Are you preparing for the Environmental Science AP exam? One of the best ways to study for the test and figure out how well you’re doing is to take practice tests. Taking practice tests lets you see what kind of questions you’ll be asked on the exam, and they can help you figure out which subjects or types of questions you struggle with and need to review more. Finding practice tests can be time-consuming, and, unfortunately, not all practice tests are created equally.
Luckily, we’re here to help. In this guide, I’ll provide links to all the AP Environmental Science practice tests available, point out which ones are the highest quality, and explain how you should be using them.
Official AP Environmental Science Practice Exams
Official practice materials, those developed by the College Board, are the best to use when preparing for an AP exam. This is because, since the practice materials are created by the same organization that develops the real AP test, you can be sure they’ll accurately represent the test and give you the best idea of what the real AP exam will cover.
Unfortunately, the College Board doesn’t often like to release a ton of practice material, particularly multiple-choice questions (because they often reuse these for multiple exams). However, there are still official review materials you can use which I've separated into three categories.
The College Board has released one complete AP Environmental Science practice test, from 1998.
This test is not super recent, but because AP Enviro hasn’t undergone any significant changes since then, it’s still useful and will give you a great idea of what the real exam will be like.
This test also contains answers to all the questions, as well as scoring guidelines and sample responses for the free-response questions. Be aware though that, although the questions are still similar, grading guidelines have changed. As a result, the College Board has released a document with updated scoring guidelines for the free-response questions so you can get a more accurate idea of how questions are scored and what your rough score on the exam would be.
Besides the single complete released practice test, the only place to find official multiple-choice questions for AP Environmental Science is in the Course Description for the class. Beginning on page 12 of the document, you’ll find 17 multiple-choice questions. While this isn’t anywhere close to what you’ll see on the real exam (the actual AP test will have 100 questions), it’ll give you an idea of the topics the exam will cover and how questions will be worded.
Luckily, there are tons of official free-response questions available for you to study and practice with. The College Board has released previous free-response questions from 1999-2015.
With four free-response questions included on the test each year, that means you have access to 68 official free-response questions!
These questions each include scoring guidelines and sample responses so you can get an idea of what the graders were looking for.
Possible Other Source: Your Teacher
Your AP Environmental Science teacher may also have access to some additional official practice questions that you can use. Teachers are sometimes able to purchase official practice questions from the College Board which students don’t have access to. Now, your teacher may have chosen not to do this, or they may be saving those questions for class exams, but if you’re looking for more official practice materials, you may want to take a chance and ask them.
Official practice tests won't come with a seal, but you can be sure they're the highest-quality practice materials out there.
Free Unofficial AP Environmental Science Practice Tests
You have to be a bit warier when using unofficial practice materials because some of them don’t do a very good job of replicating what topics the AP test covers or how they word their questions. However, there are many that can still be very helpful. For each of the resources below, I’ll explain what material they include and how closely it matches the real AP Environmental Science exam.
Barron’s has created a high-quality, complete practice exam (with 100 multiple-choice and four free-response questions, just like the actual AP test).
This test does a good job of replicating actual AP questions, and it also includes in-depth answer explanations for each question, including sample responses for free-response questions. You can take the test in timed or untimed mode. This is a particularly helpful resource that you should use wisely. (See below for how you should be using this and other resources.)
Varsity Tutors has a complete multiple-choice section (100 questions). The test is timed and automatically graded for you.
While it doesn’t include free-response questions, the multiple-choice questions are similar to those you’ll see on the AP exam. You can combine these questions with a set of official free-response questions and made a complete practice test.
If you’d like to practice a specific topic, they also have 148 practice quizzes of varying difficulty for AP Environmental Science, however; the topics are broken down into such specific categories that many quizzes have only 1-2 questions, which can make it tedious to move from one very short quiz to the next. The quizzes can be helpful for more focused studying, but, in general, the complete diagnostic test is the best resource from this site.
McGraw-Hill offers a 25-question AP Environmental Science practice quiz.
This is shorter than many other practice questions and, additionally, the quiz is also untimed. However, the questions are generally well-written, so it’s still a good resource to use.
This site includes 20-question quizzes for each of the 25 chapters of the Environmental Science textbook chapters.
To select a quiz, choose a chapter from the left-hand side of the page, then choose “Practice Quiz” on the new page. These quizzes are fairly surface-level, but they can help you study specific topics or prepare for in-class exams, even if you don’t use Environmental Science as your textbook. One frustrating thing is that you’ll have to click on each chapter individually to see what areas it covers if you’re looking to study a particular topic.
Learnerator has multiple-choice quizzes for each of the seven main ideas of the course.
