Are you taking the AP European History exam and want to make sure you're prepared? One of the best ways to measure your progress and learn which areas you need to focus on is to take practice exams. There are a lot of AP Euro History practice tests available; however, some are higher-quality than others. Taking a poorly written practice exam can cause you to study the wrong things and give you an inaccurate picture of what the real AP exam will be like.
In this guide, I'll go over every AP Euro practice test available, explain if and how you should use each one, and end with a schedule you can follow to help you incorporate practice tests into your study plans.
Official AP European History Practice Tests and Questions
Official practice exams are those that have been created by the College Board (the organization that develops and administers all AP exams). They are always the top resources to use because you can be sure that they accurately reflect the format and content of the real AP exam.
There are three types of official practice resources:
Complete Practice Tests
Full-length official practice tests are hard to come by since the College Board frequently reuses multiple-choice questions and therefore doesn't often make them publicly available. However, they've released one full-length AP Euro practice test:
This practice test mostly aligns with the format and content of the latest version of the test. It's absolutely the best free practice exam available, so try to save it for when you're closer to test day and want to get an accurate estimate of how you're scoring.
There is another official AP Euro practice test floating around, this one from 2008. The College Board no longer shows it on their website, so you need to find it from unofficial sources. Additionally, the exam has been significantly updated since then, so both the format and content are somewhat out of date. This practice test has 80 multiple-choice questions instead of the current 55, and the questions focus much more on general recall of facts than they do now. Additionally, there are no passages to read and answer questions about like there are on the current exam. For the essays, the DBQ is pretty similar, but there are no short answer questions on this test. Instead there are two long essays (the current format only has one). So you can still use this exam for practice, but be aware that it's much less useful than the 2017 exam.
Even though official multiple-choice questions are sparse, there are over 20 years' worth of official free-response questions for you to practice with. These questions all come from past AP exams.The most recent questions will be the most helpful, particularly those from 2018 and later, since AP Euro underwent its last significant changes in 2018. However, older questions can still give you a sense of what AP Euro free-response questions will look like.
AP Euro Course and Exam Description
The AP European History Course and Exam Descriptions offer additional multiple-choice questions and free-response questions—just not in the format of a full-length test. You can still get some great practice with these materials, especially the multiple-choice questions.
This is the most current course description:
2020 Course and Exam Description: Updated for current AP exam format. Contains 17 multiple-choice questions, one short-answer question, one DBQ, and one Long Essay prompt.
Unofficial AP European History Practice Exams and Quizzes
Many unofficial practice AP Euro exams can be a great study resource, but not all are worth your time. Below, we explain each unofficial resource and how you should use it. The resources are separated into two categories: free and paid, and they're roughly ordered from most to least helpful.
Free AP Euro Practice Tests
This is an unofficial AP Euro practice test, but it fits the format of the actual AP exam exactly and also does a good job of matching the difficulty and type of questions you'll see on the AP exam. You can access the answer explanations here (you'll need to sign up for a free account). This is a high-quality resource, and you should save it for when you do a timed, full-length practice test (see the next section).
CrackAP's site has 32 AP Euro quizzes, each about ten questions long. A lot of the questions are passage-based, as they are on the actual AP exam, although the ones from this resource tend to be a bit more simplistic and easier to answer than actual AP questions. However, this is still a decent resource, particularly for shorter study sessions.
This resource has four quizzes, each focused on a different time period. The quizzes are each 20 questions, which is fairly short, but they do a pretty good job of matching actual AP questions. After you answer a question, you immediately learn if you got it right or not (and a helpful answer explanation is provided). This makes this not a great resource if you're trying to time yourself, but we recommend it for early on in your AP prep, when you're still becoming familiar with the types of multiple-choice questions you'll be asked.
Even if this isn't the textbook you're using in your AP Euro class, this is a good resource to make sure you're keeping up with the class material. There are 31 quizzes, one for each chapter of the book. You'll click on the chapter you want, then click "ACE the Test" on the left. These questions focus more on facts than making inferences, but they can be a good way to ensure you're staying on top of the information you need to know throughout the school year, especially because you can choose which chapter quiz to take based on the specific topic you want to improve in.
The Varsity Tutors site for AP Euro has seven diagnostic tests, each with 80 multiple-choice questions. On the actual AP exam, you'll only answer 55 multiple-choice questions, which means you're getting about ten tests worth of multiple-choice questions here. They also have over 100 additional questions in the form of short quizzes organized by topics like European expansion and political practice. So there's a lot of content here.
Unfortunately, none of it is a great match for the actual AP exam. Varsity Tutors' questions focus almost solely on basic historic facts, like when a certain event happened or what a particular person's claim to fame is. There are no passages to read and make inferences from or questions that test your knowledge of major themes and changes in Europe. This makes these resources significantly different from the actual AP Euro exam, which, contrary to what many people believe, has few questions focused solely on recalling specific dates or events.
