What You Need to Know About the AP Macroeconomics Exam

November 8, 2020
By AdmissionSight

What You Need to Know About the AP Macroeconomics Exam

If you are a high school student looking to make the most of your years as a student, chances are a good you have already thought about taking AP courses and exams such as the AP Macroeconomics Exam.

When it comes to students who are interested in mathematics or pursuing a career in business, enrolling in the AP Macroeconomics course and taking the AP Macroeconomics Exam is a great way to jumpstart your education and get ahead.

But what are the specifics of the AP Macroeconomics Exam, and why are AP courses in general so valuable to students? Let us at AdmissionSight break it all down for you!

Why AP Courses are a valuable part of a high schooler’s curriculum?

There are a lot of great reasons to take AP courses and exams such as the AP Macroeconomics Exam as a high schooler. Here are some of the top reasons to consider if you are weighing your options for your upcoming high school year.

You can save loads of money on college tuition

As you most likely know, high schoolers who take AP exams have the ability to receive credit and placement in college courses. Typically, students have to score at least a 3 out of 5 to gain college credit, but for those that do, the value is undeniable.

Consider the fact that signing up for an AP exam costs just $89. If you are able to score a perfect 5 out of 5, you will have the opportunity to test out of introductory college courses at some of the top colleges in the world. Depending on how many AP exams you take, and how many total college credits you earn through earning great scores, you could be saving yourself and your family thousands of dollars’ worth of college tuition! What an opportunity!

Enrolling in AP courses impresses college admissions officers

When it comes to college admissions officers at many of the top colleges and universities in the United States, gaining acceptance takes far more than excelling in school. Students need to show a passion for their education and their community. They must also show a willingness to push themselves in order to achieve their goals.

Enrolling in AP courses proves to college admissions officers that students are not only willing to push themselves, but are also able to rise to the challenge of accelerated coursework and exams that are specifically created to be more similar to that of college courses than to that of a normal high school curriculum.

Being able to prove that you are able to seriously commit to your education will without a doubt help you stand out when you start applying to colleges.

College courses will help you develop skills you will need in college

For many students who excel in the high school style of learning, the first few semesters of college can be quite a shock. The coursework is heavier, the expectations are higher, and the amount of responsibility that a student must take over his or her success is undoubtedly greater.

One great way to prepare for that increased pressure is for high schoolers to take AP courses. AP courses help high school students develop college-level academic skills. On top of that, AP courses are filled with high school students who are determined to succeed in school. For that reason, the classes themselves are much more similar to those that you will experience in college compared to those that you may experience in high school, where some students are less determined to succeed than others.

While many high school students who do not take AP courses in high school might be shocked by the workload once they get to college, those who have taken AP courses will be more than comfortable with the amount of work they will have to undertake.

You may increase your chances of gaining merit-based financial support

If you are looking to attend one of the country’s most prestigious universities but are (understandably) worried about the heft financial burden, taking AP courses is a great way to increase your chances of gaining merit-based financial support.

In fact, approximately 31 percent of colleges and universities will consider a student’s AP coursework when they are making decisions about which students will receive merit-based financial support. Not only does taking AP coursework impress college admissions officers, but it may also help save you and your family loads of money.

About the AP Macroeconomics Exam

When it comes to the AP Macroeconomics Exam, it is actually one of the most commonly taken exams each and every school year. While the majority of students who take the exam do enroll in the high school course, the AP Macroeconomics Exam is also one of the most commonly taken exams in which students prepare on their own through self-studying.

The reason why this exam is so well-suited for students who are interested in preparing through self-study is that the exam places a heavy emphasis on mastering related words and vocabulary as well as gaining an understanding of highly specific and related economic theory.

When it comes to your chances at success, the AP Macroeconomics Exam is one of the courses where quite a lot of students get the perfect 5 out of 5 scores. In fact, just under 50 percent of students score either a 4 or 5. Here is a breakdown of the scores from the 2019 exam.

Breakdown of scores

As you see, if you end up taking this exam, there is quite a great chance that you will reap many of the ideal benefits that students hope for when they enroll in AP courses.

Mastering the AP Macroeconomics Exam and Course

Here at AdmissionSight, we believe that one of the best ways to succeed in an AP course is to not only master the material but also master the format of the exam itself. That way, you will know what questions to expect and how to expect what form those questions will come in.

In some ways, preparing for an AP exam is much like preparing for an ACT or SAT exam. For students who are looking to gain the very best scores, you must study the material of the exam as well as study the exam itself.

When it comes to the course, it is built to introduce students to a college-level course that deals with the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole. The course places a particular emphasis on the study of national income as well as price-level determination. It also is aimed at helping students develop a great familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. On top of that, students will learn how to utilize information found on graphs, charts, and data in order to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts and ideas.

