AP U.S. History Exam 2022 practice test

Part A of Section I consists of multiple-choice question sets that typically contain three or four questions and can focus on any historical period. A primary or secondary source is provided for each question set, which could be a passage, image, graph, or map. The questions assess your ability to understand and analyze historical texts and interpretations, as well as your ability to make larger historical connections. Keep in mind that even if a question set is based on a specific historical period, the individual questions may require you to make connections to other periods and events.

The questions range from easy and medium to difficult with no distinct pattern to their appearance within the exam. In other words, the easiest question may be the last one, so make sure to go through all of the exam questions! A solid strategy for the multiple-choice section is to do multiple passes:

  1. On your first pass, answer all of the questions that you know and are sure about.
  2. Next, go back through the remaining questions. If you can eliminate at least two answer choices and the topic is familiar, take your best educated guess as to the answer. If you look at the question and do not remember the topic, mark the question with an X in your exam booklet and move on. (If you skip a question, make sure that you skip that line on the answer grid!)
  3. Go back through the exam for a third time to answer the questions you marked with an X. Again, try to eliminate at least two choices, and take an educated guess. If you’re still not sure, at this point, just bubble in an answer for the question; remember that there is no penalty for guessing on the AP exam multiple-choice questions.
  4. With the time remaining, remove any extraneous marks in your answer grid (such as any X’s you may have left), and make sure that the answers you have bubbled in correspond to the correct numbers in the test booklet.

Questions 1-3 refer to the following quotation.

“With the [cotton gin], a single operator could clean as much cotton in a few hours as a group of workers had once needed a whole day to do . . . Soon cotton growing spread into the upland South and beyond, within a decade the total crop increased eightfold . . . The cotton gin not only changed the economy of the South, it also helped transform the North. The large supply of domestically produced fiber was a strong incentive to entrepreneurs in New England and elsewhere to develop an American textile industry.”

Alan Brinkley, American History: Connecting with the Past, 2014

1. Based on this analysis, which of the following best describes the political and economic developments of the North and the South in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries?

(A)  The North and the South cooperated politically and economically to develop a successful textile industry.

(B)  Both the North and the South depended upon legislation supporting slavery. 

(C)  The North and the South further separated because of rapid industrialization in the North and heavy dependence on agriculture in the South. 

(D)  As the South began to develop industrially, it became politically and economically independent of the North. 


2. The cotton gin’s impact on society is analogous to the impact of all of the following innovations EXCEPT

(A)  the assembly line 

(B)  the telegraph 

(C)  the sewing machine

(D)  the application of steam power to factories  

3. Which of the following was a direct effect of the invention of the cotton gin? 

(A)  The invention of the steel plow (B)  The spread of the plantation system into Northern states (C)  The development of the Lowell factory system in New England (D)  The introduction of the factory system in the South  

If you’re looking for the best AP® US History review, you’ve found it. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know to score a 5 on the 2022 AP® US History exam. Read all the way through to take advantage of our helpful resources, links, and tips!

Let’s get started.

What Topics are Covered on the AP® US History Exam?

You likely already know that AP® US History covers the historical time period from 1491 to the present, a span of hundreds of years!

The course is divided into 9 total units broken down as illustrated by the chart below. Units 1, 2, and 9 each make up only 4-6% of the exam, while Units 3-8 each make up 10-17% of the exam. While you should certainly study all units, be sure to pay special attention to Units 3 – 8… especially since the DBQs, worth 25% of your score, will focus on these units!

UnitsChronological Period*Exam Weighting
Unit 1: Period 11491–16074-6%
Unit 2: Period 21607–17544-6%
Unit 3: Period 31754–180010-17%
Unit 4: Period 41800–184810-17%
Unit 5: Period 51844–187710-17%
Unit 6: Period 61865–189810-17%
Unit 7: Period 71890–194510-17%
Unit 8: Period 81945–198010-17%
Unit 9: Period 91980–Present4-6%

Source: AP® US History CED, Effective Fall 2020

*Events, processes, and developments are not constrained by the given dates and may begin before, or continue after, the approximate dates assigned to each unit.

