Last-Minute AP World History: Modern Exam Study Tips

With the AP exam dates just around the corner, it’s time to begin your final review for the AP World History: Modern exam. Ideally, you’ve been studying for the exam as you take your equivalent high school AP course. You shouldn’t be studying new information at this point, rather review ideas and concepts you’ve been studying throughout the year. No matter how much time you have left to study, be sure to focus not just on what the exam covers but also on how to take the exam itself. Knowing the exam process is arguably as important as knowing the course material.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to ramp up your studies and prepare for test day. Make the most of your final review with our expertly curated last-minute tips for the AP World History: Modern exam.

The Week Before the AP World History: Modern Exam

The week before you take an AP test can be a stressful time. While it’s important to continue your studies, it’s equally important not to spend too much time studying. You don’t want to burn out before taking the exam! Below we outline the best way to spend your last week studying for the AP World History: Modern exam, as well as some tasks you should complete to prepare for exam day.

AP World History: Modern 7-Day Study Schedule

With such limited time left, it’s best to concentrate on test-taking methods and big-picture ideas. Set aside a few hours per day in the week leading up to the exam for last-minute test prep. Here is a sample 7-day study schedule for the AP World History: Modern exam. 

  • Day 1: Take one of the practice tests to get a sense of how ready you are.
  • Day 2: Review periods 1200-1450 (AP Units 1-2)
  • Day 3: Review periods 1450-1750 (AP Units 3-4)
  • Day 4: Review periods 1750-1900 (AP Units 5-6)
  • Day 5: Review periods 1900 to present (AP Units 7-9)
  • Day 6: Review the question types on the AP World History: Modern exam and five essential tips to earning a top score.
  • Day 7: Take one last practice test the day before the exam to see how far you’ve come, then put down your study materials and take the night off. 

The Night Before the AP World History: Modern Exam

When you’re less than 24 hours away from taking your exam, the most important things you can do are remain calm, build up your confidence, and set yourself up for exam success by preparing everything you’ll need for test day. You should not spend the day before your exam cramming. At this point, you’re as prepared as you’re going to be. Trying to memorize last-minute facts is not going to drastically increase your score, and it will only heighten your test day nerves. Treat yourself to a relaxing night in.

No studying!

It bears repeating: Taking the night off before the exam is critical. Put down your study materials and do something relaxing that you enjoy. Whether it’s doing yoga or watching a movie, find something passive to do that will release endorphins and temporarily take your mind off of your impending test day.

Gather Your AP World History: Modern Exam Test Day Materials   

There is a very specific list of items you can and cannot bring into the test room. Failure to adhere to rules could result in your expulsion from the exam center, so take a look at this list as you pack your bag for test day. 

What to Bring to the AP World History: Modern Exam

  • No. 2 pencils with erasers for your multiple-choice answer sheet
  • Pens with black or dark blue ink to answer free-response questions
  • A current government-issued or school-issued photo ID
  • A watch that does not have internet access and does not make noise or have an alarm
  • College Board SSD Student Accommodation Letter if you are taking the test with approved testing accommodations
  • The AP® Student Pack which is given to you right before the exam and contains a label you’ll need to place on your exam booklet.

What Not to Bring to the AP World History: Modern Exam

  • Electronic equipment, including phones, fitness trackers
  • Recording equipment, such as cameras 
  • Books, references guides, notes, dictionaries
  • Pencils that are not No.2, highlighters, or colored pencils
  • Scratch paper
  • Watches that beep, make a noise or have an alarm
  • Computers or calculators that are not approved
  • Earplugs
  • Clothing or shoes with subject-related information
  • Food or drink
  • Clipboards

AP World History: Modern Exam Test Day

Today’s the day! You’re just hours away from taking the AP World History: Modern exam. Get off to a good start by following our test day checklist below.

