Pap test screening among African-American women has substantially increased. However, African-American women continue to bear the burden of cervical cancer as compared to White women. The objective of this study was to assess the influence of Pap test knowledge on cervical screening history among young African-American women. Between January and April 2009, 320 women from historically black colleges and universities located in the southeastern United States who met study inclusion criteria completed an anonymous self-report questionnaire to assess their awareness, knowledge, and behaviors related to human papillomavirus and cervical cancer prevention and control. Seventy-six percent of women reported ever having a Pap test, 54 % reported having a Pap test less than 1 year ago, and 25 % reported ever having an abnormal Pap test result. The overall mean score on the six-point Pap test knowledge scale was 4.46∈±∈1.02. Women who reported having an abnormal Pap test (4.96∈±∈0.82) had significantly higher Pap test knowledge compared to those never having an abnormal result (4.49∈±∈1.04) , p∈<∈0.01. No other differences were found. Efforts to improve Pap test knowledge among all women, including those with no prior abnormal Pap test history, are critical to cervical cancer prevention and control over the life course. Such efforts should include creating information that is relevant to the population and enables informed decision making about cervical health. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA).