How challenging is AP Environmental Science? 

Are you curious about the world around you? Do you care about the environment and want to impact our planet positively? If so, AP Environmental Science test prep might be the perfect course for you. What makes environmental science hard?

In this blog, we’ll dive into the significance of AP Environmental Science, why it’s considered challenging, its key features, and what sets it apart from other courses. Let’s get started!

What is AP Environmental Science?

AP Environmental Science

AP Environmental Science is a course and exam the American College Board offers as part of the Advanced Placement Program to high school students interested in the environmental and natural sciences.

Aim of the Course

The course aims to explore and investigate the interrelationships of the natural world and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems. Students participate in laboratory investigations and fieldwork, which help them learn to think and act like ecological scientists.

The Course Content

Environmental science and sustainability courses address the challenge of balancing short-term human needs with the long-term health of environmental systems. Topics include conservation, environmental policy, agriculture, sustainability, pollution, and climate change.

The course content is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course.

The Major Units of the APES Course


The course is equivalent to a one-semester introductory college course in environmental science. It is recommended that students have two years of high school laboratory science, including life science and physical science, along with at least one year of algebra. The exam is typically held in May each year.

The Significance of AP Environmental Science


  • AP Environmental Science is a course that explores the relationships between humans and the environment.
  • It helps us understand critical environmental issues like climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
  • You become part of the solution to these global challenges by studying AP Environmental Science.
  • It empowers you to make informed environmental decisions and advocate for positive change.

Key Features of AP Environmental Science

  •  Interdisciplinary Approach : It integrates knowledge from various scientific disciplines to address environmental problems comprehensively. You’ll learn how biology, chemistry, geology, and social sciences intersect in understanding environmental issues.
  •  Hands-On Learning : AP Environmental Science includes fieldwork and laboratory investigations to apply theoretical knowledge. This course allows you a chance to collect data, analyze samples, and explore the natural world firsthand.
  •  Global Perspective : The course explores environmental issues on a global scale, emphasizing the interconnectedness of ecosystems. You’ll gain a broader understanding of how local actions impact the planet.
  •  Environmental Ethics : AP Environmental Science delves into ethical considerations, helping you develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment. You will explore the ethical implications of various environmental decisions and policies.
  •  Examining Real-World Problems : You’ll tackle real environmental challenges like habitat destruction, resource depletion, and climate change. Case studies and discussions will help you analyze these problems and propose solutions.
  •  Data Analysis : The course emphasizes data collection and analysis, teaching you how to interpret environmental data critically. You’ll develop skills in graphing, data interpretation, and drawing meaningful conclusions.

What Makes AP Environmental Science Challenging

AP Environmental Science is a rigorous and challenging course that covers a wide range of topics related to the environment, including climate change, pollution, energy, conservation, and the principles and concepts taught in an earth science class. It is a popular course among high school students interested in pursuing careers in environmental science, biology, chemistry, and other related fields.The AP Environmental Science class, designed by College Board, is specifically designed to mimic the academic level of a foundational environmental science college course. This class delves into principles and concepts related to the natural world, such as energy transfer, interactions between Earth systems, relationships between different species and the environment, sustainability, and achieving a high score on the AP exam signals to college admissions officers that applicants possess a solid understanding of the topic.

Here are the key features of the course-

  •  Broad Range of Topics : AP Environmental Science covers a lot of ground! It’s like learning about everything related to the environment. The APES course includes biology, chemistry, geology, and social sciences. So, it’s a mix of many subjects.
  •  Lots of Terminology : Science can be tricky because of all the new words you need to learn. APES has its own set of terms and concepts, which can take time to remember.
  •  Critical Thinking : APES isn’t just about memorizing facts; it’s about thinking critically and solving problems. You need to connect ideas and analyze data to answer questions.
  •  Labs and Fieldwork : APES includes hands-on activities and fieldwork. While fun, they can be challenging to set up and carry out. Labs and projects require attention to detail and safety precautions.
  •  Time-Consuming : Preparing for APES takes time. Studying, completing assignments, and doing lab work would help. Balancing APES with other classes can be a challenge.
  •  Complex Environmental Issues : The world’s environmental problems are complex. Understanding them can be challenging. Topics like climate change, pollution, and conservation can be overwhelming.
  •  Math and Data Analysis : APES involves math and data analysis. You need to interpret graphs and perform calculations. If math isn’t your strong suit, this might be a hurdle.
  •  Essays and Free-Response Questions : APES exams include essays and free-response questions. It would help if you expressed your ideas clearly. Writing skills are essential for success.
  •  The AP Exam : The AP Environmental Science exam is challenging. It’s three hours long and covers a lot of material. You need to manage your time well during the test.

