment.

Exam Format

Another factor that sets these two courses apart is their exam format. The AP US History exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice questions and free-response questions.

The multiple-choice section contains 55 questions that students have 55 minutes to answer. The free-response section has four questions that require essay responses over a period of 100 minutes.

The AP World History exam also has two sections: multiple-choice questions and free-response questions. However, in this case, there are only 50 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 55 minutes. The free-response section has three essay questions with a combined time limit of 130 minutes.

Preparation Tips

Whether you choose to take AP World History or AP US History, it’s essential to prepare thoroughly for the exam. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Start studying early: Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing. Begin reviewing your notes and textbooks well in advance so that you have enough time to cover all the material.
  • Use study guides: Invest in a good study guide that covers all the essential topics and provides practice questions.

    This will help you gauge your progress and identify areas where you need more work.

  • Take practice exams: Practice exams are an excellent way to get a feel for the actual test format and timing. Make sure you take multiple practice tests before the actual exam day.
  • Stay organized: Keep your notes and study materials organized so that you can easily access them when needed. Use color-coding or other visual aids to help you remember key concepts.


In summary, both AP World History and AP US History are challenging courses that require a lot of effort and dedication. While AP World History covers a broader range of history than AP US History, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s harder or easier – it depends on your strengths and interests as a student. Ultimately, whichever course you choose, make sure to prepare well in advance, stay organized, and use all available resources to succeed.