Is the AP World History Exam Difficult?

The AP World History Exam is a challenging test that measures a student’s knowledge of world history. Many students wonder if the exam is difficult, and the answer is not straightforward. The difficulty of the AP World History Exam depends on various factors, including a student’s preparation, understanding of historical concepts, and test-taking skills.

Factors that Affect the Difficulty of the AP World History Exam

There are several factors that can affect how difficult the AP World History Exam is for a particular student. These include:

  • Preparation: Students who have thoroughly prepared for the exam are likely to find it less challenging than those who have not studied enough.
  • Knowledge of Historical Concepts: The exam covers a wide range of historical concepts, and students who have a good understanding of these concepts will find it easier to answer questions correctly.
  • Test-Taking Skills: Students who have strong test-taking skills such as time management and critical thinking will likely perform better on the exam.

The Format of the AP World History Exam

The AP World History Exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice and free-response. The multiple-choice section consists of 55 questions that must be answered within 55 minutes. This section tests students’ knowledge of world history from approximately 8000 BCE to present-day.

The free-response section consists of three essay questions, which must be answered within two hours and fifteen minutes. The essays require students to analyze historical sources, develop an argument, and demonstrate an understanding of major historical events and themes.

Tips for Preparing for the AP World History Exam

Preparing for the AP World History Exam can be a daunting task, but there are several tips that can help make it less challenging:

  • Read the textbook: Reading the textbook is essential for gaining an understanding of historical concepts and events.
  • Create a study schedule: Creating a study schedule can help students manage their time effectively and ensure they cover all necessary material before the exam.
  • Practice writing essays: Practicing writing essays can help students develop their critical thinking and analytical skills, which are essential for success on the free-response section of the exam.
  • Take practice exams: Taking practice exams can help students get a feel for the format of the AP World History Exam and identify areas where they need to improve.


In conclusion, whether or not the AP World History Exam is difficult depends on various factors such as preparation, knowledge of historical concepts, and test-taking skills. However, with proper preparation and study habits, students can perform well on the exam. It’s important to remember that this exam is challenging but also rewarding as it measures your knowledge of world history and prepares you for college-level courses.