If you’re a student or planning to take AP environmental science, you’ve probably heard mixed opinions on how difficult the course can be. Some claim it’s an easy A while others warn of its rigor and potential for difficulty.
So, is AP environmental science easy? The answer isn’t exactly clear-cut; it largely depends on your interest in the subject matter, your teacher, and your work ethic. However, with the right mindset and preparation, anyone has the potential to succeed in this course.
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently.” -Marie Forleo
In this article, we’ll share some valuable tips to help you excel in AP environmental science, regardless of whether you consider yourself a science buff or not. We believe that these practical tips will equip you with the tools and confidence you need to earn high grades in the class and excel on the AP exam.
We acknowledge that AP courses are challenging by design- they require intense effort both in and outside of the classroom- but as long as you stay committed and follow our advice, you have what it takes to thrive in college-level coursework like AP environmental science. So without further ado, let’s dive into the tips!
What Is Ap Environmental Science?
Advanced Placement Environmental Science is an elective course for high school students who have the passion to learn about environmental issues and natural processes. This course involves interdisciplinary studies, combining biology, chemistry, physics, geology, sociology, political science, and economics.
The primary objective of this program is to provide students with a comprehensive perspective on the environment’s current condition, address key challenges, opportunities, and mitigation strategies based on applications from real-life experiences.
This curriculum covers various aspects of the environment across different sectors such as atmospheric pollution, water quality, land use, waste management, environmental policies, biodiversity conservation, and sustainability practices.
The Definition of Ap Environmental Science
AP Environmental Science (APES) can be defined as an academic discipline that examines how humans interact with their environment. The College Board offers the APES program in which students participate in an integrated study of earth’s physical and biological systems, human social organization, and global economic patterns.
The course content includes biogeochemical cycles, climate change, water resources, air pollution, soil degradation, endangered species, policy making, and environmental ethics. Students may also require field trips and research projects through which they collect data, analyze evidence, and communicate their findings to others.
The successful completion of the APES course prepares students to pass the AP exam and potentially earn college credit.
The Importance of Ap Environmental Science
There is no doubt that the survival and prosperity of humanity are directly linked to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. However, the increasing rate of population growth, urbanization, industrialization, consumerism, and climate change threatens the well-being of the planet and all its inhabitants.
Therefore, it is vital to educate individuals, especially the future leaders, on how to protect and preserve natural resources in harmony with societal development. APES provides critical knowledge and skills needed to analyze environmental issues from multiple perspectives and propose feasible solutions.
The course also helps students understand their roles as global citizens by teaching them about responsible resource use, conservation practices, and sustainable living options. Moreover, it equips them with competitive skills that are relevant to various career fields such as environmental science, engineering, law, journalism, public policy, and advocacy.
“Ultimately, sustainability is about survival. It’s people surviving on this planet.” -Dr. Jennifer Barrigar
AP Environmental Science is a challenging but rewarding program designed to prepare students for the complex environmental challenges facing our society. The topics covered in this course reflect the pressing concerns of today’s world, including biodiversity conservation, pollution reduction, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. Students who complete this program gain the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become effective stewards of the environment and contribute to making this world a better place to live.
What Are the Challenges of Ap Environmental Science?
The Complexity of the Subject Matter
AP Environmental Science is a complex subject that explores a wide range of topics, including ecology, climate change, pollution, and environmental policies. Understanding these concepts requires a solid foundation in scientific principles, which can be challenging for some students. Moreover, it demands an understanding of complex chemical formulas, biological processes, mathematical models, and ecological relationships.
“Environmental science involves interdisciplinary approaches to our natural world requiring students to make connections and synthesize information from various subjects.” – Lisa Friis, AP Public Policy Director at The College Board
The Volume of Information to Learn
AP Environmental Science covers an extensive amount of information about the environment, ecosystems, ecological footprint, human impacts on the environment, conservation biology, and much more. For this reason, most students find it overwhelming to keep up with all the reading material, lectures, lab experiments, and assignments.
