Examining and using released exams in an AP® Science class is important to help students be exposed to the types of rigorous questions found on the AP® Exam.
What Released and Practice Exams are Available in APES?
The AP® Exam changed its format in 2020. The College Board is releasing three full practice exams in Spring 2020 to teachers through their audit site.
We can still use old exams, however, with students for practice. Here are the old released exams. The questions on these exams are also found in the Question Bank on AP Classroom.
The 1998 Exam is the only one found legally online. But it is so old (first year the APES exam was given) that most teachers don’t use as the questions have changed quite a bit and its way too easy.
The 2003 Exam is available for purchase from the College Board. It is considered an “easier” multiple choice exam. You may be able to get a copy from another teacher at your school or district.
The 2008 Exam is also available for purchase from the College Board. Many of us long-timers remember ordering these exams when they were released and getting the copy in the mail. Its considered a “medium” exam in terms of rigor.
The Practice Exam was released in 2008 also. This is considered the “hardest” of the released exams.
The 2010 and 2016 exams were also released and teachers used to be able to find them on their audit site. Now, those problems along with other released exams are found as part of the Question Bank in AP Classroom. Only current APES teachers have access to AP Classroom and the question bank. Students only have access to questions that they are assigned by their teacher.
The new exam will have more graphing, diagrams, reading and application questions than previous exams. When choosing test questions in AP Classroom for unit exams, try to choose as many of these types of questions as you can.
On that note, do not upload any released exams or anything from AP Classroom to your own website! Even if you think its password protected or kids need a link, search engines find a way. And, once its posted, its sometimes cached (stored on a server) by Google so it stays available even if you then take it down. When you gained access to these exams, the College Board made you click that you would NOT upload to the web and would use in class only.
How to use Released and Practice APES Exams
Teachers use released exams in many ways.
- To add questions to unit or chapter exams that have AP® rigor. Teachers will cut and paste questions into their own exams as practice for kids. I do this with the most recent exam as I want kids to get used to the “newer” style of question throughout the school year. My exams have mostly questions from various test banks along with about 3-5 questions from the newest exam.
- As diagnostic exams before the AP® Exam. I give several of the released exams as practice starting about 4 weeks before the AP® exam. We only do the multiple choice and they self- grade. Afterwards, they fill out a diagnostic sheet to determine how close they are to the score they want on the AP® Exam.
- As a final exam. This is why its so important to never upload to the web. Students are crafty and if they get wind of the exam you are using for your final exam, they will search for it and memorize it. I give my final exam MC the week before the AP® Exam and often choose one of the released (or a combo) exams.
- As pre-tests. Some schools require teachers to give pre-tests at the start of the course.