5 Steps to a 5 AP Microeconomics 2017
So, you’ve decided to bite the bullet and invest in a book designed to help you earn a 5 on your AP Microeconomics exam. Congratulations! You have taken the first of many small steps toward this goal. An important question remains: Why this book?
Priority number one, both for your AP course and for this book, is to prepare you to do well enough on the AP Microeconomics exam to earn college credit. I firmly believe that this book has a comparative advantage over your other options. First, I have written this text with a certain conversational approach, rather than a flurry of formulas and diagrams that you must remember. Sure, some memorization is required for any standardized test, but a memorizer of formulas is in deep trouble when asked to analyze the relative success of several possible economic policies or to draw fine distinctions between competing economic theories. Using this book to supplement and reinforce your understanding of the theories and relationships in economics allows you to apply your analytical skills to the exam, and this gives you a significant advantage over the formula-memorizing exam taker. If you spend less time memorizing formulas and take the extra time to understand the basics, you will get along just fine with this book, and you will do extremely well on the AP Economics exams.
Second, as a college professor who has taught economics to thousands of students, I have a strong understanding of where the learning happens and where the mistakes are made.
Third, as a reader and writer of AP exams, I can tell you where points are lost and where a 5 is made on the free-response questions. Most important, I am a realist. You want to know what it takes to earn a 5 and not necessarily the finer points of the Federal Reserve System, the Sherman Antitrust Act, or the NAFTA.
Take the time to read the first four chapters of this book, which are designed to help you understand the challenge that lies ahead and to provide you with tips for success on the exam.
Take the diagnostic exam to see where you stand before beginning your review. The bulk of this book is a comprehensive review of microeconomics with practice questions at the end of each chapter. These questions are designed to quickly test your understanding of the material presented in each chapter, not necessarily to mirror the AP exam. For exam questions that are more typical of what you will experience in May, I have provided you with two practice exams in microeconomics. These are practice exams, complete with essay questions, sample responses, and scoring guidelines.
There have been several important updates since the first edition. The second edition included expanded coverage of game theory, reflecting the growing use of game theory in the AP Microeconomics curriculum. In that edition, I included a free-response question involving game theory because the people who develop the AP exam had been urging high school AP teachers to devote more time to game theory. Such urgings are usually a strong hint of a future free-response question, and indeed in 2007, the Microeconomics exam included, for the first time, a free-response game-theory question.
In the last edition of this book, I included details of the impact that trade barriers, such as tariffs and quotas, have on competitive markets. While the topic of trade barriers has been present in the AP Microeconomics course outline for several years, it was not tested extensively in the free-response section until 2012. The last edition also added coverage of the market for capital in the factor markets chapter to reflect a growing emphasis in both teaching and testing more than simply labor markets. I also brought some of the coverage of externalities more in line with recent AP exams and the rubrics that were used to grade them.
To reflect more recent points of emphasis in the AP exam, in this edition I have expanded the explanation of how certain costs can be identified and computed in a graph. I have also provided additional graphing tips and modified some questions in the practice exams.
I do not see any reason to continue talking about the book when we could just dive in. I hope that you enjoy this book and that you find it a useful resource. Good luck!