Need some free resources to help you prepare for the AP World History exam? This complete collection of AP World History practice tests offers tons of links to free multiple-choice questions, free-response questions, and even a full-length practice test. Read on to learn how to use these resources and get links to hundreds of AP World History practice questions.
2021 AP Test Changes Due to COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, AP tests will now be held over three different sessions between May and June. Your test dates, and whether or not your tests will be online or on paper, will depend on your school. To learn more about how all of this is going to work and get the latest information on test dates, AP online review, and what these changes means for you, be sure to check out our 2021 AP COVID-19 FAQ article.
Important Note on the Recent AP World History Revision
Since the AP World History exam has undergone extensive revisions in recent years, most notably for the 2019-2020 school year (it's now called World History: Modern and focuses exclusively on a much shorter period of time: 1200 CE to the present), there unfortunately are not many updated practice resources—official or unofficial—available for it.
Other than the scope of content tested on it, however, the format of the exam itself has remained relatively stable since 2018. So all you'll really need to do is avoid questions that ask about periods before the year 1200 CE. With this new, tighter focus for the AP World History course, we can only hope that the test will be a lot easier than it's been in past years!
We've flagged everything you need to know about using practice resources in light of the revisions to the test.
How to Use These AP World History Practice Resources
On the most basic level, you'll use the following AP World History resources to get familiar with the format and feel of the test and to ensure you know the content necessary to succeed on the exam.
There are two main categories of practice resources available for World History:
- Official College Board practice resources
- Unofficial practice resources
Official resources are the most similar to the actual AP exam (which makes sense because the College Board is what writes the test!). You'll primarily use these to ensure you're comfortable with the test format and question style.
Unofficial resources, however, are much more plentiful. The multiple-choice questions we link to come from two main places: textbook websites and study websites. While these resources are high quality, they won't be exactly like the AP test. Some questions are easier, and some are a lot harder. Some sections have true/false questions mixed in with multiple choice, even though the AP test has only multiple-choice questions.
Unofficial resources can be very helpful for studying, particularly for learning content, but official resources will ultimately give you the most accurate feel for what the AP World History test will actually be like.
Below, we'll go over official College Board resources for the AP World History exam and how to use them. After, we'll present some of the best unofficial resources out there.
Official Resources for the AP World History Exam
There are two kinds of official College Board resources for the AP World History exam:
- Multiple-choice questions
- Free-response questions
Unfortunately, there's no full-length official practice test for the newest version of the AP World History exam (which begins with the 2020 administration). That said, you can use this official practice test from 2017 to hone your test-taking skills and get a feel for the format of the exam as a whole (which hasn't changed in the past few years).
To make this test's content align more closely with that of the current exam, you'll want to skip questions that have to do with any time periods prior to 1200 CE; however, this means it will no longer act as a full-length exam. In other words, you'll essentially be tearing apart this test for practice questions. So just keep this in mind!
Other than this practice test, there are no full-length official AP World History tests available. But there are some resources you can use for practice questions, which we introduce below.
Official AP World History Multiple-Choice and Short-Answer Questions
There are four sources you can use for official World History multiple-choice questions and short-answer questions:
- AP Course and Exam Description: Contains 15 multiple-choice questions and one short answer, all updated for the newest version of the exam.
- AP Classroom: A new and innovative tool through which your AP teacher can assign you lots of official practice questions for the AP World History exam.
- 2017-18 AP Course and Exam Description: An older guide that contains a full practice test, complete with 55 multiple-choice questions and four short answers. The format of this exam is the same as that for the new 2020 test; the only difference is in the scope of the AP World History content (this exam covers thousands more years of history). Note that this is the same practice test as the 2017 exam linked above.
- 2011-12 AP Course and Exam Description: An even older AP guide that contains 30 multiple-choice questions but no short answers, as the exam format was much different back then. This exam also covers thousands more years than what's currently tested.
You can use these resources to get a feel for the multiple-choice and short-answer portions of the World History test, or you could throw together a practice test by combining questions from various sources (this way you wouldn't have to do practice questions on time periods that are no longer tested).
If you decide to go with the practice test option, wait until at least March so that you know enough material to avoid being totally frustrated by the amount of material you don't know.
Official AP World History Free-Response Questions
The AP Course and Exam Description contains an up-to-date sample Document-Based Question (DBQ) and Long Essay prompt. Even if you don't do a makeshift practice test with new and old course descriptions as suggested above, I strongly advise that you do a timed essay using these questions by the beginning of April, at the latest. This will give you enough time to see whether you're really missing any essential skill areas you need to patch up before exam day.
Otherwise, there are plenty of World History free-response questions from 2019 and 2002-2018 at the College Board website. (Currently, only AP teachers have access to the 2020 FRQs). Aside from the 2019 and 2018 FRQs, however, these are all in an older format. This means that the only questions that will really be useful to you are the old DBQs—the new Long Essay is too different from the old essay format for those questions to be helpful.
If you use old DBQs, be sure to write your essay with the new rubric in mind, as requirements for a top score have changed. One major change, for example, is that you're no longer required to make document "groups." I advise also using the new rubric to grade your own essays as best you can—or, even better, get someone else to grade them!
