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How to Get a 5 in AP Statistics

4 min readโ€ขnovember 18, 2020

Harrison Burnside


Introducing AP Stats ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

AP Stats is a relatively large AP class ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿซ with quite a few resources online, but there are some amazing ones, like Fiveable 5๏ธโƒฃ, that are here to help! If you can practice for the exam ๐Ÿ“ and use these tips, then you should be all set to do awesome ๐Ÿคฉ on your FRQs and ace your MCQ ๐Ÿง sections of your exam.

3 Tips for a Five 5๏ธโƒฃ

Tip ๐Ÿ’ก #1: Know the Exam Format 1๏ธโƒฃ

MCQ Section ๐Ÿง

The AP Statistics exam has a pretty standard Multiple-Choice + Free Response structure. When you walk into the exam, the first section you will take is the multiple-choice section of the exam ๐Ÿ“Ž On the AP Stats exam, you will have:
  • 40 MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions ๐Ÿ˜‰)
  • 90 Minutes (a.k.a 1.5 hours) โŒš to solve those MCQs โœ…
    • That math ๐Ÿ“‰ works out to about 2 minutes and 10 seconds per question โŒ›
The MCQ section of the AP Stats is worth 50% (a.k.a half) of your exam score. Like most other AP MCQs, the AP Stats MCQ has 5๏ธโƒฃ choices, A through E to choose from, with each question having only one correct answer.

FRQ Section โœ๏ธ

The second and final ๐Ÿ’ฏ section on the exam is the free-response questions. The Stats exam has two parts to the FRQ section. Courtesy of the College Board Website ๐Ÿ’ป, the free-response question will include:
  1. Multi-part question with a primary focus on collecting data ๐Ÿ”Ž
  2. Multi-part question with a primary focus on exploring data โ˜๏ธ + โœŒ๏ธ
  3. Multi-part question with a primary focus on probability ๐ŸŽฒ and sampling distributions ๐Ÿ“Š
  4. Question with a primary focus on inference โš–๏ธ
  5. Question that combines 2 or 3 skills from the first four questions โž•
The last section of your FRQ is called an investigative task ๐Ÿค” This question assesses 2 or 3 skills from the first four questions and asks you to apply your statistical skills to new contexts or in non-routine ways.
The sixth 6๏ธโƒฃ question, the investigative task, is a separate part of the FRQ and is worth 25% of this section's weight ๐Ÿ˜ฑ (that is a lllllooooootttt). Free-response questions, like the MCQs, are worth 50% of your total exam score, with the first five 5๏ธโƒฃ questions being worth 37.5% and the last investigative task being worth 12.5% overall!
Free-response questions, similar to the MCQ, also allow the use of a calculator ๐Ÿงฎ, and the same rules apply as before regarding what types of calculators you will be allowed to use. Check out the MCQ Help for AP Stats Article to learn more (coming soon).
For the Section Two 2๏ธโƒฃ, the FRQ portion of your exam, you will receive โŒ›:
  • 90 Minutes โฒ๏ธ
  • Six 6๏ธโƒฃ FRQs (aka Free Response Questions ๐Ÿ˜‰)
    • Including, one 1๏ธโƒฃ special Investigative Task ๐Ÿค”
    • The AP Exam recommends spending 25 minutes โŒš on this one question ๐Ÿ™€

Tip ๐Ÿ’ก #2: Join the Fiveable Community

What is it?ย Kind of like peer tutoring, but in a group ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŽ“ and all online. Get alerted to live reviews and join the chat to discuss topics and write practice โœ๏ธ questions live.
Why is it helpful?ย The key feature that Fiveable has that you won't find in any of the other listed resource is making real connections with other students. If you attend sessions live, you can submit questions for teacher and TAs to discuss. The replay will get time-stamped ๐Ÿ€„ with the answered questions, which makes it really easy to go back and review that answer ๐Ÿ’ช
Fun Feature:ย The cool thing about Fiveable is that even though the live reviews are at the core of this resource, there are several other key features like trivia games ๐Ÿ† that members play live! There are thousands of members across the world ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ and you can see how you stack up against them ๐Ÿ˜ป

Tip ๐Ÿ’ก #3: Deconstruct the Formula Sheet 3๏ธโƒฃ

The formula sheet ๐Ÿ“œ is one of the most useful pieces of your AP Exam! You will be able to use that (and a calculator ๐Ÿงฎ) throughout the whole test โ™ฅ๏ธ
Letโ€™s go through some steps together to really make sure that you can use your formula sheet to the fullest on test day ๐Ÿ˜
Here are some annotated โœ๏ธ formulas from the Descriptive Statistics (Units 1 and 2) of AP Stats:
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ZHKzE0ulWI23.png?alt=media&token=c4cee2de-19b6-45bc-b190-556005bfcfb3
Now, let's look at some annotated Probability (Unit 4) Distribution Formulas:
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-8ynHqpVlyo1t.png?alt=media&token=ef28d7d7-6fc9-47e9-a804-0937b2e18424
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-tUWB3QJcgEdM.png?alt=media&token=c03621e2-3e50-46f5-8aa8-37b6e9ce52dd
Finally, let's discuss some inference formulas, their meanings, and how to apply them to different significance tests and confidence intervals ๐ŸŽ‰
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-gqlLXkTJTEiz.png?alt=media&token=30eacfe4-8932-4949-8de0-b90350291d60
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-tlvnMKCMc0vp.png?alt=media&token=747c9f84-593f-46dc-a7f1-233d39a06e58
All of these formula sheet images are courtesy of AP Stats Slides from:
๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธ Watch: AP Stats โ€” how to get the most out of the formula sheet with Josh Argo

Closing Thoughts ๐Ÿ’ญ

AP Stats ๐Ÿ“‰ isn't a super hard class, but it does require an in-depth understanding ๐Ÿค” of the content and knowing how to apply it to math equations and real-word situations! Make sure to understand these tips ๐Ÿ’ก to be able to get that five 5๏ธโƒฃ in May ๐Ÿ™Œ and as always, Think Fiveable ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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Unit 2: Exploring Two-Variable Data
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Unit 3: Collecting Data
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Unit 4: Probability, Random Variables, and Probability Distributions
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Unit 5: Sampling Distributions
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Unit 6: Inference for Categorical Data: Proportions
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Unit 7: Inference for Qualitative Data: Means
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Unit 8: Inference for Categorical Data: Chi-Square
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Unit 9: Inference for Quantitative Data: Slopes
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