We’ve compiled a sortable list of all the AP World past prompts! Normally, the AP World History essays (or all written portions) are 60% of the exam including short-answer questions (SAQs), long-essay questions (LEQs), and document-based questions (DBQs). It’s important that you understand the rubrics and question styles going into the exam. Use this list to practice!
Since the AP World exam has changed dramatically (🙄) in the last few years, there are only three years of released exams with questions using the updated format. All exams from 2002-2016 use question formats and rubrics that are very outdated. There was also a huge cut in content, so even then, some of the questions are outdated. Thanks, College Board!
Need more help with AP World? Check out free live streams happening daily! Streamers will often take past prompts and write them live.
Notes for the 2020 New AP World History Exam Format
For this year only, due to COVID-19 and widespread school cancellations, there will be a major update to how the AP World History Exam will work. While this post was originally designed for the regular, full-length version of the exam, we’ve included a list of updates to keep track of for the 2020 exam.
The AP World History: Modern exam will take place on Thursday, May 21, 2pm Eastern.
What units will be covered on the 2020 AP World exam?
The exam will only cover the following topics:
- Unit 1 – 🐎 Global Tapestry, c. 1200 – c. 1450
- Unit 2 – 🐫 Networks of Exchange, c. 1200 – c. 1450
- Unit 3 – 🕌 Land-Based Empires, c. 1450 – c. 1750
- Unit 4 – 🍕 Transoceanic Interconnections, c. 1450 -c. 1750
- Unit 5 – ✊🏽 Revolutions, c. 1750 -c. 1900
- Unit 6 – 🚂 Consequences of Industrialization
Note: While the exam won’t be testing on Units 7, 8, and 9, we strongly recommend that you study the course in full as the additional content will help prepare you for the rigorous course-load in college and beyond.
How will the new AP World exam be formatted?
There will be 1 free response question to answer within 45 minutes with a 5 minute upload period.
- 1 DBQ = 100% of your score
- 5 historical documents, 1 of which will be visual
- Modified rubric with 10 points available
- Thesis = 1 pt
- Contextualization = 1 pt
- Evidence = 5 pts
- Using documents (3 possible points)
- To earn all 3, support your argument with at least four documents
- To earn 2 points, support your argument with at least two documents
- To earn 1 point, use content from two documents
- Evidence Beyond the Docs (2 possible points)
- To earn 2 points, describe two specific pieces of evidence beyond the docs.
- To earn 1 point, use one additional piece of outside evidence.
- Using documents (3 possible points)
- Analysis & Reasoning = 3 pts
- Sourcing (2 possible points)
- To earn 2 points, correctly analyze POV, purpose, audience, or context for two docs.
- To earn 1 point, do it for one doc
- Complexity (1pt)
- Demonstrated a complex understanding (same rubric point as usual)
- Sourcing (2 possible points)
Where do I even begin to study for the new AP World exam?
Follow our comprehensive AP Human Geography 2020 Study Guide that outlines everything you’ll need to study and know in advance of the exams.
All of the questions aligned to the current format and content requirements of the exam and listed below.
Click the + to see the prompt in both College Board and plain English!
|Exam Year||Type||Time Period||Topic||Prompt||What is that actually asking?||Link|
|2017||DBQ||1200-1450||Religious & State Responses to Wealth||Evaluate the extent to which religious responses to wealth accumulation in Eurasia in the period circa 600 bce to 1500 ce differed from state responses to wealth accumulation.||Use the documents to defend whether or not there was a difference between how religious and state officials felt about wealth between 600 bce and 1500 ce.||See Released Question|
|2017||LEQ||1450-1750||CCOT in Labor Migrations||Describe and explain a significant continuity and a significant change in labor migration in the period 1450–1750 C.E.||What’s one way that labor migration changed between 1450 and 1750? What’s one way that migration patterns for labor stayed the same during that entire time frame?||See Released Question|
|2017||LEQ||1900-2001||CCOT of Global Balance of Power||Describe and explain a significant continuity and a significant change in the global balance of political power in the period 1900 C.E. to the present.||During the 20th century, what’s one way that the global balance of power changed and one way that it stayed the same?||See Released Question|
|2017||SAQ||1450-1750||Intensification of Human Land-Use||See Released Question|
|2017||SAQ||1750-1900||Industrialization as a Turning Point||See Released Question|
|2017||SAQ||1900-2001||Technology & Globalization||See Released Question|
|2017||SAQ||1200-1450||Chinese Interaction with Nomads||See Released Question|
