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2. How to Approach Free-Response Questions
You have 70 minutes to answer the three essay questions.
About 23 minutes per question is how long that is.
There are three questions that will present a scenario and ask you to answer a number of smaller questions.
You can get a maximum of 10 points per question, but you need to answer every part of the question to get all 10 points.
Each question has a rubric assigned to it, which is what the essay readers use to give you points for your responses.
Giving the graders what they're looking for is the best way to get points on this section.
One of the free-response questions will ask you to design an investigation and the other will ask you to propose a solution to an environmental problem using models.
The third question will ask you the same as the second, but this time using calculations, so a calculator can be very useful.
You don't need to answer them in order.
The best way to decide if this is a question is to read the scenario and see if you want to try it now or later.
Before you read the next scenario, do this.
Move on to the next question if you decide to do it later.
Start answering the questions if you decide to do it now.
Make it easy for the grader to give you points by remembering the grading rubric.
If the question asks for two solutions, label them so the grader can easily find them.
If the question asks for a calculation, show all your work.
If the question asks you to plot something, make sure to label the axes and points on the chart.
There is math in environmental science.
The 2020 exam will allow you to use a calculator.
The AP essay graders use a list of key terms and concepts to assign points.
These "hot-button" terms are what we like to call them.
You will receive points for each hot button you include in your essay.
If the essay question deals with photochemical smog, the AP graders are instructed to give students two points for writing.
They are at the end of each chapter and in the Glossary in Chapter 12.
If you don't have a good grasp of the words in those lists, use them as hot buttons in your essays.
As you read the question, come up with a list of terms and concepts you want to cover.
You can use the questions to help with your list of terms.
An outline will help you organize them.
A well-organized essay is easier to write and grade because you don't get points for organization.
A simple outline is the best way to organize your response.
It should take no more than two to three minutes.
You wouldn't be writing an essay if you just composed a list of key scientific terms.
The three free-response questions need to be written in a paragraph style.
An answer written in a list or outline is not acceptable and will not be scored.
You will only need to write one or two paragraphs for each question.
Give just two examples if the question asks for them.
The grader may not count more than two examples toward your score if you present more than two examples.
Make sure you give just what the question asks for when you read it.
You have about 23 minutes to answer the questions.
An outline of your answer can be made in the first 2 to 3 minutes.
The process will help you organize your thoughts.
It is easier to present a diagram or figure in an essay.
All illustrations should be labeled and discussed in your answer.
If you don't label your diagram or figure correctly, the AP graders will give you no more than partial credit for your work.
One of the essay questions will be based on fact.
The lab experiment that was conducted in your AP class will be referred to by the questions.
The laboratory component of your course is an important part of the exam.
We will review some of the laboratory experiments you may have done in your class.
After answering all the questions, give yourself a couple of minutes to review your answers.
Once you are done with a question, you are done.
Even if you have time at the end of the test, don't go back to a question you've already answered.
Keeping at it will get you good at writing an essay in 23 minutes.
Try out the strategies you've learned in the practice questions found on the next page and in the free-response questions found at the end of the content chapter.
Try out some of the questions that we covered when tackling free-response questions.
Chapter 13 has answers and explanations.
In the hundreds of millions, the North American black-tailed prairie dog population thrived and shaped the Great Plains grassland environment for over 200 other species of plants and animals.
The population was estimated to be 3,100 by 1972, and was projected to become extinct by 2000.
The population increased from 3,100 to 12,400 between 1972 and 2012
The diagram shows the diversity downstream from the sewage treatment plant.
A growing city of 500,000 people needs to produce another waste stream destination.
The chairman of the committee is supposed to make a decision on which facility is the best for your community.
There are two options open for discussion, one of which is the development of a new sanitary landfill.
You have to pick one of the options.
The questions that follow can be answered using the assumptions below.
All work should be shown for each calculation.
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