Education

Unlocking the Secrets of the AP World History Practice Test


You’ll need a lot of practice before exam day. In addition to taking multiple-choice practice tests, you should also regularly read and take note of the questions on the DBQ and long-answer sections of the exam.

The AP World History exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, document-based questions, and an essay. Completing the course and earning a high score on the exam can earn students college credit and advanced placement in history-related fields in college.

AP World History gives students a broad and interconnected view of global history, helping them develop critical thinking, research, and writing skills. It is valuable for students interested in history and those pursuing a wide range of academic and professional paths that require a deep understanding of global events and their impact on the present day.

Taking a Practice Test

The best way to get a feel for the format and content of the AP World History exam is to practice with multiple-choice questions. Luckily, there are many online resources with sample questions. These can be a great way to see how well you understand the material and identify improvement areas.

Another helpful resource is a prep book. These will offer a more comprehensive overview of course content and historical themes in an easy-to-read format. They can help identify critical information that you might have yet to retain from class or may have forgotten over time, and they can help you practice answering questions quickly.

Look for resources that match the current AP course and exam description. Since the exam was revised in 2019-20 to focus on only the modern era, older practice questions might need to be revised.

Remember that understanding the vast amount of information that World History covers requires knowledge about facts and events and skills such as making connections, contextualizing, analyzing sources, and writing essays. You can answer many multiple-choice questions without knowing the specific details of the event or period. Still, you should have a solid bank of information stored away to draw upon in essay answers.

Reading the Questions

AP World History has the lowest pass percentage of any AP test and is one of the most difficult to score a 3, so studying thoroughly is essential. Several resources are available for preparing for this exam, including the AP World History practice test and flashcards. One of the best strategies is to take a timed practice exam before taking the real thing. This can prepare you mentally and give you an idea of how well you might do on the exam.

Many of these official materials are similar to the exam and might help you understand the format and question style.

In addition to the official AP world history resources, several commercial study guides can help you prepare for the exam. 

Reading the Explanations

The AP World History exam is challenging; only about 10% of students earn the top score. It is a broad course that covers many different periods and cultural aspects of human history, so it’s not uncommon for students to miss questions in the multiple-choice section. But that’s why practice tests are so necessary.

These practice tests provide a detailed breakdown of the correct answers and explanations. You can see which questions you missed and clearly understand where your knowledge gaps are. It’s a good idea to read the explanations carefully, even if you know the correct answer. You might learn something new about approaching a question or identifying a new strategy for writing your essay.

Regarding the free-response questions, you’ll need to be able to write about the historical evidence that supports your argument. Be sure to use the correct terms and avoid jargon. For example, it’s a common mistake to say a document is biased because of its origin. Instead, say that a particular ideology or viewpoint influences the document.

Writing Your Answers

The free-response portion of the exam accounts for half your final score. The DBQ and the LEQ ask you to analyze historical documents to develop and support your answer to a question. Both require you to understand the complexity of a particular historical issue and how it relates to more prominent historical themes, issues, and periods. To do this, you must be able to use your knowledge of history and outside information (such as political ideology or cultural context).

Many study websites have quizzes to help you review the topics and dates covered in AP world history class. But it’s important to remember that many of these quizzes were written before the 2019 revisions to the course and exam. You must be careful about using these for practice, as they may include questions and content from historical eras that are no longer part of the test.

Ultimately, the best way to prepare for the AP World History exam is to keep up with the class’s content throughout the year and read the textbook thoroughly. This is the most effective study method because it lets you understand how the course material is connected and analyzed. Additionally, it helps to focus on a few key concepts instead of trying to memorize everything the course covers.


Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 12 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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