Follow these strategies on exam day:

  • Before beginning work on the free-response section, read all 6 questions to determine which ones you feel most prepared to answer. Do them first.
  • The 6th free-response question (called the “investigative task”) is worth 25% of that section and usually takes 25-30 minutes to complete. Do not save this question until the end, as you will be too tired and rushed to think creatively. A good strategy is to complete question 1, then question 6, then the remaining 4 questions.
  • Show all your work; partial credit is given for partial solutions. If your answer is incorrect, you can still receive credit for correct thinking if the person scoring the exam sees evidence of it on paper.
  • If you make a mistake, just cross it out – don’t waste time erasing it.
  • Organize your work as clearly and neatly as possible, showing the steps you took to reach your solution. If the person scoring the exam cannot easily follow your reasoning, you are less likely to receive credit for it.
  • Don’t write a bunch of equations hoping that the correct one will be among them so that you can get partial credit. You can lose points for the extraneous or incorrect information.
  • Explain your reasoning. When asked to choose between several options, give reasons for your choice AND why you did not choose the others.
  • Do not use statistical vocabulary unless you are sure you are using it correctly. Define all symbols, draw pictures, etc. Never just give a numerical answer without showing how you found it and why.
  • Do not rely on calculator syntax. If you write down calculator syntax, clearly label each number.
  • When you are asked to compare two distributions, use explicit comparison phrases such as “higher than” or “approximately the same as.” Lists of characteristics do not count as a comparison.
  • Do not give 2 different solutions to a problem. The worst one will be graded.
  • Answer all questions in the context of the problem.
  • If the question asks you to use results from previous parts of the question, be sure to explicitly refer to them in your answer.
  • If you cannot get an answer for an early part of a question but need it for a later part, make up a value or carefully explain what you would do if you knew the answer.
  • Space on the exam is not suggestive of the desired length of an answer. The best answers are usually quite succinct. There is no need for “extra fluff” on an AP Statistics exam.
  • Use words like “approximately” liberally, especially with the word “Normal.”