“The curriculum can become very dense as you try to balance teaching a basic framework with advanced concepts and critical thinking ideas. There are many details to cover — both historic background on environmental problems and what society has done about them so far.” -Linda Wallace, AP Environmental Science Educator
The Diversity of Topics Covered
AP Environmental Science examines a vast universe of topics related to the environment. This diversity can be difficult for some students, because they may not have sufficient knowledge or interest in certain areas. Some of the issues covered include global warming, deforestation, sustainability, pesticides and insecticides, water resources, biodiversity, and waste management.
“There’s no place to hide in AP environmental science; there are so many questions about all aspects of the environment that every student is bound to be weak in some area.” -Gail Hearn, AP teacher
The Need for Critical Thinking and Analysis
AP Environmental Science demands students to think critically and analytically about complex environmental issues. This involves analyzing data, applying scientific concepts, identifying patterns, and making predictions based on evidence. Additionally, the course requires students to communicate their ideas effectively using clear writing skills, as well as presenting information orally.
“The biggest challenge with teaching APES is getting our students to grasp the concept that almost all of these topics are interconnected. Each environmental issue has many facets, and if you only address one fragment of that issue without understanding how it connects to other systems, actions or reactions can have unintended consequences”- Nancy Reisig, AP TeacherIn conclusion, AP Environmental Science is not an easy subject; however, with dedication, effort, and willingness to learn, any student can succeed in this field. While there may be challenges, such as the complexity of the material, the volume of information, the diversity of topics covered, and the need for critical thinking and analysis, those who persevere through these difficulties will reap the benefits of obtaining the knowledge and tools necessary to contribute meaningfully towards a more sustainable future.
How Can You Prepare for Ap Environmental Science?
Developing Good Study Habits
The key to succeeding in AP Environmental Science is to develop good study habits. This means making a commitment to studying every day, setting realistic goals and deadlines, and prioritizing your time effectively. One of the most important things you can do to help yourself succeed in this course is to keep up with assigned readings and review materials.
It’s also important to establish a routine that works for you. Some people prefer to study in the morning while others find it easier to focus at night. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it. Additionally, try to eliminate distractions as much as possible by turning off your phone or finding a quiet space to work.
Finally, make sure to take breaks and give yourself time to recharge. Overworking yourself can lead to burnout, which will ultimately hurt your performance in the long run.
Using Study Guides and Review Materials
One useful way to prepare for AP Environmental Science is through the use of study guides and review materials. There are plenty of books, websites, and other resources available that provide detailed information on key concepts and topics covered in the course.
Some popular options include Barron’s AP Environmental Science textbook, Crash Course YouTube videos, and Princeton Review review books. These resources can be used to supplement classroom learning or as a primary source of information if you are self-studying for the exam.
Another useful tool is flashcards, which can help you memorize vocabulary terms and important facts. Quizlet is a popular app that provides access to pre-made sets of flashcards, but you can also create your own based on areas of weakness.
Taking Practice Tests and Quizzes
Practice tests and quizzes are an excellent way to assess your knowledge and identify areas that need improvement. There are plenty of online resources available, including official practice exams released by the College Board.
One benefit of taking practice tests is that they can help you get used to the format and style of questions on the actual exam. Additionally, they provide an opportunity to familiarize yourself with time management strategies and test-taking skills.
If possible, try to simulate testing conditions as closely as possible when taking practice tests. This means timing yourself and eliminating distractions to create a more realistic environment.
Participating in Group Study Sessions
Studying with a group can be beneficial for many reasons. It allows you to bounce ideas off each other, share notes and review materials, and gain insights from others who may have different perspectives on certain topics.
Furthermore, teaching concepts to others can be a great way to reinforce your own understanding of the material. By explaining key points and answering questions from your peers, you will solidify your own understanding and improve your chances of success on the exam.
