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We’ve compiled a sortable list of all the APUSH past prompts! The AP US 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 APUSH exam changed dramatically (🙄) in 2015, there are only five years of released exams with questions using the updated format. All exams up to 2014 use question formats and rubrics that are very outdated. The chart only includes prompts that use the up to date format, but all past prompts before then are also linked below.

Need more help with APUSH? Check out free live streams happening daily! Streamers will often take past prompts and write them live.

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 YearTypeTime PeriodTopicMean ScoreNotePromptWhat is that actually asking?Link
2017SAQ1844-1877Reconstruction0.85/3hardest SAQ
  1. Briefly explain ONE historical perspective expressed by the artist about the changes from the period 1869–1877 to the period 1877–1881.
  2. Briefly explain how ONE specific event or development led to a historical change suggested by the images.
  3. Briefly explain ONE specific result in the period 1877–1900 of a historical change suggested by the images.
  1. What's one way the government was seen as different during Reconstruction and in the five years post-Reconstruction?
  2. What happened that led to that change?
  3. What's one effect of that change?
See Released Question
2016LEQ1844-187714th & 15th Amendments2.04/6Evaluate the extent to which the ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution marked a turning point in the history of United States politics and society.How did US politics and society change after the 14th and 15th amendments? How did things stay the same?See Released Question
2015SAQ1865-1898Industrialization1.47/3
  1. Briefly explain why ONE of the following best marks the beginning of industrialization in the United States.
    1. The market revolution in the first half of the 1800s
    2. The Civil War era in the middle of the 1800s
    3. The rise of big business in the second half of the 1800s
  2. Provide ONE example of an event or development that supports your explanation in (a)
  3. Provide specific historical evidence that explains why ONE of the other options is less convincing as the possible beginning of industrialization in the United States.
  1. Which best marked the beginning of industrialization in the US and why - the market revolution, the Civil War, the rise of big business?
  2. Explain one example that proves that event started industrialization.
  3. Explain one example that would support one of the other two events.
See Released Question
2016SAQ1865-1898Industrial Business Leaders1.54/3
  1. Briefly explain ONE major difference between Josephson’s and Brands’s historical interpretations of business leaders who rose to prominence between 1865 and 1900.
  2. Briefly explain how ONE person, event, or development from the period 1865–1900 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Josephson’s interpretation.
  3. Briefly explain how ONE person, event, or development from the period 1865–1900 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Brands’s interpretation.
  1. What's one difference in how Josephson and Brand interpret the business leaders rise to power?
  2. Identify one business leader not mentioned in the source that supports Josephson's argument.
  3. Identify one business leader not mentioned in the source that supports Brand's argument.
See Released Question
2018DBQ1865-1898US Imperialism, 1865-19102.42/7Evaluate the relative importance of different causes for the expanding role of the United States in the world in the period from 1865 to 1910.Why did the US expand their role in the world from 1865-1910? Use the documents to prove your point!See Released Question
2018LEQ1865-1898Economic Impact of Civil War2.46/6Evaluate the extent to which the Civil War fostered change in the United States economy in the period from 1861 to 1900.How did the Civil War change the US economy between 1861 and 1900?See Released Question
2017LEQ1890-194519th Amendment1.84/6hardest LEQEvaluate the extent to which the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote, marked a turning point in United States women’s history.How did the 19th amendment change the lives of women? In what ways did it have no effect on women?See Released Question
2016LEQ1890-1945WWI & US Foreign Policy2.04/6Evaluate the extent to which United States participation in the First World War (1917–1918) marked a turning point in the nation’s role in world affairs.How did the role of the US in the world change after participating in WWI? How did it stay the same?See Released Question
2017SAQ1890-1945Effect of WWII on Society1.57/3
  1. Briefly explain ONE important way in which the Second World War (1939–1945) transformed the relationship of the United States with the rest of the world.
  2. Briefly explain ONE important way in which the Second World War transformed United States society.
  3. Briefly explain ANOTHER important way in which the Second World War transformed United States society.
  1. How did WWII change the role of the US in the world?
  2. How did WWII change society in America?
