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Making the Grade on the AP Statistics Exam
About the Book and TestWare®
This book and the accompanying software provides an accurate and complete representation of the Advanced Placement Statistics Examination. The four full-length practice exams included are based on the most recently administered AP Statistics Exam. Each of our practice tests is designed within the official timeframe of a 3-hour administration and includes every type of question that you can expect to encounter on the actual exam. Following each of our practice exams is an answer key complete with detailed explanations designed to clarify and contextualize the material for you. Practice Tests 1 and 2 are included in two formats: in printed form in this book and in TestWare® format on the enclosed CD. We recommend that you begin your preparation by first taking the computerized version of your test.
The software provides timed conditions and instantaneous, accurate scoring, which makes it all the easier to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.
In addition, to help make your preparation for the exam more realistic and to aid you in brushing up on areas of weakness, the following are provided at the end of this book:
Actual formula sheets and statistical tables that you will be given to use during the AP Statistics Examination. (Appendix A)
A glossary of key terms. (Appendix B)
A cross-reference of the practice exam problems and the topics in the AP Statistics Topic Outline they test. (Appendix C)
By studying the review section, completing all four practice exams, and studying our step-by-step explanations, you will pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and, above all, put yourself in the best possible position to master the AP Statistics Examination.
ABOUT THE EXAM
The Advanced Placement Statistics Examination is offered each May at participating schools and multischool centers throughout the world.
The Advanced Placement Program is designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to pursue college-level studies while still attending high school. The results of these exams are used by colleges and universities in the awarding of credit for introductory courses and placement in programs of study.
The Advanced Placement Statistics Course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college course. The AP Statistics Exam covers material in the following areas:
1. Exploring Data: Describing patterns and departures from patterns (2030%);
2. Sampling and Experimentation: Planning and conducting a study (1015%);
3. Anticipating Patterns: Exploring random phenomena using probability and simulation (2030%);
4. Statistical Inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses (3040%);
Each review chapter in this book covers one of the four content areas.
Format of the Exam
The AP Statistics Exam consists of two 90-minute sections:
Section I consists of 40 multiple-choice questions, each with five possible answers. This section counts 50% of the examination grade.
Section II counts 50% of the examination grade and is made up of two parts.
Part A is five free-response questions. Each question is designed to be answered in approximately 12 minutes. This part counts for 75% of the Section II score.
Part B is one question known as the “investigative task.” It tests several concepts and procedures from multiple content areas in the context of a single problem. This investigative task is designed to be answered in about 30 minutes and counts as 25% of the Section II score.
In Section I, you will earn one point for each correct answer and lose one-fourth of a point for each incorrect answer.
In Section II, each problem is scored holistically on a 04 scale. These scores can be generally interpreted as follows:
4 = Complete Response
3 = Substantial Response
2 = Developing Response
1 = Minimal Response
0 = No Credit
Each problem in Section II is scored for accuracy and completeness of statistical methods, and on the strength of communication. About half of the score on any problem can be considered to be how well you communicate about the concepts involved and the conclusions you reach. Calculations alone will not earn full credit.
The Use of Calculators
Graphing calculators with statistical capabilities can be used during the AP Statistics Exam. Each student is expected to bring his or her own on exam day. Although it is possible to do well on the exam without a calculator, not having one is a disadvantage. In fact, you are allowed to bring two calculators, if you wish.
Each student should have a working calculator to aid in computation and performing statistical procedures. Know how to use it before going into the exam. An unfamiliar calculator will be a hindrance during the exam. Practice using it.
Only certain calculators are allowed on the AP Statistics Exam. Calculators with QWERTY-type keyboards or those with paper tape printers are not allowed. A complete list of those allowed and disallowed can be found on College Board’s Web site at www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_stats.html?stats.
This book has calculator instructions for the Texas Instruments TI-84 series calculators. Nearly all instructions can be used for the TI-83 series, but some commands on TI-84 are not available on TI-83. If you have questions about the capabilities of your calculator, consult your owner’s manual.
Finally, the calculator is a tool and not a substitute for knowledge. You must be able to communicate clearly and demonstrate your understanding of statistics. Simply writing down a computation from the calculator may earn little or no credit. Remember, although this book has calculator instruction so that you can use it as a tool on the exam, this book also takes you through the steps to be successful without a calculator.
How To Use This Book and TestWare®
What do I study first?