It’s important to find a study group that works for you. You’ll want to choose people who are serious about studying and committed to helping each other succeed. Try to avoid groups where members frequently get distracted or don’t take the work seriously.Overall, AP Environmental Science can be a challenging course, but there are many resources and strategies available to help you succeed. By developing good study habits, using study guides and review materials, taking practice tests and quizzes, and participating in group study sessions, you can increase your chances of passing the exam and achieving your goals.
What Study Techniques Can Help You Succeed in Ap Environmental Science?
Note-Taking and Summarizing
Note-taking is an essential technique that can help you remember critical concepts of the Ap Environmental Science course. It helps to capture the lecture’s significant points, reinforce your understanding of the topic, and integrate related information. To get the most out of note-taking, write down the explanations given by the teacher instead of copying word for word what they say since it may hinder your comprehension.
You should divide your notes into different sections so that you can refer back to them easily when studying a particular concept. For instance, group every section according to topics such as Biodiversity, Water, Land, etc. Use colors or underlining techniques to highlight the vital information only. After each lesson, review and summarize your notes using bullet points to trade elaborate paragraphs with easy-to-remember phrases.
Active Reading and Highlighting
Active reading involves engaging yourself with learning materials instead of just passing through them without notice. Start by asking yourself, “what am I going to gain from this chapter?” Then skim through the content, paying attention to bold headings, titles, graphics, tables, and figures. This way, you can understand how different chapters relate before starting an in-depth study.
Highlighting adds more value to active reading. When reading through textbooks, consider using a colored pen or highlighter to point out important concepts. Only emphasize keywords, crucial information along with supporting definitions. Avoid highlighting everything and then cramming later because it might increase confusion at the time of revision. Make sure that the highlight symbols are standardized throughout all texts to identify synonymous terms quickly.
Creating Flashcards and Diagrams
Flashcards work best if you want to memorize definitions, formulas, and theories. Here’s how it works: write a concept on one side of the card and explanatory details on the other side. Whenever you are free, flip through the cards regularly while revising certain concepts using flashcards.
You can use diagrams or infographics to simplify complex topics such as environmental cycles, processes that control ecosystems, Land Use/Population Growth Curves, etc. This technique helps you to visualize different ideas and their relationships reducing complicated information into manageable chunks making them easy to remember. If possible, draw your custom-made diagrams rather than just relying on existing ones since creating them requires visual, spatial reasoning, and an overall understanding of all concepts involved.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you do.” -PeleIn conclusion, Ap Environmental Science has its challenges when it comes to course content, but with the right studying methods, staying ahead in this class becomes a possible task. Note-taking, active reading strategies along with highlighting techniques, cut out time wastages giving students more space for review. Creating flashcards and diagrams help improve memory retention and recall benefits if done correctly. Even though environmental science earns negative feedback from about being “an easy AP,” smart study skills make preparing for the test less daunting allowing for success at any student stage.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Ap Environmental Science?
Taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses can be academically and personally rewarding. In high school, AP courses like environmental science prepare students to pursue degrees in related fields at the university level and beyond. Moreover, AP environmental science offers plenty of benefits that make it worth spending time studying and preparing for its exams. Below are some top reasons why many students consider taking this course:
College Credit and Advanced Placement
One of the most significant advantages of taking an AP course is advanced placement. AP courses provide students with a more challenging curriculum than regular classes, allowing them to experience college-level work while still in high school. By achieving outstanding results on the exam or tests, students earn college credits. They have the potential to save thousands of dollars by reducing their tuition costs.
The National Center for Education Statistics revealed that 33% of all college graduates complete at least one AP class throughout their time in high school. Furthermore, colleges prefer accepting admitted students who possess relevant scholarly skills and exhibit true intellectual curiosity and ambition. Therefore, getting a better score in your AP environmental science coursework creates opportunities to enroll in higher academic programs such as undergraduate or graduate courses.
