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AP Stats Review

AP Stats Review

Dive into the data with this rigorous and enriching course.

Apex Learning Virtual School’s AP Statistics course is excellent for any student interested in developing skills necessary for data-heavy careers while also earning college credit. Any job that has you analyzing reports, determining patterns in sales, or managing large sets of numbers will require a healthy understanding of statistics. Additionally, students looking to pursue research during their time in college will likely need a working knowledge of statistical analysis. Regardless of what you plan to do during or after college, AP Stats will likely be incredibly helpful and relevant. 

Overview of AP Statistics Exam

AP Stats introduces students to the basics of college-level statistical analysis. You’ll learn about data variation, pattern recognition, making data-based decisions, and many more topics. The AP Stats exam will assess your understanding of these topics through a combination of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and free-response questions (FRQs).  

Multiple Choice Section Review

Students are tasked with completing 40 MCQs in 90 minutes. Performance on this section of the test accounts for 50% of the overall grade on the exam. Questions address all the units students cover during the course, but the bulk of the questions will be about exploring one-variable data, collecting data, probability, and making inferences about categorical and quantitative data. 

Free-Response Section Review

The FRQs count for the remaining 50% of the exam grade, but they are broken up further into two main sections. Students have 65 minutes to complete the first five FRQs, which consist of multi-part questions regarding data gathering, analyzing data, exploring probability and sampling distribution, making inferences from data, and then one final question that combines some of the previous skills. The last FRQ takes 25 minutes to complete and is referred to as the investigative task. Students need to apply all the skills of the course to analyze data in a novel way that addresses the task detailed on the exam.    

Key AP Stats Exam Topics 

AP Stats is an expansive course covering a wide array of topics, but there are a few key categories you need to know about to understand the AP Stats experience. 

Exploring Data 

Students will need to understand how to read and represent diverse quantitative data as well as understand how that data is distributed. 

Sampling and Experimentation

You’ll also learn about how to gather data in the first place and all that goes into ensuring that the data is representative and reliable.  

Anticipating Patterns 

Use data to determine trends and patterns, giving you the ability to make decisions and explain phenomena using mathematical logic.  

Statistical Inference 

Determine the validity of your data-driven conclusions through thorough testing and logic.  

AP Stats Exam Tips 

The AP Stats Exam is a challenging test where only about 60% of students pass. However, with careful planning and the right strategies, you can find success. 

Time Management Strategies

Time management is a vital skill for all classes, but especially when preparing for the AP Statistics exam. You only have 1-2 minutes for each question, so you need to know how to allot your time beforehand. Make a plan that allocates a specific amount of time for each multiple-choice question and free-response question. Try your best to stick to your time limits and move on to the next question if you find yourself spending too much time on a single question. Each question on the multiple choice section is worth the same amount, and remember that there's no penalty for incorrect answers on multiple-choice questions; when in a pinch, make educated guesses if needed. 

For the FRQs, quickly review the questions and allocate time based on which topics you think will give you the most trouble. Just like with the MCQs, don’t spend too much time on one question, though. You might consider knocking out what you consider “easier” questions first so that the remaining time can be devoted to the real challenging questions. 

Answering Multiple Choice Questions 

Remember, you have 90 minutes to complete 40 questions, and while that may seem like a long time, these questions can be labor intensive. Do not linger on any one question for too long—you don’t want to sacrifice getting some easier questions right later on just to complete one difficult question early in the test. If you are running low on time, and you see a question coming up that you know will be time-consuming, you might simply mark it, make your best guess, and return to it later if you have time. 

Tackling Free Response Questions 

The free-response questions on the AP Statistics exam are particularly challenging and require a more deliberate approach to time-management. Start by carefully reading each question and the accompanying data, noting keywords or specific instructions that allude to how you are supposed to address the question. Begin with the question you feel most confident about and work through the others systematically. 

Remember, each FRQ is a multi-part question, so you need to carefully plan your approach. For each question, start by outlining your approach before diving into calculations or explanations to make sure you stay on track. If a certain part of a question stumps you, make your best attempt and clearly communicate your thought process; you can still get partial credit for showing understanding, even if you don't get the final correct answer. Finally, don't forget to review and revise your answers if you have any leftover time; however, you are better off checking your work as you complete each individual step of each FRQ.

AP Stats Practice Exams

A practice exam can be massively helpful for preparing you for not only the content of the exam, but also the format and experience of taking such a taxing exam. College Board has released versions of previous AP Stats exams on their website where they provide the answers and reasoning behind those answers. 

MCQ practices are more difficult to come by, but College Board does have a few complete exams available online for the purposes of practice and review. However, if you want or need additional review, many publishers sell prep books full of testing strategies and sample questions. These books can be pricey, though, so you might consider looking for older editions in local libraries. Just note that the exam changes occasionally, so you want to make sure that you are aware of any differences between the sample test and what you will take later on.

AP Stats Exam Scoring 

The overall exam grade ranges from a 1 to 5, where a 5 means you are highly qualified for college-level statistics. Below, you can see the breakdown of how common each score is and what each signifies in terms of capability. 

AP Statistics Score


2020 Percentage of Test Takers


Extremely qualified



Well qualified






Possibly qualified



No recommendation


As you can see, there is a fairly even distribution in the scoring, which means you will need to be diligent if you want to score well. 

The AP Exam also accesses all the major skills covered in the class, but some skills get more focus than the others. Below, you can see how the College Board distributes the skills across the number of questions on the exam.

The application and analysis of data carries more weight on the exam, so as you progress through the course, pay extra close attention to the skills that involve making inferences from data sets. 

Frequently Asked Questions About AP Stats  

Is the AP Stats exam difficult to pass? 

With only around 60% of students passing the test, the AP Stats exam is a challenging assessment. Of those who pass the exam, only a little over half are considered well or extremely qualified in the topics. 

How should I study for AP Stats? 

First, come up with a plan for how to allocate your time. Review released FRQs and sample exams to anticipate the kinds of questions you will be expected to answer. Remember that the FRQs are multi-step questions that synthesize multiple skills. You will need to review all the essential AP Stats skills in order to be successful.

What topics does the AP Stats review cover? 

The AP Stats review covers a wide array of skills including exploratory data analysis, methods for collecting data, probability concepts, and assessing confidence in results. These topics require skills with gathering data, organizing data, graphing data, assessing and analyzing data, and determining the relevance of the entire process to the initial scope of the research.

Ready to take the next step and enroll in AP Statistics? Our online application process is designed to make enrollment as stress-free as possible. Take the next step toward your academic success today — browse our catalog to learn more about course offerings or contact us at 1.855.550.2547 to speak to an admissions advisor. 

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