Published February 16, 2024

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP Macroeconomics

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Natasha Potter

MSU Alumni, Creative Advertising Major, Marketing Associate at Knowt 😃

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 of student-created AP Macroeconomics exam tips and resources that are perfect for last-minute cramming. These materials and tips for the AP Macroeconomics exam will provide you with the necessary tools and information to effectively show you how to prepare for the AP Macroeconomics exam in a limited amount of time.

What Do I Need to Memorize for the AP Macroeconomics Exam?

The AP Macro exam assesses your ability to define economic principles and models, explain economic outcomes, and determine specific economic situations. In the free-response section, you'll need to draw a graph or visual representation, while the multiple-choice section involves answering questions about provided visuals. The exam focuses on four "Big Ideas" that serve as the core topics throughout the AP Macro course. For a comprehensive list of these topics and study resources, refer to our AP Macroeconomics study guide

Big Idea 1: Economic Measurements

Economic measurements are used to assess the state and performance of an economy. They inform policy decisions and help individuals and businesses make choices. Topics in this category include economic indicators, GDP, unemployment, inflation, financial sector, and international trade and finance.

Big Idea 2: Markets

Markets facilitate the exchange of goods and services for mutual benefit. The supply-demand model is applicable in various market contexts. Topics in this category include basic economic concepts, market equilibrium, financial sector, and international trade and finance.

Big Idea 3: Macroeconomic Models

Macroeconomic models depict economic relationships and predict their responses to shocks. Topics in this category include basic economic concepts, national income and price determination, and the consequences of stabilization policies.

Big Idea 4: Macroeconomic Policies

Government taxation, spending, and monetary policies influence an economy's output, price level, and employment in the short and long run. Topics in this category include fiscal policy, monetary policy, financial sector, and the consequences of stabilization policies.

What is on the AP Macroeconomics Exam?

I. Basic Economic Concepts (8-14%)

Although this section may seem less time-consuming based on the percentage breakdown, it forms the foundation of the entire course. While it doesn't require extensive studying, it's crucial to grasp these concepts as they are referenced throughout your studies. Keep this information close while you study. The topics covered include scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, the Production Possibilities Curve (PPC), comparative advantage, economic systems, property rights, incentives, and marginal analysis.

II. The Nature and Functions of Product Markets (55-70%)

This section constitutes the most substantial part of the course, encompassing vital economic theories and concepts. Graphing plays a significant role, which will likely be tested directly on the AP® Macroeconomics exam. The topics covered include supply and demand, the theory of consumer choice, production and costs, and firm behavior and market structure.

III. Factor Markets (10-18%)

This section is fundamental for understanding trade and the core factors of production—labor, rent, and capital—and their workings in economics.

IV. Market Failure and the Role of Government (12-18%)

This section applies economic knowledge to real-life scenarios, particularly emphasizing the role of government, including the crucial role of the Federal Reserve in the economy. Expect questions related to this area on past free response exams.


AP Macroeconomics Exam Format

Section I: Multiple Choice

This section consists of 60 questions and lasts for 1 hour and 10 minutes. It accounts for 66% of the total exam score. The questions in this section assess your economics content knowledge and reasoning abilities across various course topics and skills in skill categories 1, 2, and 3.

Section II: Free Response

In this section, there are 3 questions, and you have 1 hour to complete them (including a 10-minute reading period). This section contributes to 33% of the overall exam score. It includes the following components:

  • 1 long free-response question, which constitutes 50% of the section score.

  • 2 short free-response questions, with each question worth 25% of the section score.

In the free response section, you will be required to:

  • Make assertions about economic concepts, principles, models, outcomes, and/or effects.

  • Explain economic concepts, principles, models, outcomes, and/or effects.

  • Perform numerical analysis.

  • Create graphs or visual representations to support your answers.

Alright, let's break down the format of the AP Macroeconomics exam. It's split into two sections: multiple choice questions and free responses. Here's a handy table to help you understand it:

Exam Format:

Total Exam Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Multiple Choice Section:

  •    Duration: 70 minutes

  •    Number of Questions: 60

  •    Weightage: 66% of overall exam score

Free Response Section:

  •    Duration: 60 minutes

  •    Number of Questions: 3 (1 long free-response and 2 short free-response)

  •    Weightage: 33% of overall exam score

So, make sure you manage your time wisely, utilize those AP Macroeconomics test tips and give appropriate attention to both sections to maximize your chances of success on the AP Macroeconomics exam!

What does the AP Microeconomics MCQ look like?

Let's dive into the multiple-choice section of the AP Macro exam. Here's what you should keep in mind:

  • Around 16 to 20% of the multiple-choice questions will involve analyzing numbers or performing calculations. That means you'll need to use your math skills to tackle these questions.

  • You'll have a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes to answer 60 multiple-choice questions. To pace yourself effectively, aim to spend approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds on each question. This way, you can stay on track and cover all the questions within the given time.

