Are you taking AP Statistics? If so, you're likely wondering what to expect from the AP Statistics exam. Before you sit down to take the final test, it's important to understand how the AP Stats test is formatted, what topics it will cover, and how it'll be scored. This guide will explain all of that information, show you official sample problems and give you tips on the best way to prepare for the AP Statistics test. In 2023, the AP Statistics exam will take place on Thursday, May 5th at 12:00pm. How long is the AP Statistics exam? The test is a total of three hours long and contains two sections: multiple choice and free response. You're allowed a graphing calculator for the entire exam. The content of the AP Stats exam and course is centered around nine units. Below are the nine units, along with what percentage of the exam will be on them and all the topics that fall beneath each of them. Each unit starts with an "introducing statistics" question that'll be answered throughout the unit. The list below covers every single topic that the AP Statistics exam could test you on. As we mentioned above, there are three types of questions on the AP Stats exam: multiple choice, short answer, and investigative task. Below are examples of each question type. You can see more sample questions and answer explanations in the AP Statistics Course Description. There are 40 multiple-choice questions on the exam. Each has five answer options. Some questions will be accompanied by a chart or graph you need to analyze to answer the question. There are five short-answer questions on the AP Stats test. Each of these questions typically includes several different parts you need to answer. You're expected to spend about 12 minutes on each short-answer question.
How Is the AP Statistics Exam Structured?
What Does the AP Statistics Exam Test You On?
Unit 1: Exploring One-Variable Data (15-23% of exam)
Unit 2: Exploring Two-Variable Data (5-7% of exam)
Unit 3: Collecting Data (12-15% of exam)
Unit 4: Probability, Random Variables, and Probability Distributions (10-20% of exam)
Unit 5: Sampling Distributions (7-12% of exam)
Unit 6: Inference for Categorical Data: Proportions (12-15% of exam)
Unit 7: Inference for Quantitative Data: Means (10-18% of exam)
Unit 8: Inference for Categorical Data: Chi-Square (2-5% of exam)
Unit 9: Inference for Quantitative Data: Slopes (2-5% of exam)
AP Statistics Sample Questions
Multiple-Choice Sample Question
Short-Answer Sample Question
Are you taking AP Statistics? If so, you're likely wondering what to expect from the AP Statistics exam. Before you sit down to take the final test, it's important to understand how the AP Stats test is formatted, what topics it will cover, and how it'll be scored.
This guide will explain all of that information, show you official sample problems and give you tips on the best way to prepare for the AP Statistics test.
In 2023, the AP Statistics exam will take place on Thursday, May 5th at 12:00pm.
How long is the AP Statistics exam? The test is a total of three hours long and contains two sections: multiple choice and free response. You're allowed a graphing calculator for the entire exam.
The content of the AP Stats exam and course is centered around nine units. Below are the nine units, along with what percentage of the exam will be on them and all the topics that fall beneath each of them. Each unit starts with an "introducing statistics" question that'll be answered throughout the unit. The list below covers every single topic that the AP Statistics exam could test you on.
As we mentioned above, there are three types of questions on the AP Stats exam: multiple choice, short answer, and investigative task. Below are examples of each question type. You can see more sample questions and answer explanations in the AP Statistics Course Description.
There are 40 multiple-choice questions on the exam. Each has five answer options. Some questions will be accompanied by a chart or graph you need to analyze to answer the question.
There are five short-answer questions on the AP Stats test. Each of these questions typically includes several different parts you need to answer. You're expected to spend about 12 minutes on each short-answer question.
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Investigative Task Sample Question
The final question on the exam is the Investigative Task question. This is the most in-depth question on the test, and you should spend about 30 minutes answering it. It will have multiple parts you need to answer and require multiple statistics skills. You'll also need to provide a detailed explanation of your answers that shows the strength of your statistics skills. Be sure to show all your work as you'll be graded on the completeness of your answer.
How Is the AP Statistics Test Graded?
For the multiple-choice part of the exam, you earn one point for each question you answer correctly. There are no point deductions for incorrect answers or questions you leave blank. Official AP graders will grade your free-response questions. Each of the six free-response questions is scored on a scale of 0 to 4 points, so the total section is out of 24 points.
