General set up of the exam
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General Set up of the exam. Two Sections. Multiple Choice 90 minutes 40 questions Free Response 90 minutes 6 questions (5 shorter, 1 longer) Topics Exploring data (describing patterns and departures from patterns) Sampling and experimentation (planning and conducting a study)

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General Set up of the exam

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General Set up of the exam

Two Sections

  • Multiple Choice

    • 90 minutes

    • 40 questions

  • Free Response

    • 90 minutes

    • 6 questions (5 shorter, 1 longer)

    • Topics

      • Exploring data (describing patterns and departures from patterns)

      • Sampling and experimentation (planning and conducting a study)

      • Anticipating patterns (producing models using probability and simulation)

      • Statistical inference (estimating population proportions and testing hypotheses).

Multiple Choice

  • 1 point for a correct answer

  • 0 for no answer

  • Counts 50% of your grade

Free Response

  • 50% of your grade

  • Questions 1-5 are 15% each of free response grade

  • Question 6 is 25% of free response grade

  • Score is a 0-4

Tips for Writing Free Response Questions on the AP Statistics Exam

It should be obvious…

  • Read the question. Answer the question. No more, no less.

Common Task: Choose

  • If you are asked to choose between two things (fuel additive A or fuel additive B), state why you would choose one AS WELL AS why you would NOT choose the other.

    However , be careful not to contradict yourself!

Common Task: Compare

  • If you are asked to compare, make less than/greater than statements.

  • Compare like things. Never compare a median of one distribution to the 1st quartile of another. Instead, compare the median of distribution A to the median of distribution B.

  • AP Questions often ask you to compare one-variable distributions. You’ll need to compare center, shape and spread.

Common Task: Test of Significance

  • Hypothesis Test rubrics generally look for four components:

    • State the hypotheses with the correct symbols. Define any subscripts.

    • Identify (by NAME or by FORMULA) a test-statistic. State and check the assumptions.

    • Calculate the value of the test-statistic. Calculate the p-value and compare it to alpha. Reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis.

    • State your conclusion in words in the context of the problem.

Writing Tips

  • Be clear, brief, and explicit.

    • If you ramble on and on, you’re likely to contradict yourself. Plus, when a student is brief, it is clear that he/she knows what the question is asking and how to answer it.

Writing Tips

  • Never contradict yourself.

  • NEVER write calculator commands.

    • Never? Never. Never ever. Not even once. Period.

    • Remember binomial distribution?

Writing Tips

  • Be careful about strong language.

    • One sample design question asked why we randomly allocate subjects to treatment groups. If students stated that random allocation ELIMINATES bias, they were given NO credit.

    • You never PROVE anything!!!

Writing Tips

  • Do not use pronouns!

    • “It is higher.” WHAT is higher?

  • Don’t use no double negatives.

    • I fail to reject that I don’t believe that the data are not independent.

  • Common Student Errors

    • Realizing that when the directions say “Give appropriate statistical evidence to support your conclusion” or “Justify, using statistical evidence” students are asked to conduct FORMAL hypothesis tests.

    • Realizing that when you write the words “on average” that you’re referencing the mean.

    • Using non-statistical words to convey a statistical concept.

      • The graph is “even.” ??? Do they mean uniform? Symmetric? Normal?

      • The residual plot is “half above and half below.” I think they meant uniformly scattered.

    Common Student Errors

    • The amount of space left for students to answer the question is NOT an indication of how much you should write.

    • Expected value = mean.

    • When stating assumptions, saying the data are normal or the distribution is normal is not correct.

      • The correct assumption is that the population is distributed normally. We check that assumption by looking at the distribution of the sample data.

    Common Student Errors

    • Students tend to confuse skewed right and skewed left.

    • Students tend to confuse symmetric with approximately normal.

    • Students tend to list everything they know and hope that part of it is correct. This is called a “parallel solution.” The graders will grade the weakest of the solutions.

    Common Student Errors

    • You need to know the difference between taking a simple random sample and randomly allocating subjects to treatment groups.

    Common Topics

    • Exploratory Data Analysis

      • One-variable data

        • Descriptive statistics: Center, Shape, Spread

      • Two-variable data

        • Correlation, regression, residual plots, coefficient of determination

    • Hypothesis Tests

    • Probability

    • Experimental Design

    In the end…

    • It’s not what you know.

    • It’s what you can SHOW that you know.

    Some college credit

    • UNC Chapel Hill… 3 or more

    • NC State… 3 or more

    • UNCC… 3 or more

    • Appalachian… 3 (one class), 4 or 5 (two classes)


    • You can use your own (no higher than Ti-89)

    • Take extra batteries

    • I will send extras.

    • Make sure you have Diagnostic On… Let’s do this now.

    • Your calculator will not be cleared.

    On the day of the test

    • Take pencils!!!!

    • Take your calculator

    • Get some rest the night before

    • Get to your testing site at 11:30

    • Do not schedule work for before 4:00

    • Do your best!

    Materials for Review


      • Click on AP Statistics Exam Tips for Students

    • Borrow an AP Review Book

    • Check out the links on my website


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