While there are no prerequisites for this course, students are encouraged to understand how to read graphs and have basic mathematics skills.

Within the course, students will be expected to gain a certain list of economic skills. Because we at AdmissionSight want all high school students to succeed, we have put the four skill categories for you to study below:

Four skill categories in the exam

On top of that, the AP Macroeconomic Exam and course will also teach – and test – students to master the four big ideas related to this exam. These big ideas serve as the foundation of the course and will allow the students enrolled in the course – or preparing for the exam at home through self-study. – to create meaningful connections between concepts. These big ideas are meant to encourage the understanding that these concepts and themes work together and run throughout the course.

Below, is a brief explanation of each big idea from the College Board’s own description of the course:

Description of course on Economics

Finally, in order to get the best idea of what students can expect in the course itself as well as the exam, taking a look at the six commonly taught units is incredibly helpful. On top of that, the range of percentage that each unit will be on the exam is also available for students to overlook.

While there is no specific way of teaching these units for teachers to follow, the College Board suggests that class periods are based on a schedule in which the class meets every day of the school week for 45 minutes per day. With this workload, along with students studying outside of class, the expectation is that students will be able to master every unit prior to the exam.

Units covered in the Exam

Format of the AP Macroeconomics Exam

When it comes to the actual specifics of the AP Macroeconomics Exam, it is one of the shorter AP exams that high school students can take, clocking in at a manageable two hours and 10 minutes.

Just like all the AP exams (many of which we have covered in our own blog), the AP Macroeconomics Exam has broken up into two different sections: a multiple-choice section as well as a free-response section.

Multiple Choice

The first section of the exam is multiple-choice and takes up just over half of the allotted time for the exam as a whole, with students getting one hour and 10 minutes to answer 60 questions.

When it comes to the breakdown of scoring for this portion of the AP Macroeconomics Exam, the multiple-choice section accounts for 66 percent of a student’s total score.

Here are a number of examples of questions that you may expect to see in the multiple-choice portion of the exam:

Sample economics exam questions

Free Response

The second section of the AP Macroeconomics Exam is the free-response section and takes the remaining hour, as well as makes up the remaining 33 percent of the exam’s total score. Within the free-response section of the exam, two of the questions will be shorter and will account for 25 percent of your total score in this section, while the remaining question will be longer and account for 50 percent of the rest of the score of this section.

Here is an example of a free-response question that you may face:

Sample free response questions

How to prepare for the AP Macroeconomics Exam

Just as we at AdmissionSight previously said, it is important for students who want to master the exam need to study not only the material but the exam itself. For that reason, we have broken down the very best way to prepare for the exam.

Let’s go over it together.

Analyze your knowledge and ability

The first step to gaining mastery of the AP Macroeconomics Exam is to first take a sample exam. These are available to you in a number of resources. There are practice exams that students can find online as well as exams that students can use from some of the most popular study guides.

While you do not have to time yourself while taking this test as you will be time during the real exam, you will want to make a point to cross-check all of your answers with the correct answers that are offered by the online resource or study guide. That way, you will be able to use the exam as a learning experience where you will be able to identify areas of the coursework that you are already strong with as well as areas that you still need to strengthen.

Master the material

The next step of preparing for the course is to fully master the material that you will be tested on during the exam. This includes basic economic theory as well as the economic system as a whole. There are major things that students will want to take care of to master these specific lessons.

  • Basic Economic Concepts
  • National Income and Price Determination
  • Financial Sector
  • Economic Growth
  • Open Economy

Outside of the course itself, there are many great places for students to gain the information necessary to master the AP Macroeconomics Exam. One such example is here.

Practices Multiple Choice and Free Response Questions

Once you feel as though you have gained a deep understanding of the many different concepts and topics that you will be tested on in the exam, it is time to start focusing specifically on preparing for the exam itself.

This means returning to the format of questions that you will be tested on. Make sure that you find as many resources as possible so that you can get comfortable with all of the question formats that you may face on the exam.

Take another practice exam

Once you feel comfortable with the many different types of questions that you may face in the exam, it is time to return to the exam itself – in the form of another practice exam. As the day of the actual exam nears, it is important that all of the full practice exams that you take are timed just as the real exam will be. That will allow you to prepare your mind for the arduous process of answering all of the questions within the time that you will be allotted.

One final thing to keep in mind is that when the day of the exam is truly dawning near, say within a week or so, you will want to ease up on your studying schedule. Instead, it is now important to give your mind the rest it needs in order to perform its best on the day of the exam.

Good luck!





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