|2018||DBQ||1750-1900||Railroads & Empire Building||Evaluate the extent to which railroads affected the process of empire-building in Afro-Eurasia between 1860 and 1918.||How much did railroads affect the process of empire-building in Afro-Eurasia between 1860 and 1918? Use the documents to come up with 2-3 ways that railroads helped or stalled empire-building and use that evidence in your essay.||See Released Question|
|2018||LEQ||1450-1750||Columbian Exchange||In the period 1450–1750, oceanic voyages resulted in the Columbian Exchange, which transformed the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Develop an argument that evaluates how the Columbian Exchange affected peoples in the Americas in this time period.||Between 1450 and 1750, explorers voyaged across oceans to find new economic opportunities, which led to the Columbian Exchange. How did the Columbian Exchange affect the people of the Americas during that time period? Come up with 2-3 major effects and prove them using evidence.||See Released Question|
|2018||LEQ||1900-2001||20th Century Political Ideologies||In the period 1900 to 2001, people and states around the world adopted political ideologies such as communism, fascism, or nationalism to challenge the existing political and/or social order. Develop an argument that evaluates how one or more of these political ideologies challenged the existing political and/or social order.||In the 20th century, many states turned to communism, fascism, or nationalism in response to crises created by capitalism. How did one or more of these ideologies challenge the status quo in politics or society?||See Released Question|
|2018||SAQ||1450-1750||Pre-1900 Agriculture vs. Green Revolution||See Released Question|
|2018||SAQ||1750-1900||Mughals & the British East India Company||See Released Question|
|2018||SAQ||1900-2001||Mass Violence by Totalitarian States||See Released Question|
|2018||SAQ||1200-1450||Nomads & Sedentary Societies||See Released Question|
|2019||DBQ||1450-1750||Portuguese Trade in the Indian Ocean||Evaluate the extent to which the Portuguese transformed maritime trade in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century.||What impact, if any, did the Portuguese have on the evolution of trade in the Indian Ocean? Use the documents to explore Portuguese impact on trade and develop an argument with evidence.||See Released Question|
|2019||LEQ||1900-2001||State Controlled Economies||In the period after 1900, the role of the state in the economy varied, with many states adopting policies to control or manage their economies. Develop an argument that evaluates the extent to which one or more states controlled their economies in this time period.||In the 20th century, many countries had state-controlled economic policies. Choose one of those countries and explain the policies they used for the state to control or manage the economy.||See Released Question|
|2019||LEQ||1200-1450||Rise of Empires & Trade||In the period 600 to 1450 C.E., trade networks expanded and economic productive capacity increased. Technological innovations and transfers often contributed to this process. Develop an argument that evaluates the extent to which technological innovations or transfers led to increased economic growth in this period.||The increase of trade between 600-1450 was mostly because new technology increased the amount of goods produced. Defend this statement with at least two major reasons or argue that other factors played a more important role in the expansion of trade.||See Released Question|
|2019||SAQ||1750-1900||Traditional vs. New Elites||See Released Question|
|2019||SAQ||1900-2001||20th Century Life Expectancy vs. Economic Power||See Released Question|
|2019||SAQ||1200-1450||Trade Between Nomads & Non-Nomads||See Released Question|
Just in case you’re curious, here’s all of the outdated past prompts. They are not super useful anymore, but you can still use them to practice other skills like document analysis or just to see what you can remember:
⚡Live Stream Replay: Analyzing Sources from Medieval Networks of Exchange
2016 – LEQ: CCOT trade networks in Afro-Eurasia
2015 – LEQ: Compare trade networks
2014 – LEQ: Compare use of religion to govern
2013 – LEQ: CCOT Mediterranean politics and culture
2012 – LEQ: CCOT trade networks in Africa and Eurasia
2011 – LEQ: Compare rise of empires
2009 – LEQ: CCOT interactions along the Silk Roads
2008 – LEQ: CCOT commerce in the Indian Ocean
⚡Live Stream Replay: CCOT Indian Ocean Networks of Exchange
DBQ Help! 👉 Analyzing Sourcing in the Global Middle Ages
2006 – DBQ: Global flow of silver
🤓Study Guide: Comparison in the AP Histories
⛵More on Long Distance Migrations in this Live Stream replay!
⚡Live Stream Replay: Labor Systems CCOT
1900 to Present:
2016 – DBQ: Gender and politics in Latin America
2015 – DBQ: Responses to spread of influenza after WWI
2014 – DBQ: Relationship between peasants & CCP
2012 – DBQ: Relationship between cricket & politics
2011 – DBQ: Green Revolution
2008 – DBQ: Modern Olympic movement
2005 – DBQ: Muslim Nationalism