Overview of the AP Exam


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Description of the AP Exam and its components

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Overview of the AP Exam

  2. 2. 1. There are sixty multiple-choice questions which areto be answered in seventy minutes.2. Each question has five potential answers.3. You are not penalized for any wrong answers so you should make an educated guess at the correct answer when you are not sure.4. It is important to watch your pace, as you have just over one minute to answer each question.5. Be careful to not overanalyze questions. Many times on multiple-choice exams, students initially choose the correct answer only to return to the question and change the answer. Unless you have misread the question or have missed a better answer among the choices, trust your first decision.
  3. 3. 1. Calculators are not allowed in the AP economics exam. While you will be asked to perform calculations for some questions, the math is relatively simple if you understand the principles involved and remember how to set up the equations.2. Colored pencils and markers are not allowed for drawing graphs: all free response writing must be in blue or black pen.
  4. 4. 1. The second portion of the exam consists of 3 free- response questions, with half the score given for the first question and the other half divided between the other two questions.2. You will have sixty minutes on this section: a mandatory ten-minute reading period, during which you may begin outlining your answers and sketching graphs. You will then have the remaining fifty minutes to write your answers. It is suggested to spend 25 minutes on the first question and about 12 ½ minutes on each of the other two responses.3. The long free-response question generally involves interconnections among several different concepts central to the course, which the shorter responses generally focus on one specific concept or a pair of related concepts.
  5. 5. 1. Free response questions generally consist of a series of questions and sub-questions that can be answered in several sentences. Responses should directly answer the questions asked.2. Keep in mind the economic concept of efficiency and apply that to your free-response writing. Be complete but be efficient about it. Directly answer the questions asked, and explain why that answer is correct. Some of the best answers use the appropriate terms and the clearest language to explain the situation, causes and effects, and reasoning. The readers want to see a clear analysis and your reasoning.
  6. 6. 3. It is very important to understand what the question is asking you to do. One big clue is to look for the verbs: “define”, “identify”, “explain”, “label”, or “using a graph, show”. Try to visualize what the rubric looks like, what are the readers looking for from each part of the question?4. Answer each part of the question in the order it was asked, clearly labeled as instructed. If you refer to a graph in your writing as “as you can see in Graph A”, then make sure the graph is clearly labeled Graph A.
  7. 7. 5. It is very important that you correctly label your graphs. Write an appropriate title, and your axis labels should be clear: Price and Quantity, not P and Q.6. If you want to indicate a shift in a curve, be sure to draw arrows between the curves to show the direction of movement, and label the second curve differently (for example, D1 and D2).7. Draw equilibrium points where appropriate and indicate those equilibrium prices or quantities on the axes of your graph.8. Remember that the readers want to award you points for every correct portion of your response, so make their job as easy as possible.
  8. 8. 1. Once you finish your free-response questions, it is essential that you carefully read your answers again. a. Have you specifically answered each part of each question? b. Have you made links to explain why your answer is correct? c. Have you labeled all axes and curves on each graph, illustrating equilibrium points and showing the direction of shifts in curves?2. Very often, easy points are lost because of a moment of carelessness in missing a sub- question or drawing an arrow facing the wrong direction. Give yourself credit for your hard work!
  9. 9. 1. Take a moment to consider that your reader will be taking a week of their summer time to read thousands of free-response answers to the same question, over and over, for eight hours a day.2. Do you really want to challenge that reader with handwriting that is difficult to read or understand?3. It is in your best interest for the reader to understand what you have to say.4. Try printing, or cursive, or block letters, or capital letters, anything that will ensure that you have the best possible chance that your reader will be able to accurately find your correct answers to grant you the score that your deserve!
  10. 10. 1. Because rubrics are so precise, multiple points can be awarded through each free response.2. For example, if in a problem about a hurricane wiping out an orange crop, you respond that the apple juice prices would increase (correct) but give the reason that the hurricane also destroyed the apple trees, you might receive one point for identifying that the apple juice price will increase, but not receive the second point for correct reasoning.
  11. 11. 1. When a response involves a chain of events, an error at the beginning of one chain might cause all the following answers to be wrong, even though your logic is correct.2. Sometimes rubrics may be set in a way that if the initial response is wrong, but the rest of the answers flow correctly based on that initial answer, you will lose the point for the initial answer, but may still receive partial credit for the rest of your answers, but don’t depend on this happening.
  12. 12. 1. While it is important to explain any answer you give, avoid rambling!2. Don’t write as though you’ve swallowed a dictionary, reaching for complex language and unnecessary difficulty.3. Don’t carry a question on if it is not required. Remember, you have limited time and must be efficient. For example, if a question is asking about a short-run situation, don’t take it to the long- run, unless required to do so in another question.4. You might make a mistake while rambling, which would deduct points from your score instead of adding to it.5. Remember: Readers will be impressed with clear analysis and reasoning.
  13. 13. The multiple-choice section will be scoredelectronically, while readers score the free-responsesections. After applying a weighing formula andcombining the raw multiple-choice and free-response scores to create a composite score, youwill be awarded one of the five final scores:» 5 – Extremely well qualified» 4 – Well qualified» 3 – Qualified» 2 – Possibly qualified» 1 – No recommendation