AP European History covers the run of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is divided into four quarters, each quarter consisting of at least four thematic units. Each unit is followed by an exam involving ten or more short answer responses and one essay. In each quarter students write one paper on any of the units covered in class. As a way of grounding their research, students form a thesis about a principal historical event that seems preeminent throughout the quarter, for example: The Reformation for the first quarter; The French Revolution for the second quarter; the effects of industrialism or imperialism on European social and political relations for the third quarter; and the impact of World War I for the final quarter.