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What Makes AP Environmental Science Distinct:

Environmental Awareness

  • AP Environmental Science stands out from other courses because it focuses on real-world issues and practical solutions.
  • It combines scientific knowledge with ethical considerations and encourages students to take action.
  • The course equips you with skills and knowledge directly applicable to addressing pressing environmental challenges.

How AP Environmental Science Benefits You-

  • College Credit: You can earn college credit if you do well in the APES exam. These credits can save you time and money when you get to college.
  • Career Opportunities: Environmental science is a growing field. APES can open doors to various careers. You could work in conservation, renewable energy, or environmental policy.
  • Critical Thinking Skills: APES teaches you to think critically, analyze data, and make informed decisions. These skills are valuable in any career.
  • Environmental Awareness: APES fosters a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. You’ll learn how your actions impact the planet.
  • Problem-Solving: Environmental problems are some of the most pressing issues of our time. APES equips you with the skills to tackle these problems head-on.
  • Personal Growth: Taking on a challenging course like APES can boost your confidence. It shows that you’re willing to tackle tough subjects and challenges.

How to Succeed in AP Environmental Science

AP Environmental Science is also significant because it can help students earn college credit. Students who score a 3 or higher on the AP Environmental Science exam may be able to skip introductory environmental science courses in college, saving them time and money.

Create a study plan

APES is a challenging course requiring a comprehensive study plan to prepare for the exam. You can start by tracking your thinking and organizing your study sessions in a journal. Create sections of your journal that represent each of those methods and document the topics and concepts you review in each study session. This will help you prepare by organizing your thinking and identifying what is most challenging, providing meaningful repetition in your learning modality. You can also create an AP Environmental Science practice schedule that you can manage with fidelity amongst all your obligations.

Focus on specific themes

The APES exam follows a pattern regarding multiple-choice questions. Focusing on specific themes such as pollution, climate change, and sustainability is essential.

Make connections between topics

APES strongly emphasizes that all systems on earth are interconnected and nothing exists independent of everything else. Therefore, making connections between different topics and understanding how they relate is crucial.

Practice writing essays

The free-response section of the APES exam requires you to write essays that demonstrate your understanding of environmental science concepts and your ability to analyze data. Therefore, it is essential to practice writing essays regularly.

Stay up-to-date with current environmental issues

Environmental science is a field in which we’re constantly learning new information. Therefore, it’s essential to stay up-to-date with current environmental issues.

Use a variety of study resources

There are a variety of study resources available for APES, including textbooks, review books, practice exams, and online resources. Use various resources to learn the material and to prepare for the exam.


What is the significance of AP Environmental Science?

APES is a course that explores the relationships between humans and the environment. It helps us understand critical environmental issues like climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. By studying AP Environmental Science, you become part of the solution to these global challenges, empowering you to make informed decisions about the environment and advocate for positive change.

Why is AP Environmental Science considered challenging and hard?

APES is considered challenging because it covers a wide range of topics, from biology and chemistry to sociology and economics. It requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills to analyze complex environmental issues. The course demands time management and self-discipline to keep up with the workload, making success in AP Environmental Science achievable with dedication and a genuine interest in the subject matter.

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AP Environmental Science is not just a challenging course; it’s a gateway to a brighter, more sustainable future. Don’t be discouraged by the challenges—embrace them as opportunities for growth and positively impacting the world. By taking an AP class, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills needed to tackle the pressing environmental hazards facing our planet, as well as current events related to environmental science, such as AP Biology or AP Chemistry. You can succeed in APES and make a difference in environmental science with dedication and hard work.

So, are you ready to unlock the power of AP Environmental Science? Your journey to a sustainable future starts here! Click here to know more!

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