Saturday, September 5, 2009

Free Response Questions

The free response questions on the AP test are an application of economic concepts and not a long normative expository. Many of the "essay" questions involve short sentence answers, interpretation of graphs, and explain graphs and concepts. The CollegeBoard provides generous examples of free response questions along with scoring guidelines and suggested answers. Questions from all macro tests from 1999 until 2009 can be found here. Microeconomics is here.

It has been my experience that the free response questions integrate the entire semester's content, so I leave two weeks at the end of the semester for working on the essay part of the test. I make sure that students can draw graphs that include directional arrows and accurate labels. I went to Menards and bought white paneling and had the industrial tech department cut the paneling into 2 X 2 sections. I use those sections as whiteboards for students to practice graphing. This is how I make sure that students use the appropriate labels, arrows, and curves.
Students like to be able to erase mistakes immediately. I have also found that working on the essay questions solidifies content and allows students see the relevance of the course structure.

If you use the free response questions, make sure you do not post the questions electronically. Also, you can apply to be a test reader too!


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