AP Adventures

Advanced Placement Exams are the culmination of AP classes. Every year, students in the US and Canada take AP classes to prove their mettle in subjects from English literature to Physics to European History. Having good AP exam scores can help you get into college, and many colleges and universities even give credit for AP classes!  

What Type of Questions Are on AP Exams?

AP exams include a variety of different question types. Depending on the course type and the type of test offered, you will likely come across the following types of questions.  

Multiple-Choice Questions

Most AP exams include a multiple-choice section. Though you may think these are easy, they are set up to get you to think. Be sure to use the process of elimination to help you to get through this type of question. Expect this type of question style on AP exams that focus on your knowledge base, such as Statistics and Psychology.  

Document-Based Questions

Depending on the AP exam you take, you will likely need to answer a series of questions based on the information provided to you. In foreign language courses, you may need to read through a several-page document written in a foreign language and then respond to it. You may need to describe the context or explain the information provided. In other cases, you will need to respond back in the language. The AP history exams also usually include questions that require you to analyze historical documents.  

Essay Questions

Most AP exams include essay or free-response questions. For example, the AP European History exam requires you to choose from a list of historical topics to write about. Essays need to be well-organized and usually include some kind of analysis, as opposed to just regurgitating facts.  

What Are the Most Common AP Exams?

Here are some of the most common AP exams.  

US History

Designed to provide analytical skills and critical problem solving skills and prepare students for intermediate and advanced courses that require interpretive problem-solving skills. Students are tested on history facts, but also interpretations of historical fact and its relevance.  

English Literature and Composition

The English Literature and Composition testing prepares students for a course designed to focus on rhetorical contexts to encourage the individual to become a skilled writer. The tests include essay-style writing prompts that gauge writing ability, imaginative skill, and comprehension of English topics.  

Calculus AB

Students completing this exam must have advanced algebra, trigonometry, analytic geometry, elementary functions, and polynomial experience. The tests covers areas of calculus as well, including functions, graphs, and the language of functions.  

US Government and Politics

Those who take the US Government and Politics course will encounter both multiple-choice questions and essay-style questions to gauge an understanding of government methods and policies, as well as political use. Students who take this test must have familiarity with numerous beliefs, groups, and ideals that play a role in politics. Other popular exams include biology, psychology, world history, and statistics.  

How to Pick Which AP Exams to Take

There is no doubt that advanced placement tests can be a challenge. That is the point, after all. Yet, it is not necessary to become overwhelmed by them. You can learn the information included in these exams in the AP courses, as well as through practice exams. To determine if you should take one of the AP exams, ask yourself if taking this type of course will interest you, benefit you in your college education, and be one that you can master.