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IS AP US History Hard ?

Dec 14, 2022

Are you planning to take the APUSH exam? Find out how challenging this program and exam are, and get advice on achieving your desired grade.

AP US History has been the most popular AP course. As per the College Board evaluation, about 5,00,000 high school students took AP US History last year, making it the second-most prominent AP subject for students in high school that year.


Is AP US History hard? Few students are participating in it because this subject is an easy A. AP US History presents several challenges. Based on examination pass rates, it’s one of the most rigorous AP courses. If you’re unsure whether to sign up for the AP US History exam or ask, “Is APUSH hard?” Everything you ought to know is explained in this guide!

  • APUSH is a demanding advanced placement course for high school students.
  • The course covers centuries’ of information and calls for keen analytical abilities.
  • The AP US History exam has a comparatively low pass rate compared to other AP tests.
  • Even though the course is challenging, many students find it worthwhile.

How hard is APUSH? And what is covered in it?

APUSH covers a period roughly from 1491 to the present. The first topics covered in the course are Native American societies and the New World explorations by the Europeans. The content continues to address the Revolutionary War, the European colonies in North America, the Civil War, and the Republic’s early days before advancing into the 20th century.  


APUSH also promotes critical thinking abilities, teaching students how to assess primary source documents and take historical context into account while analyzing events.

Additionally, students can practice their argumentative skills by presenting historically sound statements and the necessary supporting data.


The key periods addressed in the AP US History exam are listed below:

  • Period 1: 1491-1607
  • Period 2: 1607-1754
  • Period 3: 1754-1800
  • Period 4: 1800-1848
  • Period 5: 1844-1877
  • Period 6: 1865-1898
  • Period 7: 1890-1945
  • Period 8: 1945-1980
  • Period 9: 1980-present
If you’re hesitant about studying AP US History, consider these questions before enrolling in AP classes.

Is AP US History hard: Key Elements

AP classes’ curriculum is harder than regular high school classes. The section below outlines the course difficulty in detail. 

  • Passing Rate

Less than 60% of examinees receive a three or above on the AP US History exam. That is somewhat lower than the 71% pass rate that represents the average for all AP exams.

In addition, only 13% of examinees who take the AP US History exam succeed with a perfect score, as opposed to an average of 20% for all AP exams.


Although most advanced placement courses challenge students, the APUSH examination curriculum is the most challenging course to other AP courses. 

Always remember that AP exam results are a useful indicator of how hard APUSH is. But every school has its own unique evaluation criteria. Some teachers may demand greater workloads or more complex assignments than others.


You can inquire about the American passing rate from a History teacher or administrator.

  • Study Guide

The volume of information a course covers can affect how challenging it is. The curriculum advancement is very fast in the AP US History course. It covers extensive information over several eras. Teachers usually assign a tonne of studying, papers, and other assignments to go through the entire 500 years.


This workload could seem taxing to students who have trouble managing their time or prioritizing other classes and extracurricular activities.

  • Subject Knowledge

Your subject knowledge also affects how challenging a course may seem. To pass the AP US History examination, critical thinking and essay writing abilities are needed in students. Students must comprehend historical sources and data, draw parallels, and construct (and defend) historical arguments.

Taking AP U.S. History will be an interesting and worthwhile challenge if you have these abilities. But if you have trouble with these things in general, the course could seem especially challenging.

When should I take APUSH?

Most students take AP U.S. History in their junior or senior year. The course has a challenging workload and an advanced curriculum. As a result, taking a few years of high school history can help you prepare for this challenging subject.

Some pupils could decide to enroll in the course during their second year. However, enrolling in an AP course in your first year of high school may be a challenging adjustment.

Additionally, some students take additional AP courses consecutively. Make sure your course load is manageable if you want to take AP US History, another advanced subject, or even several advanced courses.

What should I know about the APUSH 2022 Examination?

AP US History exam assesses your understanding of the course content and critical thinking abilities. You can read more about the exam in the sections below, including its format and scoring system.

What is the Examination Structure of the AP US History Exam?

The AP US History exam is categorized into Sections 1 and 2. Section 1 is divided into Part A (multiple choice questions) and Part B. (four short answer questions). Section 2 checks the students’ writing skills, where you have to respond to a long essay question and a document-based question.

You must answer 55 multiple-choice questions in 55 minutes and the four short answer questions in 50 minutes. While section 2 gives a 100 minutes time limit to complete the examination.

  • Section 1 (Part A): 55 Multiple Choice Based Questions (with a time limit of 55 minutes)
  • Section 1 (Part B): 4 Short-Answer Questions (with a time limit of 50 minutes)
  • Section 2: 2 Free-Response Questions (with a time limit of 1 hour and 40 minutes)

How Are AP US History Exam Scores Calculated?

Test takers score between 1 and 5, with 5 representing the perfect result and one the worst.

The first section of the exam, which comprises multiple-choice and short-answer questions, accounts for 60% of the total score. Wherein short-answer type questions hold nine points, while multiple-choice questions hold 55 points.

The second section of the exam accounts for 40% of the total score. It comprises one lengthy essay-based question and a document-based question. Both these questions are supposed to be answered by test participants. The lengthy essay-based question holds seven points, whereas the document-based essay question holds six points.

Following that, all those points are translated to scores out of 150.

What Score Is Required for College Credit in AP US History?

AP US History exam scores are credited differently by various colleges. Numerous colleges accept grades of 4 or 5. Additionally, colleges grant credit for a score of 3.

A higher score may also get you more credit at some schools. If you receive a 4 or 5, you may receive six college credits, but if you receive a 3, you would only receive three credits. For detailed information, check with the colleges you’re considering.

Why do students categorize AP US History hard?

The most common worry among students is not being able to remember the intricacies of subjects presented at the outset of the year. Since the later periods were introduced considerably more recently, they are more current in the pupils’ thoughts. Revising earlier content can be more challenging for students. Still, you can minimize this if studied by topic rather than by period, allowing previously memorized figures and facts to be continuously reviewed alongside the recent material.

Being acquainted with a specific historical location or subject through memories and experiences makes memorization easier and more natural. A background of historical knowledge for kids who have studied American history since elementary school and have had the chance to explore American cultural sites on educational field excursions helps them be familiar with notable people, dates, and significant events. 

Finally, Should I take APUSH?

The course entails a greater complexity than a standard high school course, as do all AP classes. Students with a strong interest in history frequently take advantage of the opportunity.

However, putting in the required amount of effort in this course could result in exhaustion for students who may not be as driven by the subject.

You can ask your instructors and former students about the course if you have any concerns about the workload or level of difficulty. It’s a terrific approach to finding out what to anticipate. Make sure you determine for yourself which AP subjects you ought to enroll in, taking into account your interests and educational objectives.


Is the APUSH exam hard? Yes! Overall, the APUSH is a challenging exam. However, given that it is brought up frequently, understanding American history is quite helpful. The course is also an excellent method for students to gain a broad overview of the timeline of the last five centuries, which they may find helpful in other courses in the future, particularly those on history or governance.

Even though studying for exams can be challenging, you cannot eliminate nervousness before exams. Having a solid understanding of American history is immensely beneficial for everyone. Success is within grasp with sufficient effort and preparedness!

IS AP US History Hard


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