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. To fully understand the format, let’s take a look at what exactly is on the AP® European History Exam and how the sections are structured.

What’s on the AP® European History Exam?

According to the College Board, the AP® European History exam takes a look at “the cultural, economic, political, and social developments that have shaped Europe from c. 1450 to the present.”

The course itself covers nine units. They are:

  1. Renaissance and Exploration
  2. Age of Reformation
  3. Absolutism and Constitutionalism
  4. Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments
  5. Conflict, Crisis, and Reaction in the Late 18th Century
  6. Industrialization and Its Effects
  7. 19th-Century Perspectives and Political Developments
  8. 20th-Century Global Conflicts
  9. Cold War and Contemporary Europe

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)


  • 55 questions
  • 40% of total exam score
Part A: Document analysis (60 minutes + 15 minutes  reading time)


  • One question
  • 25% of total exam score
Part B: Short answer (40 minutes)


  • 3 questions
  • 20% of total exam score
Part B: Long essay (40 minutes)


  • 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.

Prepare with FREE practice tests

The best way to get better at something is by practicing. That’s why it’s so important that you take practice tests to help you get better at the AP® European History Exam. Only then can you expect to get a good score—and even improve your score.

That’s why we want to help. Marco Learning has created a host of resources to help you prepare for AP® exams, including video lessons, study guides, drills, and, most importantly, practice tests.

Download an AP® European History practice exam for FREE here.

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