The free-response questions are graded holistically, which means, instead of getting a point or half a point for each bit of correct information you include, graders look at your answer to each question as a "complete package," and your grade is awarded on the overall quality of your answer. The grading rubric for each free-response question is:
- 4: Complete Response: Shows complete understanding of the problem's statistical components
- 3: Substantial Response: May include arithmetic errors, but answers are still reasonable and show substantial understanding of the problem's statistical components
- 2: Developing Response: May include errors that result in some unreasonable answers, but shows some understanding of the problem's statistical components
- 1: Minimal Response: Misuses or fails to use appropriate statistical techniques and shows only a limited understanding of statistical components by failing to identify important components
- 0: No Response: Shows little or no understanding of statistical components
What does holistic grading mean for you? Basically, you can't expect to earn many points by including a few correct equations or arithmetic answers if you're missing key statistical analysis. You need to show you understand how to use stats to get a good score on these questions.
Estimating Your AP Statistics Score
If you take a practice AP Stats exam (which you should!) you'll want to get an estimate of what your score on it is so you can get an idea of how well you'd do on the real exam. To estimate your score, you'll need to do a few calculations.
#1: Multiply the number of points you got on the multiple-choice section by 1.25
#2: For free-response questions 1 through 5, add the number of points you got together and multiply that sum by 1.875 (don't round). If you need help estimating your score, the official free-response questions we linked to above include sample responses to help you get an idea of the score you'd get for each question.
#3: For free-response question #6, multiply your score by 3.125.
#4: Add the scores you got in steps 1-3 together to get your Composite Score.
For example, say you got 30 questions correct on the multiple-choice section, 13 points on questions 1-5, and 2 points on question 6. Your score would be (30 x 1.25) + (13 x 1.875) + (2 x 3.125) = 68.125 which rounds to 68 points. By looking at the chart below, you can see that'd get you a 4 on the AP Statistics exam.
Below is a conversion chart so you can see how raw score ranges translate into final AP scores. I've also included the percentage of students who earned each score in 2021 to give you an idea of what the score distribution looks like:
Percentage of Students Earning Each Score (2022)
Source: The College Board
Where Can You Find Practice AP Stats Tests?
Practice tests are an important part of your AP Stats prep. There are official and unofficial AP Stats practice tests available, although we always recommend official resources first. Below are some of the best practice tests to use.
Official Practice Tests
To learn more about where to find AP Statistics practice tests and how to use them, check out our complete guide to AP Statistics practice exams.
3 Tips for the AP Statistics Exam
In this section we go over three of the most useful tips you can use when preparing for and taking the AP Statistics test. Follow these and you're more likely to get a great score on the exam.
#1: For Free Response, Answer the Entire Question
As we mentioned earlier, free-response questions on AP Stats are graded holistically, which means you'll get one score for the entire question. This is different from many other AP exams where each correct component you include in a free-response question gets you a certain number of points, and those points are then added up to get your total score for that question.
The Stats free-response questions are graded holistically because there are often multiple correct answers in statistics depending on how you solve the problem and explain your answer. This means you can't just answer part of the question and expect to get a good score, even if you've answered that part perfectly. If you've ignored a large part of the problem, your score will be low no matter what.
So instead of trying to get a point here and there by including a correct formula or solving one part of a question, make sure you're looking at the entire problem and answering it as completely as possible. Also, if you need to include an explanation, be sure it explains your thought process and the steps you took. If your explanation shows you understand important stats concepts, it could help you get a higher score even if your final answer isn't perfect.
Aiming for the most complete response possible is also important if you can't answer one part of a question that's needed to answer other parts. For example, if you can't figure out what the answer to part A is, but you need to use that answer for parts B and C, just make up an answer (try to keep it logical), and use that answer to solve the other parts, or explain in detail how you'd solve the problem if you knew what the answer to part A was. If you can show you know how to solve the latter problems correctly, you'll likely get some credit for showing you understand the stats concepts being tested.
#2: Know How to Use Your Calculator
You'll need a graphing calculator to answer pretty much every question on the Stats exam, so make sure you know how to use it. Ideally, the calculator you use on test day will be the same one you've been doing homework and taking tests with throughout the school year so you know exactly how to use it.
Knowing how to solve common stats functions on your calculator and interpret the answers you get will save you a lot of time on the exam. Your calculator will likely be most useful on the multiple-choice section where you don't need to worry about showing work. Just plug the data you're given into your calculator, and run the right equations. Then you'll have your answer!
#3: Know Your Vocabulary
You may think that since AP Stats is a math course, vocab won't be an important part of the test, but you need to know quite a few terms to do well on this exam. Confusing right- and left-skewed or random sampling and random allocation, for example, could lead to you losing tons of points on the test.
During the school year, stay on top of any new terms you learn in class. Making flashcards of the terms and quizzing yourself regularly is a great way to stay up-to-date on vocab. Many AP Stats prep books also include a glossary of important terms you can use while studying.
