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Advanced Placement

The Complete Guide to AP European History Exam [Updated for AP 2024 Exam]

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 27 May 2024


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AP European History is one of the popular AP courses offered by the College Board. In 2022, over 80,152 students took the AP European History exam.

In this AP European History Guide, we will discuss the format of the AP European History exam, the topics covered, and effective ways to study for the exam. We will also provide some resources that can help you prepare for the exam. So, let’s get started!

What is on the AP European History exam?

The AP European History exam covers a wide range of topics related to the history of Europe from the Renaissance to the present day. These topics include the Renaissance and exploration, the 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, and the Cold War and contemporary Europe. 

The exam also covers political development, social change, economic growth, cultural diversity, and environmental change.

The AP European History Exam format includes two sections as below:

SectionNo. of questionsTime allocated to  each sectionWeightage
Section I (Part A)Multiple-choice  questions55 questions55 minutes40%
Section II (Part B)Short Answer3 questions40 minutes20%
Free response   questions2 questions 1 hour 40 minutes40% 

Now let’s understand everything about the AP European History exam like duration, structure, score distribution, etc.

How long is the AP European History exam?

The AP European History Exam is 3 hours 15 minutes long and is divided into two sections. Section one is further divided into two parts: Part A is multiple choice questions and Part B is short answers.

  • Section I Part A  consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and is 55 minutes long.
  • Section I Part B consists of 3 short answer questions and is 40 minutes long.
  • The second section is a free-response section with 2 questions and is 1 hour 40 minutes long.

The AP European History Exam will test your understanding of the historical concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to analyze primary and secondary sources, historical arguments, and more.

How many questions does the AP European History exam have?

The AP European History exam has 60 questions in total divided into 2 major sections. Section I Part A has 55 multiple-choice questions, section II Part B has 3 short answer questions, and section II has 2 free-response questions.

Topics for AP European History Review

UnitWhat’s IncludedWeight in exam
Unit 1: Renaissance and Exploration
You’ll explore the rapid changes sparked in the Renaissance and trace their legacy through colonialism and a commercial revolution that changed the shape of European society.
Classical revival and Renaissance developmentsNew monarchies and the foundations of the centralized modern stateTechnological advances and exploration driven by mercantilismColonial expansion and development of the slave tradeThe Columbian Exchange and European commercial revolution10%–15%
Unit 2: Age of Reformation
You’ll chart the evolving strains of Christianity in Europe and the far-reaching effects of the Reformation on daily and political life.
The birth of Protestantism and Catholic ReformationPolitical impacts of religious upheaval and the wars of religionChanges in daily life and public enforcement of moralsMannerism and Baroque Art
Unit 3: Absolutism and Constitutionalism
You’ll study developments in political power and how they affected the relationships among states and between states and individuals. You’ll also learn about the social, political, and cultural conditions resulting from economic developments in Europe.
The rise of absolutism and challenges to itEnglish Civil War and the Glorious RevolutionThe Agricultural Revolution and the development of market economiesThe balance of power in Europe, shifting alliances, and new forms of warfare
Unit 4: Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments
You’ll study how scientific thinking and new strains of political thought combined with technological advances transformed much of 18th-century life in Europe.
The Scientific Revolution and developments in understanding of the natural worldThe Enlightenment and new schools of political thoughtPopulation growth and urbanizationNeoclassicism and the consumer revolution10%–15%
Unit 5: Conflict, Crisis, and Reaction in the Late 18th Century
You’ll chart England’s increasing role in European matters and the reverberations of the French Revolution across Europe.
The rise of global markets and the growth of Britain’s powerThe French Revolution, Napoleon’s reign, and the Congress of ViennaRomanticism
Unit 6: Industrialization and Its Effects
You’ll learn about the transformational effects of the Industrial Revolution, technology, and urbanization on European society and political thought.
The Industrial Revolution and societal changesDevelopments in communication, transportation, and manufacturingThe Concert of Europe and conservatismThe revolutions of 1848Reform movements, critiques of capitalism, and the emergence of political parties10%–15%
Unit 7: 19th-Century Perspectives and Political Developments
You’ll explore how the political forces of nationalism and shifting alliances set the stage for World War I.
National unification movementsPopular nationalism and ZionismRealpolitik and Bismarck’s reshaping of European alliancesDarwinism and Social DarwinismThe influence of modernism in intellectual and cultural lifeNew Imperialism in Asia and Africa10%–15% 
Unit 8: 20th-Century Global Conflicts
You’ll learn about the great upheavals of the 20th century, as well as cultural developments and changing political structures.