  3. What's another way WWII changed US society?
See Released Question
2015SAQ1890-1945Environmental Policies of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt1.68/3
  1. Briefly explain ONE implication for public policy of John Muir’s view on land use.
  2. Briefly explain ONE way in which an implication for public policy of Theodore Roosevelt’s view contrasts with the implication for public policy of Muir’s view.
  3. Identify ONE specific example of land use policy in the United States from 1890 to 1945 and briefly explain how the example is consistent with the view of either Muir or Roosevelt.
  1. What was one policy effect of Muir's conservationist view?
  2. How did Theodore Roosevelt's environmental policy differ from Muir?
  3. What's one example of US land use policy that aligns with either Teddy Roosevelt or John Muir from 1890 to 1945?
See Released Question
2018SAQ1890-1945Progressive Era & the Role of Government1.82/3easiest SAQ
  1. Briefly describe ONE perspective expressed by the artist about the role of government in society.
  2. Briefly explain how ONE event or development led to the historical situation depicted in the image.
  3. Briefly explain ONE specific outcome of Progressive Era debates about the role of government in society.
  1. What's one perspective of the government's role in society during the Progressive Era?
  2. Explain one event led to the situation in the image.
  3. What's one way the government did get involved during the Progressive Era?
See Released Question
2019SAQ1890-1945Comparing the New Deal & Great Society Programscoming soon
  1. Briefly describe ONE similarity between New Deal and Great Society programs.
  2. Briefly describe ONE difference between New Deal and Great Society programs.
  3. Briefly explain ONE reason for a difference between New Deal and Great Society programs.
  1. What's one similarity between the New Deal and Great Society programs?
  2. What's one difference between the New Deal and Great Society programs?
  3. What's one reason for that difference?
See Released Question
2019DBQ1890-1945Progressive Era & Political Changecoming soonEvaluate the extent to which the Progressive movement fostered political change in the United States from 1890 to 1920.How did the Progressive movement change politics in the US between 1890 and 1920? How did things stay the same? Use the documents to prove it!See Released Question
2017SAQ1945-1980Vietnam Conflict1.10/3
  1. Briefly explain ONE major difference between VanDeMark’s and McMaster’s historical interpretations of the United States involvement in the Vietnam War.
  2. Briefly explain how ONE historical event or development in the period 1945 to 1975 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support VanDeMark’s interpretation.
  3. Briefly explain how ONE historical event or development in the period 1945 to 1975 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support McMaster’s interpretation.
  1. What's one difference in how VanDeMark and McMaster perceived US involvement in Vietnam?
  2. What's an event that happened between 1945-1975 that supports VanDeMark and was not mentioned in the text?
  3. What's an event that happened between 1945-1975 that supports McMaster and was not mentioned in the text?
See Released Question
2018SAQ1945-1980Internal Migration Patterns1.28/3
  1. Briefly describe ONE specific historical difference between the internal migration patterns within the United States in the period 1910–1940 and the internal migration patterns in the period 1941–1980.
  2. Briefly describe ONE specific historical similarity between the internal migration patterns in the period 1910–1940 and the internal migration patterns in the period 1941–1980.
  3. Briefly explain ONE specific historical impact of the internal migration patterns in either period.
  1. What's one difference between immigration patterns in the US from 1910-1940 and 1941-1980?
  2. What's one similarity between immigration patterns in the US from 1910-1940 and 1941-1980?
  3. What's one effect of the immigration trends in either period?
See Released Question
2016DBQ1945-1980Second Wave of Feminism2.29/7Explain the causes of the rise of a women’s rights movement in the period 1940–1975.What are 2-3 factors that sparked the Second Wave of Feminism between 1940-1975? Use the documents to prove your argument!See Released Question
2015DBQ1945-1980Conservatism in America2.59/7easiest DBQExplain the reasons why a new conservatism rose to prominence in the United States between 1960 and 1989.What factors sparked the rise of new conservatism between 1960 and 1989? Use the documents to prove your point!See Released Question
2018LEQ1945-1980Technological Innovation2.35/6Evaluate the extent to which scientific or technological innovation changed the United States economy in the period from 1950 to 2000.How did new science & tech innovations change the US economy from 1950 to 2000?See Released Question
2015SAQ1607-1754Comparing the Chesapeake vs. New England Colonies1.16/3
  1. Briefly explain ONE important similarity between the British colonies in the Chesapeake region and the British colonies in New England in the period from 1607 to 1754.
