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AP World History: Modern Premium, 2022-2023

AP World History: Modern Premium, 2022-2023 PDF

Author: John McCannon

Publisher: Barrons Educational Services


Publish Date: February 1, 2022

ISBN-10: 1506263852

Pages: 564

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

How to Use This Book


This book can be used in one of two ways. For those taking (or teaching) a course in world history, or for those who have recently taken such a course, it can serve as a helpful supplement to coursework. For readers who are not taking, or have never taken, a course in world history, this book can serve as an independent study aid.

This introductory unit offers strategies for the various question types encountered on the AP World History: Modern exam. These will include multiple-choice questions and several questions requiring written answers: short-answer questions, a document-based question (DBQ), and a long essay question.

Units 1 through 4 contain content-based review information, corresponding to the breakdown of material found in the official AP framework. Because the AP World History course now covers content only from 1200 C.E. onward, an additional unit, called Unit Zero, is included to acquaint readers with concepts and context from earlier eras that will help make sense of the core material. Each of the main units is divided into Short Cut and Scenic Route sections. The Short Cut sections should suffice for those readers who need (or only have time for!) a quick review. The Scenic Route sections allow readers to explore topics in more detail, should they so desire.

The final section of the book contains two full-length practice tests. In addition, you can get even more practice, see the inside front cover of this book.


This book’s review chapters can be used to summarize or reinforce particular classroom or homework assignments. The Short Cut sections, with their unit overviews, allow students to examine historical events from a broad perspective. They are based on the course framework’s major themes, and they also place events and developments in the comparative context that the AP curriculum emphasizes.

The book’s two practice tests can be used near the end of the academic year as the culmination of an AP World History: Modern course—and as practice for the actual AP exam.

This introductory unit should be covered with students at the beginning of an AP World History course and then at several points afterward. The sooner students are familiar with how AP exams work, the more comfortable they will be with the exam experience itself. This is particularly important with respect to the written portions of the exam, where familiarity with the rules and procedures is indispensable.


This book can be used for independent review, whether or not you are taking, or have ever taken, a course in world history. How you use it will depend on your circumstances.

Short Cuts vs. Scenic Routes. To serve students with different needs, this book divides each content-based unit into two sections: a Short Cut overview, suitable for quick review, and a series of in-depth chapters called the Scenic Route.

Which path should you choose? It depends.

Perhaps you are using this book in conjunction with an AP course in world history, or at least over a long period of time. If so, you can take full advantage of the Scenic Route portion of each unit, along with the Short Cuts. The more time you give yourself to study, the more thoroughly you will be able to absorb information and ideas. Even if AP questions don’t tend to test factual knowledge for its own sake, the more you know, the easier you will find it to eliminate incorrect answers on the multiple-choice questions, or to come up with evidence and supporting details for your essays. The Scenic Route sections can assist you with that.

However, if you have taken a world history course and simply need a refresher, or if you have limited time to study and are cramming at the last minute, you should focus mainly on the Short Cuts, along with the practice exams and the “strategies” sections of this introductory unit.

No matter how much time you have 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.

Suggested Timelines

Different students master material at different paces, and your own circumstances may leave you with more or less time to prepare. Three possible timelines for study are provided here. Adapt as necessary to your own situation and abilities.


With such limited time, it is best to concentrate on test-taking methods and big-picture issues.

DAY 1 Read this introductory unit carefully. Take one of the model exams to get a sense of how ready you are.
DAY 2 Read and study Unit Zero and the Short Cut section for Until 1.
DAY 3 Read and study the Short Cut section for Unit 2.
DAY 4 Read and study the Short Cut section for Unit 3.
DAY 5 Read and study the Short Cut sections for Unit 4.
DAY 6 Read and study all the Short Cut sections.
DAY 7 Review the introductory unit. Take the second practice test.

Having roughly a month to prepare will allow you some time to examine topics in depth, in addition to focusing on essentials.

