Hints for doing well on your ap exam
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Hints for doing well on your AP Exam. START STUDYING NOW!!. Review your Objective questions Go over your completed Labs Use all of the Review materials provided for you. PACE YOURSELF. You have 45 seconds/MC Question Answer first the Questions you know

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Hints for doing well on your AP Exam

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Hints for doing well on your AP Exam


  • Review your Objective questions

  • Go over your completed Labs

  • Use all of the Review materials provided for you.


  • You have 45 seconds/MC Question

  • Answer first the Questions you know

  • You do not have to answer all the questions in fact trying to answer all the questions will probably hurt your score!

  • Blank Answers are not counted against you!

  • New 2011 - Wrong answers do not count against you

  • Do not Rush! - Rushing results in careless errors

The Three-Pass System

  • APES covers a broad range of topics. There is no way even with our extensive review, that you will know everything about every topic in Environmental Science

  • As you read each question decide is an easy, medium or hard question

  • First Pass - Do the easiest questions first - many questions will be straight forward and require little effort.

  • Second pass - save the medium questions.

  • Medium questions are either time-consuming or require you to analyze all the answer choices

  • Third Pass - Skip the Hard questions if they make no sense to you

  • Watch out for those bubbles!

  • Remember you do not have to answer all the questions to do well on this exam


  • This is the most important technique to use on the multiple choice section of the exam.

  • Even if you don’t know the answer right-off-the bat, you will most likely know that two three of the choices that are not correct!


  • Lets look at an example - Imagine you have three problems. On each question with have managed to eliminate two answer choices.

  • Statistically you are bound to get one right.

  • Aggressive guessing can add as many as 10 -15 points to your total score!


  • Environmental Science is all about names

  • Chemicals - Processes - Theories - Cause & Effect

  • Example - Some of the major air pollutants we have studied include Sulfur oxides, Particulates, lead, ozone, nitrogen oxides, carbon oxides

  • SPLONC -Some Pollution Lands On Nature Constantly

  • Learn goofy mnemonics and you will never forget the science!


  • About 20% of the MC Questions fall under the category of ; EXCEPT - NOT - LEAST

  • The best way of going about these questions is using POE Process of Elimination

  • Even if you know nothing about the content - you should at least understand what the question is asking.

DO NOT STAY UP LATE STUDYING THE NIGHT BEFORE THE EXAM!A clear, rested mind is the most important thing you can take to the AP Exam.

Dress comfortably and make sure to bring plenty of sharpened pencils and good erasers.An AP Breakfast begins at 6:50 in Room 318. Be there on time, get some food, and relax.

Read questions completely before answering.Think before you bubble.Don’t make careless mistakes.If you have time left over, double-check your answers.

Do not waste time on multiple choice questions that are extremely difficult.Use the PASS System

Free Response Questions

Read each question twice and outline and brainstorm what

you want want to cover in the question

On average you will need to write one or two paragraphs

For each part of the question.

Distribute the 90 minutes equally on the four essay questions(22 minutes each).Do not make the mistake of wasting a large percent of your time on one question, and then not having enough time to answer the other three.

Take a few moments to think and organize your thoughts before you start to answer the essay question. Then: Get right to the point.

When answering the essay questions, stay on the topics that are being asked. Do not add extraneous information that does not pertain to the question being asked.

No points are taken off for wrong or incorrect information, but simply writing a lot will not necessarily earn points.

You must answer the question being asked.It is not uncommon to see an answer that fills two to three pages but does not earn any points.

Students must demonstrate knowledge and understanding.Students will not receive points for restating the question. Embellishing and embroidering the question and then writing it down as an answer will receive no credit.

Outline form and bullets are not acceptable, answers must be written in prose style. Use underlining, especially if you are a poor writer, but be sure to give a full explanation.Just listing things will earn zero points.

Do not be too fragmentary in your explanations, everything should fit together logically into complete answer.Make sure you tie all the “pieces” of your answer together.

Don’t fabricate information, it is a waste of time and will not earn any points.

Write very clearly and large enough for the reader to read your words.

Eliminate “fluff.” You don’t need fancy introductions or conclusions on your essays.

Be a point sponge! Write down what you know best, first.Think when you are answering the essay questions; you have more information in your head than you realize. Add detail and examples.

If you are going to write down several points, write down the best ones first.Often graders will just grade the first one or two and ignore the rest.

If you use diagrams, label and explain them.A diagram without an explanation gets zero 0 points.

Students must demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject whether it’s a biogeochemical cycle or a solar panel.Just throwing out terms, vocabulary and factoids is not enough.

Practice your math!Every AP Environmental Science student should be comfortable working with percentages, decimals, rounding, fractions, algebra, exponents, and scientific notation.

Be careful when you interpret charts and graphs.Many students draw erroneous conclusions because the have misinterpreted a graph or chart.

If the question asks you to show your work, write out all the steps clearly so the reader/grader can clearly see your work.Many students lose points because they do their math calculations in their heads or on a sheet of paper other that the answer sheet.

Make sure, whenever possible, to support your statements with examples.

Good examples will let the reader/grader know that you understand what you are talking about.Often, examples are required to earn some of the points available on a question.

How the Test is Scored

  • Raw Score for Section 1 (#correct)

  • Composite Score for Section 1 Raw Score x .9278

  • Raw Score for Section 2

    Total Points for Essay 1,2,3,4 (40 Points)

  • Composite Score for Section 2 Raw Score X 1.5 (Highest FR Composite Score 60)

  • Combined Total 150 Points

What Does This Mean for You?

  • AP Grade Conversion Chart

  • Final Score Range / AP Grade

  • 1. 0-61

  • 2. 62-74

  • 3. 75-86

  • 4. 87-106

  • 5. 107-150

The College Board creates a formula (which changes slightly every year) to convert raw scores into composite scores grouped into broad AP grade categories. The weights for the multiple-choice sections are determined by the Chief Reader, who uses a process called equating. This process compares the current year's exam performance on selected multiple-choice questions to that of a previous year, establishing a level of achievement for the current year's group and a degree of difficulty for the current exam. This data is combined with historical trends and the reader's professional evaluation to determine the weights and tables.

Composite Score / AP Grade / Percentage of students at this grade (2003)

70 - 90 / 5 (extremely well qualified) / 8.4%

54 - 69 / 4 (well qualified) / 23.7%

45 - 53 / 3 (qualified) / 18.9%

29 - 44 / 2 (possibly qualified) / 18.7%

0 - 28 / 1 (no recommendation) / 30.3%

Go in with a positive attitude.You have the knowledge to do a great job on this test!

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