  2. Briefly explain ONE important difference between the British colonies in the Chesapeake region and the British colonies in New England in the period from 1607 to 1754.
  3. Briefly explain ONE factor that accounts for the difference that you indicated in (b).
  1. What's one way the British colonies in the Chesapeake and New England were similar?
  2. What's one way they were different?
  3. What's one reason why they were different?
See Released Question
2018SAQ1607-1754Religion in the Spanish & New England Colonies1.39/3
  1. Briefly describe ONE specific historical difference between the role of religion in Spanish colonization and in the colonization of New England.
  2. Briefly describe ONE specific historical similarity between the role of religion in Spanish colonization and in the colonization of New England.
  3. Briefly explain ONE specific historical effect of religion on the development of society in either the Spanish colonies or the New England colonies.
  1. How did religion play a different role in Spanish and New England colonies?
  2. How did religion play a similar role in Spanish and New England colonies?
  3. What's one effect of religion on society in either Spanish or the New England colonies?
See Released Question
2016SAQ1607-1754English vs. Spanish Colonies1.61/3a) Briefly explain ONE important similarity between the goals of the Spanish and the English in establishing colonies in the Americas prior to 1700. b) Briefly explain ONE important difference between the goals of the Spanish and the English in establishing colonies in the Americas prior to 1700. c) Briefly explain ONE way in which the difference you indicated in (b) contributed to a difference in the development of Spanish and English colonial societies.a) How were the colonial goals of the Spanish & English similar before 1700? b) How were the colonial goals of the Spanish & English different before 1700? c) What's one reason for that difference?See Released Question
2018LEQ1607-1754Mercantilism2.69/6easiest LEQEvaluate the extent to which commercial exchange systems such as mercantilism fostered change in the British North American economy in the period from 1660 to 1775.How did mercantilism change the economy in British North America from 1660-1775?See Released Question
2019SAQ1607-1754Comparing Chesapeake and Middle Colonial Economiescoming soona) Briefly describe one difference between the economy of British North American colonies in the Chesapeake region (such as Virginia and Maryland) and the economy of the middle colonies (such as Pennsylvania and New York). b) Briefly describe one similarity between the economy of the Chesapeake colonies and the economy of the middle colonies. c) Briefly explain one reason for a difference between the economy of the Chesapeake colonies and the economy of the middle colonies.a) What's one difference in the economies of the Chesapake and Middle Colonies? b) What's one similarity in the economies of the Chesapake and Middle Colonies? c) What's one reason for a difference between the two?See Released Question
2016SAQ1754-1800Causes of the American Revolution1.67/3a) Identify ONE factor that increased tensions between Great Britain and its North American colonies in the period 1763–1776, and briefly explain how this factor helped lead to the American Revolution. b) Identify a SECOND distinct factor that increased tensions between Great Britain and its North American colonies in the same period, and briefly explain how this factor helped lead to the American Revolution. c) Identify a THIRD distinct factor that increased tensions between Great Britain and its North American colonies in the same period, and briefly explain how this factor helped lead to the American Revolution.a) What's one reason tensions between the US and Britain increased between 1763-1776? How did that lead to the Revolution? b) Explain a second reason. c) Explain a third reason.See Released Question
2018SAQ1754-1800Causes of the American Revolution1.06/3a) Briefly describe ONE major difference between Nash’s and Maier’s historical interpretations of the origins of the American Revolution. b) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period 1754 to 1800 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Nash’s argument. c) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period 1754 to 1800 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Maier’s argument.a) How did Nash and Maier differ in their understanding for the cause of the American Revolution? b) What's one event between 1754-1800 that would support Nash? c) What's one event between 1754-1800 that would support Maier?See Released Question
2017DBQ1754-1800Ideas about American Independence2.22/7hardest DBQEvaluate the extent of change in ideas about American independence from 1763 to 1783.How did American's ideas about independence change or stay the same between 1763 and 1783? Use the documents in your argument!See Released Question
