AP United States History
The AP U.S. History course is designed to provide the same level of content and instruction that students would face in a freshman-level college survey class. AP U.S. History classes generally use a college-level textbook as the foundation for the course.
Commonly used textbooks that meet the curriculum requirements include:
- America's History (Henretta et al.)
- American History: A Survey (Brinkley)
- American Passages (Ayers et al.)
- The American Pageant (Bailey et al.)
- The American People (Nash et al.)
- By the People (Fraser)
- The Enduring Vision (Boyer et al.)
- Give Me Liberty! (Foner)
- Liberty, Equality, Power (Murrin et al.)
- Out of Many (Faragher et al.)
- A People and a Nation (Norton et al.)
American conservatives have criticised the curriculum for downplaying American exceptionalism and failing to foster patriotism. In 2014, there were protests against it in the Jefferson County Public Schools district in Colorado. In 2015, a bill to replace the curriculum was passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Education Committee, but later withdrawn.
The AP U.S. History exam lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes and consists of two sections; additionally, each section is divided into two parts. Section I, part A includes 55 multiple choice questions with each question containing four choices. The multiple choice questions cover American History from just before European contact with Native Americans to the present day. Moreover, section I, part B includes four short-answer questions. In total, students are given 105 minutes (55 for the multiple choice section and 50 for the four short-answer questions) to complete section I.
Section II of the exam is the free-response section, in which examinees write two essays. Section II, part A, is a document-based question (DBQ), which provides an essay prompt and seven short primary sources or excerpts related to the prompt. Students are expected to write an essay responding to the prompt in which they utilize the sources in addition to outside information. Section II, part B, provides two thematic essay prompts. Students must respond to only one of the two essay prompts.
Each thematic essay question on the AP exam may address any one of four possible historical thinking skills: patterns of continuity and change over time, comparison, causation, or periodization. Both of the essay questions will address the same historical thinking skill. In addition, neither essay's time frame will be exclusively before 1607 (the founding of Jamestown) or after 1980 (President Reagan's election). There is a mandatory fifteen-minute reading period for students to read the essay prompts, take notes, and brainstorm; they may not begin to write the essays until this period has ended. Students will then have 90 minutes to write the two essays; 55 minutes are recommended for the DBQ and 35 minutes for the thematic essay, but students are free to work on the two essays as they see fit.
The AP U.S. History exam is divided into two sections. Section one consists of the multiple choice and short answer questions, while section two consists of the document-based question (DBQ) and a long essay question. Section one is worth 60% of the total AP exam score, with 40% of the total exam score derived from the student's performance on the multiple choice section and 20% of the total exam score derived from the student's performance on the short answer questions. The remaining 40% of the total exam score is derived from section two; the document-based question is worth 25% of the total exam score, while the long essay question is worth 15% of the total exam score.
The score distributions between 2007–2016 were:
|Number of Students||333,562||346,641||360,173||387,416||406,086||427,796||442,890||462,766||469,689||489,281|
Composite score range
|Final Score||Range (1996)||Range (2001)||Range (2002)||Range (2006)|
Note: The above composite score cut points reflect the pre-2011 grading formula which deducted 0.25 points for every incorrect multiple choice answer.
- "AP United States History: Example Textbook List". CollegeBoard. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- Lerner, Adam B. (21 February 2015). "AP U.S. History controversy becomes a debate on America -". Politico. Politico. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Oklahoma Board of Education targets US History course for being "negative"".
- "AP US History: Course and Exam Description" (PDF). CollegeBoard. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- "AP United States History Student Score Distributions Global AP Exams - May 2011" (PDF). 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
- "AP Data – Archived Data 2011". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- Total Registration. "2015 AP Exam Score Distributions". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- Registration, Total. "2016 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Total Registration. "2017 AP Exam Score Distributions". www.totalregistration.net. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
- "AP Central". 1 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- AP: The Grade-Setting Process. Retrieved 9 May 2008.