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Everything you need to score higher on the AP Macroeconomics/Microeconomics exam Guaranteed.
Kaplan's comprehensive guide includes:
- 2 full-length, realistic practice tests 1 for each subject
- Detailed answer explanations
- Hundreds of practice questions
- The most up-to-date information on the test
- Focused review of all tested material, from supply and demand to market structures
- Explanations of important terms, concepts, and formulas
- Powerful strategies to help you score higher
- Helpful index and chapter highlights at the beginning of each chapter to help you find what you need to know quickly
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 10.80(h) x 1.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
AP Macroeconomics/Microeconomics 2005An Apex Learning Guide
KaplanCopyright © 2004 Kaplan
All right reserved.
Chapter Two: Strategies for Success: It's Not Always How Much You Know
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
This book lays out the objectives of the AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics courses. You will find lessons followed by review questions with complete answer explanations. Near the end of the book you'll find two complete practice tests (one Macroeconomics, one Microeconomics) with solutions. It is best to try these under conditions as close as possible to those you will face with the real examination.
In other words, work through them as best you can under the time constraints and then check your answers at the end. After you complete your practice exams, you will find a glossary with terms from both courses.
Now that you've got some idea of the kind of adversary you face in the AP, it's time to start developing your strategy mindset.
While both AP economics exams require prior knowledge of concepts, they also require you to do a fair amount of analysis. Your ability to apply economic concepts is crucial. You must also be able to interpret graphs; in the free-response section as well, you will be expected to include appropriate graphs in your explanations.
You are not expected to recall straight historical data. You would not be asked about the inflation rate in the late 1970s or the U.S. automobile output in 2001. Rather, you would be asked to analyze the possible causes of high inflation or to explain the effects of technological development on the automobile industry.
Try to master all the concepts from your AP course. Practice applying them. And before test day, review the table of contents in your textbook.
If you are tempted to skip some sections from your AP course because you are short of time, understand that this could be a serious mistake. All course topics are covered on the test.
How to Approach Multiple-Choice Questions
For the multiple-choice questions, guess intelligently and with caution.
Random guessing will not help your score and it may very well hurt it. There is a 1/4 point deduction for a wrong answer, but no deduction for an answer left blank. However, if you can eliminate a few answer choices, then your odds of making an intelligent guess will improve. Each multiple-choice question has five possible answers. If you eliminate one answer choice, you have a 1 in 4 chance of being correct. If you eliminate two answer choices you have a 1 in 3 chance of being correct. Since you only lose 1/4 point for an wrong answer, the odds become more advantageous to taking a risk.
In the multiple-choice section, answer the easy questions first.
Easy questions are worth just as many points as hard questions. To maximize your score, you need to answer as many questions correctly as possible -- but it does not matter if they are easy or hard. And if you run out of time, you will want to be sure to have gotten to all the questions that would earn you points. So on your first pass through the multiple-choice section, answer all the easy questions. Circle the harder questions and come back to them later. Do not waste valuable time on time-consuming questions early in the exam. You're better off spending those extra few minutes answering 3 or 4 easier questions.
As a point of interest, each test question has been refined numerous times. Key criteria used are a) that the question is not ambiguous, b) that there is only one correct answer, and c) that the question asks about an important concept, relationship, or definition. Also note that there is usually an answer that may seem to be correct, but is not 100 percent accurate.
Be careful with your answer grid.
Your AP score for the multiple-choice section is based on what appears on your answer grid. So even if you answered every question correctly, you'll get a low score if you put the answers in the wrong place.
Be careful! Keep track of the numbers and the responses that you record. You may skip a question the first time through the exam. Make sure you leave the appropriate space in the answer grid blank. Misaligning your answers even if you catch the error later can cost you valuable time -- you'll have to erase and realign your responses. Also, if you do change an answer, make sure that you erase cleanly the original answer choice you had selected.
How to Approach Free-Response Questions
In the free-response section, read the question twice before you begin to organize your answer. Prepare an outline and list key terms, graphs, and linkages where appropriate.
