Published February 16, 2024

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP Environmental Science

In this guide, we will explore some effective tricks and AP Environmental Science exam tips that can help you achieve a top score of 5. Throughout this article, I will break down these strategies and provide valuable resources to ensure you are well-prepared to excel in the AP Environmental Science test. With the right approach and proper utilization of these tips, you can confidently know how to ace the AP Environmental Science exam and secure an outstanding result!

Free AP Environmental Science Resources

If you find yourself in a last-minute cramming situation for AP Environmental Science, don't worry, it happens to the best of us! If you're looking to learn how to pass AP Environmental Science with limited time, we've got you covered. Here are some student-made AP Environmental Science exam tips and resources that can help you learn how to study for the AP Environmental Science exam.

What Do I Need to Memorize for the AP Environmental Science Exam?

Unit 1: The Living World: Ecosystems

In the study of ecosystems, we explore the intricate web of life on our planet, categorized into terrestrial and aquatic biomes, each with unique characteristics and inhabitants. Primary productivity, the conversion of sunlight into energy by living organisms, is crucial for understanding energy flow. Cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and water maintain life's delicate balance. Trophic levels in food chains follow the 10% rule, with limited energy transfer between levels. Food chains and webs visually represent complex relationships and interactions between organisms. This exploration uncovers the interconnectedness and resilience of life on Earth.

Unit 2: The Living World: Biodiversity

Biodiversity encompasses diverse life forms and their interactions. Ecosystem services sustain life through essential functions like clean air and water. Island biogeography studies isolated habitats' influence on species diversity. Ecological tolerance relates to adaptability to different environments. Natural disruptions lead to ecological succession in ecosystems.

Unit 3: Populations 

Generalist and specialist species showcase distinct adaptive strategies. Survivorship curves depict survival rates throughout life spans. Population growth depends on resource availability. Age structure diagrams offer insights into population distribution across age groups. Human population dynamics encompass the study of human population size, distribution, and changes over time.

Unit 4: Earth Systems and Resources 

Tectonic plates shape Earth's crust. Soil formation and erosion alter landscapes. Earth's atmosphere regulates weather patterns. Global wind patterns influence climate. Earth's geography plays a role in shaping environments. El Niño and La Niña impact ocean currents and weather events.

Unit 5: Land and Water Use 

The tragedy of the commons addresses shared resource depletion. The Green Revolution improved agricultural productivity. Irrigation types and effects impact water resources. Pest-control methods influence ecosystems. Meat production and overfishing affect marine life. Mining causes environmental impacts. Urbanization and ecological footprints impact ecosystems. Sustainable practices like crop rotation and aquaculture promote ecological balance.

Unit 6: Energy Resources and Consumption 

Energy sources encompass fossil fuels, ethanol, and nuclear power. Global energy consumption relates to natural resource distribution. Solar power, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric power are natural energy sources. Energy conservation methods are crucial for sustainable practices.

Unit 7: Atmospheric Pollution

Air pollution includes photochemical smog, indoor air pollution, and noise pollution. Reducing air pollutants is crucial. Acid rain harms vegetation and aquatic life. Understanding these facets helps combat their harmful effects.

Unit 8: Aquatic and Terrestrial Pollution 

Pollution sources, human impact on ecosystems, thermal pollution, solid waste disposal, pollution and human health, pathogens, and infectious diseases.

Unit 9: Global Change 

Ozone depletion, global climate change, ocean warming and acidification, invasive species, and human impacts on diversity are critical environmental concerns.

What is on the AP Environmental Science Exam?

Units

Exam Weighting

Unit 1: The Living World: Ecosystems

6-8%

Unit 2: The Living World: Biodiversity

6-8%

Unit 3: Populations

10-15%

Unit 4: Earth Systems and Resources

10-15%

Unit 5: Land and Water Use

10-15%

Unit 6: Energy Resources and Consumption

10-15%

Unit 7: Atmospheric Pollution

7-10%

Unit 8: Aquatic and Terrestrial Pollution

7-10%

Unit 9: Global Change

15-20%

AP Environmental Science Exam Format

Alright, so here's the deal starting from 2021: the free response section of the AP Environmental Science exam has undergone a bit of a makeover. Now, you'll face three questions instead of the usual one or two. Let's break it down and learn how to prepare for the AP Environmental Science exam!

First off, question number one will challenge you to flex those scientific investigation muscles. Get ready to design an investigation like a pro scientist and focus on those AP Environmental exam tips!

Next up, question number two will put your problem-solving skills to the test. You'll be analyzing an environmental problem and brainstorming a kickass solution. Time to unleash your creative genius!

But wait, there's more! Question number three is another chance to shine. You'll tackle yet another environmental issue and come up with a solution, but this time, with a twist! Yep, you'll be using data analysis – so keep that trusty calculator handy!

Now, let's talk points. The multiple-choice section holds 60% of the total score, while the free-response section takes up the remaining 40%. So, you better nail both parts if you want to score big on this exam!

Get ready to rock that AP Environmental Science exam like a champ! Study hard, stay curious, and remember, you've got this in the bag! 

What does the AP Environmental Science MCQ section look like?

Section 1: Multiple Choice 

Time Allotted 

Number of Questions

Exam Weight 

90 Minutes 

80 questions

60%

The AP Environmental Science exam is no random bunch of multiple-choice questions thrown together haphazardly. Oh no, it's way more organized than that! They've got a neat little pattern going on. You see, they like to divide the questions into different themes based on the course content. So, instead of all jumbled up, you'll find a specific percentage of questions for each theme.

