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AP Environmental Science

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Title: AP Environmental Science  
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Subject: Environmental education, AP Calculus, AP Computer Science, AP Comparative Government and Politics, AP French Literature
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AP Environmental Science

This article is part of the
Advanced Placement series.
General exam structure    •    Awards
Current subjects:
In development:
Former subjects:

Advanced Placement Environmental Science (AP Environmental Science, AP Viro, AP Environmental, AP Environment, AP Env. Sci., or APES) is a course offered by the College Board as part of the Advanced Placement Program to high school students interested in the environmental and natural sciences. This course is designed to provide students with scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies necessary to comprehend the relationships abundant within the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems, to evaluate relative risks associated with these identified problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing similar problems facing the global environment.[1] The percentage of students scoring a grade of "5" was only 10.4% in the 2009 testing administration. It remains one of the lowest "5" scoring AP Exams to this date right under AP Art History, AP English Literature & Composition, AP English Language & Composition, and AP World History.

Topics covered

Topics covered in AP Environmental Science include:

Topic Percent
Earth Systems and Resources 10-15%
The Living World 10-15%
Population 10-15%
Land and Water use 10-15%
Energy Resources and Consumption 10-15%
Pollution 25-30%
Global Change 10-15%

The exam

  • Section I: Multiple Choice (100 questions, 90 minutes).
  • Section II: Free-Response (one data-set question, one document-based question, and two synthesis and evaluation questions, 90 minutes).

Grade distribution

The grade distributions for the 2009,[2] 2010,[3] 2011,[4] 2012,[5] and 2013 [6] administrations were:

Year Score percentages
5 4 3 2 1 Mean Number of Students
2009 10.4% 20.7% 18.9% 18.5% 31.5% 2.60 73,575
2010 10.4% 22.6% 17.0% 18.1% 32.0% 2.61 86,650
2011 8.9% 24.8% 15.6% 24.9% 25.8% 2.66 98,959
2012 8.9% 24.9% 16.6% 24.3% 25.3% 2.68 108,839
2013 8.0% 23.4% 16.8% 25.4% 26.5% 2.61 118,288


  1. ^ Barlaz, Dora; Freudenrich, Craig; Gardner, Jane (2011). AP Environmental Science 2011. New York, New York: Kaplan Publishing. 
  2. ^ 2009 Grade Distribution
  3. ^ 2010 Grade Distribution
  4. ^ 2011 Grade Distribution
  5. ^ The College Board. "AP Environmental Science Student Score Distributions". Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  6. ^ 2013 Grade Distribution

External links

  • AP Environmental Science at
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