The Course

AP Macroeconomics

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Course Overview

AP Macroeconomics is an introductory college-level macroeconomics course. Students cultivate their understanding of the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole by using principles and models to describe economic situations and predict and explain outcomes with graphs, charts, and data as they explore concepts like economic measurements, markets, macroeconomic models, and macroeconomic policies.​​​​​​

Course and Exam Updates

Important updates have been made to the AP Macroeconomics course and exam that take effect with the 2022-23 school year (spring 2023 exam):

  • A four-function calculator is allowed on both sections of the exam. Note that this is strictly a change to the calculator policy and does not affect the exam format (number of sections, number of questions), the types of questions students may see on the exam, the course framework, or the skills.
  • The Monetary Policy topic of the course (topic 4.6) has been updated to account for monetary policy in a banking system with ample reserves. Teachers who already have a printed copy of the AP Macroeconomics Course and Exam Description can download the updated pages.
  • Exam questions will reflect the Federal Reserve's updated measurement of the monetary aggregates designated as M1 and M2. Please refer to the footnotes in the Fed's H.6 statistical release ("Money Stock Measures") for a description of the components. Note that there has been no change to the relevant learning objective (MEA-3.C) and essential knowledge statement (MEA-3.C.3) in the AP Macroeconomics Course and Exam Description.

The following resources have been developed to support teachers and students with these updates:

  • video for teachers explaining the updates
  • Updated practice exams, which are available now for secure access by teachers on the Course Audit site and AP Classroom
  • Updated progress check questions, topic questions, question bank questions, and AP Daily videos on AP Classroom

Course and Exam Description

Course Resources

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, the course framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students must know, be able to do, and understand, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles and theories of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced economics coursework.

The AP Macroeconomics framework is organized into six commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.


Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

Unit 1: Basic Economic Concepts


Unit 2: Economic Indicators and the Business Cycle


Unit 3: National Income and Price Determination


Unit 4: Financial Sector


Unit 5: Long-Run Consequences of Stabilization Policies


Unit 6: Open Economy—International Trade and Finance


Course Skills

The AP Macroeconomics framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like economists.



 1. Principles and Models

 Define economic principles and models.

 2. Interpretation

 Explain given economic outcomes.

 3. Manipulation

 Determine outcomes of specific economic situations.

 4. Graphing and Visuals

 Model economic situations using graphs or visual representations.

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role in developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education section features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Macroeconomics.

The AP Program is unique in its reliance on Development Committees. These committees, made up of an equal number of college faculty and experienced secondary AP teachers from across the country, are essential to the preparation of AP course curricula and exams.