AP Economics

What is AP Economics?

So you’ve read our guide to the AP tests and you’ve decided to pursue AP Economics. An excellent choice! The College Board offers two separate AP classes in college level Economics: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Each of these is a semester-long high school course. Because these two AP exams are offered on different testing dates, students can take both tests in the same year.

Both the AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics exams use the same format. Part 1 consists of 60 multiple choice questions, which the test taker has 70 minutes to complete. Part 2 consists of 3 free-response questions, which the test taker has 1 hour to complete. Section 1 is worth 2/3 of the final grade, and Section 2 is worth 1/3.

What material do the exams cover?

In Macroeconomics, students must be familiar with large-scale economic concepts. This includes supply and demand, trade, and opportunity cost. Students must also be familiar with fiscal and monetary policy and how these two policies affect an economic system. Students will also want to have some basic knowledge about the financial sector of the economy. Finally, the exam tests a student’s knowledge of how currencies work. You’ll want to know about fixed vs floating currencies, how countries affect their currencies, and how these policies can affect GDP.

Similarly, the AP Microeconomics exam tests a student on economic events at the level of firms and individuals. The exam covers the production methods and cost models of both competitive markets and monopolies, along with some other type of firms. Students will need to have a strong understanding of how price, cost, and revenue all relate to one another.

Like in the AP Macro course, AP Micro students also need to know the basics of supply and demand. Beyond this, however, students will also want to understand “market failures” and how the government tries to fix them. Finally, topics involving labor and the fair distribution of wealth also appear on the Microeconomics exam.

Notably, neither Advanced Placement exam is particularly math heavy, and you won’t need high-level math skills to score a 5.

What’s next?

If you need a refresher on all things AP, check out our Ultimate Guide here!