2015SAQ1754-1800Interpretations of the American Revolution1.42/3a) Briefly describe ONE significant difference between Adams’ understanding and Rush’s understanding of the American Revolution. b) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period between 1760 and 1800 could be used to support Adams’ interpretation. c) Briefly explain how ONE specific historical event or development from the period between 1760 and 1800 could be used to support Rush’s interpretation. a) How did Adams & Rush differ in their understanding of the revolution? b) What's one thing that happened between 1760 and 1800 that supports Adam's take? c) b) What's one thing that happened between 1760 and 1800 that supports Rush's take?See Released Question
2015LEQ1754-1800Seven Years' War2.34/6Evaluate the extent to which the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War, 1754–1763) marked a turning point in American relations with Great Britain, analyzing what changed and what stayed the same from the period before the war to the period after it. After the Seven Years' War, what changed between US and British relations and what stayed the same?See Released Question
2019SAQ1754-1800Effect of the American Revolution on Womencoming soon
  1. Briefly describe ONE major difference between Crane’s and Zagarri’s historical interpretations of the immediate impact of the American Revolution on women.
  2. Briefly explain how ONE event, development, or circumstance from the period 1765 to 1800 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Crane’s argument.
  3. Briefly explain how ONE event, development, or circumstance from the period 1765 to 1800 that is not explicitly mentioned in the excerpts could be used to support Zagarri’s argument.
  1. How did Crane and Zagarri differ in their understanding of the effect of the American Revolution on women?
  2. What's one event between 1765-1800 that would support Crane?
  3. What's one event between 1765-1800 that would support Zagarri?
See Released Question
2017SAQ1754-1800Articles of Confederationnot scored
  1. Briefly explain how ONE specific historical development represents an accomplishment of the national government under the Articles of Confederation.
  2. Briefly explain ONE specific argument critics used in the 1780s to support revising the Articles of Confederation.
  3. Briefly explain ONE specific way in which the United States Constitution addresses a criticism of the Articles of Confederation.
  1. What's one accomplishment of the Articles of Confederation?
  2. What's one failure of the Articles of Confederation?
  3. What's one way the Constitution fixes a failure of the Articles?
See Released Question
2015LEQ1800-1848Mexican-American War2.00/6Evaluate the extent to which the Mexican-American War (1846–1848) marked a turning point in the debate over slavery in the United States, analyzing what changed and what stayed the same from the period before the war to the period after it. After the Mexican-American War, what changed in the debate over slavery and what stayed the same?See Released Question
2016SAQ1800-1848Causes & Effects of Immigration, 1820-18591.64/3
  1. Briefly explain how ONE major historical factor contributed to the change depicted on the graph.
  2. Briefly explain ONE specific historical effect that resulted from the change depicted on the graph.
  3. Briefly explain ANOTHER specific historical effect that resulted from the change depicted on the graph.
  1. What's one reason immigration to the US increased between 1820-1859?
  2. What's one effect of the increase in immigration?
  3. What's another effect of increased immigration at that time?
See Released Question
2017LEQ1800-1848Effect of Market Revolution on Women2.08/6Evaluate the extent to which the market revolution marked a turning point in women’s lives in the United States.How did the market revolution change the lives of women? In what ways did it have no effect on women?See Released Question
2019SAQ1800-1848Manifest Destinycoming soon
  1. Briefly describe ONE historical perspective expressed in the image.
  2. Briefly explain how ONE specific event or development in the period from 1800 to 1850 contributed to the process depicted in the image.
  3. Briefly explain ONE specific historical effect in the period from 1844 to 1890 that resulted from the process depicted in the image.
  1. Describe how this image depicts the idea of Manifest Destiny.
  2. What's one event between 1800-1850 that contributed to the Manifest Destiny movement?
  3. What's one effect of the Manifest Destiny movement between 1844 and 1890?
See Released Question
2019LEQ1754-1800Causes of the American Revolutioncoming soonEvaluate the extent to which ideas of self-government influenced American colonial reaction to British imperial authority in the period from 1754 to 1776.How did ideas of self-government lead to the American Revolution?See Released Question
2019LEQ1844-1877Causes of the Civil Warcoming soonEvaluate the extent to which debates over slavery in the period from 1830 to 1860 led the United States into the Civil War.How did debates over slavery between 1830 and 1860 lead to the Civil War?See Released Question
2019LEQ1945-1980Causes of the Civil Rights Movementcoming soonEvaluate the extent to which ideas about democracy contributed to the African American Civil Rights movement in the period from 1940 to 1970.How did ideas of democracy contribute to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970?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:

