AP Environmental Science

Sign in to My AP to access free support in AP Classroom, including AP Daily videos.

About the Exam

Important Update

Updated April 8 You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 AP Environmental Science Exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June.

The paper and digital versions of the AP Environmental Science Exam will be full length, containing the typical multiple-choice and free-response sections and covering the full scope of course content, giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Environmental Science only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.


As the exam approaches, take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

The AP Environmental Science Exam will test your understanding of the environmental concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to design research studies to solve environmental problems. Calculators are permitted for use in all sections of the exam.

Exam Duration
2hrs 40mins

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Environmental Science students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has a shortened multiple-choice section (18 questions, 20 minutes), a shortened break of 5 minutes, and a full-length free-response section (3 questions, 70 minutes). 
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple-choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 1 free-response question.

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Taking the Digital Exam

You should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • You may use a four-function (with square root), scientific, or graphing calculator on the AP Environmental Science Exam. However, you will need to bring your own calculator because the digital testing application does not include one.
  • As a reminder, you will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but you cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses
    • The free-response questions won’t require you to draw diagrams, charts or complicated mathematical expressions.
    • All responses can be typed on a regular computer keyboard, along with a selection of additional formatting options (including superscript) and special characters that can be accessed by clicking the Omega button on the toolbar:

       

  • Some free-response question prompts reference a specific question part. You can click on the » symbol shown in the prompt to automatically scroll to the referenced location.
  • As a reminder, you cannot go back to questions you’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead. 
  • However, free-response questions will each be presented in multiple parts, and you’ll answer each part on a separate screen. You may move among the parts of the question currently being answered, with the Back and Next buttons. Once you’ve entered your response to the last part of a question and moved ahead to the next, you won’t be able to go back to any part of that question you finished.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Exam Dates

  • Fri, May 14, 2021,
    12 PM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Environmental Science Exam

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP Environmental Science Exam.

  • Thu, May 27, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Environmental Science Exam

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP Environmental Science Exam.

  • Fri, Jun 11, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Environmental Science Exam

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP Environmental Science Exam.

Exam Components

Note on 2021 Exams

Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Environmental Science Exam will be full length, containing the typical multiple-choice and free-response sections and covering the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Environmental Science only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

On the digital exam, you’ll answer free-response questions with a keyboard, rather than by hand. Questions requiring calculations will be written such that you can show your work via typing. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

80 questions 1hr 30mins 60% of Score

The multiple-choice section includes individual, single questions as well as sets of questions that refer to the same diagram or data presentation; these may include data tables, charts, graphs, models, representations, and text-based sources.

Please Note: on the digital exam, common-option sets will appear at the end of the multiple-choice section. On the paper and pencil exam, they appear at the beginning.

Questions will test your ability to:

  • Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models
  • Analyze visual representations
  • Analyze text sources
  • Analyze research studies
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Use math in solving problems
  • Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems

3 questions 1hr 10mins 40% of Score

The free-response section includes three questions:

  • Question 1: Design an investigation presents students with an authentic environmental scenario accompanied by either a model/visual representation or quantitative data.
  • Question 2: Analyze an environmental problem and propose a solution presents students with an authentic environmental scenario accompanied by either a model/visual representation or quantitative data.
  • Question 3: Analyze an environmental problem and propose a solution doing calculations presents students with an authentic environmental scenario.

Note: On the digital exam, you’ll answer free-response questions with a keyboard, rather than by hand. Questions requiring calculations will be written such that you can show your work via typing. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

Questions will test your ability to:

  • Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models
  • Analyze visual representations
  • Analyze research studies
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Use math in solving problems
  • Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems

Exam Preparation

Search AP Credit Policies

Find colleges that grant credit and/or placement for AP Exam scores in this and other AP courses.

Not a student?

Go to AP Central for resources for educators