WEEK 1 Read this introductory unit to learn how the AP exam works. Take one of the in-book practice tests. Then study Units Zero: Foundations and 1, focusing on the Short Cut sections. If time permits, or if you have specific knowledge gaps to fill, turn to the Scenic Route chapters as needed.
WEEK 2 Study Units 2 and 3, using the same approach as above (including one of the practice tests).
WEEK 3 Study Unit 4 (and anything in Unit 3 left over from week 2), using the same approach as above (including one of the practice tests).
WEEK 4 Take the rest of the practice tests. Review the introductory unit, Unit Zero: Foundations, as well as the Short Cut sections for Units 1 through 4.

This is the ideal scenario. Here, you are likely using this book as a supplement to a world history course. If so, proceed at the same pace and in the same order as your teacher and classmates. Otherwise, the following will give you a good grounding.

MONTH 1 Read this introductory unit. Take one of the practice tests to get a sense of how ready you are. Study Units Zero: Foundations and 1.
MONTH 2 Study Unit 2. Use extra time to review the Short Cut section for Unit 1.
MONTH 3 Study Unit 3. Use extra time to review the Short Cut section for Unit 2.
MONTH 4 Study the first half of Unit 4. Use extra time to review the Short Cut sections for Units 2 and 3.
MONTH 5 Study the second half of Unit 4. Take one of the practice tests. Use extra time to review earlier Short Cut sections.
MONTH 6 Review all Short Cut sections. Take one of the practice tests. Assess your strengths and weaknesses.
MONTH 7 Skim Units 1 through 4, focusing on weak points. Use the Short Cut sections to help you think about themes and comparisons.
MONTH 8 Continue reviewing the Short Cut sections. Reread the introductory unit. Take one of the practice tests.
MONTH 9 Take any remaining practice tests. Review as needed. Skim Short Cut sections and the introductory unit a final time.

General Notes

Dates are given according to the standard Western calendar, with one exception. The abbreviations B.C.E. (“before common era”) and C.E. (“common era”) are used, rather than the traditional B.C. (“before Christ”) and A.D. (anno domini, or “year of our Lord”). This usage shows more respect to non-Christian cultures. The Western calendar is only one of many systems used worldwide to measure time. According to the Hebrew calendar, for example, year 1 is the equivalent of 3760 B.C.E. Year 1 of the Muslim calendar, by contrast, is 622 C.E.

Dates with no designation—those that appear simply as numerals—are assumed to be C.E.

Names and terms from a variety of languages are used throughout this book. Many, such as Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, and Hebrew, use alphabets different from the Latin script used by English speakers. There is no single, consistent way to convert one alphabet to another. Consequently, when referring to people or terms transliterated from non-Latin scripts, this book will try to use versions that are both linguistically accurate and easily recognizable. Be aware that certain well-known names and terms have several variants. These include Genghis Khan versus Chinggis Khan (or Jenghiz Khan), Mao Tse-tung versus Mao Zedong, Mohammed versus Muhammad, or Sundiata versus Son-Jara. Be prepared to encounter different versions like this in different textbooks and readings.



Advanced Placement exams are typically administered every May. The AP World History: Modern exam lasts a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Students are allowed 55 minutes to complete 55 multiple-choice questions.

The written portions of the exam last a total of 140 minutes. They include the following questions:

image SHORT-ANSWER QUESTIONS. Lasts 40 minutes. Students must complete three questions, each of which calls for a three-part response to quoted material or a general proposition or historical argument.

image DOCUMENT-BASED QUESTION (DBQ). Roughly 60 minutes, including an optional period of 15 minutes to read 7 documents.

image LONG ESSAY QUESTION (LEQ). Roughly 40 minutes. Students must choose one of three questions. All three will focus on the same course theme and test the same reasoning skill, but each will deal with a different time period.

The exam begins with the multiple-choice questions, followed by the short-answer questions. The next portion of the exam includes both the DBQ and the LEQ. It will begin with the optional 15-minute document-reading period mentioned above. You may use this time to read documents, make notes, and outline your essays (highly recommended), or you may start writing immediately (less advisable). You may work on the DBQ and LEQ in whichever order you like, and you must decide for yourself when to finish one essay and move on to the other.


The multiple-choice section of the exam is worth 40 percent of the overall score. The short-answer questions are worth 20 percent, the DBQ is 25 percent, and the LEQ is 15 percent.