Before the AP Stats exam, you should know all important terms like the back of your hand. Having a general idea isn't good enough. A big part of stats is being able to support your answers, and to do this you'll often need to use stats vocab in your explanations. Just stating the term won't earn you nearly as many points as being able to explain what the term is and how it supports your answer, so make sure you really know your vocab well.
Summary: Statistics AP Exam
The AP Statistics exam is three hours long and consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and six free-response questions. To prepare well for AP Stats exam questions, it's important to take practice exams and know how to grade them so you can estimate how well you'd do on the actual test. When studying for the AP exam, remember to answer the entire question for free response, know how to use your calculator, and be on top of stats vocabulary.
Feel the need to do some quick reviewing after looking through what'll be covered on the AP Stats exam? Take a spin through our guide to statistical significance to refresh yourself on how to run a t-test.
How difficult is AP Stats compared to other AP classes? Get the answer by reading our guide to the hardest AP exams and classes.
Wondering which other math classes you should take besides statistics? Math is often the trickiest subject to choose classes for, but our guide will help you figure out exactly which math classes to take for each year of high school.
A prep book can be one of your best study resources for the AP Stats exam. But which prep book should you choose? Check out our guide to AP Stats prep books to learn which is the best and which you should avoid.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.
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AP Score Distributions.
Getting a 5 takes careful content knowledge, targeted practice and dedicated studying. Only around 14% earn the top score for the AP® Statistics exam. To get a 5, start studying ASAP® and focus on applying concepts to specific situations.How hard is it to get a 3 on AP Stats exam? ›
What Is the AP Statistics Pass Rate 2022? The AP Stats 2022 pass rate was slightly lower than the all-AP average, at 60%. The highest percentage of students received a passing 3 (24%), followed by a 1 (23%) and 4 (22%).What is a 70 on an AP test? ›
Usually, a 70 to 75 percent out of 100 translates to a 5. However, there are some exams that are exceptions to this rule of thumb. The AP Grades that are reported to students, high schools, colleges, and universities in July are on AP's five-point scale: 5: Extremely well qualified.What is a 50% on an AP test? ›
Step 3: Use the Chart to Estimate Your Scaled Score.
|Composite Score (0-100 or 0-150)||Scaled Score (1-5)|
AP Physics 1
Despite a reputation as one of the most difficult AP classes, Physics 1 is also one of the most popular—144,526 students took it in 2022. Physics 1 has the lowest pass rate of any AP exam (43.3%) along with one of the lowest percentages of students scoring a 5 (just 7.9%).
AP Physics 1 is the hardest AP class with the least passing rate of 51.6. It means almost half of the students fail this exam. It's 3 hours exam consist of 50 MCQs and 5 free-response questions.
What is the easiest AP class? AP Computer Science Principles is rated as the easiest AP class by real AP class alumnae, with an average difficulty rating of just 2.8 / 10 (1 = easiest), and the 2022 pass rate of 69% is about average.Is AP stat or Calc harder? ›
Many students find AP Statistics next to calculus in terms of difficulty, with lower pass rates and fewer perfect scores than those of other AP courses. Even so, passing the AP Statistics exam can lead to advanced placement and even college credit for science, math, engineering, and criminal justice majors.Is statistics harder than calculus? ›
At an advanced level, statistics is considered harder than calculus, but beginner-level statistics is much easier than beginner calculus. Frankly, it mostly depends upon the student's interest as some students find it hard to comprehend statistics while others find it hard to understand calculus.
