AP (Advanced Placement) is a program given by the College Board, the people who put out the SAT, designed to help bright high school students jump into their college classes more quickly. Passing an AP test will, depending on the college, give credit for that class or sometimes even any class taken in the subject area.

AP European History tests on Europe from the Renaissance to the present. In general, the test is taken in May (the 2002 test was May 10) for $78 USD, though reductions are available.

The test is given in three parts as of 2002:

  • Multiple choice - An 80-question test worth 50% of the final grade. 55 minutes are given to complete it. The formula for the final score is 1.125*(correct - wrong/4), so you are penalized one point for every four incorrect answers.
  • DBQ - Graded on a 0-9 scale. 15 minutes are given to plan and organize the documents, then 45 minutes to write it. Up to six basic core points can be earned for things such as an appropriate thesis and correct groupings of documents. More information can be found on the DBQ node. Final score is the 0-9 score times 4.5.
  • Essays - Two must be written in 70 minutes, each graded on a 1-9 scale, with the final score being 2.75*(Essay1 + Essay2). Topics often compare two or more people or major historical developments, but can also ask to simply describe an important event. For example, a few questions on the 2002 AP Euro test were, if I recall correctly, "Compare and contrast the religious policies of two of the following: Isabella I of Spain, Catherine de Medici of France, Elizabeth I of England" and "Compare and contrast the foreign policy goals and achievements of Metternich and Bismarck."

The final scores of each part of the test are added to form a composite score. A composite score of 122-180 gives a 5 on the entire AP Euro test. 99-121 is a 4, 66-98 is a 3, 45-65 is a 2, and anything less is a 1. A 3, 4, or 5 are all technically passing, though some colleges do not accept a 3 for college credit.

Topics covered

This is obviously a lot to know and be able to regurgitate in the 3.083 hours the test requires, which is why many high schools offer special AP classes to help study for it. At least at my high school, this is the first and only AP class that sophomores can take.

See also: AP US History, AP World History