About the Test: General Test Structure

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The AP test is 3 hours, 5 minutes long and is divided into two sections. The first section consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and lasts 55 minutes. The second section (called free response) includes the document-based question and two additional essay questions. Students get a total of 130 minutes to work on this section, including the mandatory 15 minutes of reading/planning time. There is a short break between the two sections of the test, so you CANNOT start on the essays if you finish the multiple-choice questions early. Each of the two halves of the test is worth half of the final AP grade. The Document-Based Question is 45% of the free response section grade, and each of the other two essays is 27.5%.

The AP test covers all of American history from the European exploration to the present, but most of the questions deal with the 1800s-1900s. The historical make-up of the questions is as follows:

17% - European exploration - Washington's first term (1789)
50% - Washington's first term (1790) - U.S. entering World War I (1914)
33% - U.S. entering World War I (1914) - Present

The AP test covers the following topics in American history:

35% - politics, government, and laws
35% - social movements and social change
15% - wars, treaties, and international affairs
10% - economic history and technology
5% - art and culture

Next: The Multiple-Choice Questions >>

AP* U.S. History
About the Test
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AP* Subjects
U.S. History

*AP is a registered trademark of the College Board, Which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

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