Published February 16, 2024

Everything You Need to get a 5 on AP Microeconomics


Natasha Potter

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

This article will delve into some of our effective strategies and tips for achieving a 5 on the AP Microeconomics exam. I will dissect and explain these techniques in detail. Armed with the appropriate strategies, resources, and AP Micro test tips, you can certainly learn how to pass the AP Microeconomics exam.

Free AP Microeconomics Resources

If you find yourself wondering how to study for the AP Microeconomics exam at the last minute, there's no need to worry – we've all been in that situation! If you're seeking guidance on how to ace the AP Micro under time constraints, here are a collection of AP Micro exam tips and resources put together by students to help you with a last-minute cram session.

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

Alright, let's break it down – what's this AP Micro all about, you ask? Well, hold on to your hats because the AP Microeconomics course is divided into six major units. Check out the lowdown below, and you'll see how to prepare for the AP Micro exam and those exam concepts like a pro. And if you're craving even more detail, don't forget to peek at the AP Microeconomics Course and Exam Description and remember those AP Microeconomics exam tips.

Unit 1: Basic Economic Concepts

It's like getting into the foundation of microeconomic thinking – how to weigh decisions based on trade-offs and constraints, and making those smart economic choices.

  • Scarcity

  • Allocating resources and those fancy economic systems

  • Say hello to the Production Possibilities Curve

  • Making trades and scoring from comparative advantage

  • Crunching numbers with cost-benefit analysis

  • Getting cozy with marginal analysis and why consumers choose what they do

Unit 2: Supply and Demand 

Get ready to dive into the workings of markets and meet the dynamic duo: supply and demand.

  • Demand – it's all about the wants and needs

  • Supply – the art of providing what's wanted

  • Elasticity – how things change when push comes to shove

  • Dancing with market equilibrium, and what happens when it gets thrown off

  • When the government hops in – market intervention and its effects

  • Unpacking international trade and its dance with public policy

Unit 3: Production, Cost and the Perfect Competition Model 

This one's about cracking the code behind how companies tick and embracing the perfect competition model.

  • The nitty-gritty of the production function

  • Breaking down short- and long-run production costs

  • Chasing profits – the different types and the name of the game

  • Maxing out those profits with some clever moves

  • The perfect competition game – what's in it for us

Unit 4: Imperfect Competition 

Time to venture into the world of not-so-perfect markets and get friendly with game theory.

  • Monopoly – where one rules the roost

  • Price discrimination – playing the pricing game

  • Monopolistic competition – it's a party of many

  • Oligopoly and a dash of game theory for some fun

Unit 5: Factor Markets 

Bringing the concepts of supply, demand, and decisions to the world of factor markets.

  • Getting the scoop on factor markets

  • Changes in factor demand and what supplies it

  • The hunt for profit in perfectly competitive factor markets

  • Navigating the waters of monopsonistic markets

Unit 6: Market Failure and the Role of Government 

Last but not least, we're diving into when markets fall short and the government steps in.

  • What's up with market outcomes – the good, the bad, and the meh

  • Dealing with externalities – when one action has a ripple effect

  • Public and private goods – who's in charge of what?

  • When the government rolls in – what happens in different market setups

  • Spilling the beans on income and wealth inequality

So, there you have it – your ultimate guide to what's cooking in the AP Micro kitchen. Time to grab those concepts by the horns and rock that exam!

What is on the AP Microeconomics Exam?

Exam content

Exam Weight

Specific theme

Basic Economic Concepts


  • The concepts of scarcity, choice, and opportunity cost

  • Understanding the production possibilities curve

  • Grasping comparative advantage, absolute advantage, specialization, and trade

  • Exploring different economic systems

  • Recognizing the importance of property rights and incentives

  • Engaging in marginal analysis

Supply and Demand


  • Achieving market equilibrium

  • Factors influencing supply and demand

  • Controlling prices and quantities

  • Understanding elasticity – including consumer surplus, producer surplus, and allocative efficiency

  • Analyzing tax incidence and its impact on deadweight loss

Theory of Consumer Choice


  • Complete utility and incremental utility

  • Maximizing utility: balancing marginal utility per dollar

  • Demand curves for individuals and markets

  • Effects of income and substitution on consumer behavior

Production and Costs


  • Creating production functions for both short and extended timeframes

  • Evaluating marginal product and the concept of diminishing returns

  • Analyzing costs in the short run

  • Exploring long-term costs and the benefits of economies of scale

  • Finding the ideal input combination for cost minimization and achieving productive efficiency

Firm Behavior and Market Structure


Exploring Different Market Structures and Profit:

  • Perfect Competition

  • Monopoly

  • Oligopoly

  • Monopolistic Competition

Each section delves into the concept of profit within the respective market structure.

