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Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

AP Calculus AB/BC Multiple Choice Help (MCQ)

3 min readβ€’october 28, 2020

Catherine Liu

Multiple Choice Help (MCQ)


Not my favorite color-by-letter. Image Courtesy of Alberto G.

Overview ♾️

For many students in AP Calculus, the multiple-choice section is easier than the free-response section. You'll be asked more straightforward skills-based questions, problems typically don't build off of each other, and you have the power to guess. Still, doing well on the multiple-choice requires good test-taking strategies and lots of practice. Here are our tips and tricks to help you do your best in May!
βž•Check out this in-depth multiple choice study guide for more info.


Format πŸ“„

Understanding the format of the exam is key to dividing your studying and pacing yourself when doing practice questions.
The multiple-choice section makes up 50% of your score, and you have an hour and 45 minutes to answer 45 questions. This section has 2 parts:
  • Part A: 60 minutes for 30 non-calculator questions.
  • Part B: 45 minutes for 15 calculator-required questions.
And here's how often each unit shows up on the test:

Exam Weighting

UnitExam Weighting (AB)Exam Weighting (BC)
Unit 1: Limits and Continuity10-12%4-7%
Unit 2: Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties10-12%4-7%
Unit 3: Differentiation: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions9-13%4-7%
Unit 4: Contextual Applications of Differentiation10-15%6-9%
Unit 5: Analytical Applications of Differentiation15-18%8-11%
Unit 6: Integration and Accumulation of Change17-20%17-20%
Unit 7: Differential Equations6-12%6-9%
Unit 8: Applications of Integration10-15%6-9%
Unit 9: Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Valued Functions (BC only) 11-12%
Unit 10: Infinite Sequences and Series (BC only)17-18%

Tips and Tricks ✏️

  1. If it's a skill you're confident in, do the problem first. Often, the College Board includes "good" wrong answers that can lead you in the wrong direction. Don't get distracted by your answer options unless you need to see them to know what you have to do. Remember to trust your gut!
  2. Star problems you struggle with to come back to later. You only have 2-3 minutes per question, so you should get through the test first before you double-check your answers. Make sure to mark a temporary answer on your bubble sheet (e.g. putting a slash through a bubble) so you don't accidentally fill in your answers one space off from where they should be.
  3. If you have time, double-check. Sometimes, there will be a tiny difference between the correct answer and one of the wrong answers. Did you add instead of subtracting? Did you forget a negative? Sometimes, simple algebra mistakes can cost you a question.
  4. Take note of your weaknesses. As you practice multiple choice questions, write down the types of questions you get wrong. Use this information to guide your studying before you take another practice test.
  5. When all else fails, guess. Use your typical guessing strategies (like sticking with the same letter answer any time you guess), and eliminate wrong answers whenever possible. Try not to leave any questions blank, since you won't be penalized for wrong answers. After all, you have at least a 25% chance of guessing right!

Where to Practice πŸ“

For free AP multiple choice practice, try:
For free skill practice, try:
If you want more AP-style multiple choice practice, consider buying a prep book. They usually sell for under $20 and have upwards of 3 full-length practice tests. Check out this list of the best prep books [coming soon] for Fiveable's top picks!


Closing Thoughts πŸ’­

If you know the format, use these strategies, and practice until you're confident, you'll rock the multiple choice section of the exam. Good luck! πŸŽ‰

Was this guide helpful?

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πŸ’ͺ🏽 Are you ready for the Calc BC exam?
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Free Response Questions (FRQ)
Unit 10: Infinite Sequences and Series (BC Only)
Unit 1: Limits & Continuity
Unit 2: Differentiation: Definition & Fundamental Properties
Unit 3: Differentiation: Composite, Implicit & Inverse Functions
Unit 4: Contextual Applications of the Differentiation
Unit 5: Analytical Applications of Differentiation
Unit 6: Integration and Accumulation of Change
Unit 7: Differential Equations
Unit 8: Applications of Integration
Unit 9: Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates & Vector Valued Functions (BC Only)
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