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Exam Skills: FRQ/MCQ

AP Microeconomics Exam Guide

3 min readโ€ขnovember 11, 2020

Jeanne Stansak


AP Microeconomicsย ๐Ÿ’ต

Bookmarkedย 2.4kย โ€ขย 82ย resources
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Exam Logistics ๐Ÿค‘

The AP Microeconomics Exam consists of two sections: (1) Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) and (2) Free-Response Questions (FRQs). The multiple-choice section consists of 60 questions, each with 5 answer choices. You have 70 minutes for the multiple-choice section which gives you a little over a minute per question. The Free-Response section consists of three questions: one long question and two short questions. ๐Ÿ“š
A couple of important rules for the test:
  • No calculators
  • No colored pencils/pens (Blue or black pens only)
Below is the breakdown of each section of the exam including the types of questions, how many questions, weighting and timing. โณ
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The AP Micro exam assesses content from the following four ideas for the course. Every question whether it be multiple-choice or free-response will involve content from these four areas. ๐Ÿ“–
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-A1glb0YVzPGx.png?alt=media&token=d69e750d-44ad-4c50-8434-1a379973f095
The College Board has given us a basic breakdown of how much each concept will be covered on the exam ๐Ÿ“Š:
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ee4UmKLWcKCt.png?alt=media&token=2d1afa12-bcdf-4be5-b458-72fbfc752b20

Section 1: Multiple-Choice Questions ๐Ÿค“

In this section, you will have a total of 60 questions in which you will be tested on your ability to (1) define economic principles and models, (2) explain given economic outcomes, (3) determine outcomes of specific economic situations, and (4) answer questions based on a graph or visual representation that is provided. There will be about 20 - 30% of the multiple-choice questions that ask you to analyze number or perform calculations.

Strategies for Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Read the question carefully. Pay close attention to specific wording, like the word "NOT", used in the stem of the question.
  • Try to answer the question yourself before reading the answer choices.
  • Guess if you can eliminate one or more answer choices.
  • If you are really lost on where to begin, try looking for answer choices that mean the same thing but are worded differently; these can be eliminated right off the bat!
  • Remember that drawing a picture/graph can help.
  • Don't spend too much time on any one question! Move on and come back to a tricky question later.

Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

All of these questions can be found in the AP Microeconomics Course and Exam Description. Try the next few questions out! All the answers are at the bottom of this section.
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https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-Q8gntddXmmYU.png?alt=media&token=f89e606a-da3e-4f1e-8b7d-530252c0ab55
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-KEQYiVR2swWZ.png?alt=media&token=ccf3b657-d53f-492d-93b5-a9726c927cbb
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-Gha8ZzUOWgFE.png?alt=media&token=520f1a75-fbc9-4936-956f-0117a2d5cbcf
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-dPNAZoxnptFw.png?alt=media&token=d61ba5ce-b929-48ad-bfad-ef78f469baf2
Answer Key:
1. B; This is basically the application of the definition of scarcity. Limited resources vs. unlimited wants.
2. C, the concept of marginal analysis
2. (Yes, there were two questions that were number two LOL.) C; When applying the economics concept of marginal analysis, we maximize our time and resources by participating in an activity where marginal benefit equals marginal cost. In the graph above marginal benefit and marginal cost meet at S2.
4. C; Economic surplus is maximized where quantity demanded equals quantity supplied which, in the graph above, is P2 and Q2.
6. C; When we calculate cross-price elasticity, we always divide the percent change in quantity demanded of Good A by the percent change in price for Good B. For cross-price elasticity, we also keep the positive and negative signs intact. So for this problem, we will divide -5 (quantity demanded change for cheese) by a +2 (price change for bologna). The answer is a negative (-) 2.5, which means that the goods are complements.
12. E; Profit-maximizing quantity is where MR=MC, which in this graph is Q1. Revenue-maximizing quantity is where Total Revenue (TR) is highest, which means that MR=0. In this graph, that is at Q3.

Check out the FRQ Section of this Guide in the Complement on AP Macro at Fiveable!

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