AP Macro Score Calculator – 2024
January 5, 2024
Let me start off by trying my best not to bury the lede—AP Macroeconomics is tough. In fact, it’s one of the hardest AP courses—just 51.8% of students who take the AP Macro exam receive a 3 or above. In other words: only half of students pass the thing. That’s a bit of a bummer, but the good news is that by using our AP Macro score calculator, you can get an accurate sense, ahead of time, of where you stand. The AP Macro score calculator is a great tool to discover your areas of strength and weakness, content areas and skills you’re comfortable with or that may need a little more work. And that’s the magic of the AP Macro score calculator, because then you can tailor your study regime accordingly.
Total Composite Score:
Predicted AP® Score:
What does the AP Macroeconomics exam consist of?
Big picture: the AP Macro exam covers the economic concepts and analytic skills covered in the AP Macro course. That includes the ability to define economic principles, explain economic outcomes, and model economic situations. The entire exam lasts two hours and ten minutes, and it’s divided into two parts: a multiple-choice section and a free-response section.
The multiple-choice section takes an hour and ten minutes to complete. It consists of 60 questions, and it accounts for 66% of a student’s score. These questions test a student’s ability to define economic principles and models, explain economic outcomes, and determine the outcomes of specific economic situations.
In the next section, I’ll delve into the free-response questions a little further, but here’s a quick overview: the free-response section takes one hour to complete and accounts for 33% of a student’s overall score. It’s made up of three questions: one long free-response question and two short free-response questions. The long question is worth 50% of the section score; the short questions are worth 25% each.
Note: as of 2024, a four-function calculator is permitted on both sections of the exam.
AP Macro FRQ
In the free-response section, students are asked to perform numerical analysis and calculations, create graphs or other visual representations, and explain economic concepts and effects in detail. As I mentioned above, the free-response section consists of three questions, one long and two short. The long question is, well, long. To get a sense of what you’ll be contending with, I’ve included part of a 2022 long free-response question below (you can check out questions from past AP Macro exams on the College Board website):
1) Assume the United States economy is in short-run macroeconomic equilibrium at an output level greater than potential output.
a) Draw a correctly labeled graph of the aggregate demand, short-run aggregate supply, and long-run aggregate supply curves, and show each of the following.
- The current equilibrium real output and price level, labeled as Y1 and PL1, respectively
- The full-employment output, labeled as YF.
AP Macro Score Calculator (Continued)
b) Assume government spending increases by $100 billion. On your graph in part (a), show the short-run effect of the change in government spending on the equilibrium real output and price level. Label the new equilibrium output as Y2 and the new equilibrium price as PL2.
c) Assume the marginal propensity to consume is 0.8. As a result of the increase in government spending, what is the numerical value of the maximum change in each of the following in the short run?
- Real output
- Household savings
Even though I haven’t included the full question here (it includes four more tasks), I hope this example is instructive. You’ll be asked to create graphs, perform economic calculations and analyses, and make economic predictions based on economic principles. Most long free-response questions had a least five tasks, and some had as many as eight.
AP Macro Score Calculator (Continued)
Here are some sample short FRQs:
- Identify a fiscal policy action the country’s government could implement to restore full employment.
- Draw a correctly labeled graph of the loanable funds market, and show the effect of the fiscal policy action identified in part (a) on the equilibrium real interest rate.
- Based soley on the real interest rate change shown in part (b), what will happen to each of the following?
- Net exports. Explain.
- The stock of physical capital. Explain.
- Draw a correctly labeled graph of the short-run and long-run Phillips curves. Label the current short-run equilibrium as point X and plot the numerical values above on the graph.
- Is the actual inflation rate greater than, less than, or equal to the expected inflation rate of 3%?
- Assume loans were made taking into account the expected inflation rate of 3%. Will lenders be better off or worse off after they realize the actual inflation rate identified in part (b)? Explain.
- Based on the relationship between the actual and the expected inflation rates identified in part (a), what will happen to the natural rate of unemployment in the long run?
Is AP Macroeconomics hard?
Depends on what we mean by “hard.” If we look exclusively at the pass rate of the AP Macro exam, we could certainly make a case for AP Macro being among the more difficult AP courses. In 2022, 52% of students who took the AP Macro exam received a passing grade of a 3 or above. In 2021, 50.6% of students received a 3 or above. The overall average pass rate for the AP Macro exam is 63.2%, while the average pass rate for all AP exams combined is 71.13%. That means that statistically speaking, the AP Macro exam is about 8% “harder” than the average AP exam.
But I don’t think the course’s difficulty is reducible solely to the percentage of students who pass the exam. Whether or not a course is difficult also depends largely on the content of the course. So what exactly does the AP Macro curriculum look like? Generally, the course starts off by covering key economic concepts like supply and demand, national income, and price-level determination. From there, the course delves into fiscal policy, and students learn how to use graphs and visuals to model economic situations. The good news is that for most students, AP Macro is the first time they’re encountering these concepts, methodologies, etc. In other words, the course doesn’t count on students having prior experience in economics. It starts with the basics and builds from there.
AP Macro score distribution
Let’s take an in-depth look at 2021’s exam results. 52% of students received a passing grade. Of those, 18% received a 5, 20% received a 4, and 14% received a 3. 16% received a 2, and 32%— almost a third of all test takers—received a 1.
In keeping with past trends, students scored significantly higher on the multiple-choice section than they did on the free-response section. On the multiple-choice section, students scored best on questions pertaining to Unit 1 (Basic Economic Concepts) or Unit 2 (Economic Indicators and the Business Cycle). 15% of students received a perfect score on questions about Unit 2. Conversely, questions pertaining to Unit 4, the Financial Sector, were the most challenging—by the numbers, at least. 21% of students answered most or all of the questions pertaining to Unit 4 incorrectly.
How to get a 5 on AP Macro
Use the AP Macro score calculator! It’s a perfect way to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness and focus your study time and energy accordingly. Other than using the AP Macro score calculator, though, you can keep in mind general trends from previous generations of AP Macro test-takers.
The first trend to keep in mind is that students generally struggle with the free-response section. The free-response section is praxis-oriented. In other words, it’s not testing your ability to simply memorize definitions of key economic terms, ideas, and concepts. The free-response section tests your ability to put those ideas and concepts into practice. So get comfortable creating graphs and other visual representations and using them to back up assertions. Practice sample free-response questions that require you to perform numerical analysis and make predictions based on analyses.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that the multiple-choice section is worth two-thirds of your overall score. So completely neglecting the material on the multiple-choice section is by no means a good study strategy. Remember that students generally do better on questions related to Units 1 and 2. So if you feel comfortable in those content areas, devote more time to studying Units 3, 4, 5, and 6: National Income and Price Determination, Financial Sector, Long-Run Consequences of Stabilization Policies, and Open Economy International Trade and Finance, respectively. And if you’re pressed for time, use the past as your guide. In 2021, students struggled the most with questions related to Unit 4, Financial Sector. If you get comfortable in those traditionally sticky areas, you’ll definitely be setting yourself up for success.