This resource is best used for people looking to build up their background knowledge of specific time periods/places/themes as opposed to using it as a close substitute for real AP multiple-choice questions. We recommend using it throughout the year to keep on top of all the information you're learning in class.
Paid AP Euro Practice Tests
AP Euro Prep Books
Prep books are a very common study resource to use when preparing for an AP exam. In addition to giving you tips for how to do well on the AP test, they nearly always include a full-length practice test as well. Here are three of the most popular AP European History review books:
- Barron's (about $18, with 5 practice tests)
- Princeton Review (about $18, with 6 practice tests)
- Crash Course (about $12, with 1 practice test)
Albert has over 1,000 AP European History practice questions, organized into time period and category. They do a good job of mimicking actual AP questions. You'll see the answer and explanation immediately after you answer a question.
You'll need to create an account to access the questions. After you've done that, some of the questions are available for free, but for most you need a paid subscription to access. It currently costs $69 for a year's access to their AP Euro materials.
If you purchase a Peterson's subscription, you gain access to two full-length AP European History practice exams. A subscription costs a pretty pricey $49 a month (with discounts for three- and six-month packages), however; this gets you access to all of Peterson's resources, including their other AP prep and their ACT and SAT resources.
How to Use AP European History Practice Exams
Knowing how to use each of these resources will make your studying more effective, as well as prepare you for what the real AP European History exam will be like. Read the guide below to learn how and when you should use these resources throughout the year.
At this point, you can mostly rely on unofficial AP Euro History practice tests and quizzes that only deal with the topics your class has covered. Many of the websites listed above have large collections of questions for each unit of the course. Work on building a strong foundation of knowledge so that you'll be prepared to answer more advanced analytical questions in the future. The Varsity Tutors and A History of Western Society AP Euro practice quizzes are good for testing your basic European history knowledge.
You can also look through the official free-response practice questions to find some you feel confident answering based on what you've learned so far. It's never too early to start practicing for the free-response section, especially when it comes to the Document-Based Question, or DBQ (the essay most students struggle with).
Second semester is when you can begin taking complete practice exams and continue reviewing content you've already learned. Follow these five steps:
Step 1: Complete Your First Complete Practice Exam
About a month or two into this semester, after you've covered a majority of the content you need to know for the AP exam, take your first complete practice exam. For this first practice test, we recommend using the Marco Learning test. You should take this test timed and in one sitting, then correct it when you're finished.
If you haven't already, this is a good time to set a score goal for yourself. Aim for at least a 3 since this is the lowest passing score for the exam. However, if you scored a 3 or higher on this first practice exam, it's a good idea to set your goal score even higher, to a 4 or 5. Getting a higher score on the AP Euro exam looks more impressive to colleges, and it can sometimes get you more college credit.
Step 2: Analyze Your Score Results
After you've figured out your score, look over each problem you answered incorrectly and try to figure out why you got the question wrong. As you're doing this, look for patterns in your results. Were there certain time periods you did better or worse on? Did you do well on multiple choice but struggled with the free-response questions?
Figuring out which problems you got wrong and why is the best way to stop repeating your mistakes and make improvements for future exams. Even if it seems tedious, don't be tempted to skip this step!
Step 3: Focus on Your Weak Areas
By now, you should have a good idea of the areas or techniques you need to work on to raise your score. If there are specific content areas you need to work on, review them by going over your notes, reading a review book, and answering multiple-choice and free-response questions that focus specifically on those topics. High School Test Prep and CrackAP resources are good to use here as they'll help you get more familiar with AP-type multiple-choice questions. Continue to supplement with the official free-response questions, as well.
Step 4: Take Another Practice Exam
After you've spent time improving your weak areas, it's time to see the results of your hard work. About a month before the AP test, take and score another complete practice exam, timed and finished in one sitting. This is a good time to use the 2017 official released exam.
Step 5: Review Your Results to Determine Your Future Study Plan
Now you're able to see how much you've improved, and in which areas, since you took your first complete practice exam. If you've made improvements and have reached or are close to your target score, you may only need to do some light studying from now until the AP exam.
However, if you haven't improved a lot, or you're still far from your score goal, you'll need to analyze the way you've been reviewing and think of ways to improve. The most common reason for not improving is not actively studying, and only passively leafing through your notes or reviewing missed questions.
Active studying takes longer and requires more effort, but it's the best way to see significant improvements. As you're studying, make sure you really understand exactly where you made a mistake for every practice question you answer incorrectly. Also, when you're reviewing your notes, stop every few minutes and mentally go over what you just learned to make sure you're retaining the information. Repeat these steps (using additional AP Euro History practice tests) as many times as you need to in order to reach your target score.
Interested in learning more about the AP Euro exam? Our in-depth guide to the AP European History text explains everything you need to know!
Is AP Euro hard? How tough is the class and exam compared to other APs? We break down the five key factors in determining how hard is AP European History. (coming soon)
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.