What to Know About AP World History: Modern

This school year, the College Board has implemented curricular changes to AP World History. The renamed course (now AP World History: Modern) will now cover material from 1200 CE to present day, when in the past, the AP World History course included curriculum about the Paleolithic Era.    

Are you enrolled in AP World History: Modern and plan to take the exam in the spring of 2020? Keep reading to learn what to know about AP World History: Modern. 

AP World History: Modern focuses on relatively modern history

In this course, you’ll be learning about human history from 1200 CE to the present day. In the past, the curriculum for AP World History started in the Paleolithic Era. 

The course and exam will now cover a shorter time period, which could mean that content is easier to learn and remember. However, cutting a portion of human history out of the course may initially make it more challenging to find context for various historical events and cultures. A quick review of ancient history may help ground the information you learn in your AP World History: Modern course.

[RELATED: What to Know About AP Exams in 2019]

AP World History: Modern is organized into six themes across nine units

AP World History: Modern’s course units are broken down as follows:

  • Unit One: The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450 CE

  • Unit Two: Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450 CE

  • Unit Three: Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750 CE

  • Unit Four: Transoceanic Interconnections, 1450-1750 CE

  • Unit Five: Revolutions, 1750-1900 CE

  • Unit Six: Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900 CE

  • Unit Seven: Global Conflict, 1900-present 

  • Unit Eight: Cold War and Decolonization, 1900-present 

  • Unit Nine: Globalization, 1900-present  

Previously, the College Board included five major themes to unify the course. These included: 

  • Interactions between humans and the environment

  • The development and interaction of cultures

  • State building, expansion, and conflict

  • Creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems

  • Development and transformation of social structures

This year, there is an additional theme, technology and innovation, due to the course’s renewed focus on the modern era.

[RELATED: The Ultimate Study Plan for AP Courses]


AP World History: Modern will foster important skills

The College Board has said its AP World History: Modern exam curriculum will foster new and important skills by incorporating various learning objectives into the course. These include skills like reasoning and history disciplinary practices. These are skills that you will need to master the course and excel on the AP exam. 

Additionally, the College Board has revised its course and exam description in an attempt to make it clearer as to which learning objectives connect to which content. The goal is to help students and teachers better understand how these objectives will be tested on the AP exam at the end of the year.

[RELATED: The Top 4 Myths About AP Exams

Don’t forget that the College Board this year has also moved its deadline for AP exam registration to mid-November. It’s important to decide quickly whether or not you want to take the AP World History: Modern exam at the end of the year to avoid a late fee. 

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at blog@varsitytutors.com.