Knowing this pattern is like having a secret weapon in your study arsenal. It helps you plan your prep time smartly. You can focus more on the themes with more questions, giving them the attention they deserve. 

The AP Environmental Science exam set up is composed of: pollution study (25-35% of MCQs) and global change (potentially 40%). Use social media to stay updated. The three types of MCQs: quantitative data, qualitative data, and text-based questions. Be prepared! 

What does the AP Environmental Science FRQ look like?

Section 2: Free Response Questions

Time Allotted 

Number of Questions

Exam Weight 

70 Minutes 

3 questions

40%

To excel in the AP Environmental Science free response section, understand the three question types: designing an investigation, analyzing environmental problems with and without calculations, each previously graded on a 10-point scale. When creating graphs, be specific, label axes, and choose between bar or line graphs. Familiarize yourself with task verbs like calculate, describe, explain, identify, justify, make a claim, and propose a solution for precise responses. Include five key components for lab design questions: abstract, hypothesis, methods, control, and dependent variable. Show all steps in math problems and attempt every part of the question for partial credit. Avoid vague phrases and metaphors; use scientific language. Consider the 3 E’s: environment, ecological, economic. Brush up on algebra, explain technical terms, focus on the how and why of environmental processes, and ensure clear organization and complete sentences in your responses.

When do AP Environmental Science scores come out?

Scores will typically come out in July every year, but you can also refer to the official CollegeBoard Annual calendar to monitor any chances.

Should I Self Study AP Environmental Science?

The overall content can be extremely daunting to attack for the AP Environmental Science exam, and while it may be useful to have someone to step in and help you study, you can also utilize other sources. Utilizing AP Environmental Science test tips and understanding the best way to study for the AP environmental Science exam will help you exponentially. 

To excel in AP Environmental Science, enhance your notes by rewriting or typing them, underlining key vocab and concepts, and creating flashcards. Watch "Home" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand on YouTube for comprehensive exam coverage. Spend time outdoors to understand the environmental importance and journal your experiences. Read "The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment" to gain insights on various topics. Organize and simplify your notes using graphic organizers and tables. Actively participate in class labs to enhance critical thinking and understanding. For free response questions, outline your answers to ensure clarity, avoid being fragmentary, and use specific terms instead of generalities. Score sample FRQs with rubrics to get an idea of the reader's perspective. Lastly, identify common threads in questions, and answer accordingly by connecting different topics to specific themes. These tips for the AP Environmental Science exam will significantly help you understand the best way to study for the Environmental Science exam.

Is the AP Environmental Science Exam Hard?

The AP Environmental Science exam is no joke, testing your grasp on a complex and ever-evolving field of science. But don't sweat it, you've totally got the potential to rock it and score in the top 30% with a solid 4 or 5 if you put in the effort to prepare and review those tips for the AP Environmental Science exam!

Sure, the stats might look daunting, but remember, you've got what it takes to conquer this challenge. It won't be a walk in the park, that's for sure – it'll demand some serious hard work, dedication, confidence, and time investment. But hey, life's all about pushing ourselves and embracing the tough stuff, right? So, let's dive in, get ready to roll up those sleeves, and embark on this exciting journey of mastering AP Environmental Science! 

Explaining the 2023 AP Environmental Science Scores

The AP Environmental Science exam is no walk in the park compared to other AP tests, as the numbers reveal. In May 2020, only 53% of students managed to pass this challenging exam, while the average pass rate for all AP exams was higher at 71%. And if you're hoping for that elusive perfect score of 5, well, less than 12% of students nailed it in AP Environmental Science, while about 20% pulled it off in other AP tests. But don't get too intimidated just yet! Apart from the stats, the school and teacher you have can also make a difference. So, don't hesitate to check out the pass rates of previous classes to gauge your chances better.


Blog image

AP Prep

5 Signs You’re Taking the Wrong AP Class

Starting an AP class feels like a big step towards your future goals. It's exciting to pick subjects you think will help you on your way. But, have you ever sat in class and wondered, "Is this really the right AP for me?" If so, you're not alone! In this article, we're going to chat about 5 signs that might mean you're in the wrong AP class. Don't worry, it's all about finding what works best for you, the right AP study guides to get you through and sometimes that means realizing you might need to make a change. So, grab a snack, get comfy, and let's talk about how to tell if an AP class is a ...

Blog image

AP Prep

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP Macroeconomics

In this article, I will present several AP Macroeconomics exam tips that can help you achieve a perfect score of 5 on the AP Macroeconomics exam. I will provide a detailed analysis of these methods, offering you the necessary tools and strategies to excel in your preparation and perform exceptionally well on the test. Free AP Macroeconomics Resources If you find yourself in a last-minute cramming situation for the AP Macroeconomics exam, there's no need to panic. We understand the feeling, as we've all been there before. To help you succeed under time constraints, we have compiled a collection...

Blog image

AP Prep

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP English Language and Composition

In this article, I will present several techniques and AP English Language and Composition exam tips to help to achieve a score of 5. I will provide a detailed explanation of each method, equipping you with the necessary strategies, show you how to prepare for the AP English Language and Composition exam, and materials to excel in the examination. Rest assured, with the appropriate approach and available resources, you can certainly achieve outstanding results on the test. Free AP English Language and Composition Resources If you’re cramming last minute for AP English Language and Composition,...

View more