Guide to the AP® European History Exam

Why Take AP® European History?

When faced with the choice of whether or not to take AP® European History, the benefits often outweigh the costs for most students.

Many colleges require students to fulfill a history or social science course before they can graduate. However, if you take the AP® European History Exam and attain a high score while you are in high school, you may be able to qualify for credit toward that requirement and not have to take another history exam in college.

A more recent argument for taking AP® Exams, is that more colleges are going test-optional. This means that SAT® and ACT® scores are potentially holding less weight in college applications, and a good AP® score could help tip the scale in your favor when it comes to college admissions.

Besides creating the opportunity to earn college credit for the work you do, AP® courses also develop crucial skills, challenge you academically, and help round out your knowledge in ways you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. In addition to that, preparing for and taking the AP® European History Exam provides excellent practice for college-level exams you may take in the future. Still unsure? This article goes into more detail about the benefits of taking AP® European History.

How to sign up for AP® European History

To register for the AP® Euro exam, you need to contact your school’s AP® Coordinator, who can help facilitate your courses and exams.

Bear in mind you’ll likely need to complete requirements to be eligible to enroll in an AP® course. In order to register for the AP® European History Exam, you have to join your class section online, on College Board’s My AP portal. Some schools will automatically register you for the exam if you’re enrolled in an AP® European History class, but others won’t and you will have to register online through the portal. If you are unsure whether or not you are registered for the AP® European History Exam, check wIth your AP® Coordinator.

There is also a deadline for exam registration, so make sure you register through your AP® Coordinator by then to avoid paying any late fees. The deadline to register for exams is in the fall, but specific deadlines may vary by the school—be sure to check with your teacher or AP® Coordinator.

How much does the AP® Exam cost?

Each AP® Exam costs a total of $96—if you’re in the mainland United States and its territories and commonwealths, Canada, or a U.S. Department of Defense Dependents School.

If you’re outside of those areas, the AP® Exam will cost $126 per exam.

College Board has a financial aid program that offers a $34 fee reduction in the exam. Read more about exam fees here.

You cannot use the My AP® portal to pay fees – they will be collected by your AP® Coordinator.

When you take into account the cost of a college course versus the cost of the exam, though, you’ll see that the AP® Exam is actually a bargain. With a passing score, you may be able to earn college credit and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

When can I take the AP® European History Exam?

The AP® European History Exam date in 2022 is Friday, May 6th. You can find more information about dates and late-testing schedules for the 2022 AP® European History Exam Exam in our 2022 AP® Exam Dates article.

What’s on the AP® European History Exam?

Knowing what’s on the AP® European History Exam is the first step to nailing it. The exam will cover all of the topics that you cover in your coursework. You will have to write a long argumentative essay as well as a document analysis showcasing your knowledge on a specific topic.

The course itself covers nine units. They are:

Renaissance and Exploration

Age of Reformation

Absolutism and Constitutionalism

Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments

Conflict, Crisis, and Reaction in the Late 18th Century

Industrialization and Its Effects

19th-Century Perspectives and Political Developments

20th-Century Global Conflicts

Cold War and Contemporary Europe

You should anticipate that the AP® Euro exam will cover these topics. As such, you should make sure that you’ve studied all that you can.

What is the Test Format for the AP® European History Exam?

The test format of the AP® European History Exam is split up into two sections, and includes a variety of question types including multiple-choice, short answer, document analysis, and long essay.

Students will have 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the exam. The exam is made up of a 95-minute section of multiple-choice and short-answer questions, and a 100-minute writing section where students will answer two essay prompts.

Here is what the format of the AP® European History exam looks like—along with how much of the exam score depends on each section:

Part A: Multiple-Choice (55 minutes)Part A: Document-Based Question [DBQ] (60 minutes, including 15 minutes for reading)
  • 55 questions
  • 40% of total exam score
  • One question
  • 25% of total exam score
Part B: Short-Answer Questions (40 minutes)Part B: Long Essay Question [LEQ] (40 minutes)
  • Three questions
  • 20% of total exam score
  • One question
  • 15% of total exam score

Students are expected to write two essays:

  1. A document analysis
  2. A long essay based on an essay prompt

Here’s an overview of the two questions students will face:

Document-Based Question

Length: 60 minutes

Worth: 25% of score

This section includes a 15-minute reading period. The exam presents students with seven documents that provide different perspectives on a historical development or process between the years 1600 and 2001.

Students must then develop an argument based on the documents as well as their own knowledge.

Long Essay Question

Length: 40 minutes

Worth: 15% of score

In this section, students have a choice of three different questions/essay prompts. They must pick one of them to answer.

The questions cover varying time periods. They are:

  • 1450–1700
  • 1648–1914
  • 1815–2001

Students must develop their argument and support it with evidence.

What is a DBQ?

If you’ve come across the term ‘DBQ’, but don’t know what it means, don’t worry – the world of AP® tends to come with quite a few of its own acronyms. AP® European History, for example, is often referred to as ‘AP® Euro’, or simply ‘Euro’, for short.

DBQ simply stands for Document-Based Question. This is the first of the two essay questions you will have to answer in Section II of your AP® European History Exam.

For the DBQ, you will have one hour, including 15 minutes of reading time, to analyze a set of historical documents (usually 6 or 7), which you should use to help you answer the essay prompt.

