In 1998, the College Board first administered the AP Environmental Science exam for high school students. The exam is relatively new, and so is the larger discipline: the academic field of environmental science began to take form in the 1960s and 1970s as public awareness and complex regulation began to develop around environmental problems. At AJ Tutoring, we are very excited to work with advanced high school students on the AP Environmental Science (affectionately known as “APES”) class and exam.
The goal of studying environmental science at any level is to better understand the complex interactions between natural and human systems. With a holistic view of biological and political systems, students explore how the human world and the natural world are interwoven in such a fashion that is sometimes mutually beneficial, while in other instances more problematic. Additionally, by understanding the methodologies, students can gain insight on how to identify environmental problems, evaluate risks, and examine potential solutions.
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The AP course as a whole consists of multiple disciplines but has a number of recurring themes: science is a process that is constantly changing, solar energy is the basis of all systems, the whole earth is interconnected, humans alter natural environments and these alterations have cultural and economic contexts.
The curriculum will discuss the earth’s individual systems such as water cycles, earth’s orbit around the sun, and tectonic plates along with how these systems are interconnected and have changed over geological time. These systems have a profound impact on the living world and the course will seek to develop an understanding of how all ecosystem structures rest on the flow of energy from the sun all the way to the apex predators.
Human use of resources such as water and land, along with waste in the form of pollution, will in turn have significant disruptive effects on the pre-existing ecosystems. Human efforts to generate electric energy to power modern society all generate some form of pollution. As a healthy and stable environment is paramount to not only human prosperity but also human survival, it is crucial that students understand the impacts our systems have on the natural world. Thus, the field of environmental science is more important than ever, and the AP course offers an engaging and rigorous introduction to this crucial subject.
Although the curriculum isn’t necessarily the most expansive and detailed AP course, the AP Environmental Science exam has a challenging grade distribution. In 2016, only 7.4% of students taking the test received the top score of 5. Our tutors are knowledgeable about the curriculum and can help your student maximize her potential for engagement with the curriculum and success on test day. Please reach out to us today for more information!