The Ultimate AP European History Guide & Official Past-Year Papers with MCQ

by SAT GrandMaster on April 03, 2021

Content Difficulty

The five-point rate for AP European history is around 9-11%, with an increasing trend in the recent years. It has a relatively higher five-point rate as compared to US History and World History.

AP European History does not emphasise on memorisation of historical facts, but pays more attention to the background and connections of major events that occurred at each stage.

It aims to improve the historical thinking in students, such as the ability to infer events using the chronological way, analyse historical materials, and finding the connections between historical events.


Content Coverage

AP European History mainly covers the history of literature, art, philosophy, and religion in Western civilisation, from the Renaissance to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It can be roughly divided into five major themes, including the interaction between Europe and the world, poverty and prosperity, objective understanding and subjective assumptions, the diverse political systems and societies in Europe and the changes in social class and status.

Compared to AP US History, AP European history has a richer content, not only includes political, economic, social, and cultural changes within the country, but there is also cooperation and competition between countries. Compared to AP World History, AP European History skips the ancient Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages, directly start from the beginning of the Renaissance to the end of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It also rarely involved the matters of other continents such as Asia, Africa, the Americas.Therefore, AP European History has a smaller scope in terms of time and space, and the content is more detailed.


Should You Take AP European History?

As a humanities subject, European history has certain challenges and difficulties. It has high requirements on reading, analysing and writing. Although it does not require pure memorisation, it takes a lot of time and energy to form a coherent view of history and angle of analysis. It is recommended that you apply according to your own ability and interest.


Exam Format

Section 1A: Multiple Choice
55 Questions I 55 minutes I 40% of Exam Score
• Questions usually appear in sets of 3-4 questions.
• Students analyse historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
• Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.

Section 1 B: Short Answer
3 Questions I 40 Minutes I 20% of Exam Score
• Students analyse historians' interpretations, historical sources, and propositions about history.
• Questions provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best.
• Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
• Students choose between 2 options for the final required short-answer question, each one focusing on a different time period:
-Question 1 is required, includes 1-2 secondary sources, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1600-2001.
-Question 2 is required, includes 1 primary source, and focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1600-2001.
-Students choose between Question 3 (which focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1450 and 1815) and Question 4 (which focuses on historical developments or processes between the years 1815 and 2001). No sources are included for either Question 3 or Question 4.

Section 2A: Document-Based Question
1 Question I 1 Hour (includes 15-minute reading period) I 25% of Exam Score
• Students are presented with 7 documents offering various perspectives on a historical development or process.
• Students assess these written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.
• Students develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
• The document-based question focuses on topics from 1600-2001.

Section 2B: Long Essay
1 Question I 40 minutes 15% of Exam Score

• Students explain and analyse significant issues in European history.
• Students develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.
• The question choices focus on the same skills and the same reasoning process (e.g., comparison, causation, or continuity and change), but students choose from 3 options, each focusing on historical developments and processes from a different range of time periods-either 1450-1700 (option 1), 1648-1914 (option 2), or 1815-2001 (option 3).


Score Distribution


Test Prep Strategy

AP European History has a much smaller range in terms of time and space compared to AP World History, but in greater details. It also has more content as compared to AP US History. AP European History is a very challenging subject. In order to get a high score or even 5 points, candidates should do the following:

Having a great interest. Interest is the best teacher, especially for subjects with a lot of memorisation. If you do not love history and do not have the perseverance to read large number of materials, this subject is not for you.

Learn to summarise notes and establishing a learning framework. European history is a relatively complex course, so making notes is very necessary. After each major event or a period, there can be a short summary that summarises all the key points learnt. This not only help to clarify the learning points, but is also helpful for reviewing later.

Practise writing. Writing skills can be trained through long-term practice. You can write in strict accordance with the examination time and format, this will improve your writing proficiency so that you will be used to exam conditions. After writing, you can compare your work with the sample response, as reading other people's articles and learning the technique can be useful for your future writing.


Recommended Study Guides

-Europe: A History, by Norman Davies
-Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History
-Kaplan AP European History
-Princeton Review_Cracking the AP European History Exam
-Barron AP European History
-5 Steps to a 5_500 AP European History Questions to Know by Test Day
-AP European History Crash Course

Collection of Official Papers with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

  1. AP European History 1984 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Question
  2. AP European History 1988 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  3. AP European History 1994 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  4. AP European History 1999 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  5. AP European History 2004 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  6. AP European History 2008 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  7. AP European History 2010 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  8. AP European History 2015 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  9. AP European History 2016 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  10. AP European History 2017 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  11. AP European History 2019 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions

Click here to obtain the latest AP European History Guide & Official Past-Year Papers with MCQ from ExclusiveSAT. 

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