Grades for the exam are calculated according to a complex formula that converts raw scores from the multiple-choice and written portions of the text into a final standard score ranging from 1 (the worst) to 5 (the best).

This 1-through-5 score is what students see when they receive their results. Scores can be interpreted as follows:

5: Extremely well qualified. Accepted by the majority of colleges and universities for some kind of academic credit or benefit. Earned in recent years by roughly 10 percent of students.

4: Well qualified. Accepted by many colleges and universities for some kind of academic credit or benefit. Earned by roughly 15 percent of students.

3: Qualified. Accepted by many colleges and universities for some kind of academic credit or benefit, but often of a limited nature. Earned by roughly 25 percent of students.

2: Possibly qualified. Accepted by only a few colleges and universities for academic credit or benefit, generally quite limited. Earned by roughly 25 percent of students.

1: No recommendation. Not accepted anywhere. Earned by roughly 25 percent of students.

Universities and colleges have widely varying policies regarding AP exams. You should contact the school of your choice to determine what benefit, if any, a particular score will give you.

Time Frame

As of 2019–2020, the AP World History: Modern exam will focus on human history worldwide, from 1200 C.E. to the present. The distribution of multiple-choice questions pertaining to any given time period within this eight-century span will be roughly as follows:

image Unit 1 (1200–1450): 16 to 20 percent of questions

image Unit 2 (1450–1750): 24 to 30 percent of questions

image Unit 3 (1750–1900): 24 to 30 percent of questions

image Unit 4 (1900–the present): 24 to 30 percent of questions


The AP World History: Modern exam is broad in scope and seeks to test critical and interpretive skills, not just the mastery of facts and data. The study of world history challenges students to examine questions from a big-picture point of view, as well as to draw meaningful comparisons between different societies and time periods.

Six overarching themes form the heart of the AP World History: Modern course.

image GOVERNANCE. What political forms do societies adopt, and who rules whom in any given time and place? What state-building and administrative techniques do governments use to maintain order and exercise power? How and why do revolutions take place, and what impact do they have? Beyond monarchies, empires, and nation-states, what regional and international bodies—such as the United Nations—have exerted influence throughout history? How have expansion, conflict, and diplomacy affected world history?

image CULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS AND INTERACTIONS. What do societies believe religiously, philosophically, and politically? What artistic and intellectual traditions do they develop? How and when does the interaction of peoples lead to cultural sharing—or to cultural clashes?

image TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION. How have societies responded to the human desire for greater safety, prosperity, and efficiency? What techniques and devices have they adapted or innovated over time? What scientific insights and technological innovations have they developed? How have they coped with the intended and unintended consequences—cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental—of scientific and technological advancement?

image ECONOMIC SYSTEMS. How do people in a society make a living? What goods and services do they produce, and what resources do they use? How do trade and commerce affect societies and the way they interact? What systems have societies used to organize labor throughout history? What impact have these systems, including industrialization, capitalism, and socialism, had on modern history?

image SOCIAL INTERACTIONS AND ORGANIZATION. Who has power and status within a society? What norms determine how a society’s members are grouped, which social classes exist, and how those classes interact with each other? Why do some societies lean more toward hierarchy and others toward social mobility? What roles do cities play in social and economic development? How are gender relations governed? How are ethnic and racial minorities defined and treated?

image HUMANS AND THE ENVIRONMENT. How has the natural world shaped the development of human societies, and how have humans, seeking resources and using various tools and technologies, shaped the natural world in return? Where have human societies migrated and settled, and how and why did they do so? How have diseases and ecological changes affected humans throughout history?

No more than 20 percent of multiple-choice questions will cover topics dealing exclusively with European history. U.S. history will rarely be discussed in its own right but generally in comparative contexts or in relation to global trends.

Basic understanding of world geography is crucial for success on the AP World History: Modern exam. You must be able to identify major regions according to the terminology used by the AP World History: Modern course: not knowing the difference between “East Asia” and “Southeast Asia,” or between “Central Asia” and “the Middle East,” will lead to harmful errors. For more information on the geographical labels used by the AP course, see the appendix (Map of Selected World Regions) included at the end of this book.

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