Be sure that you are clear on what you are being asked to do: describe, illustrate, graph, and list mean different things, and if your answers take this into account, your answers will be stronger. Graders are looking for main points, and appropriate and well-labeled graphs (where required). Make sure you make the proper cause-and-effect linkages when needed.
Mirror the structure of the free-response question.
If the question is broken down into Roman numerals, for example, stick to the same format. This will ensure that you don't leave out any part of the question. Many free-response questions are divided into parts such as a, b, and c, and you are scored individually for each part. So even if you get part b wrong, for instance, you could still earn full credit for parts a and c.
In economics, the free-response questions are not essay questions that require an essay format with paragraphs. They're analytical and visual, and should be answered directly in the question format.
Answer the free-response questions directly and explicitly.
Your goal is to have a clear, directed response, not a general, undirected response. Don't jot down everything you know about a topic in hopes of getting something right -- that approach won't work. Let the question guide you. Write focused responses to the specific parts of the question.
Prioritize the free-response questions according to difficulty.
Again, your goal is to score as many points in this section as possible. During the 10 minutes that you are given to read and make notes, do the easier questions first. Remember that the longer essay question is worth the same as the two shorter ones combined.
Draw clear and correctly labeled graphs.
Graphs are an integral part of economics. You should have mastered doing graphs in your preparation for the exam. In addition to those questions that specifically request graphs, you may also include graphs to support your answers on questions where the graph was not specifically requested. Make sure your graphs are large enough so that you can clearly have unambiguous reference points. Labeling your graph correctly with the vertical and horizontal axes is essential.
Mark up your test booklet.
When taking the AP exam, it's to your advantage to mark up your test booklet. Draw diagrams such as supply and demand graphs when you need to reason out an answer. Cross out incorrect answer choices. Jot down key notes that will help you answer questions, such as P¿ TR¿ -- inelastic. Use the margins to do some simple math if that helps you with the question.
Penmanship is not graded when the free-response section of the test is graded. However, a reader who must struggle to make out words is bound to have a harder time grading the response. You will not get the benefit of the doubt if the reader cannot read your writing. If your handwriting tends to be hard to read, make an effort to write more legibly than usual. In economics, the free-response questions do not require you to write a large number of words, so you can take the time to be legible.
Keep track of time.
It's important to keep track of time as you work through the test. You'll have to pace yourself, or else you'll run out of time. With 70 minutes to answer 60 multiple-choice questions, that means just over one minute per question. Some will take more time than others, of course, so you'll have to keep track of how fast you are proceeding. If you find that you are losing time poring over one tough question, circle it, move on, and go back if you have time.
In the free-response section you will have 10 minutes to make notes on all three questions. Then you will have 50 minutes to write your responses. The first question is the long question and worth 50 percent of the total free-response score. Plan to spend about 25 minutes on it. The other two questions are shorter. Plan to spend about 10 minutes on each. You'll want to leave a couple of minutes for proofreading your answer as well.
It is hardly necessary to indicate that such behavior is unacceptable, but you should know that cheating on AP Exams is dealt with quite severely. The effort it takes to cheat is much greater than the effort required to learn the material. Furthermore, the consequences of such behavior are very serious and long-term.
Apart from the illegal component of cheating, you would be shortchanging yourself; if you were placed in an advanced course for which you were not fully prepared, you would find yourself at a serious disadvantage.
The countdown has begun. Your date with the test is looming on the horizon. Anxiety is on the rise. The butterflies in your stomach have gone ballistic and your thinking is getting cloudy. Maybe you think you won't be ready. Maybe you already know your stuff, but you're going into panic mode anyway. Don't freak! It's possible to tame that anxiety and stress before and during the test. Remember, some stress is normal and good. Anxiety is a motivation to study. The adrenaline that gets pumped into your bloodstream when you're stressed helps you stay alert and think more clearly. But if you feel that the tension is so great that it's preventing you from using your study time effectively, here are some things you can do to get it under control.