As you can see, though official resources are essential for getting a feel for the experience of taking the AP World History test, there aren't that many. This is why you should supplement your World History prep with unofficial resources.
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Unofficial Resources for the AP World History Exam
The unofficial resources we found are from two broad categories: study websites and textbook websites. Many of the quizzes from study websites are organized by AP World History theme and time period and contain mixed geographic areas, so these would be good unit review resources throughout the year and will also be helpful as you ramp up your studying for the exam in the spring.
Most of the quizzes from textbooks are organized by time period, so these can be used to check your mastery of certain historical eras (broken down by geographical area) as you learn about them in class. But don't, for example, take every single test on a particular subject when you first learn about it in August/September—save some for when you study in March and April so you can review (we've got 10 different quiz sources, so you'll have more than enough to practice with!).
For all multiple-choice questions, remember to practice the process of elimination (eliminating answers you know are definitely wrong). Especially if you use the textbook websites, the questions could have a high level of specificity, and you'll have to break them down by eliminating wrong answers.
This is a key skill to build for the actual AP exam since the test questions will be slightly different from your teacher's tests and your textbook's quizzes. You will need to be prepared to break them down using your existing knowledge base.
Note: Though many of the following websites have not yet updated their content for the AP World History: Modern exam, you can still get a lot of helpful practice through them. Just be sure to skip any questions or content reviews that deal with historical events that came before 1200 CE.
Often the wrong way is much easier to spot than the right way.
AP World History Quizzes from Study Websites
Without further delay, here are some links to various free study resources for AP World History. First, we'll introduce you to some of the best quizzes from study websites.
These quizzes are super handy because they are categorized by theme and time period (e.g., "Global Interactions, 1450-1750") and are not limited to just one geographic area. This is an especially great resource for preparing for the multiple-choice section, which will jump between geographic areas and time periods.
Don't forget to skip quizzes that focus solely on years before 1200 CE as these are no longer tested on the AP World History: Modern exam.
Albert offers a fully updated collection of AP World History: Modern quizzes organized by all the current exam themes. The site also rates questions as easy, moderate, and difficult to give you a sense of how deeply you understand the World History curriculum. You need a paid membership to access some of the questions, especially those that are a higher-level of difficulty.
Crack AP has over 40 short AP World quizzes, as well as two full-length exams. The quizzes are only about five multiple-choice questions each, and they aren't a perfect match for what actual AP World questions are like, but they cover a lot of content and are updated for the newest version of the exam. They can be a good option for someone earlier in the process of studying, when you're focused more on assessing your knowledge of general world history content.
This website has detailed multiple-choice quizzes organized by geographic area. Since this is not designed with the AP World History test in mind, this should be used as a resource to build your overall knowledge of specific regions (which will be necessary for doing well on the World History multiple-choice section).
I especially recommend checking out this page if there's a specific geographic area or time period you're struggling with.
This is a full-length unofficial AP World History practice test in the old format. While it's not much help for the free-response section, it's got a pretty great multiple-choice question resource. The answer key even has explanations!
AP World History Textbook Chapter Quizzes
Before we get into the links to textbook quizzes, a quick word of advice: if your class's textbook is not on here, your book might have online quizzes behind a paywall, so definitely check that possibility out!
But if your textbook is here and your teacher uses these textbook quizzes for class, use the other websites so you don't step on your teacher's toes. (You wouldn't want to be accused of cheating, even if the quizzes are readily available online.)
For these links, navigate to the chapter of the textbook with the content you want to study. For some of the websites this is pretty straightforward, but for others it's a little more complicated. For example, this is how to find the quizzes from Voyages in World History:
This is where you'll land after clicking on the link. In the drop-down menu, choose the chapter you want to focus on. In this particular menu, the chapters are just labeled by number and not title, so you need to click on them to see their content.
For example, when I click on "Chapter 14," I see that the focus of the chapter is the Mongol Rulers of Eurasia and their successors in the years 1200-1500. Click "Ace the Test" in the blue sidebar to get to the chapter quiz:
Now, just click on "ACE Practice Tests" to launch the quiz:
The quiz will open in a new window (so you might need to disable your pop-up blocker if you have one). Answer away!
The six textbooks listed below each contain between 25 and 30 chapters with highly detailed multiple-choice quizzes, so there is a ton of study material here. Again, these quizzes will be your go-to study resource as you cover different subjects in your World History class and can also be used for more fine-tuned studying in the spring.
- The Earth and Its Peoples
- Traditions and Encounters
- Voyages in World History
- Societies, Networks, and Transitions
- A History of World Societies
- Patterns of World History
Key Takeaways: The Best AP World History Practice Tests
Because AP World History was just revised for the 2019-20 school year and now focuses exclusively on the modern era (1200 CE to the present), there aren't that many up-to-date resources available. This primarily affects the content, not the format, of the overall exam (the structure hasn't changed since 2018).
There are both official College Board resources available to help you become familiar with the test format and feel, and unofficial resources to help you learn test content. You'll need to use a mix of both resource types to succeed on the AP World History: Modern exam!
Just be sure to save most of the official resources for sometime in March or April when you know most of the material so that you don't waste your limited official resources. Good luck!
Want to learn more about studying for AP World History? We have a detailed guide right here to plan out your studying over the whole school year.
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Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.