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The AP Environmental Science course provides students with the scientific principles, concepts and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. As a rigorous science course, it stresses scientific principles and analysis through laboratory and field investigations. According to surveys of comparable curricula at four-year colleges and universities, it is equivalent to a one-semester introductory college course in environmental science.

Topics covered on the exam include:

Earth Systems and Resources (10–15%)

  • Earth science concepts
  • The atmosphere
  • Global water resources and use
  • Soil and soil dynamics

The Living World (10–15%)

  • Ecosystem structure
  • Energy flow
  • Ecosystem diversity
  • Natural ecosystem change
  • Natural biogeochemical cycles

Population (10–15%)

  • Population biology concepts
  • Human population

Land and Water Use (10–15%)

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Rangelands
  • Other land use
  • Mining
  • Fishing
  • Global economics

Energy Resources and Consumption (10–15%)

  • Energy concepts
  • Energy consumption
  • Fossil fuel resources and use
  • Nuclear energy
  • Hydroelectric power
  • Energy conservation
  • Renewable energy

Pollution (25–30%)

  • Pollution types
  • Impacts on the environment and human health
  • Economic impacts

Global Change (10–15%)

  • Stratospheric ozone
  • Global warming
  • Loss of biodiversity

Read the full course description and exam information with sample questions.