Factor Markets


  • Understanding Derived Factor Demand

  • Analyzing Marginal Revenue Product

  • Decision-Making in Labor and Capital Markets

  • Examining the Distribution of Income in Markets

Market Failure and the Role of Government


  • Exploring Externalities

  • Understanding Public Goods

  • Implementing Public Policy for Competition Enhancement

  • Examining Income Distribution

AP Microeconomics Exam Format


Time Allotted 

# of Questions 

Exam Weight 

Section 1: MCQ

70 Minutes

60 Questions 


Section 2 FRQ

70 Minutes 

3 Questions 


Let's break down the AP Micro exam into its two main acts. First up, we've got the multiple-choice section, where you'll wrangle with 60 questions for a solid 1 hour and 10 minutes. This chunk makes up a mighty 66% of your final exam score, so it's no light affair.

Next in the spotlight, we've got the free-response section. Here, you'll be facing a trio of questions – one biggie that's worth a cool 50% of your section score and two shorter ones, each carrying 25%. You've got an hour in total to tackle this, including a 10-minute reading session. And guess what? This slice accounts for a neat 33% of your grand final exam score.

Now, here's the game plan for you superstar students. Brace yourselves to make bold statements about economic concepts, principles, models, outcomes, or effects. Oh, but don't stop there – you're also gonna need to explain those ideas in your own words. And hey, numerical analysis is on the menu too, so get ready to crunch those numbers. Oh, and let's not forget the artistic side – whipping up graphs or visual masterpieces might just be your secret weapon.

What does the AP Microeconomics MCQ look like?

In the grand scheme of things, you'll be facing a grand total of 60 multiple-choice questions during the exam. Now, here's the twist – you've got a cool 70 minutes to breeze through these questions. And let me lay down a crucial nugget of info here: this multiple-choice extravaganza is no joke, accounting for a whopping 66% of your entire exam score. Yep, you heard that right – essential, much?

So, what's on the menu for this quiz fest? Well, buckle up, 'cause it's a three-course treat. First off, we're talkin' economic concepts – you know, those juicy theories and ideas that make the economic world go round. But hey, it's not just about regurgitating facts, oh no. We're diving deeper – think economic critical thinking skills. Yep, that's like putting on your detective hat and unraveling the mysteries of supply, demand, and more.

But wait, there's more! Get ready to flex those analysis muscles. Yep, that's right, you'll be peering into those graphs, deciphering their secrets, and unleashing your inner Sherlock Holmes of economics.

So, there you have it – a battlefield of multiple-choice questions waiting for your economic prowess to shine. Time to conquer, analyze, and let those economic insights soar!

What does the AP Microeconomics FRQ look like?

Alright, so when you hit the AP Micro FRQ section, you've got a solid 60 minutes to tackle three questions. But hold up, the first 10 minutes are all about reading and planning – mandatory prep time, you know? Now, these questions are gonna throw scenarios your way, and you gotta flex those course concepts muscles to analyze them. Plus, you might even need to whip out some graphical skills. Here's the deal: there's this one hefty essay you gotta dive into, and it's carrying 50% of your free-response score. Then, there are these two shorter essays, each strutting their stuff at 25% of your FRQ score. Oh, and don't forget, the free-response section is a solid 33% of your grand AP Microeconomics exam score. So, rock those responses and let's make that score shine!

When do AP Microeconomics scores come out?

Normally, you can expect scores to be released around July each year. But just to stay on the safe side and keep track of any possible changes, you can always check the official CollegeBoard Annual calendar.

Should I Self Study AP Microeconomics?

The overall content can be extremely daunting to attack for the AP Micro 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 Microeconomics exam tips and understanding the best way to study for the AP Micro exam will help you exponentially.