Period 1 Prompts: Early Colonization
No past prompts!

Period 2 Prompts: Colonial America
2014 – LEQ: Compare religious / intellectual movements
2013 – LEQ 2: Economic development of colonies
2011 – LEQ 2: Slavery in the colonies
2010 – DBQ: Puritan influences
2008 – LEQ 2: Conflicts with American Indians
2006 – LEQ 2: Spanish vs. English colonies
2005 – LEQ 2: Politics in Massachusetts & Virginia</a
2002 – LEQ 2: Compare religion in colonies
2001 – LEQ 2: Expansion of slavery in southern colonies
2000 – LEQ 2: Relations with American Indians

Period 3 Prompts: American Revolution
2012 – LEQ 2: Impact of Seven Years’ War
2010 – LEQ 2: American Revolutionary victory
2009 – LEQ 2: British imperial policies
2007 – LEQ 2: Violent protests in the backcountry
2006 – DBQ: Republican Motherhood
2005 – DBQ: Effects of the Revolution
2004 – DBQ: Seven Years’ War
2004 – LEQ 2: Impact of Revolution
2003 – LEQ 2: Articles of Confederation
2002 – LEQ 3: Constitutional leaders
2000 – LEQ 3:  Opposition to slavery

Period 4 Prompts: Democracy & Expansion
2014 – LEQ 3: Jacksonian Democrats vs. Whigs
2013 – DBQ: Opposition to Slavery
2013 – LEQ 3: US in the world 1789-1823
2012 – LEQ 3: Sectional tensions
2011 – LEQ 3: Development of political parties
2008 – LEQ 3: Impact of Market Revolution
2007 – LEQ 3: Second Great Awakening
2005 – LEQ 3: Mexican-American War
2004 – LEQ 3: Effectiveness of political compromise
2003 – LEQ 3: Developments in transportation
2002 – DBQ: Reform movements
2001 – LEQ 3: Jacksonian Era

Period 5 Prompts: The Civil War
2014 – LEQ 3: Achievements of Reconstruction
2010 – LEQ 3: Slavery in western territories
2009 – DBQ: Responses to slavery
2006 – LEQ 3: Political effects of Civil War

Period 6 Prompts: The Gilded Age 
2013 – LEQ 4: Impact of technology
2012 – DBQ: Impact of Big Business
2009 – LEQ 4: Labor unions
2008 – LEQ 4: The New South
2007 – DBQ: Changes to agriculture
2003 – LEQ 4: Regional impacts of Civil War
2001 – LEQ 4: Developments in transportation
2000 – DBQ: Labor Unions

Period 7 Prompts: Progressivism & Global Conflict
2014 – DBQ: US Foreign policy 1918-1953
2012 – LEQ 3: Cultural conflicts of the 1920s
2011 – LEQ 4: Opposition to Immigration
2011 – LEQ 5: African American leadership
2010 – LEQ 4: Progressive women
2009 – LEQ 5: WWII at home
2008 – LEQ 5: Shift of political parties
2007 – LEQ 4: Teddy Roosevelt
2006 – LEQ 4: Progressive reforms
2004 – LEQ 4: Progressive reforms vs. New Deal
2003 – DBQ: New Deal effectiveness
2003 – LEQ 5: United States society
2002 – LEQ 4: Foreign policy after WWI & WWII
2001 – LEQ 5: Rise of Nativism
2000 – LEQ 4: Objectives of WWI

Period 8 Prompts: The Cold War
2014 – LEQ 4: New Right Conservatism
2013 – LEQ 5: Reasons for protest
2012 – LEQ 5: Cold War foreign policies
2011 – DBQ: Nixon’s responses to challenges
2010 – LEQ 5: Population movements
2008 – DBQ: Vietnam Conflict
2007 – LEQ 5: Landslide Presidential elections
2006 – LEQ 5: Critiques of American society
2005 – LEQ 5: Movements of the 60s and 70s
2004 – LEQ 5: Containment
2002 – LEQ 5: Civil Rights Movement
2001 – DBQ: Cold War fears after WWII
2000 – LEQ 5: Cultural change in the 1960s

Period 9 Prompts: Contemporary America
2005 – LEQ 4: Patterns of immigration