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Information about the AP Calculus AB exam

AP Calculus AB test information from the Collegeboard

Jump right to the exercises!

1. How long is the AP Calculus AB exam?
3 hours and 15 minutes

2. What is the basic order of questions on the AP test?
multiple-choice, no calculator
multiple-choice, calculator allowed
free-response, calculator allowed
free-response, no calculator (may work on previous FR questions, without calculator)

3. What type of questions are on Section I? How are they graded?

4. What type of questions are on Section II? How are they graded?
free-response; graded by faculty consultants, who are specially trained to assess the questions

5. How many no-calculator multiple-choice questions are there, and how long do you have for this part?
28 questions, 55 minutes (about 1 minute, 58 seconds per question)

6. How many calculator-allowed multiple-choice questions are there, and how long do you have for this part?
17 questions, 50 minutes (about 2 minutes, 56 seconds per question)

7. Each multiple-choice question in Section I is worth how many point(s)?
1 point each

8. How many calculator-allowed free-response questions are there, and how long do you have for this part?
3 questions, 45 minutes

9. How many no-calculator free-response questions are there, and how long do you have for this part?
3 questions, 45 minutes

10. Are the multiple-choice and free-response sections equally weighted?
yes

11. Are there any breaks during the AP test? If so, what?
Yes, a 5-minute break between the multiple-choice and free-response parts.

12. The AB exam covers how much college-level calculus?
one semester

13. On what scale is the AP Calculus exam graded?
1 to 5, with 5 being the highest grade

14. What does a score of 5 mean, on the AP Calculus exam?
extremely well qualified

15. What does a score of 4 mean, on the AP Calculus exam?
well qualified

16. What does a score of 3 mean, on the AP Calculus exam?
qualified

17. What does a score of 2 mean, on the AP Calculus exam?
possibly qualified

18. What does a score of 1 mean, on the AP Calculus exam?
no recommendation

19. In 2002, what was the average score on the AB test? (Round to the tenths place.)
3.1

20. Typically, how do you need to perform on the AP test to obtain a score of 3 or higher?
get about 50% of multiple-choice questions correct; do acceptable work on the free-response section

21. What do most colleges and universities consider as a "passing grade" on the AP Calculus AB exam?
3, 4, or 5

22. Can you miss questions, and still get a perfect 5 score?
yes

23. Is there a wrong-answer penalty on the AP test?
yes

1 point for a correct answer, 0 points for no answer, and -1/4 point for a wrong answer

25. Compute the multiple choice score in this case: there are 45 questions; you get 25 correct, you leave 5 blank, and you get the rest wrong
(25 · 1) + (5 · 0) - (15 · 0.25) = 21.25

26. Fill in the blanks: the AP Calculus AB tests _____ and _____ skills, rather than _____ and _____.
concepts and problem-solving skills, rather than memory and particular problem types

Mathematically, if you can DEFINITELY eliminate at least one answer, then you should guess:
5 questions, purely guessing; 1 correct, 4 wrong: score = 1 - 4(0.25) = 0
4 questions, eliminated one: 1 correct, 3 wrong: score = 1 - 3(0.25) = 0.25; you end up ahead!

28. Are extra points awarded for simplifying answers on free-response questions?
No!

29. May points be deducted for incorrectly simplifed work on free-response questions?
Yes!

30. Numbers have lots of different names. Does it matter what name you use for a correct answer?
No, but you should probably stick with conventional names, to keep your graders happy.

31. Will you hit any impossible questions on the AP test?
YES!

32. Should you panic when you hit an impossible question?
No! You can skip many questions, and still get a great score.