World War I and its legacyThe Russian RevolutionThe Treaty of Versailles and the League of NationsThe Great DepressionFascism and totalitarian movementsWorld War II and the Holocaust20th-century cultural reactions10%–15%
Unit 9: Cold War and Contemporary Europe
You’ll study how competing ideologies and global superpowers came to define much of the latter half of the 20th century.
The Marshall Plan and the Iron CurtainThe Cold WarNationalist and separatist movements fueled by ethnic conflictThe shape of contemporary western democraciesThe fall of communism and the formation of the European Union20th-century feminismDecolonization, globalization, and immigrationExistentialism, postmodernism, and groundbreaking forms of art10%–15%

For additional course resources such as classroom resources, formulae and equation sheets and lab manuals refer to the College Board AP European History course page.

How is the AP European History exam scored?

The AP European History exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score and 1 being the lowest. The exam is divided into two sections: Section I and Section II.

Section I is 1 hour and 35 minutes long and consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and 3 short-answer questions. Each multiple-choice question is worth 1 raw point, for a total of 55 raw points possible in this section.
There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so you should always answer every question, even if you have to guess.

The three short-answer questions are worth 3 points each, for a total of 9 raw points possible in this section.
The short-answer questions are scored holistically, meaning that your score will be based on the overall quality of your answers, not just the number of correct facts you provide.

Section II is 1 hour and 40 minutes long and consists of 2 free response questions. The free-response section is worth 13 raw points- Question 1 is worth 7 raw points and Question 2 is worth 6 raw points.
On the free response questions, points are taken off for errors only if they detract from the quality of the argument being made. Grammatical and other technical errors aren’t a big deal as long as they don’t inhibit the grader’s ability to understand what your answer is saying.

Your final score on the AP European History exam is a combination of your raw scores on Section I and Section II. The raw scores are first scaled to a 1 to 5 scale, and then your final score is determined. The scaling process is designed to ensure that students who take the exam in different years are evaluated fairly.

A score of 3 or higher on the AP European History exam is generally considered to be a good score. This means that you have demonstrated a solid understanding of the material and are likely to be successful in college-level U.S. history courses.

When is the AP European History exam in 2024?

The AP European History exam for 2024 will be held on Friday, May 10 2024 08:00 am local time. The 2024 AP Exams will be held over two weeks in May: May 6–10 and May 13–17. 

For the most recent information on exam dates and registration deadlines, students can check with their institution or the College Board website.

How to prepare for the AP European History exam?

Here are some tips on how to prepare for the AP European History exam 

  • Learn about the different political systems that have existed in Europe over the centuries. This includes monarchies, republics, democracies, and dictatorships.
  • Be familiar with the major wars that have been fought in Europe. This includes the Hundred Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, World War I, and World War II.
  • Understand the impact of the Industrial Revolution on European society. This includes the rise of a new working class, the growth of cities, and the development of new technologies.
  • Be aware of the role of religion in European history. This includes the Catholic Church, the Protestant Reformation, and the Enlightenment.
  • Be able to analyze primary sources. The AP European History exam will include questions that require you to analyze primary sources, such as historical documents, maps, and photographs.
  • Use outside sources. The AP European History exam allows you to use outside sources to support your essays. This can be a great way to add depth and complexity to your arguments.

How can Wiingy help with AP European History exam prep?

In 2022, only 58.9% of the 80,152 students who took the AP US History exam scored a 5. While 3 is considered the unofficial passing rate, most elite universities, such as Harvard or Princeton, offer AP credit only if you score 5 or higher. 

Getting a 5 is possible if you have the right support in your high school, but that’s rarely the case.

Here at Wiingy, we work with vetted AP European History tutors with demonstrated expertise and experience in helping students score a 5 on AP exams. 

Unlike tutor marketplaces, every Wiingy tutor is screened individually and undergoes a comprehensive assessment.

