AP World History Exam Scores

Instructor: Laura Melega
Discover if your scores on the Advanced Placement (AP) World History exam could earn you college credit. Learn about the scoring process, what type of questions you'll be asked, and how you can prepare for the exam.

Understanding AP World History Exam Scores

The AP World History exam lasts about three hours and consists of a multiple-choice section and a free response writing section, each of which counts for 50% of the final score. The multiple-choice section is graded by a computer, and the free response essays are reviewed by trained AP teachers and college professors.

Scores from both sections make up your composite score, which can range from 1-5 points. These scores are used to assess how well you would fare in a college-level world history course and determine your eligibility for credit. College equivalency for these scores is as follows:

AP World History Exam Score Equivalent College Grade
5 A
4 A-, B+, B
3 B-, C+, C

A score of 2 could qualify a student for credit, but each institution will make that decision based on its course standards. A minimum score of 3 is generally required to earn credit. A score of 1 indicates no recommendation for college credit.

Scoring the Multiple-Choice Questions

During the multiple-choice portion of the test, students have 55 minutes to answer 70 questions. Points are awarded for correct answers, and there's no penalty for wrong answers. Questions ask about key topics related to various time periods throughout world history. Each time period makes up a certain percentage of the total questions asked:

Time Period Topic Percentage of Questions
Early humanity until 600 B.C.E. Technological and Environmental Transformations 5%
600 B.C.E.-600 C.E. Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies 15%
600 C.E.-1450 C.E. Regional and Transregional Interactions 20%
1450-1750 Global Interactions 20%
1750-1900 Industrialization and Global Integration 20%
1900-Present day Accelerating Global Change and Realignments 20%

Scoring the Free Response Questions

During the free response portion of the test, you'll have 2 hours and 10 minutes to respond to three essay prompts. Essay scorers award points based on your ability to develop a strong thesis, provide sufficient supporting evidence and thoroughly address each part of the question, among other tasks, while responding to the following prompts:

Free Response Prompts Time Allotted Essay Requirements
Document Based Question (DBQ) 50 minutes total, with 10 minutes allotted for a required reading period Analyze materials provided in the exam to compose a response addressing the essay topic
Continuity and Change-Over-Time 40 minutes Discuss a global issue occurring in at least one time period and cultural region
Comparative Essay 40 minutes Compare the interactions and prominent historical events affecting two or more civilizations

Preparing for the AP World History Exam

Receiving a high score on the AP World History exam offers you the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school. To make sure you're fully prepared for the test, offers an AP World History Exam Prep course with more than 300 lessons covering the same historical time periods found on the actual test. Lessons on writing development and analysis are also included. These materials are mobile friendly and available to you 24/7, so you can study whenever it's convenient for you.

If you're considering taking more than just the AP World History exam, check out's other course offerings in history and social sciences: