Your AP US History Exam is approaching—are you ready? This APUSH quiz tests your knowledge on various subjects on the exam, which will give you a sense of what you need to study. After you take the APUSH quiz, check out the answer key below. We’ve included some elaboration on each answer to help you understand why each one is right. After you’ve reviewed the APUSH quiz answers, check out our tips for test-day preparation.
Remember, no peeking at the answers ahead of time!
APUSH Quiz Answer Key With Explanations
Q #1 – In what decade did the civil war occur?
A- The 1860’s
Explanation: The Civil War was fought in the United States, between the North and the South, from April 12, 1861-May 9, 1865. It commenced with the Battle of Fort Sumter, when the Confederate Army bombarded Fort Sumter (near Charleston, South Carolina), leading to surrender by the United States Army. The Battle of Palmito Ranch is widely considered the last official battle of the Civil War.
Q#2 – During his bid to become an Illinois senator, Abraham Lincoln had a series of debates with which other man, who was trying to win the same Senate seat?
A- Stephen Douglas
Explanation: The Lincoln-Douglas debates, sometimes also known as the “Great Debates of 1858,” were 7 debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas that took place between August and October of 1858. Lincoln was the Republican candidate for US Senator and Douglas was the Democratic incumbent. They debated a range of topics, primarily related to slavery in the United States. While he ultimately lost to Douglas, Abraham Lincoln became a national figure through these debates. More on the Lincoln-Douglas debates here!
Q#3 – Which US battleship was sunk in the port of Havana in 1898, lending its name to a popular rallying cry of the time?
A- USS Maine
Explanation: The USS Maine blew up and sank on the night of February 15, 1898. It was sent to protect U.S. interests during Cuba’s revolt against Spain in the Cuban War of Independence. Here’s a fantastic overview of how this incident fits into American imperialism.
Q#4 – Which of the following most accurately describes The Articles of Confederation?
A- It acted as a precursor to the US Constitution and established how the national government would function.
Explanation: The Articles of Confederation was a legal document in place from 1781-1789, and was in many ways the first US Constitution. It served as a bridge of sorts between the government put in place by the Continental Congress, and the US Constitution of 1787. This document was an agreement between the 13 original states for how the government would operate. For more information, and a detailed account of each article, you can read the full Articles of Confederation here.
Q#5 – The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis are two events that occurred under which president?
A- John F. Kennedy
Explanation: President Kennedy held office from January 20, 1961-November 22, 1963, when he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. JFK’s presidency was short, but eventful. The Bay of Pigs took place on April 17, 1961, when a group of 1,400 Cuban exiles attempted to invade the south coast of Cuba, a plan JFK was privy to before his presidency. The Cuban Missile Crisis took place during October of 1962, after the United States discovered Soviet Union nuclear missile sites in Cuba and responded with a naval blockade of Cuba.
Q#6 – During WWI the US formed the Allied powers along with which other nations?
A- Great Britain, France, and Russia
Explanation: The Allied Powers of WWI officially joined forces on September 5, 1914 through the Treaty of London. They opposed the Central Powers, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey.
Q#7 – Which of the following best summarizes Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis?
A- Many of the European customs that had informed the American lifestyles were found wanting for those pioneers who moved West.
Explanation: Frederick Turner’s Frontier Thesis, published in 1893, stressed the importance of American frontier life on American democracy, and critiqued the limitations of old European customs and mindsets.
Q#8 – Who was the founder of one of the largest states east of the Mississippi river, where he also founded a Quaker community?
A- William Penn
Explanation: After being persecuted for their faith, the Quakers, led by William Penn, founded the colony of Pennsylvania in 1862. Read more about APUSH topics regarding the Quakers here!
Themes on the APUSH Exam
Here’s a great overview of all of the themes that will be addressed throughout the APUSH exam:
Other Ways to Prepare for the APUSH Exam
Know your APUSH basics
You’ve probably been discussing this exam all year in your AP US History course, but it can be helpful to review the actual structure of and assessments on the test on your own. This APUSH overview goes over exactly what will be on the test, including question formats and types. It also covers key concepts, events, and strategies.
This is also a great resource covering 9 thematic topics on the APUSH exam, to help you brush up on everything from the British Colonies to the Cold War. Along those lines, it’s also worth studying the specific historical periods that show up on the APUSH exam.
Take an APUSH practice exam
You know the saying: practice makes perfect! You probably take practice tests in your AP US History class as part of your curriculum, but you can always take them at home as well. Here are some tests for more practice:
Take these other APUSH quizzes!
Form APUSH study groups and share resources
Let’s face it, working together is always more fun. Try getting together with a few peers from your AP US History course weekly to refresh yourselves on key concepts, review practice test questions, divide and conquer searching for answers, etc. Here are some of our favorite APUSH resources:
A Final Word on APUSH Testing Day
AP Exams can be stressful, and there’s a lot of information on the AP US History exam, but we believe in you! The earlier you can start studying, the better, and here are some tips for studying smarter.
Are you looking for more AP US History Exam Prep? We’ve got you covered!
Happy studying and best of luck on test day!
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About Nadyja Von Ebers
Nadyja von Ebers is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes for the Magoosh High School Blog, where she shares helpful resources for students searching for test prep tips and advice. Her content includes advice on college admissions, from how to get into the University of Chicago and how to complete financial aid forms to tips on asking for a letter of recommendation. Nadyja has extensive experience working with students to prepare for standardized tests, from AP exams and the GED to the ACT and SAT. After receiving an MA in English from DePaul University, Nadyja went on to teach English at the high school and college levels for over a decade. She loves helping students reach their maximum potential and thrives in both literal and virtual classrooms. When she's not teaching or contributing to the Magoosh blog, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time in or near the ocean. LinkedIn
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