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AP World History

Advanced Placement World History, which is commonly known as AP World History, is a one-year advanced history course for high school students that is typically taken during the freshman year.

The course was created by the College Board, the same organization that currently develops the SAT Test. Based on feedback from colleges, universities, and high schools, AP World History was designed to be more rigorous than the standard curriculum for World History courses offered in most high schools and is considered a college-level course.

Like other Advanced Placement courses, students can earn college credit for taking AP World History if they pass the final exam at the end of the year. In high schools that offer an AP World History program, students have the opportunity to choose whether they wish to take the regular World History course or take the AP World History course.

Curriculum for AP World History

The AP World History curriculum has two emphases during the year-long course: building a knowledge base of facts and developing analytical skills.

Throughout the course, students are expected to learn to analyze sources, make arguments, document change, understand different points of view, make comparisons, make reasoned generalizations, and evaluate history fairly. They study entire cultures, social structures, economic systems, politics, and the interaction of humans with the environment.

The AP World History curriculum focuses on five periods: Foundations, from 8,000 BCE to 600 CE; Post-Classical, from 600 to 1450; Early Modern, from 1450 to 1750; Modern, from 1750 to 1914; and Contemporary, from 1914 to present day. At the same time, the geographic regions studied include Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

Final Exam for AP World History

The AP World History exam is given at the end of the year to all students currently taking the Advanced Placement World History course. The final grades given are expressed as 5, being the highest score; 4; 3; 2; and 1, being the lowest score. Students who earn scores of 5, 4, 3, or 2 may receive college credit for the course, while students who earn a 1 on the exam may not.

The AP World History exam consists of two sections. The multiple choice section of the exam has 70 questions and is worth 50% of the exam score. It equally covers all five of the time periods studied during the course: Foundations, Post-Classical, Early Modern, Modern, and Contemporary. Students have 55 minutes to complete this section of the exam.

The second section of the exam is the essay section, and it consists of multiple parts: an essay based on historical documents, a comparative essay, and an essay that deals with changes over time. The essay prompts may ask students to compare, contrast, evaluate, analyze, describe, explain, and discuss. Each of the three sections are worth 16.67% of the exam score, which add up to a total of 50% of the final exam score. Students have 40 minutes to complete each essay, for a total of two hours to be spent on the essay portion of the exam.

In the historical documents essay, students are given four to ten documents and asked to play the role of historian by interpreting the historical documents and making their own conclusions. Students must use all of the documents or all of them except for one. In the comparative essay, students are asked to provide similarities and differences, often regarding different geographical regions. Finally, in the essay that deals with changes over time, students are asked to analyze both things that stayed the same and things that changed over time, as well as why they did.

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