The documents provided could either be in text or image format. Past examples of DBQ documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Diary excerpts
  • Political cartoons
  • Speech transcripts
  • Maps

You will be expected to use information from as many of the documents as you can to answer the question to the best of your ability.

How is the AP® European History Exam Scored?

The AP® Exam’s scoring system is on a scale of one to five—with five being the best and one being the worst.

Here’s a good table that breaks down the score you could get and what it means.

AP® ScoreWhat it means


Best. The highest score you can get on your AP® European History Exam. This score typically guarantees college credit or placement out of a required course at colleges that accept AP® Exams.


Excellent. While not the highest, this is still an incredibly good score. You’ll usually get college credit with it.


Very good. This is often called a “passing” score and is the usual threshold for colleges to give you credit, though not at the most competitive colleges.


Okay. Even though this is not a “passing” score, it can still reflect some significant improvement over the course of a year.


Not the best. We all have to start from somewhere!

When it comes to AP® European History, you’ll want to aim for a score of 3 or higher. Most colleges will give you college credit if you score within that range.

It varies from college to college though. So, if you want to know the score that a specific college will accept in exchange for credit, you’ll need to check with the college’s registrar’s office to find out information about AP® credit for the AP® European History Exam. Often, you can find this information on the school’s website. You can also check out the College Board’s search tool for AP® credit policies.

NOTE: Colleges sometimes change their requirements for awarding college credit or offering placement out of required courses. So always check in with the college to make sure you have the most relevant and recent information.

Bottom line: You’re going to want to score as high as you possibly can. Sure your dream school only requires a 3—but you should always be aiming for the highest possible score regardless.

When you get that credit, you will effectively be walking into college with part of the requirements already completed. It means you could skip a history requirement and take whatever class you wanted to. Or, you could even save money on college tuition by spending less time getting credits. Either way, getting that college credit before college is a great way to set yourself up for the next four years. Read more about how AP® exams helped Marco Learning’s tutors earn college credits.

What Can I Bring to My AP® European History Exam?

Below is a list of all the things you can bring with you into the exam room. Note: It’s possible that not all of the items will apply to you (e.g., the Student Accommodations Letter).

  • Two No. 2 pencils with erasers. These will be used on the multiple-choice portion of the exam.
  • Two black or dark blue ink pens. These will be used for the free-response questions. Be sure to bring black or dark blue ink pens only. Leave your turquoise brush pens at home.
  • A watch. This is a simple analog or digital watch with no internet access or alarms. Don’t even try to bring your smartwatch in the room.
  • The AP® Student Pack. This is given to you just before you take your exam and contains a label that you need to place on your exam. Follow the labeling instructions carefully.
  • Government- or school-issued ID. If you don’t attend the school where you’re taking the AP® English Language Exam, you must also bring a government- or school-issued ID.
  • College Board SSD Student Accommodation Letter. If you require accommodations beyond the regular exam, you’ll receive a letter that verifies this (e.g. you need a braille or large-type exam).
  • Remember, you won’t have to bring all these things—but it’s in your best interest to be as prepared as you can for the exam.

Take a look at our Test Day Checklist to make sure you are 100% prepared to take your AP® English Language and Composition Exam when the time comes!

How do I study for AP® European History?

#1: Connect the themes

One thing that the AP® European History course wants you to do is be able to connect historical events to the broader themes covered in the course. Not only that, but you need to be able to show that you know how the themes impact each other. That means connecting the broad themes together and showcasing how they relate to one another using specific examples.

#2: Take practice tests

“Know thy enemy!” You don’t want to take your first AP® U.S. European Exam on test day. To that end, take as many practice tests as you can before the big day. Take note of the areas you performed the weakest in and dedicate extra study time to those areas. Only by practicing over and over again can you expect to be better at any skill—including test-taking. If you don’t have much experience taking practice tests, check out John Moscatiello’s Step-by-Step Guide to taking a practice test like a pro.

#3: Write as much as you can

The free-response section of the AP® European History Exam is the most difficult part of the entire test. To prepare, you should be writing and practicing for the document-based question (DBQ) and long-essay question (LEQ) in the weeks leading up to the exam. College Board’s website has a page dedicated to past exam questions. Read them and start to craft essays around them. You can have your AP® teacher read them and provide feedback as to which areas you can improve. If you’re looking for ways to improve your writing skills, our Free AP® European History Writing Workshop is designed specifically to teach you fundamental and advanced skills about how to tackle and formulate essay responses. All sessions are recorded and will be sent to you via email if you miss or want to review a session later.

#4: Find resources that work

When it comes to studying for your exam, there is no “one size fits all.” Just because your friend studied best with flashcards doesn’t necessarily mean that flashcards are right for you. We encourage you to take some time to figure out what study methods you are most comfortable with; it could be a mixture of everything!

We know it can be overwhelming starting from scratch. If you feel stuck, we suggest downloading our free AP® European History study guide as a jumping off point and going from there.

If you’re looking for live video reviews before the AP® Exams, we will host live AP® review sessions on our YouTube channel.  As well as live sessions, you can review content and run through essay techniques for the AP® European History Exam here:  AP® Euro Playlist.

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