To begin your studies, read over this introduction and the suggestions for test taking. Take Practice Test 1 on CD. This will allow you to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Next, study the course review material focusing on your specific problem areas. The course review includes the information you need to know when taking the exam. Then take Practice Test 2 on CD and Practice Tests 3 and 4 in this book. To best utilize your study time, follow our Independent Study Schedule, which you will find in the front of this book.
SSD accommodations for students with disabilities
Many students qualify for extra time to take the AP Exams and our TestWare can be adapted to accommodate your time extension. This allows you to practice under the same extended time accommodations that you will receive on the actual test day. To customize your TestWare to suit the most common extensions, visit our website at www.rea.com/ssd.
Studying for Your AP Examination
It is never too early to start studying. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to study, since it does not allow you the time needed to learn the test material.
It is very important for you to choose the time and place for studying that works best for you. Some students may set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study, while others may choose to study at night before going to sleep. Other students may study during the day, while waiting in a line, or even while eating lunch. Only you can determine when and where your study time will be most effective. But be consistent and use your time wisely. Work out a study routine and stick to it!
When you take the practice exam(s), try to make your testing conditions as much like the actual test as possible. Turn your television and radio off, and sit down at a quiet table free from distraction. Make sure to time yourself.
Complete the practice test(s), score your test(s), and thoroughly review the explanations for the questions you answered incorrectly. However, do not review too much during any one sitting. Concentrate on one problem area at a time by reviewing the question and explanation, and by studying our review(s) until you are confident that you completely understand the material.
Since you will be allowed to write in your test booklet during the actual exam, you may want to write in the margins and spaces of this book when practicing. However, do not make miscellaneous notes on your answer sheet. Mark your answers clearly and make sure the answer you have chosen corresponds to the question you are answering.
Keep track of your scores! This will enable you to gauge your progress and discover general weaknesses in particular sections. You should carefully study the reviews that cover the topics causing you difficulty, as this will build your skills in those areas.
To get the most out of your studying time, we recommend that you follow the Study Schedule. It details how you can best budget your time.
TEST TAKING TIPS
The Multiple-Choice Section
You have 90 minutes to do 40 questions in this section, a little over 2 minutes per question. Most students find this to be an ample amount of time. It is recommended that you go through the questions one at a time; answering those you know how to do. If you are not sure about a question, skip it and go on. You have time. Just make sure that you are marking the answer sheet for the question you are answering.
After you have gone through the test once, go back again and do the questions you skipped. You may need to read a question several times to understand it. You may be able to eliminate several of the choices. Do not panic, you still have time. Keep a steady pace and do not get hung up on a single question.
The scoring system for the multiple-choice section gives no advantage or disadvantage to blind guessing. However, if you can eliminate choices that you know are wrong, you increase your chance of guessing the correct answer. In that case, go for it! Narrowing the correct answer down to two or three choices gives you an advantage if you must now guess.
The Free-Response Section
You have 90 minutes to complete six free-response questions in this section. Question 6 is worth about double what the other five questions are worth and therefore demands more time. It is recommended that you read through all of the questions before you begin working. Then first attempt the questions that you know how to do.
Watch your time. It is easy to get caught up in a question and spend a lot of time on it. Also realize that because Question 6 is worth about double each of the other five, you shouldn’t save it for last when you may run out of time. You should begin this question with at least 45 minutes left in the exam. It is important to get something down for Question 6. Once you have completed those questions you know how to do, and have tackled Question 6, go back and do those you skipped. Try to at least answer each part of all six questions. You cannot earn credit for leaving a question blank.
Some questions will have several parts. Sometimes one part leads to another; sometimes it will not. If you are having trouble with one part, you should still attempt the next part. Even if you miss one part, you may still get credit for the next.
Communicate clearly and succinctly. Explain what you are doing and why. Answer the question in the context of the scenario provided. Answer the question as if you were teaching the grader the concept or procedure. Graders want to give you credit, but they are not mind readers.
Do not ramble. Say what you need to say to answer the question and stop. You may have extra space on the paperdo not feel compelled to fill it up. Many a student has written more than was needed, made a contradictory statement, and lost credit.
Write legibly. If graders cannot read it, you may not get credit. If you have poor penmanship, practice that too in the months before the exam.
Do not provide calculator syntax as your explanation of a procedure. If you use the calculator, explain what you did statistically, in words, while providing the results of the calculator output.
CONTACTING THE AP PROGRAM
For registration bulletins or more information about the AP Statistics exam, contact:
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Phone: (609) 771-7300 or (888) 225-5427
Web site: www.collegeboard.com
Good luck on your AP Statistics exam!