Preparing for AP Environmental Science: Exam Format and Study Resources

The Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science exam provides students with the opportunity to explore key concepts in environmental science and apply critical thinking skills to real-world environmental issues. Excelling in AP Environmental Science requires a thorough understanding of the exam format, content, and effective study strategies. In this guide, we'll provide a comprehensive overview of the AP Environmental Science exam format and recommend valuable study resources to help you prepare effectively.

1. Exam Format:

The AP Environmental Science exam consists of two main sections: multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and free-response questions (FRQs). Here's a breakdown of the exam format:

   a. Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs):

      - Number of Questions: Approximately 80 questions.

      - Time Allotted: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      - Content Coverage: Covers a wide range of topics, including environmental science principles, ecological systems, environmental issues, human impacts on the environment, and scientific practices.

      - Question Types: Multiple-choice questions with four answer choices, including standalone questions and questions based on data sets, charts, graphs, and diagrams.

   b. Free-Response Questions (FRQs):

      - Number of Questions: Four free-response questions.

      - Time Allotted: 1 hour and 30 minutes.

      - Content Coverage: Requires written responses to questions that assess analytical and quantitative skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities.

      - Question Types: FRQs may include experimental design questions, quantitative analysis questions, qualitative analysis questions, and synthesis and evaluation questions.

2. Study Resources:

To prepare effectively for the AP Environmental Science exam, utilize a variety of study resources, including textbooks, review guides, practice tests, and online resources. Here are some recommended study resources:

   a. Textbooks:

      - "Environmental Science for AP" by Andrew Friedland and Rick Relyea: This comprehensive textbook is specifically designed to align with the AP Environmental Science curriculum and includes review questions, practice tests, and online resources.

   b. Review Guides:

      - "Barron's AP Environmental Science" by Gary S. Thorpe: Barron's review guide provides comprehensive coverage of AP Environmental Science topics, practice questions, and two full-length practice exams with detailed explanations.

   c. Practice Tests:

      - Official AP Practice Exams: Access official AP practice exams from the College Board website or through AP review books. Practice tests provide valuable opportunities to assess your knowledge, identify areas for improvement, and familiarize yourself with the exam format.

   d. Online Resources:

      - AP Classroom: Utilize the resources available on AP Classroom, including practice questions, quizzes, and progress trackers. AP Classroom also provides access to instructional videos, interactive activities, and teacher feedback.

      - Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers a variety of video lessons and practice exercises covering AP Environmental Science topics. Use Khan Academy's interactive platform to reinforce concepts, review content, and track your progress.

      - Quizlet: Access flashcards, study sets, and practice quizzes on Quizlet to review key vocabulary terms, concepts, and definitions related to AP Environmental Science. Create your own study materials or use existing sets shared by other students and educators.


Preparing for the AP Environmental Science exam requires thorough review of content, practice with exam-style questions, and familiarity with the exam format. By utilizing textbooks, review guides, practice tests, and online resources, you can strengthen your understanding of environmental science principles, develop critical thinking skills, and maximize your performance on the AP exam. With diligent study and strategic preparation, you can achieve success in AP Environmental Science and earn college credit for your efforts.