The three-hour AP Environmental Science exam has two 90-minute sections: a 100-question multiple-choice section, accounting for 60% of the final grade, and four free-response questions (one data-set question, one document-based question, and two synthesis and evaluation questions), accounting for 40% of the final grade. As you begin studying, incorporate these tips to enhance your knowledge:
1. Watch the news!
Environmental science is extremely important in today’s world. Just by watching the news, you can learn a lot about important issues that may be covered on the exam (from air pollution in China to global warming to the environmental factors behind California’s recent drought). In the free-response section, you can spice up your answers with anecdotes about current events. Watching (and especially discussing) current events also serves as a great way to remember information rather than through rote memorization of a textbook.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words
Yes, textbook information is important to know. However, many of the environmental science concepts come alive through online videos and pictures. Try looking up any need-to-know terms on YouTube (videos on El Nino/La Nina and the Aurora Borealis were especially cool to me). Don’t stop with just concepts though. Also try to find videos for environmental laws (for example: “Endangered Species Act”). It’s super helpful to have narration and visuals combined when trying to remember specific information.
3. Check out TEDTalks
For high-quality, informative videos, check out TEDTalks. They have an excellent array of videos on many environmental topics: pollution, evolution, energy, sustainability, the environment itself, etc. The information provided offers the most cutting-edge findings from the researchers themselves.