What is the Format of the 2022 AP® US History Exam?

SectionQuestionsTime% of Exam Score
1A: Multiple Choice55 questions55 minutes40%
1B: Short Answer3 questions (some student choice)40 minutes20%
2: Free Response**2 Questions (1 DBQ and 1 Long Essay)1 hour and 40 minutes (total for DBQ and Long Essay)

Recommended Timings
– Document-Based Question: 60 minutes (includes 15-minute reading period)

– Long Essay: 40 minutes
25% for DBQ

15% for Long Essay

**Important notes on the Free Response section:

  • Students have some choice on the questions they answer on the short answer and long essay.
  • Students are given a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete the DBQ and Long Essay. They may answer the questions in any order they prefer.
  • It’s critical that students answer both the DBQ and Long Essay during the Free Response portion of the exam. Together, they make up 40% of the total exam score.

How are points awarded on the APUSH exam?

  • Each multiple choice question is worth 1 point.
  • For the Short Answer Question (SAQ) section, each SAQ includes 3 parts, each worth 1 point, scored independently from the others.
  • There are 7 possible points for the Document-Based Question (DBQ) and 6 total possibles points for the Long Essay (LEQ).

AP U.S. History Exam 2022 practice test

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How Long is the AP® US History Exam?

The exam begins with 55 stimulus-based multiple-choice questions. “Stimulus-Based” refers to the exam format in which groups of 2-5 questions are related to a single chart, graph, picture, or primary/secondary source excerpt. This format requires you to analyze the stimulus to answer the questions attached to it. The multiple-choice questions are 40% of the exam and students have 55 minutes to complete the section. 

After the multiple-choice section, there is a short answer section. You must answer the first two questions, but you have a choice between the third and fourth questions to answer a total of three short-answer items. The short answer portion of the exam is 20% of the exam, and you have 40 minutes to write out responses for this section.

You’ll then have one hour to answer the Document-Based Question, or the DBQ. These are extended response questions that you will write based on a set of primary and secondary sources. The DBQ portion makes up 25% of the total exam score.

There is the long essay portion where you will respond to a question and craft an essay response.  You will have 40 minutes to write this essay, and it makes up 15% of the exam score. Here is the link to the student page that breaks down the exam format even further if you are looking for more details.

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Test Your Understanding: AP® US History Multiple Choice Practice Questions

Remember, multiple-choice questions are worth about 40% of your score, and they can be tricky!

Use the following links to Albert’s AP® US History course to see if you truly understand each of the units. Remember that many questions are cross-chronological, so you will be expected to bring in knowledge from various time periods in order to answer all the questions correctly.

2022 AP® US History Exam FRQ Practice

AP U.S. History Exam 2022 practice test

Free Response questions are about 60% of your score, so you’ll want to spend a lot of time practicing! Aside from understanding the material, you’ll want to make sure you understand exactly how each question should be written and answered. Let’s look at each type of question that will show up on the exam. Use this list of questions that mimic what will appear on the online exam to start your studying!

Practice A Short Answer Question

This question focuses on the Revolutionary War and asks you to analyze two differing historical interpretations. You’ll need to be very familiar with Period 3 to answer this question.

Example: 2019 Short Answer Question

Scoring and Exemplar: Scoring Guidelines and Sample Essays

Practice a Document-Based Question #1

This question focuses on the Progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th century and touches on the thematic thread of Politics and Power.

Example: 2019 Document-Based Question

Scoring and Exemplar: Scoring Guidelines and Sample Essays

Practice a Document-Based Question #2

This question focuses on America’s post-Civil War international expansion and explores the thematic thread of America in the World.

Example: 2018 Document-Based Question

Scoring and Exemplar: Scoring Guidelines and Sample Essays

Practice a Document-Based Question #3

This question focuses on changes in American ideas before, during, and after the revolution. It examines the first theme of American and National Identity.

Example: 2017 Document-Based Question (note, there are slight differences with older questions)

Scoring and Exemplar: Scoring Guidelines and Sample Essays

Practice a Long Essay Question

As you can see, you’ll have a choice between three different questions. In 2019, students had a choice between a Period 3 question, a question spanning Period 4 and Period 5, and a Period 8 question.

