AP® Macroeconomics Exam Format

The AP® Macroeconomics exam is a popular choice among students who want to major in economics, finance, or business studies. If you're considering taking AP Macro, you'll need to understand how the exam is formatted. Doing so can help you effectively plan for test prep and time management during the exam. By familiarizing yourself with the test format, you can allocate sufficient time to each section and question, allowing you to revise your answer booklet at the end of the assessment.

In this article, we'll walk you through the AP Macro exam format and answer frequently asked questions about its structure along the way.

Format of the AP Macroeconomics Exam

The AP Macroeconomics exam is 2 hours and 10 minutes long and is divided into two sections. The first is multiple-choice, and the second is a free response section.

  • How many questions are on the AP Macroeconomics exam?

    Section I comprises 60 MCQs, and section II includes 3 FRQs (1 long FRQ and 2 short FRQs). You'll get 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete Section I and 1 hour to complete Section II.

Check out the table below to glance over the AP Macro exam structure and learn about the weight of each section:

AP Macroeconomics Exam Structure
Section Question Type Time per Section No. of Questions Exam Weighting
Section I (MCQ) Multiple-choice 1 hr 10 mins 60 66 %

Section II (FRQ)
Long Free Response
1 hr
1 50 %
33 %
Short Free Response 2 50 %
Total 2 hrs 10 mins 63 100%

Now that we've introduced the general AP Macro exam format, let's learn about each section's specifics, like the question types and the skills evaluated.

Types of Questions on the AP Macroeconomics Exam

As you may already know, the AP Macro exam has two broad questions: MCQs and FRQs. First, let's start with the MCQs:

Section I: Multiple-Choice Questions

60 Questions | 1 Hour and 10 Minutes | 66% of Exam Score

Section I consists of 60 MCQs, giving you 1 minute/question plus 10 minutes to review. This section covers all six units of the AP Macroeconomics course, each holding a specific weight. This means you’ll only get a specific number of questions from each unit. Below is the list of AP Macro course units, their weight in the MCQ section, and the approximate number of questions you’ll get from each unit:

Units Exam Weight No. of questions in
Section I
Unit 1: Basic Economic Concepts 5–10% 3 - 6
Unit 2: Economic Indicators and the Business Cycle 12–17% 7 - 10
Unit 3: National Income and Price Determination 17–27% 10 - 16
Unit 4: Financial Sector 18–23% 11 - 14
Unit 5: Long-Run Consequences of Stabilization Policies 20–30% 12 - 18
Unit 6: Open Economy—International Trade and Finance 10–13% 6 - 8

Although you'll see more questions from units 4 and 5, spending time on units 1 and 2 will establish the fundamental concepts used in economic studies. In addition to the course units, you'll be tested on three core skill categories in Section I:

  1. Principles and Models
  2. Interpretation
  3. Manipulation

Our step-by-step guide on how to approach AP Macro Multiple-Choice Questions to help you ace this section.

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Graphs indicating the correlation of pricing for complementary goods.

Section II: Free-Response Questions

3 Questions | 1 Hour | 33% of Exam Score

Section II of the AP Macro exam consists of 2 short FRQs and 1 long FRQ, with a 10-minute "reading period” and a 50-minute "writing period." Reading the prompt thoroughly is key to acing this section, so the College Board® recommends spending 10 minutes reading each prompt. You can allocate 20 minutes for the long FRQ and 15 minutes for each short FRQ.

Each FRQ will test students on specific course skills The FRQ section carries 33% of the overall exam weight, with each short FRQ carrying 25% of the Section II score weight and the long FRQ carrying 50% of the section score. Section II questions require students to:

  • Explain economic ideas, principles, models, results, and/or effects, making claims about them.
  • Perform a numerical analysis of your claims, creating graphs or visual representations.

Need help with this section? Check out our expert guide on how to answer AP Macroeconomics Free Response Questions.

Now that you've learned everything about the AP Macro exam format, remember it while charting your study plan. You can also use it while timing your practice tests. Repeated practice tests will help you manage time effectively across each question and section. Remember to optimize your exam preparation by selecting quality question banks with answer explanations, such as UWorld's AP Macroeconomics Qbank and practice tests. We make the hard stuff easy to understand and crush your AP exams. Good luck!

As of 2023, the AP Macroeconomics exam will not be administered in digital format. You can take your exam in the paper-and-pencil version.

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Chart and plot showing how market equilibrium correlates to demand and supply.


  1. AP Macroeconomics Exam – AP Central | College Board. (n.d.).
  2. AP Macroeconomics Course and Exam Description. (2022). apcentral.collegeboard.org. Retrieved October 2023, from
  3. AP Macroeconomics 2023 Free-Response Questions: Set 1. (2023). apcentral.collegeboard.org. Retrieved November 2023, from

Read More About the AP Macroeconomics Exam

Going through the College Board’s 200-page CED can be time-intensive. Worry not! We’ve compiled an easy-to-understand AP Macro course and exam description to help you prep for the exam.
Have you ever wondered how the AP Macro exam is graded? Learn about the scoring rubric, credit, and course equivalencies in our complete guide to the AP Macroeconomics scoring system.
Want to score a perfect 5 on your AP Macro exam and get into top colleges? Look no further! Our expert study guide is here to help, providing valuable tips and tricks to simplify your exam preparation.
Get all your AP Macro exam questions answered in this complete guide. See what’s covered, why it’s valuable, and who should take it. Clear answers will ensure you’re well-informed about the exam and its relevance.
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