Preparation Hints for the Free Response Questions on the ap environmental Science Exam About the Exam



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Preparation Hints for the Free Response Questions on the AP Environmental Science Exam
About the Exam:

The exam that you will take at the end of the course is made up of 100 multiple choice questions and four free response questions.  Bring a small clock or wrist watch to carefully monitor your time.   The exam is three hours long, one and one half hours for the multiple choice section and the remaining one and one half hours for the free response.   The multiple choice section is worth 60% of your score and the free response makes up the remaining 40%.  The number of questions on each topic is based on the percentages noted after the major topics list in the AP Environmental Science Course Description. 

The free response section is usually broken down into four questions.


  1. One question is quantitative or data based Over the years, the format of this question has varied.  Some questions were mathematical, asking the student to do a series of calculations and then to relate the answers to some environmental concepts. The calculations usually involved large numbers and using scientific notation would help with organization.  Always show your work and use the proper units.  Sometimes the information in the question is in the form of a graph or chart and you will have to extract the data to answer the question.

  2. One question is document based.  This means that you will have to read a document or passage and then use the information contained in it along with your own background knowledge to answer the question. You will not be able to answer the question without first reading the passage.

3 – 4. The last two questions involve synthesis and evaluation.  These questions ask the student to organize their information on the relationship between two or more concepts, in a way that demonstrates a depth of knowledge and reasoning ability on a variety of environmental science topics.  Usually one of these questions asks the student to design an experiment or analyze given data to solve an environmental problem.




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