AP World History Exam Information

Learn What Score You'll Need and What Course Credit You'll Receive

Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China. Marianna / Flickr

In 2016, over 285,000 students took the Advanced Placement World History exam. The mean score was a 2.61. The AP World History exam covers a ridiculously wide range of history ranging from 8,000 B.C.E. to the present. Most colleges and universities have a history requirement and/or a global perspectives requirement, so a high score on the AP World History exam will sometimes fulfill one or both of these requirements.

The table below presents some representative data from a variety of colleges and universities. This information is meant to provide a general overview of the scoring and placement practices related to the AP World History exam. For other schools, you'll need to search the college's website or contact the appropriate Registrar's office to get AP placement information.

For more information on AP classes and exams, check out these articles:

The distribution of scores for the AP World History exam is as follows (2016 data):

  • 5 - 6.6%
  • 4 - 15.6%
  • 3 - 29.4%
  • 2 - 28.7%
  • 1 - 19.7%

Keep in mind that college placement isn't the only reason to take AP World History. Selective colleges and universities typically rank an applicant's academic record as the most important factor in the admissions process. Extracurricular activities and essays matter, but good grades in challenging classes matter more.

The admissions folks will want to see good grades in college preparatory classes. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate (IB), Honors, and Dual Enrollment classes all play an important role in demonstrating an applicant's college readiness. In fact, success in challenging courses is the best predictor of college success available to the admissions officers.

SAT and ACT scores have some predictive value, but the thing they best predict is the income of the applicant.

If you're trying to figure out which AP classes to take, World History is often a good choice. It is a popular exam ranking below just five subjects: Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Psychology, and United States History. Colleges like to admit students who have broad, worldly knowledge, and World History certainly helps demonstrate that knowledge.

To learn more specific information about the AP World History exam, be sure to visit the official College Board website.

AP World History Scores and Placement
CollegeScore NeededPlacement Credit
Georgia Tech4 or 51000-level history (3 semester hours)
LSU4 or 5HIST 1007 (3 credits)
MIT59 general elective units
Notre Dame5History 10030 (3 credits)
Reed College4 or 51 credit; no placement
Stanford University-no credit or placement for the AP World History exam
Truman State University3, 4 or 5HIST 131 World Civilizations before 500 A.D. (3 credits) for a 3 or 4; HIST 131 World Civilizations before 500 A.D. and HIST 133 World Civilizations, 1700-Present (6 credits) for a 5
UCLA (School of Letters and Science)3, 4 or 58 credits and World History placement
Yale University-no credit or placement for the AP World History exam

Score and placement info for Other AP Subjects: 

Biology | Calculus AB | Calculus BC | Chemistry | English Language | English Literature | European History | Physics 1 | Psychology | Spanish Language | Statistics | U.S. Government | U.S. History | World History