Utilize the following tips:

  1. Exam Format: The AP Microeconomics exam gives you 2 hours and 10 minutes to tackle 60 multiple-choice questions and 3 free-response questions. The multiple-choice section (70 minutes) counts for 66% of your total score, while the free-response section (60 minutes) is 33% of your score.

  2. Avoid Common Mistakes: Learn from others' mistakes. Focus on concepts like demand vs. quantity demanded, diminishing returns, profit maximization, supply curves, demand's impact on equilibrium, monopoly pricing, graphing economic profit/loss, monopoly vs. competition, wage determination, tax effects, and more.

  3. Flashcards: Create your own flashcards. Writing terms and definitions in your own words helps retention. Use physical or virtual flashcards daily for at least 15 minutes.

  4. Video Resources: Watch engaging Microeconomics videos and take notes to actively absorb the content.

  5. Graph Mastery: Master important graphs including Production Possibilities Curve, Market Equilibrium, Price Floor/Ceiling, Tax effects, Externalities, Cost Curves, Perfect Competition, Monopoly, and more. Check out Essential Graphs for AP Microeconomics for explanations.

  6. Review Books: Start early with AP Microeconomics review books. They offer concise coverage, practice questions, and study strategies. Brands like 5 Steps to a 5, Barron’s, Princeton Review, or REA’s Crash Course are useful.

  7. Social Media & Blogs: Follow microeconomics-themed social media accounts and blogs like Econ Point of View to incorporate economics into your daily life.

  8. Online Study Guides: Utilize comprehensive online study guides created by teachers and students. Highlight and annotate to personalize your study materials.

  9. Formulas: Familiarize yourself with essential formulas, including marginal cost, supply elasticity, average variable cost, and marginal revenue product. Practice applying them to complex problems.

  10. Daily Practice: Answer the AP Microeconomics question of the day from resources like or other daily question providers. Consistent practice is key.

Remember, consistency and proactive studying are your allies in acing the AP Microeconomics exam!

Is the AP Microeconomics Exam Hard?

If terms like "national income" or "price-level determination" sound like a snooze fest, no worries – we've got your back! Check out this ultimate list of AP Microeconomics tips that'll save you from the boredom. Figuring out what to focus on is the trickiest part of getting ready for an AP exam, and AP Microeconomics is no different. You need to wrap your head around those key economic concepts and also know how to tackle the exam like a pro on game day.

So, the AP Microeconomics exam puts a big spotlight on stuff like product markets, how we measure economic performance, the financial side of things, economic growth, and international economics. Plus, you'll be diving into charts, graphs, and data to break down these concepts. Just a heads-up – all AP exams are meant to be a bit of a brain workout, and AP Microeconomics is no walk in the park. Let's dive into the scores from the 2015 AP Microeconomics exam to see how it all shakes out:

  • About 17.9% of folks aced it with a shiny 5

  • A solid 28.7% nailed a 4

  • Around 19.9% locked in a respectable 3

  • A 14.4% crew held onto a 2

  • And 19.1% kept the scorecard with a 1

So, bottom line – scoring a 3 or higher and passing the exam is totally doable, with over 66% of test-takers rocking it! Meaning, only roughly 33% missed the mark. Interesting tidbit: that 28.7% rocking the 4 is a pretty impressive chunk, especially when you size it up against other AP exams. Long story short, if you put in the time, do the prep, and follow the tricks we're about to spill, you're set to crush that AP Microeconomics exam!

Explaining the previous AP Microeconomics Scores

The grading system for the exam operates on a curve, which introduces a certain degree of fluctuation to the average score from year to year. This nuanced adjustment is influenced by a variety of factors, including shifts in the composition of the student body taking the exam and the varying levels of difficulty presented by the questions themselves. 

To provide you with a more comprehensive picture, let's delve into some recent historical data. In 2014, the average score stood at 3.07, followed by a marginal uptick to 3.15 in 2015. The trend continued with a slight dip to 3.11 in 2016, followed by a more substantial rise to 3.26 in 2017. Subsequent years demonstrated a relatively steady trajectory, with the average score registering at 3.21 in 2018, edging upwards to 3.28 in both 2019 and 2020.

When we collate this data over a span of the last seven years, a broader perspective emerges, revealing an average score of 3.19. This cumulative insight underscores the intricate interplay between evolving exam dynamics, student populations, and the resultant scores.

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