AP World History: Modern Test Day Checklist 

  • Wake up on time. Start your AP test day off right by waking up on time. Set an alarm – or two – if you must.
  • Dress in layers. You never know what the temperature will be like in your testing room, so wear layers so you can be comfortable. 
  • Eat a good breakfast. Choose something that will keep you full but nothing that will upset your system. Eggs are always a good option, but don’t deviate too much from your normal routine.
  • Warm up your brain. This is not the time for cramming, but it’s a good idea to read through your notes one more time before you take the exam. Get your brain thinking about the challenge ahead and review test strategies one last time.
  • Only bring approved test day materials. See the list above for what you can and cannot bring on test day.
  • Pack a lunch or snack. You are not allowed to bring food or water into the exam room, but during the 10-minute break you can leave the exam room to get a drink or water or a snack.
  • Arrive well before your exam’s scheduled start time. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, find a seat, and get comfortable before the exam starts.
  • Believe in yourself. You got this. All of your hard work and studying is about to pay off – and the best part is: it’s almost over!

During the AP World History: Modern Exam

You’ll have a limited amount of time to complete each exam section, so it’s important to review strategies for working through each exam section as efficiently as possible. Below, our experts offer some of their best tips for each type of question you’ll see on the AP World History: Modern exam. These best practices will help you move at a steady pace while maximizing your exam score, so keep them in mind as you take your exam.

AP World History: Modern Exam Test-Taking Tips

Keep these exam tips in mind as you take the AP World History: Modern exam. 

Tips for the Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Keep your pace brisk. On average, you have 60 seconds to work on each multiple-choice question. While you should read each question carefully, you will not have time to think deeply about any given one. A good way to keep from bogging down is to take a first run through the entire exam, skipping anything you cannot answer quickly and confidently. Return to the more difficult questions by going through the exam a second time.
  • Leave nothing blank. AP exams previously penalized wild guessing by deducting a quarter-point for every wrong answer. This is no longer the case, so leaving anything unanswered only hurts you. Once you’ve completed the questions you’re sure about and guessed intelligently at the harder ones, use the last minute or so of your time to fill in every remaining blank, even if you have to guess.
  • Start by eliminating incorrect answers. Every distractor, or wrong answer, is supposed to sound somewhat plausible. Still, a quick but careful reading generally allows you to eliminate at least one wrong answer, if not two. This is the first thing you should do. If you can quickly pick the correct answer from the two or three that remain, do so. If you can’t, flag the question and come back to it during your second run through the exam.

Tips for the Short-Answer Questions

  • Keep your answers short and to the point. Don’t go into great detail or length when setting up your answer. You are not required to write an essay in this section (nor will you have time to). One long paragraph or two or three short paragraphs will suffice.
  • Answer the entire prompt. Each short-answer question will ask you to do three things, each of which will be worth a point. Your main strategy should be to complete all three questions within the set amount of time and accomplish all three goals.
  • Choose the question you can answer BEST. You must complete the first and second short-answer questions. You will then have the choice to complete the third or fourth. Be strategic in your choice and pick the question you feel the most confident in answering to maximize your score in this section.

Tips for the Free-Response (Essay) Questions

  • Use your time wisely. While you can start writing immediately in the second section of the exam, we recommend using the 15-minute reading period to read through all the documents and outline both answers to the document-based question and long essay. We also recommend completing the DBQ first. The documents will be fresh in your mind, and because the DBQ operates according to the most complicated rules, it will be good to have it out of the way before you tackle the LEQ.
  • Time yourself writing practice essays. Time management in the essay section is crucial. Students often fail to complete both essays because they have not practiced writing them in the allotted time. As you study for the exam, time yourself writing sample DBQs and LEQs to make sure you can write the essays in limited-time you have. 
  • Follow the directions. Your essays are evaluated by highly trained AP readers who will grade your work based on the rubric. You will lose points if you don’t observe the rules. Key elements to be judged include argument development (including the effective use of evidence and the crafting of a thesis statement), contextualization, and in the case of the DBQ, analysis of primary sources.

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