Less than 3% of applicants are selected to become tutors on Wiingy’s platform, ensuring tutors are highly qualified and experienced in teaching AP courses.

Our tutors will work with you 1-on-1 to master the content and skills you need to succeed.

Experienced tutors can provide you with curriculum-specific guides and practice questions and familiarize you with the exam format to help you ace the test.

We know that sometimes you don’t want to pay for private tutoring because it is too expensive. It’s common to see tutoring costs between $100 to $150 per hour.

Wiingy’s rates are very affordable, starting from just $28 per hour, much lower than the average AP tutoring offered by other platforms.

One more advantage of studying with us is that we don’t require you to sign up for any packages or yearly subscriptions. You can sign up for as little as a single lesson and add more lessons as per your requirements.

While we try to match you with the perfect tutor as per your needs, we know that sometimes even the best tutors might not be the right fit for you. That’s why we offer you the Perfect Match Guarantee, which means that if you are not satisfied with your tutor for any reason, you can request a free replacement at any time. 

Sign up with Wiingy AP European History Tutoring today and achieve your goal of scoring a 5 on your AP Test!

Why take AP European History?

Here are some of the benefits of taking the AP European History exam:

  • College credit: Depending on your score and the policies of the college you plan to attend, a high score on the AP European History exam can earn you college credit. This can save you time and money on tuition costs, as you may be able to skip introductory US history courses in college. You can major in History, Political Science, Law, Government, International Relations, or Public Policy.
  • Advanced Placement: In addition to college credit, a high score on the AP European History exam can also earn you advanced placement in higher-level US history courses in college. This can give you a head start and allow you to take more advanced courses earlier in your college career.
  • Career prospects: Taking the AP European History exam and earning a high score demonstrates to colleges and future employers that you have mastered college-level US history concepts and skills. This can be an impressive addition to your college application or resume if you are looking to make your career as a Historian, Political Scientist, Lawyer, Government Official, Journalist, or Educator.
  • Interest in US history: Finally, taking the AP European History exam can be a way to pursue your interest in US history and deepen your understanding of the American past. By exploring advanced US history concepts and practicing critical thinking skills, you can gain a greater appreciation for the complexity and diversity of American society.


Students who are interested in majoring in history, political science, law, government, international relations, or public policy will find the skills learned in AP European History to be essential. Additionally, the skills learned in this course can be applied to a wide range of careers, such as teaching, consulting, and research.

The AP European History exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice (55 questions, 1 hour and 35 minutes) and free-response (2 questions, 1 hour and 40 minutes).

The mean score for the AP European History exam in 2022 was 2.95 out of 5, which is slightly lower than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022 (2.92). The passing rate for AP European History in 2022 was 58.1%, which is slightly lower than the pass rate for AP overall (60.2%).

The AP European History exam is challenging, but it is also rewarding. By learning about the history of Europe and applying your critical thinking skills, you can gain a deeper understanding of the European past and how it has shaped the present.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is AP European history harder than AP U.S. history?

Both AP U.S. History and AP European History are considered among the hardest AP classes, and many students find the exams in both courses especially challenging. Whether you will find AP U.S. History or AP European History more difficult depends on mainly individual factors.

These include things like your personal level of interest in each subject, your background knowledge of history, and the quality of the teachers at your particular high school for each course.

Should I take AP European History or World History?

Like AP European History, AP World History is considered one of the harder AP courses. In the event that your school offers both, and you are not sure which AP course to take, you will have to consider your school and personal circumstances.

Ask students who have taken each course which one they enjoyed more, found easier, and took more interest in. You should also consider whether you would prefer the broader, global focus of AP World History or AP European History’s narrower focus on a single continent.

How many credits do you get for AP European History?

The number of credits you earn for AP European History also varies depending on the school and your exam score. Generally speaking, colleges give credit for a score of 4 or 5, although some colleges offer credit for a score of 3 as well. Students typically receive 3-6 credits, but this, too, can vary.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples, and the specific policies of each school may vary. It is always best to check with the admissions office of the school you are interested in attending to find out their specific policy on AP credits.

Written by by

Apoorvaa Agarwal

Reviewed by by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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