Example: 2019 Long Essay Question

Scoring and Exemplar: Scoring Guidelines and Sample Essays

More Practice FRQs for AP® US History

For more examples of previous FRQs, check out the College Board archive for AP® US History.

Get FRQs with included sample responses with a license to Albert’s AP® US History.

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7 AP® US History Tips and Tricks to Study and Prepare

AP U.S. History Exam 2022 practice test

  1. Know your stuff — but don’t lose the forest for the trees. Yes, you’ll certainly need to know dates, events, and big names. But you’ll also need to understand how events connect to each other. Cause, effect, continuity, change over time — these are more than just buzzwords for the exam!
  2. Be sure to study the rubrics for the free-response questions. Understand what the readers are looking for. You don’t want to lose points just because you didn’t answer all parts of a question!
  3. There’s no way to “wing” free-response questions. These essays are hard to write and require a lot of content knowledge. Don’t forget that the DBQ rubric awards points for bringing in outside evidence that is not found in the documents — so you’ll absolutely need to draw on your knowledge of history without simply relying on the documents.
  4. There’s a lot of cross-chronological information in this subject (and in all the AP® History subjects), so make sure you brush up on the long-term effects of certain historical processes or events. It may help to put a “cross-chronological” or “long-term” section on your flashcards for specific events so you don’t forget them!
  5. Take advantage of your friends and classmates — practice together, learn from each other’s mistakes, and use the rubrics to score each other’s essays! You can learn a lot from your peers, so study together! If you can explain a concept to your friends, then you probably understand it pretty well. And if you don’t understand a concept or event, hearing a friend explain it might help!
  6. You will see plenty of sources on the exam, from maps to charts to graphs to images to song lyrics to diary entries to letters to secondary scholarship. If there’s a particular kind of source that leaves you confused, make sure you study it as much as you can. You don’t want to lose points because you weren’t sure how to read a map or a chart!
  7. Set a timer every time you practice. You have 55 minutes for the multiple-choice section, 40 minutes to answer three short-answer questions, 60 minutes for the DBQ, and 40 minutes for the long-essay question. Plan accordingly, because that time goes fast!

Additional AP® US History Review Resources

If you’re looking for more AP® US History review materials aside from Albert and the College Board, you may find the following resources helpful.

What we’ve linked to below are sites with pretty comprehensive course notes. These can be helpful for conceptual review and step-by-step walkthroughs of AP® US History. We recommend reading through them and then checking for understanding by using the accompanying Albert topic.

Mr. Klaff’s Review Site: This teacher’s site has everything, from videos to detailed reviews to a breakdown of every unit in the curriculum to flashcards to review sheets. Start here for a very thorough and aligned review of the exam!

HistoryTeacher.Net: Created by a veteran History teacher, this site contains everything you need to ace the exam — from quizzes to definitions to reviews to additional resources and much, much more.

The Gilder Lehrman Study Guide: With videos, timelines, and primary sources to explore, the Gilder Lehrman Institute is an excellent resource for brushing up on your knowledge of United States history. 

AP® Practice Exams: This site has compiled a collection of class notes and study packets, including presentations by teachers to their students prior to the exam. The latest practice exam is from 2017, however.

Summary: The Best AP® US History Review Guide of 2022

We’ve covered a lot in this review guide for the 2022 AP® US History exam. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Study every period, but know Periods 3-8 cold, since they are worth the most!
  • Free Response questions are 60% of your grade, so make sure you take plenty of time to practice them.
  • Use every resource at your disposal, from sample practice questions to timed essays to flashcards. There are plenty of sites online with helpful material. Check them out!
  • Study with your friends! They can help you, and you can help them!
  • Brush up on cause, effect, continuity, and change. These essential skills help you understand the connections between historical events. This is crucial for answering multiple-choice and free-response questions!
  • Don’t forget to practice cross-chronological events! These will show up in the multiple-choice AND free-response questions!

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