Questions about the course
Students explore and investigate the interrelationships of the natural world. They analyze environmental problems, both natural and human-made, and examine solutions for resolving and preventing those problems. The course is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography. For more details go to the two-page Course Overview (.pdf/932KB).
The course is comparable to a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. It will enable students to undertake more advanced study of environmental science topics or, alternatively, to fulfill basic requirements for a laboratory science.
Students should have completed two years of high school laboratory science—one year of life science and one year of physical science. They should also have taken at least one year of algebra. A course in earth science is desirable but not necessary.
Any motivated student should be given the chance to benefit from an AP course. If your school administers the PSAT/NMSQT®, use AP Potential™. This free online tool allows you to identify students who are likely to succeed in AP based on their PSAT/NMSQT® or SAT®scores. Such scores have been proven to be stronger predictors of AP success than high school grades or GPA.
These resources will help:
- The AP Environmental Science Course Description (.pdf/529KB) defines the course. If you only download one thing this year, make this it.
- Professional development, such as one-day workshops, specialty conferences, and weeklong AP Summer Institutes are great for novices and experts alike.
- The AP Environmental Science Teacher Community gives you the opportunity to learn from colleagues and create a library of resources.
- The AP Environmental Science Teacher’s Guide (.pdf/868KB) contains sample syllabi, lesson plans and teaching tips.
Yes. You should spend a minimum of one class period per week, or the equivalent, engaged in lab or field work.
Yes, students will need strong algebra-based mathematical skills to fully understand many of the concepts woven throughout the course. The AP Environmental Science Exam also requires quantitative reasoning and application on the multiple-choice and free-response questions. To succeed in the course and on the exam, students need to apply the following mathematical skills in the context of environmental concepts:
- basic algebra
- ratios, percents, scientific notation
- statistical validity
- dimensional analysis
- graphing techniques, such as plotting data on graphs and interpreting and extrapolating data and trends.
Have your students refer to the Quantitative Skills in the AP Sciences throughout the course as they develop these skills in preparation for the exam.
Questions about the AP Course Audit
The AP Course Audit is a course authorization process that provides teachers and administrators with guidelines and requirements for offering AP courses. It also ensures that AP courses across high schools meet the same college-level criteria.
Yes. Every school wishing to offer an AP course must participate in the AP Course Audit.
The AP Course Audit requires the online submission of two documents: the AP Course Audit form and the teacher’s syllabus. The AP teacher and the school principal (or designated administrator) submit the Course Audit form, acknowledging the curricular and resource requirements. The syllabus, detailing how the AP course requirements will be met, is submitted by the AP teacher for review by college faculty.
The AP Course Audit page for this course will give you the tools you’ll need to create and submit your syllabus for authorization, including information and guidelines, sample syllabi, and a tutorial.
Questions about the exam
These resources will help:
- The Quantitative Skills in the AP Sciences reference guide is for students to use as they develop their quantitative skills throughout the course.
- Secure exams for classroom use are available on the AP Course Audit website. Log in to your account and then click on the Secure Documents link within the Resources section of your Course Status page.
- Free-response questions (FRQs) with student samples and scoring guidelines can be accessed from the course’s exam information page.
- Scroll down the “Scoring” column in the free-response questions table to find yearly Chief Reader Reports (former title: Student Performance Q&A) from the Chief Reader that describe how students performed on the FRQs, typical student errors, and specific concepts that challenged students the most that year.
- Released Exams can be purchased on the College Board store.
The exam is given each year in early May. Go to the Exam Calendar for the most current exam dates.
That depends on the college. Some require high scores than others. Tell your students to use the AP Credit Policy Info tool to verify the credit/placement policies at the colleges they are considering.