Lack of control is a prime cause of stress. Research shows that if you don't have a sense of control over what's happening in your life, you can easily end up feeling helpless and hopeless. Try to identify the sources of the stress you feel. Which ones of these can you do something about? Can you find ways to reduce the stress you're feeling about any of these sources?
Focus on Your Strengths
Make a list of areas of strength you have that will help you do well on the test. We all have strengths, and recognizing your own is like having reserves of solid gold at Fort Knox. You'll be able to draw on your reserves as you need them, helping you solve difficult questions, maintain confidence, and keep test stress and anxiety at a distance. And every time you recognize a new area of strength, solve a challenging problem, or score well on a practice test, you'll increase your reserves.
Imagine Yourself Succeeding
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing situation. Breathe easily and naturally. Now, think of a real-life situation in which you scored well on a test or did well on an assignment. Focus on this success. Now turn your thoughts to the AP exam and keep your thoughts and feelings in line with that successful experience. Don't make comparisons between them; just imagine yourself taking the upcoming test with the same feelings of confidence and relaxed control.
Set Realistic Goals
Facing your problem areas gives you some distinct advantages. What do you want to accomplish in the time remaining? Make a list of realistic goals. You can't help feeling more confident when you know you're actively improving your chances of earning a higher test score.
Exercise Your Frustrations Away
Whether it's jogging, biking, pushups, or a pickup basketball game, physical exercise will stimulate your mind and body, and improve your ability to think and concentrate. A surprising number of students fall out of the habit of regular exercise, ironically because they're spending so much time prepping for exams. A little physical exertion will help you to keep your mind and body in sync and sleep better at night.
Good nutrition will help you focus and think clearly. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat protein such as fish, skinless poultry, beans, and legumes, and whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and pastas. Don't eat a lot of sugar and high-fat snacks, or salty foods.
COUNTDOWN TO THE TEST
The best test takers do less and less as the test approaches. Taper off your study schedule and take it easy on yourself. You want to be relaxed and ready on the day of the test. Give yourself time off, especially the evening before the exam. By then, if you've studied well, everything you need to know is firmly stored in your memory banks.
Positive self-talk can be extremely liberating and invigorating, especially as the test looms closer. Tell yourself things such as, "I choose to take this test" rather than "I have to"; "I will do well" rather than "I hope things go well"; "I can" rather than "I cannot." Be aware of negative, self-defeating thoughts and images and immediately counter any you become aware of. Replace them with affirming statements that encourage your self-esteem and confidence. Create and practice visualizations that build on your positive statements.
Get your act together sooner rather than later. Have everything (including choice of clothing) laid out days in advance. Most important, know where the test will be held and the easiest, quickest way to get there. You will gain great peace of mind if you know that all the little details -- gas in the car, directions, etcetera -- are firmly in your control before the day of the test.
Visit the Test Site
Experience the test site a few days in advance. This is very helpful if you are especially anxious. If at all possible, find out what room your part of the alphabet is assigned to, and try to sit there (by yourself) for a while. Better yet, bring some practice material and do at least a section or two, if not an entire practice test, in that room. In this situation, familiarity doesn't breed contempt, it generates comfort and confidence.
Rest and Relax the Day Before the Test
Forgo any practice on the day before the test. It's in your best interest to marshal your physical and psychological resources for 24 hours or so. Even race horses are kept in the paddock and treated like princes the day before a race. Keep the upcoming test out of your consciousness; go to a movie, take a pleasant hike, or just relax. Don't eat junk food or tons of sugar. And of course get plenty of rest the night before. Just don't go to bed too early. It's hard to fall asleep earlier than you're used to, and you don't want to lie there thinking about the test.
Copyright © 2005 by Apex Learning, Inc.
Excerpted from AP Macroeconomics/Microeconomics 2005 by Kaplan Copyright © 2004 by Kaplan. Excerpted by permission.
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