Resources to Review for the APES Exam

What you use to review depends on your students and their needs. There is no one best way to review for the AP® Environmental Science Exam. What you choose to do depends on your school community and expectations, whether your students have experience with AP® tests, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Part 1 of the AP® exam is comprised of 80 multiple choice and matching in 90 minutes. Part 2 is comprised of 3 free response questions (FRQs) in 70 minutes. Read more about the specifics of each part of the AP® exam here.

Review
Image: Alpha stock images

Practice AP Exams

I always start my review with a practice exam several weeks before the AP® exam. This is always a “wake-up” call for students who may not realize they need to start studying. AP® teachers have access to secure practice exams with your audit sign-in and you can choose one of them to use first. I allow students to self-grade and diagnose their weaknesses to develop a game-plan of studying. Some other places to find practice exams include:

  1. AP Classroom or your Audit site for 3 secure practice exams. You can print for in-class use only or assign via the lockdown browser on AP® Classroom. Note that the FRQs from practice exams 1 and 2 were made public for students in 2020 so they are not secure if using as an assessment. This document put together by Kati Morris gives detailed instructions for accessing and using.
  2. Review books for student purchase such as 5 steps to a 5 (my recommendation), Barrons, or Princeton Review. They have content review and practice exams. Some have online exams for student practice as well.
  3. Make your own practice exams using the question bank on AP® Classroom.
  4. Released FRQs. These FRQs and their scoring guidelines are public access.
  5. Independent practice sites such as Albert IO or Peterson’s Test Prep.
  6. Textbook companion test prep books such as Strive for a 5 for the Friedland book, or Test Prep Series for the Withgott book. Note that these books have not been updated as of this writing (3/2021) to the new test format.
  7. Older AP® Exams can be used as most of the questions are still valid types of questions. The old released exams are 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2016 and the questions from them are on AP® Classroom in the question bank, but not as a full exam. Teachers who have taught this course for several years will have the full paper versions of these exams. These old exams have have 100 MCQ instead of 80 and will not have some of the newer types of multiple choice questions such as text analysis.

Science Practices and AP® Exam Review

I focus on AP® Science Practices during class time and content review is mainly at home. Science practices, or skills, are harder than content and doing these items in class makes more sense for my students. Every question will combine content with skill so skills are just as important as content. The list of AP Science Practices is on this website. This is a list of some resources to help prep your students.

  1. Math review problems. Click for a copy of math problems with video solutions. This is often homework if I do not have enough class time. Click for what they need to know about math. I also make sure they have memorized all these formulas. because unlike other AP Sciences, they will not have a formula sheet to use on the exam. (Note, this is my reference sheet, not from the College Board)
  2. Text Analysis Review. This is a new type of multiple choice question so we do not have many sample questions yet. You can filter for science practice 3 on AP® Classroom to make a practice set for your students. My students practice this skill using this template and assigned articles several times per year.
  3. Geography review. Many released exams have a world map with questions about events, plate tectonics or biomes and kids need to know some basic geography. You can make a geography practice test set using the filter on AP Classroom and choose map questions or this resource that helps students learn their geography and important APES events and places. This falls under Science Practice 2: Visual Representations.
  4. Experimental design review. I have a reference sheet on ways to strategize multiple choice questions and FRQs with experimental design and go over a sample set of questions on AP Classroom by filtering for Science Practice 4.
  5. FRQ Review. My students have practiced FRQs and how to answer the different FRQ task verbs all year, but they need to have what to do memorized from my reference sheet. (Note, this is my reference sheet, not from the College Board)
  6. FRQ strategies lesson. This is a lesson based on the old exam with 4 FRQs but the strategies are the same for the new exam. I copy a set of the 4 questions from one year (2015, for example) and show the kids what Question 1, 2, 3 and 4 look like. The students write all over the document with strategies for each question. Update: I will film a new video after this year’s AP Exam when 3 of the new FRQs are released publicly this summer (2021).
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One of four maps from my Geography Review

Content Review for the AP® Exam

What you decide to do for content review depends on what your students need. Many of your higher ability students will resent “busy work” as they do not need anything more than going through their notes and textbooks. Other students need guided and assigned review and you need to strike a balance between the two for your own students if you have a mixed-ability class. Here are ideas for content review.

  1. My students consistently rate sticky notes and practice exams as the top two things that prepared them best for the AP® exam. Read the results of my student polls (in a normal non-COVID year) here.
  2. Review books for student purchase such as 5 steps to a 5, Barrons, or Princeton Review. They have content review and practice exams.
  3. Guided reviews courtesy of Amber Suzanne and others. Answer keys are not in this folder, but you can search for them on the FB APES teacher page (if you are a teacher, of course).
  4. Targeted review slides courtesy of Jordan Dischinger Smedes. Jordan’s Instagram account also has content review for students to access.
  5. Condensed content sheets.
  6. AP® Daily videos from the College Board. Pick a few that are difficult concepts for students or that have a high percentage of questions on the AP® Exam. I recommend focusing on air pollution (Unit 7), biogeochemical cycles–especially the nitrogen cycle (Unit 1), water quality (Unit 8), atmospheric properties (Unit 4) and energy (Unit 6). For accountability, you can use these worksheets by She Cartoons on TPT.
  7. If you want a kinesthetic approach, try these orgiami revisomatics. I purchased and will use with my students this year so I do not have feedback on this resource yet.
  8. Bozeman Science Videos. This document has the videos per unit. You can also find them on Edpuzzle to assign to students. Students do get fatigued watching all of them for review, so it might be a good idea to give them a choice board or pick a few important ones and make the others extra credit.

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