  • Keep in mind that these questions require a solid grasp of economics content knowledge and the ability to reason across various course topics. The skills covered in skill categories 1, 2, and 3 will come into play.

By approaching the multiple-choice section with these tips in mind, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the questions and demonstrate your understanding of AP Macro concepts. Good luck!

What does the AP Microeconomics FRQ look like?

Now let's talk about the free-response section, the final part of the AP Macro exam. Here's what you need to know in a nutshell:

  • The free-response section consists of three questions: one long free-response question and two short free-response questions.

  • You'll have a total of 60 minutes to complete this section, including a 10-minute reading period.

  • The free-response section carries a weightage of 33% towards your overall score.

  • In terms of scoring, the long answer question is worth 10 points, while each short answer question is worth five points.

  • If you're taking the paper exam, one of the free-response questions will require you to draw a graph or visual representation related to an economic situation, model, or market.


So, when it comes to the free-response section, be sure to manage your time effectively and remember your AP Macroeconomics exam tips, pay attention to the point values assigned to each question, and be prepared to showcase your understanding through graphs or visual representations if needed. 

We suggest allocating around 20 minutes for each prompt, but feel free to adjust that depending on the difficulty level. If the two shorter FRQs seem easier and the longer one appears more complex, you can dedicate a bit more time to the longer one. Just be careful not to get too absorbed in a single essay and neglect the others.

Now, let's talk about what the FRQs will ask you to do. They're designed to make you think critically about key concepts in AP Macroeconomics. You'll be expected to:

  • Make assertions about economic concepts, principles, models, outcomes, and/or effects.

  • Explain economic concepts, principles, models, outcomes, and/or effects.

  • Perform numerical analysis.

  • Create graphs or visual representations to support your answers.

So, be prepared to showcase your analytical skills and apply your knowledge in these various ways. Take your time, think critically, and don't forget to use graphs and visual aids where appropriate. 

When do AP Macroeconomics 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 macroeconomics?

AP Macroeconomics may seem challenging and overwhelming due to its structure and the wide range of topics to cover. However, at its core, macroeconomics is simply the study of human behavior and how people utilize their available resources. It revolves around understanding what you purchase, why you purchase it, and how those goods and services are produced.

The AP Macroeconomics exam doesn't have to be an intimidating beast. The best way to study for the AP Macroeconomics exam is by taking the time to grasp the covered concepts, you'll realize that they relate to familiar knowledge and real-life applications. Utilizing available resources and diligent studying will help you comprehend these concepts and gain a genuine understanding of how macroeconomics operates.

With this said, if you learn how to study for the AP Macroeconomics exam, your performance in Macroeconomics will reflect your effort!

Is the AP Macroeconomics exam Hard?

Scoring a 5 on the AP Macroeconomics exam isn't a piece of cake, as only 19.1% of students achieved it in 2019. But hey, don't let that discourage you! With proper AP Macroeconomics preparation and a solid study routine, you can learn how to pass the AP Macroeconomics exam.

Let's be real, the AP Macroeconomics exam isn't a walk in the park. It requires hard work, consistent preparation, and a good grasp of the fundamentals. But don't worry, we're here to assist you in cracking the code on how to prepare for the AP Macroeconomics exam. Here are some key skills to focus on:

- Develop a strong understanding of macroeconomics terms.

- Learn how to connect different concepts together.

- Master the art of drawing and analyzing various types of economics graphs.

- Be ready to tackle complex word problems in both multiple-choice and free-response formats.

Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated during the preparation process is normal. Just remember, if you truly understand the material, gain a deeper insight into it, and know how to apply your knowledge to different scenarios, you'll be well-equipped and know how to ace the AP Macroeconomics exam. Keep your focus, put in the effort, and you'll rock it!

Explaining the 2023 AP Macroeconomics Scores

So, here's the scoop on scoring. The multiple-choice section makes up 66% of your overall score, while the free-response section accounts for the other 33%. In the free-response section, the long free response question is worth 50% of your score, and each of the two short free response questions is worth 25% of the section score.

Calculating your multiple-choice score is pretty straightforward. You get one point for each correct answer, and no points are deducted for incorrect or blank responses. So, it's all about racking up those correct answers!

When it comes to the free-response questions, things get a bit more interesting. Actual graders evaluate your responses, and you earn points based on how effectively you tackle the specific tasks within each question.

For example, a long free response question is worth a total of 10 points, but it's broken down into different tasks, each carrying a set number of points. Let's say there are five tasks, worth two points each. You'll earn points for each task you answer correctly.

The same goes for the two short free response questions, which are each worth a total of five points. A short question might have three tasks, with two points and one point assigned to them, making up the total of five points.

So give it your best shot, aim for those correct answers in the multiple-choice section, and earn those task points in the free response section. You've got this!

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