Preparing Students for the 2020 AP Statistics Exam

We finally have all the details about the 2020 AP Statistics Exam.

  • Testing time is Friday May 22 at 2:00 EST.

  • Students will take the exam at home on a computer or a phone.

  • The exam is 45 minutes with two FRQs. 25 minutes for #1 (not an Investigative Task) and 15 minutes for #2.

  • Exam covers CED Units 1-7 (no chi-square or regression inference)

For more details, see this College Board webinar with Trevor Packer.


How Do I Prepare My Students for this Exam?


(1) Focus on the big picture and not the tiny details

With only two questions and 45 minutes to assess a full year's worth of content, it is unlikely there will be questions about obscure topics. Expect our students to have to describe a distribution, do a probability calculation, or perform inference for sample data. Don't expect our students to be asked to calculate and interpret the standard deviation of a geometric distribution or to transform nonlinear data using logarithms.


(2) Focus on conceptual understanding and not memorized facts

The College Board has stated that "exam questions will ask you to apply concepts from your notes and resources in new ways." These questions will not allow students to get credit for simply finding facts, formulas, or other information. This is consistent with the teaching philosophy we have been using all year long: Experience First, Formalize Later (EFFL).


(3) Focus on connecting concepts from across the curriculum

Two FRQ questions means that there are only two contexts to ask questions about - and the questions need to assess understanding over a wide number of topics. For each question, there might be one part that has students doing 1-variable analysis, one part doing a probability calculation, and one part finding a confidence interval. Students will need to be able to move fluidly through all parts of the curriculum.


What Resources Should I Use to Get My Students Ready?


Lesson Videos - If you are still finishing the content that will be covered on this year's AP Exam (CED Units 1- 7), you can use these Stats Medic videos, or the College Board YouTube videos.


AP Classroom - Here you can assign your students Personal Progress Checks (yes we still think MC questions are worth doing!) or practice FRQs from the question bank. More details here.


Stats Medic AP Exam Review Course - This all online review course uses videos and practice questions to take students through the entire AP Statistics curriculum. We are now offering the Review Course for free to schools impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).


One final note. While we are always developing rigorous coursework and setting high expectations for our students, it is important right now that we are checking in on the mental well-being of all of our students. Many of them will have family members or friends directly affected by the coronavirus. They might have parents that are losing their jobs. For Seniors, they are likely missing their high school graduation. This global pandemic will have long-lasting effects on our students and their families, and their health is far more important than any exam they will ever take.


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