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Exam Skills: FRQ/MCQ

2021 AP Microeconomics Exam Guide

7 min readβ€’march 13, 2021


Your guide to the 2021 AP Microeconomics exam

We know that studying for your AP exams can be stressful, but Fiveable has your back! We have created a study plan that will help you crush your Microeconomics exam. We will continue to update this guide with more information about the 2021 exams, as well as helpful resources to help you score that 5. Create a Fiveable account and join our Discord to stay involved in all things AP exams! 😁

Format of the 2021 AP Microeconomics exam

This year, all AP exams will cover all units and essay types. The 202 Microeconomics exam will be a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes and the format will be:
  • Section 1: Multiple Choice (66% of score)
    • 60 questions in 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Section 2: Free Response (33% of score)
    • 3 questions in 1 hour
      • 1 long FRQ (50% of section score)
      • 2 short FRQs (50% of section score)

When is the 2021 AP Microeconomics exam and how do I take it?

There are three different exam administrations this year and the tests will be taken in person at your school unless your AP Coordinator has indicated otherwise. Here is what we know from College Board so far:
  1. The first administration offers the exam on paper, in school, on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 12 PM, your local time.
  2. The second administration offers the exam digitally, in school or at home, on Friday, May 28, 2021, at 4 PM, your local time.
  3. The third administration offers the exam digitally, in school and at home, on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 4 PM EDT.
The tests will be taken in person at your school unless your AP Coordinator has indicated otherwise. Create a Fiveable account to get updates on the latest 2021 exam news.Β 

How should I prepare for the exam?

  • First, download the AP Microeconomics Cram Chart PDF - a single sheet that covers everything you need to know at a high level. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses!Β 
  • Review every unit and question type, and focus on the areas that need the most improvement and practice. We’ve put together this plan to help you study between now and May. This will cover all of the units and essay types to prepare you for your exam
  • Join our Discord channel to talk to real students just like you studying for this exam! We have TAs in each subject channel to support you this Spring.Β 
  • Finally, check out our live Cram events so that you can review for the AP Micro exam with a rockstar teacher and study socially among other students!Β Β 

Pre-work: set up your study environment

Before we begin, take some time to get organized. Remote learning can be great, but it also means you’ll need to hold yourself accountable more than usual.Β 
πŸ–₯ Create a study space.
Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space.Β 
πŸ“š Organize your study materials.
Get your notebook, textbook, prep books, or whatever other physical materials you have. Also, create a space for you to keep track of review. Start a new section in your notebook to take notes or start a Google Doc to keep track of your notes. Get yourself set up!
πŸ“… Plan designated times for studying.
The hardest part about studying from home is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to studying. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track.
πŸ† Decide on an accountability plan.
How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!
🀝 Get support from your peers. 
There are thousands of students all over the world who are preparing for their AP exams just like you! Join our Discord channel to chat, ask questions, and meet other students who are also studying for the spring exams. You can even build study groups and review material together!Β 

AP Microeconomics 2021 Study Plan

πŸ’Έ Unit 1: Basic Economic Concepts

Scarcity is the basic problem in economics in which society does not have enough resources to produce whatever everyone needs and wants. Basically, it is unlimited wants and needs vs. limited resources. Scarcity is faced by all societies and economic systems. Since we are faced with scarcity, we must make choices about how to allocate and use scarce resources.
Economics is the study of how individuals, firms, and governments deal with scarcity. As a result of facing scarcity, all members of a society have to make choices in an effort to manage our resources in the most efficient way possible. The choices we make are known as trade-offs.
Microeconomics is the study of how individuals, households, and firms make decisions and allocate resources. For example, whether a high school graduate chooses to go to college or directly into the workforce is a microeconomic decisionπŸ‘¨β€πŸ’Ό
πŸ“° Check out these articles:
πŸŽ₯ Watch these videos from the Fiveable archives:

πŸ“ˆ Unit 2: Supply and Demand

Demand is defined as the different quantities of goods and services that consumers are willing and able to purchase at various price levels. Supply is the different quantities of goods and services that firms are willing and able to produce at various price levels.
πŸ“° Check out these articles:
πŸŽ₯ Watch these videos from the Fiveable archives:
Β 

βš™οΈ Unit 3: Production, Cost, and the Perfect Competition Model

Unit 3 includes a lot of vocabulary regarding production, product costs, profit, and the perfect competition model. Be sure to check the articles below for concise definitions to maximize your understanding of this unit.
πŸ“° Check out these articles:
πŸŽ₯ Watch these videos from the Fiveable archives:

πŸ“Š Unit 4: Imperfect Competition

The imperfectly competitive markets include monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition. A monopoly refers to the type of market that only has one firm that dominates the industry and sells a very unique product. Examples of monopolies include a small-town gas station, the Windows operating system for computers, DeBeers diamonds (the main diamond producer in the world), and the utility companies in your area.
An oligopoly refers to a type of market where there are a few large firms that dominate the industry (usually less than 10). Some examples of oligopolies include cable television services, cereal companies, automobile manufacturing companies, and cell phone companies.
A monopolistically competitive market is one that has a large number of sellers that offer differentiated products. Examples of monopolistic competition include restaurants, clothing companies, hairdressers, and makeup companies.
πŸ“° Check out these articles:

πŸ’° Unit 5: Factor Markets

In this unit, we focus on the factor market (i.e. resource market) from the Circular Flow diagram. The factor market is where the factors of production are sold by households to businesses. The factors of production are land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship. The corresponding payments for these factors of production are rent, wage, interest, and profit. In the factor market, the demand for resources is determined (derived) by the products they help to produce. We call this concept derived demand. For example, the demand for carpenters is derived from the demand for homes. If there was a spike in demand for new houses, the demand for carpenters will increase as well.
πŸ“° Check out these articles:

πŸ› Unit 6: Market Failure and Role of Government

Socially efficient market outcomes are the optimal distribution of all resources in society while taking into account all internal and external costs and benefits. In our study of economics, socially efficient takes place where marginal social benefit (MSB) = marginal social cost (MSC).
πŸ“° Check out these articles:

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