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 went over in your coursework. Students should be expected to also write a long argumentative essay as well as a document analysis showcasing their knowledge on a specific topic.

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?

The AP® European History Exam will test you on your knowledge of European history as covered in your AP® course.

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

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

BONUS: Download our FREE AP® European History Study Guide to help you get the best score possible.

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:

Section I Section II
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

The multiple-choice section tasks students with answering 3-4 questions “based on the same stimulus” (College Board). Each question will provide students with a source to draw their answer from, such as primary texts, artwork, and maps. Students must then analyze the source and choose an answer to the question based on their conclusions.

The short answer section requires students to write down answers in a provided booklet. There are only three questions in this section, but they still require a comprehensive answer from test takers. As with the multiple-choice section, students will be given texts, charts, and maps to draw their answers from.

The free-response section is made up of two essays the students must write. One is based on seven documents that provide information regarding a historical process or development. Students must craft an argument based on the documents—as well as their own knowledge.

The second essay is a long essay in which students are given three questions and must answer one. Like the document-based question, students must craft an argument and provide evidence to support the argument.

Prepare with FREE practice tests.

The best way for students to prepare for any exam is by practicing. That’s easier said than done! 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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