Need some free resources to help you prepare for the AP World History exam? This complete collection of AP World History practice tests has links to free multiple-choice questions designed for the complete AP World History curriculum, as well as real AP free-response questions and a full-length practice test. Read on to learn how to use these resources and to get links to hundreds of AP World History practice questions.
Important Note on the Recent AP World History Revision
Unfortunately for the state of AP World History practice exam resources, the AP World History Test was just revised for 2016-2017 (and underwent some minor changes during the 2017-2018 school year.) This means that there are very few resources available—official or unofficial—that are up-to-date and reflect the recent changes to the test.
This primarily affects the practice resources available for the free-response section, which has been substantially revised. Previously, the free-response section had three essay questions: a document-based question, a "continuity and change over time," essay, and a "comparative essay." Now there are only two essay questions: the DBQ, which has a new, substantially revised rubric, and the Long Essay Question (LEQ). For the LEQ you will be presented with two question options and write about one. With these changes, the free-response section now mirrors those of AP US History and AP European History, which were also recently revised.
We've flagged everything you need to know about using practice resources in light of the revisions to the test in this article.
How to Use These Resources
On the most basic level, you'll use these resources to get familiar with the format and feel of the AP test and to make sure you know the content necessary to succeed on the test. It's important to note, however, that there are two main categories of practice resources available: official College Board practice resources and unofficial resources.
Official College Board resources are the most similar to the actual AP test. (Which makes sense, because they are the ones who write the test!) You'll use these to make sure 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; some are much harder. Some sections have true/false questions mixed in with multiple-choice while the AP test has only multiple-choice questions. Unofficial resources can be very helpful for studying, particularly for learning content, but official resources will give you the most accurate feel for what the AP test will actually be like.
Next we'll go over official, College-Board created resources and how to use them best. Then we'll present the unofficial resources out there.
There are two kinds of official College Board resources: sample multiple-choice questions, and free response questions (both current and in the old format).
There is no official released practice test for AP World History. However, you could cobble one together by supplementing the practice questions from the current AP Course and Exam Description with additional multiple-choice questions from the 2011 AP Course and Exam Description (you'll need to use 26 of 30 to make it to the requisite 55). If you decide to do that to get the full exam experience, follow the section timing as laid out here (105 minutes for section I, and 90 minutes for section II).
Otherwise, here are your options:
Official Multiple-Choice and Short Answer Questions
There are two places to get official multiple-choice questions:
- The new AP Course and Exam Description (29 multiple-choice questions, 4 short answer)
- The 2011 AP Course and Exam Description (30 multiple-choice questions, 4 short answer)
You can use these to get a feel for the multiple choice and short answer portions of the test, or you can Macguyver a practice test as suggested above. If you do 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 Free-Response Questions
The new AP Course and Exam Description has an up-to-date practice DBQ and practice Long Essay. Even if you don't do a makeshift practice test with new and old course descriptions as suggested above, I strongly advise that you take a timed essay section using these questions by the beginning of April at the latest. This will give you enough time to see if you are really missing any essential skill areas you need to patch up before exam day.
Otherwise, there are tons and tons of old free-response questions available at the College Board website. However, they are all in the old format. This means that the only questions that will really be useful to you are the old DBQs—the new LEQ is too different from the other old essays for those to be very helpful. If you do use old DBQs, be sure to write your essay with the new rubric in mind as the requirements for a top score have changed. A major change, for example, is that you are 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!
While official resources are essential for getting a feel for the experience of taking the test, there aren't that many—so you'll need to supplement your studying with unofficial resources.
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 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 they 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 ancient Greece when you first learn about it in August or September – save some for when you study in March and April so you can review (we have ten different quiz sources so you should have more than enough to practice with!).
For all multiple-choice questions, remember to practice 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 than your teacher’s tests and your textbook’s quizzes, so you’ll need to be prepared to break them down using your existing knowledge base.
Often the wrong way is much easier to spot than the right way.
Quizzes from Study Websites
Without further ado, here are the links to the various free study resources for AP World History. First up: quizzes from study websites!
These quizzes are super handy because they are focused by AP theme and time period (e.g. “Technological and Environmental Transformations, to 600 BCE”), and aren’t limited to one geographic area. This is a great resource for preparing for the AP multiple-choice section, which will jump between geographic areas and time periods.
Like Soft Schools, Albert.io is a collection of quizzes by AP theme and time period. It also rates questions as “easy,” “moderate,” and “difficult,” to give you a sense of how deeply you understand the World History curriculum (if you’re getting a lot of the “difficults” correct, you’re definitely paying attention!).
This 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 to do well on AP World History multiple-choice). I especially recommend checking this page out if there is a specific geographic area or time period you’re struggling with.
Here's a full, unofficial practice test in the old format. Not much help for the free-response section, but a great multiple-choice question resource. The answer key even has explanations!
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 his or her toes. (You wouldn’t want to be accused of cheating, even if the quizzes are readily available online.)
For all of these links, navigate to the chapter of the textbook with the content you want to study (whether that’s Ancient China or the Cold War). For some of the websites this is pretty straightforward, for others, it's a bit 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 7" I see the focus of the chapter is the Roman Empire and rise of Christianity. Click on "ACE the Test" in the blue side-bar 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 may 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 very detailed multiple-choice quizzes, so there is tons of study material here. Again, these quizzes will be your go-to study resource as you cover different subjects in 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
Because AP World History was just revised, there aren't that many up-to-date resources available. This primarily affects the practice questions available for the free-response section, since that's changed the most.
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 to succeed on the exam! But save most of the official resources for sometime in March or April when you know most of the material so you don't waste your limited official resources!
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.