Difference between AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics?

Within Economics, there are two independent subjects, AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics. Today, we will address the differences between the two and give you recommendations on what exam you should take.
What is the difference between AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics

Economics is one of the most popular AP subjects offered by the College Board, with a consistent volume of more than 100,000 test-takers every year. Before going further into analyzing each subject, we will provide overview information about AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics to help you understand the expectations and requirements of each subject.  

Exam Information
1. AP Microeconomics

AP Microeconomics mainly involves four major parts: Economic Fundamentals, The Role of Government, market failure, and market structure. The course’s main purpose is to introduce students to principles that apply to individual economic decision-makers, whether they are consumers or producers.  

The course prepares students to think like economists by using principles and models to describe economic situations and predict and explain outcomes. The economics of pricing in microeconomics is the economics of individuals. It mainly emphasizes the nature and function of the product market. It also studies the role of factor markets and the government in promoting economic efficiency and fair operation. 

Exam Length: 2 hours 10 minutes (130 minutes)  

  • 60 multiple-choice questions, 70 minutes for this section.
  • 3 short answer questions, with 60 minutes of time.

Units of study and Exam Weight 

Main Content Topic 

Exam Weight 

Basic economic concepts 

12%-15% 

Supply and demand 

20%-25% 

Production, cost, perfect competition model 

22%-25% 

Imperfect competition 

15%-22% 

Factor markets 

10%-13% 

Market failure and the role of government 

8%-13% 

2. AP Macroeconomics

AP Macroeconomics aims to help students to think about economic operation of the whole society. Students will have the perspective of social policymakers in considering issues in the market. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to interpret the causes and effects of interest rate cuts by banks, rising prices, and the impact of trade deficits on exchange rates in the market.  

Exam Length: 2 hours 10 minutes (130 minutes)  

  • 60 multiple-choice questions, 70 minutes for this section.
  • 3 short answer questions, with 60 minutes of time.

Units of study and Exam Weight 

Main Content Topic 

Exam Weight 

Basic economic concepts 

5%-10% 

Economic indicators and business cycles 

12%-17% 

National income and price determination 

17%-27% 

Financial sector 

18%-23% 

Long-term consequences of stabilization policies 

20%-30% 

Open economy-international trade and finance 

10%-13% 

 

Which one should I take?

Although there are differences between AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics, the learning methods used in each class are basically the same. Concepts such as demand, supply and aggregate demand, and aggregate supply have similarities in the core concept, just different applications. Students can prepare for both AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics at the same time. If time is limited and students have other important courses to finish within the semester, students are advised to prepare for AP Microeconomics.

Test preparation suggestion
1. Practice with Real Exams

The questions in the exam are good preparation materials. From the real questions, students can study and analyze the solving methods of the questions. Real questions are also a good model to understand the difficulty of the actual exam. College Board provides excellent past tests and practice questions from 1998 to 2019 for Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. There are also prep books on the market that provide AP-style practice tests. However, remember to select books from credible and famous companies like College Board itself, Magoosh, The Princeton Review or Kaplan.

2. Study Plan

Basically, it is recommended to start an intensive preparation in early March, familiarize yourself with all the knowledge in early April, and do more real questions from mid-to-late April to before the exam. We’ve integrated Magoosh’s 3-month study plan with our tutor’s advice, based on the deadline of the AP Macroeconomics exam in 2021 to help you succeed!   

AP Microeconomics 

Week  

Practice Test  

BC Review  

Week 1 (3/8 – 3/14)  

2 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 2 (3/15 – 3/21)  

  

Basic economic concepts 

Week 3 (3/22 – 3/28)  

  

Supply and demand 

Week 4 (3/29 – 4/4)  

2 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 5 (4/5 – 4/11)  

  

Production, cost, perfect competition model 

Week 6 (4/12 – 4/18)  

  

Imperfect competition  

Week 7 (4/19 – 4/25)  

3 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 8 (4/26 – 5/2)  

  

Factor markets 

Week 9 (5/3- 5/9)  

  

Market failure  

Week 10 (5/10 – 5/16)  

3 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 11 (5/17 – 5/23)  

  

The role of government  

Week 12 (5/24 – 5/30)  

3 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 13 (5/31 – 6/6)  

Practice Test 2018 + 2019  

All topics  

May 12, 2021 

AP Microeconomics Exam day!  

 

AP Macroeconomics 

Week  

Practice Test  

BC Review  

Week 1 (3/8 – 3/14)  

2 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 2 (3/15 – 3/21)  

  

Basic economic concepts 

Week 3 (3/22 – 3/28)  

  

Economic indicators and business cycles 

Week 4 (3/29 – 4/4)  

2 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 5 (4/5 – 4/11)  

  

National income and price determination 

Week 6 (4/12 – 4/18)  

  

Financial sector 

Week 7 (4/19 – 4/25)  

3 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 8 (4/26 – 5/2)  

  

Long-term consequences of stabilization policies 

Week 9 (5/3- 5/9)  

  

Open economy-international trade and finance 

Week 10 (5/10 – 5/16)  

3 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 11 (5/17 – 5/23)  

3 Practice Tests  

Review test  

Week 12 (5/24 – 5/30)  

Practice Test 2018 + 2019  

All topics  

May 10, 2021 

AP Macroeconomics Exam day! 

 

 

3. Practice drawing and reading graphs

Whether it is microeconomics or macroeconomics, the mastery of graphs is the top priority, because both courses require you to extensively use graphs, charts, and data in describing economic situations and predict and explain outcomes. There are many questions about the identification of graphs in the multiple-choice questions, and students are required to create graphs or visual representations in performing numerical analysis and calculation for a stated problem.  

INTRO TO ECONOMICS

Description: This is a college-level introduction to Economics course that covers important concepts in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Related disciplines such as accounting, finance, and financial markets will also be covered. The primary goal is to develop and then build on your understanding of the analytical tools and approaches used by economists. Students will gain a better understanding of policymaking tools, international trade, market structures, the financial markets, and more.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Description: Students will use college-level economic theory and models to analyze the financial impact on the global economy. The economic tutor will provide students with the models and tools necessary to write an economic research paper. The economic research project encourages students to integrate their acquired knowledge of economic theory, phenomenon, data, and policy.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

AP MACRO

Description: The purpose of AP Exam prep course is to equip AP Macroeconomics students to excel on the 2021 AP Macroeconomics exam. You will develop a profound understanding of the economic concepts, and the ability to define, analyze and explain economic principles and models.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

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