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AP Environmental Science

AP Environmental Science

Dive deeply into the intricate relationships within the natural world 

Our world is a fascinating and complex place, and any student looking to dig into the nitty-gritty layers that make the natural world work will love the hands-on approach of AP Environmental Science, or APES, as some students know it. In this class, you will participate in labs and field work along with more traditional academic study. 

With this challenging course, you’ll develop important study skills necessary for success on a collegiate level, and, if you do well enough on the AP exam, even earn college credit, saving you both time and money.

Understanding the AP Environmental Science Structure 

AP Environmental Science will delve into many important skills necessary for understanding college-level science including quantitative data analysis, graph interpretation, problem-solving for critical environmental problems, and more. At the end of the course, you will be expected to complete the AP Environmental Science Exam, where you will be tested on all of the course’s major skills. On this exam, you will have 80 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) covering important terminology and the application of class skills. After that, you will tackle the free-response questions (FRQs) that demand a more in-depth understanding and utilization of skills to solve real-world problems and analyze data. 

Core Concepts in AP Environmental Science 

While the class covers many important skills and concepts, AP Environmental Science focuses primarily on a few key ideas. Mastery of these vital concepts is integral to success in both the class and on the exam. 

How to Prepare for the AP Environmental Science Exam 

Here are some expert tips from our Apex Learning Virtual School instructors. 

Understand the Exam Format 

The AP Environmental Science exam is skill and knowledge-based, and you’ll need extensive and persistent practice to succeed. If you wait until the week before the test to start developing these skills or learning key terms, you will struggle on the exam. Additionally, you can expect technical graphs and models you will read on the exam as part of the more intensive questions, and these can seem indecipherable to untrained eyes. Set aside time each week to practice the skills and review important vocabulary.   

Develop a Study Schedule 

To prepare for the complex APES exam, you should adopt a dedicated study schedule. Start off early by reviewing class notes on a regular basis, even if that is just one or two nights a week. Once you get more familiar with the class content, you can seek out practice problems and mock exams to put that knowledge to the test. You can even add a social component with a dedicated study partner to help you keep on track with your routine.  

Use AP Environmental Science Review Books

You can find plenty of AP review books on sale that include comprehensive reviews of the core class skills and concepts. These books often include practice problems and entire mock examples for you to put these abilities to the test. However, these books can be expensive, so you may want to split the costs with a buddy or look for used copies in your local library.  

Review and Apply Key Concepts 

One of the best things about APES is how relevant the content is. Every time you step outside, you immerse yourself in the subject material. Try to make connections between the real world and your studies to help yourself recall important concepts and also encourage your brain to commit facts and skills to memory. The more meaningful the material feels, the more likely you are to remember and enjoy it. 

Reach Out to Your AP Instructor

Your AP instructor is a great resource — our ALVS instructors will help you pursue success with tips and resources. Do not hesitate to reach out to teachers and instructional coaches for other tips and tricks. 

AP Environmental Science Practice Exams

Even with well-developed skills and knowledge about the course content, the exam can catch people off guard with its depth-of-knowledge questions and tasks. The best way to prepare for this challenge is to take practice exams. You can find samples of previous tests and free-response questions through the College Board’s website and other online resources, but these samples are often just portions of the complete exam and don’t capture the full extent of the test. As mentioned before, you can buy study books and guides featuring complete practice tests, but these can be expensive. Libraries, however, often have older editions of such study guides to borrow. You need to make sure that the current year’s test aligns with the study book’s content. The tests do change from time to time, and older study guides might not address such changes. 

AP Environmental Science Exam Scoring 

The APES exam is broken up into two main sections, the MCQs and FRQs. The 80 multiple-choice questions carry the most weight overall, accounting for 60% of the final exam grade. You will have an hour and a half to complete this section of the exam, and you can expect questions asking you to interpret graphs and tables, define and apply key terms, and analyze different kinds of data. 

The FRQ section consists of three progressively more complex problems, and you will have an hour and ten minutes to complete all of them. These questions expect students to identify and investigate real-world environmental problems and then develop science and data-backed solutions. This section counts for the remaining 40% of the final exam grade.    

Overall, AP Environmental Science is an excellent course for any students interested in the mechanics of the natural world and how the changing climate may affect society going forward. The course content is more timely than ever, and you can even earn college credit while coming to grips with the way the world works.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is AP Environmental Science harder than biology? 

APES is a challenging course with an even more challenging exam. In 2022, only 54% of students who took the exam nationwide passed. In 2023, 78% of ALVS students earned a 3 or higher on the APES exam. Additionally, APES builds off of many concepts introduced in Biology, so the material is naturally more complex and difficult. 

How can I prepare for the AP Environmental Science exam? 

Studying early and often is one of the best ways to get yourself on the right track for success on the exam. Additionally, taking advantage of practice questions and tests will help you familiarize yourself with the structure and expectations of the exam. 

What topics does AP Environmental Science cover? 

APES covers many topics relating to the mechanics and systems of the natural world. You will learn about the ebb and flow of populations, the Earth’s changing climate, and the multiple layers of ecosystems and how they interact. 

Discover the endless possibilities with ALVS! 

Explore our comprehensive course catalog, including exciting options like AP Environmental Science. Dive into a world of knowledge and accelerate your learning experience. Visit our website or connect with our team to embark on your educational journey today!

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