Improved Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills
An important skill that comes from studying AP environmental science is the development of critical thinking. Students learn how to identify problems in real-world situations, think critically about potential solutions, and evaluate their pros and cons. Since effective problem-solving is crucial in today’s rapidly changing world, acquiring these abilities is highly beneficial in various professional spheres.
In scientific inquiries, analytical capabilities help individuals find insightful information through reviewing multiple sources and interpreting data patterns. These competencies are particularly useful when looking for ways to solve environmental challenges and prevent worsening ecological hazards caused by human actions. Therefore, the application of critical thinking-based techniques taught in AP environmental science classes can help students become successful intellectuals, problem-solvers, and leaders.
Increased Environmental Awareness and Stewardship
AP environmental science encourages individuals to develop awareness and respect for our planet’s environment and the impact we as humans have on it. Through the course curriculum, you’ll learn about ecosystem dynamics, biodiversity, climate change, sustainability issues, energy resources, pollution and waste management, land use patterns, and much more. Developing a comprehensive understanding of these concepts lays the foundation for an environmentally-friendly approach to life and decision making, which is something that society urgently needs.
“We cannot win this battle to save threatened species and ecosystems without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature…That bridge is education.” -Sir David Attenborough
Enhanced Career Opportunities in Environmental Science and Related Fields
If you’re interested in pursuing careers related to the environment or ecological sciences, then having an AP environmental science course under your belt shows many benefits. Employers look for applicants who understand natural resource conservation principles, environmental regulation, public policy challenges, chemical pollution, and risk assessment analysis. A score of three or higher on the AP exam may count towards entry-level college courses required by various career pathways like environmental engineering, ecology, zoology, marine biology, forestry, park ranger, geosciences, and others. According to the Careers in Water website, professionals with these degrees earn salaries averaging $86,500 per year.
Taking AP environmental science offers students several advantages such as earning early college credit, improving analytical capabilities, increasing environmental awareness, and enhancing their job prospects in relevant fields. While it might be challenging at times, if you work hard and put effort into studying, nothing is impossible to achieve. Therefore, If you’re passionate about scientific research and environmental preservation, learning more about AP environmental science coursework is worth your while.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is AP Environmental Science an easy class?
AP Environmental Science is not an easy class. It requires critical thinking, analytical skills, and a deep understanding of various scientific concepts. The course covers a wide range of topics, including ecology, conservation, and sustainability. Students are expected to conduct experiments, research, and write reports. The workload can be overwhelming, and the subject matter can be challenging. However, with proper preparation, dedication, and hard work, students can succeed in the course.
What are some challenges students may face in AP Environmental Science?
Some challenges that students may face in AP Environmental Science include the vast amount of information they need to learn, the complexity of the subject matter, and the need to think critically and analytically. Students may also struggle with scientific writing and conducting experiments. Additionally, the course requires students to have a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, and physics. The workload can be heavy, and students may need to manage their time effectively to keep up with the coursework.
How does the difficulty of AP Environmental Science compare to other AP science courses?
AP Environmental Science is considered to be less difficult than some other AP science courses, such as AP Chemistry and AP Physics. However, it still requires a significant amount of effort and dedication to succeed. The course covers a wide range of topics, and students need to have a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, and physics to understand the subject matter. Additionally, the course requires critical thinking, analytical skills, and the ability to conduct experiments and research. Overall, the difficulty of AP Environmental Science is moderate.
What are some study strategies for succeeding in AP Environmental Science?
Some study strategies for succeeding in AP Environmental Science include reviewing class notes regularly, reading the textbook, practicing scientific writing, and conducting experiments. Students can also benefit from creating study groups, using flashcards, and taking practice exams. Additionally, students should manage their time effectively, prioritize their workload, and seek help from their teachers or tutors when necessary. It’s also important to stay motivated, curious, and engaged in the subject matter. By following these strategies, students can succeed in AP Environmental Science.