|AP Class/Exam*||Pass Rate (3+)||Perfect Score (5)|
|2. Calculus BC||81.6%||44.6%|
|3. Spanish Literature||75.1%||17.6%|
|4. Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||74.4%||40.4%|
|5. Physics 2||73.3%||14.0%|
Is AP Stats hard, even if I'm not good at math? While many of the people I've known in AP Stats were actually math geniuses, the subject itself doesn't require hardcore math. In fact, much of the subject is just analyzing data and plugging values into your calculator.Is AP Statistics harder than Algebra 2? ›
Is statistics harder than algebra? Both statistics and algebra introduce abstract concepts, but the main difference in these classes is that the concepts introduced in statistics are harder to grasp at first than in algebra because they are less concrete and harder to visualize.Are AP tests curved? ›
In other words, AP scores are not graded on a curve but instead calculated specifically to reflect consistency in scoring from year to year.Are B's in AP classes good? ›
If you take AP classes and get B's, don't worry too much. Colleges take the difficulty of your classes into consideration, and a lot of admissions officers are impressed by students who challenge themselves with the tougher courses.Is 4 a good AP scores for Ivy League? ›
In terms of Ivy League and Top 20 schools, even a 4 is a relatively low score to earn on an AP exam. It is routine for Ivy League admissions officers to review applications from students who have scored 5s on multiple AP tests.Do AP classes boost GPA? ›
While honors courses usually add 0.5 points to your GPA, AP classes often add 1 point. In other words, a 3.5 GPA would be boosted to a 4.0 in an honors class and a 4.5 in an AP class. This boost can prove particularly useful if you want to challenge yourself with more difficult training without punishing your GPA.What is a low AP score? ›
AP tests are scored on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Get a 4 or higher, and you may be able to earn college credit without paying college tuition!Is a 65 in an AP class passing? ›
Exams are scored from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest. Most AP exams report a 65% or higher passing rate, which is good news for you. Most colleges that accept AP scores will give you credit for 4s and 5s, though some colleges might honor 3s too.Is a 70 a passing grade in an AP class? ›
The average passing rate in AP is 60-70%.
The College Board considers a score of 3 or higher a passing grade. That said, some colleges require a 4 or 5 to award credit. Whether a 3 is a good AP score depends on the colleges you're applying to.What is the easiest AP exam to pass? ›
Easiest AP exams by pass rate
AP Calculus BC. AP Chinese Language. AP English Literature. AP French Language.
AP English Language and Composition is by far the most popular AP test, with over half a million students taking the exam in 2021.How many AP classes is too much? ›
Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.Is AP more difficult than SAT? ›
Are AP Tests Harder Than SAT Subject Tests? Most students find the material on AP Tests to be more difficult than the material on SAT Subject Tests because it's intended for students who are working at a college level. AP Tests also require more stamina.Is 5 APs too much? ›
You can definitely take 5 APs, but just make sure to stay on top of your work and spend a good amount of time studying to make sure you know the material.How many AP classes should I take for Harvard? ›
Going up the selectivity chain, the average at Harvard is eight AP classes. To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor.Is taking 1 AP Enough? ›
Please know that taking 1 AP course will not make or break you getting accepted to a college. The admissions officer will look at your entire high school career and the courses you took. Taking AP US History vs. US History Honors will probably make no difference whatsoever in your acceptance to that school.Which AP class has the highest 5 rate? ›
Furthermore, some decidedly hard exams, like Chinese, Calculus BC, and Physics C, have very high 5 rates—up to 49%+ for Chinese!Why is AP Stats so easy? ›
The content covered in AP Statistics is generally considered easier and more manageable than that of the two AP Calculus exams. Many students have learned some statistical concepts in previous math classes, and they often find the concepts easier to understand than other math subjects such as calculus or geometry.
Practicing multiple-choice questions is perhaps the most efficient way to study AP Statistics. Get that practice with UWorld multiple-choice questions. Practice free-response questions from tests from past years because they can be repetitive from year to year. Analyze the scoring guidelines to understand expectations.Is AP Stats worth taking? ›
AP® Statistics can be a highly useful course for many students with a wide range of academic goals. For STEM students, knowledge of statistics will likely be necessary for their future work. Business and Political Science majors will also benefit from understanding how statistics work.Do colleges prefer stats or calculus? ›
But for many other students, calculus isn't the math course that will most help them—the right course often is statistics. But most admissions counselors have favored calculus (in many cases informally), the report says, and that hurts students.What is the hardest math? ›
Today's mathematicians would probably agree that the Riemann Hypothesis is the most significant open problem in all of math. It's one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems, with $1 million reward for its solution.What level of math is statistics? ›
Statistics is a branch of applied mathematics that involves the collection, description, analysis, and inference of conclusions from quantitative data. The mathematical theories behind statistics rely heavily on differential and integral calculus, linear algebra, and probability theory.Can you get into Harvard with 5 AP? ›
Does Harvard Accept AP Credit. Harvard does accept AP Credit for classes in which a student earned a 5 on the AP Exam. These credits are accepted under a program called “Advanced Standing.” To qualify, students must earn a 5 on a minimum of 4 AP tests, transferring a total of 32 credits.Can I get into an Ivy League with 5 AP classes? ›
To be a competitive candidate for admission, you will need to take at least 8 AP® classes, more if you can. It is a good idea to take 1 AP® course in each of the following core disciplines: English, Foreign Language, History, Math, and Science to impress the admissions officers.
AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many U.S. colleges grant credit and/or advanced placement (that means they let you skip the equivalent course once you get to college) for scores of 3 and above.How do you not fail AP Stats test? ›
- 1: Clearly communicate your understanding.
- 2: Always include context in your answers.
- 3: Be precise in your language and vocabulary.
- 4: Use appropriate notation.
- 5: Do not rely on your calculator.
- 6: Manage your time.
- 7: Do not leave anything blank.
- 8: Know the formula sheet.
Statistics is a popular Advanced Placement course with over 200,000 students taking the exam annually. Students who have other options and interests, however, should be aware that AP Statistics is accepted for course credit and placement by fewer colleges than many other AP subjects.
Practice with purpose.
The only way to become confident when answering multiple-choice AP® Statistics questions on exam is to practice, practice, practice. AP® exams have very specific types of questions that you need to be familiar with. The more types of questions you encounter, the better you'll do on test day.
If the course is provided by their school, students normally take AP Statistics in their junior or senior year and may decide to take it concurrently with a pre-calculus course.Does AP Calc or AP Stats look better? ›
If you have plans to major in STEM, then AP Calculus is a must in high school. AP Statistics is a better option for Commerce, Business and Finance majors. You can choose both if you want to major in Math and Statistics.Should I report a 3 on an AP exam? ›
You don't need to send or self-report anything lower than a 3. Those 3s probably won't hurt you, and your 4s and 5s could help you because some schools do use AP scores to help as they evaluate your application. AP scores can supplement and boost grades and your other test scores that might not be as strong.What if I fail the AP exam? ›
What happens if you fail an AP exam? If you fail an AP exam, you will not receive college credit for that course. The good news is that a failed exam does not affect your GPA. In addition, you can retake the AP exam the next year.What happens if you get a 1 on an AP exam? ›
In fact, on the AP® rubric, a 1 is described as “no recommendation”. Because of that, no college in the United States of overseas will accept an AP® score of 1 and give you college credit.What is a 5 on an AP test equivalent to? ›
Your oral exam is 5% of your total grade, so think of it as 5 points. You earn an 80 on your oral exam, so you multiply . 05 (5%) and 80, which gives you 4 points. This means you earned 4 out of a total possible 5 points.What percent is an A in AP? ›
|If you got a percentage of...||If you got a raw score of... (For FINAL EXAM)||Your letter Grade will be...|
|87% or above||94-108||A+|
It is also curved similar to other AP exams. In the case of AP chem, you will need to get roughly 75% of the questions correct to score a 5.
If you got a 2 on your AP® English Language exam, it is definitely worth trying to retake it. Make it worth the added time and expense by taking these steps to improve your score. Track your scores on the multiple choice section. As you prepare, carefully note your score on the multiple choice section.What is the easiest AP Exam to get a 5? ›
- Spanish Literature. 75.1% 17.6%
- Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. 74.4% 40.4%
- Physics 2. 73.3% 14.0%
- Computer Science Principles. 71.6% 10.9%
- Psychology. 71.3% 22.4%
- Computer Science A. 70.4% 25.6%
- Comparative Government and Politics. 70.2% 24.4%
- Music Theory.
- AP Physics 1. Despite a reputation as one of the most difficult AP classes, Physics 1 is also one of the most popular—144,526 students took it in 2022. ...
- AP U.S. History. AP U.S. History is one of the hardest AP classes in the humanities and in general. ...
- AP United States Government and Politics.
Usually, CGPA or CPI of 8 or above is considered good. If the student is planning to study abroad then scoring a little higher will help them with the admission process.How much will a 69 affect my grade? ›
|A+||= / >||100%|
|B+||= / >||85%|
|B||= / >||80%|
|B-||= / >||75%|
|C+||= / >||70%|
|Letter Grade||Percentage Range||Mid-Range|
|A||80% to 89%||85%|
|B+||75% to 79%||77.5%|
|B||70% to 74%||72.5%|
|C+||65% to 69%||67.5%|
|Letter Grade||Percent Grade||4.0 Scale|
A - is the highest grade you can receive on an assignment, and it's between 90% and 100% B - is still a pretty good grade! This is an above-average score, between 80% and 89%What is the easiest AP Exam? ›
- AP French Language.
- AP Government & Politics.
- AP Italian Language.
- AP Japanese Language.
- AP Physics C Mechanics.
- AP Research.
- AP Seminar.
- AP Spanish Language.
In other words, AP scores are not graded on a curve but instead calculated specifically to reflect consistency in scoring from year to year.