The quizzes are categorized by difficulty, are not timed, and will immediately let you know if you have answered correctly. While some of the questions are free, you won’t be able to see what the correct answer is if you answered incorrectly or answer and hard-level difficulty questions unless you pay $25 for full access. Full access gives you access to an additional 230 multiple-choice questions.
As a whole, I found these questions to be more basic than actual AP questions. They focused primarily on definitions and basic facts and didn’t emphasize making connections between different topics as much as the real exam does.
This is an 11-question multiple-choice quiz.
This is quite a short quiz and, strangely, it provides definitions for some keywords you should already know, but it might be helpful if you want a quick study session.
This quiz contains 15 multiple-choice questions.
Like ProProfs, its questions are more basic than the majority of those on the actual AP exam will be, but you still may find it useful to try out.
Paid Unofficial AP Environmental Science Practice Tests
These next resources will cost you a bit of money to use.
For people who pay its subscription free, Shmoop offers three full-length AP Environmental Science exams as well as a diagnostic test. Paying Shmoop’s fee of $24.68 a month gets you access to these practice tests as well as practice material for a wide variety of other tests for the ACT, SAT, and other AP exams.
Another place to find practice tests is in AP Environmental Science Review books. Most review books contain 1-2 practice tests.
These exams can vary in terms of quality, but, in general, Princeton Review and Barron’s are pretty safe bets when it comes to quality. Before you purchase a review book, you should read reviews online or ask students who have previously used the book how well they felt it prepared them for the exam.
How to Use AP Environmental Science Practice Tests
Now that you know where to find all those practice tests, how should you use them? Taking random tests haphazardly won’t improve your score much, if at all, so follow these guidelines to know which practice materials you should use when.
First semester, you’re still learning most of the content you need to know for the exam, so taking a full-length practice exam won’t be very helpful because your score will likely be low since you haven’t covered certain topics yet.
During this semester, focus on taking official free-response questions (you can look through them to find ones that focus on information you’ve already covered) and unofficial quizzes that focus on specific content areas (the Environmental Science and Learnerator quizzes are good places to start).
Be sure to start your studying early (by the middle of first semester) and regularly review throughout the year. Doing regular review will help you stay on top of the material, be prepared for class exams, and make reviewing for the final AP test much less overwhelming in the spring. You may also want to consider buying a review book this semester; many of them have practice questions after each chapter so you can see how well you’ve learned the material.
Second semester is when you should begin really focusing on preparing for the AP exam. At this point, you should have learned the majority of information you need to know for the exam, so you can begin taking full-length practice tests.
I recommended beginning with the Barron’s practice test. Take this test under realistic testing conditions (timed and in a quiet room). After you’ve completed it, review how well you did (follow their guidelines for grading your free-response questions). Your score on this test will help you know how well you’re doing and how much studying you need in order to meet your target score. If you’re close to the score you want, you may only need to do light review, but if you’re two points away or more, you’ll likely have to put in some significant time to meet your goal.
After taking and scoring your first full-length practice test, look to see where you got questions wrong. The primary reason for taking practice tests is to find where your weaknesses are and then improve in those areas.
Don’t just immediately move on to your next practice test, spend time strengthening areas you need to improve on. Perhaps you need to learn how to complete your essays faster, or you realized you really don’t know anything about the nitrogen cycle. Get these gaps taken care of before you take another practice test, otherwise; you won’t see your scores improve. After you feel you’ve reviewed sufficiently, take another practice exam, either the official released test or Varsity Tutors’ multiple-choice section with official free-response questions added to it.
Here’s a brief recap of the process you should be following:
- Take and score your first practice exam (4 hours)
- Evaluate your mistakes (1.5 hours)
- Improve your weak areas by doing focused content study and completing practice problems (2.5 hours)
- Take and score a second practice exam (4 hours)
Repeat the steps above as often as you need to in order to make sure you’ve eliminated all your weaknesses for the AP exam and are ready when it comes time to test day.
AP Environmental Science has the lowest average AP score of any exam. If you want to beat the odds, taking practice tests is one of the best ways to improve your chances of earning a high score. While official practice materials give you the most accurate idea of what will be on the real AP exam, there are high-quality unofficial practice tests out there as well.
During your first semester in the class, you should use practice tests to get yourself familiar with the free-response questions and solidify your knowledge of specific topic areas. Second semester is when you can begin taking full-length practice exams to get an idea of how well you’re doing and where you need to improve.
The free-response section is typically the hardest part of the AP Enviro exam. Check outthis guide to learn more about what it'll cover and how to get a high score.
Need help starting or continuing your review for AP Enviro? We have acomplete guide to reviewing for the AP Environmental Science exam that'll walk you through each step you need to follow.
Wondering which other AP classes you should be taking? Learn how to plan out your future AP classes by reading this guide.
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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.