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What's the 2020 Macroeconomics exam format?

The 2020 Macroeconomics exam is 2 hours and 10 minutes long and has two sections: multiple choice and free-response.

Section 1: multiple choice

  • 60 Questions
  • 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • 66% of Exam Score


  • Questions require the use of economics content knowledge and reasoning across the range of course topics.
  • Some questions require analysis of different hypothetical situations.

Section 2: free response questions (FRQ)

  • 3 Questions (1 long, 2 short)
  • 1 hour (includes a 10-minute reading period)
  • 33% of Exam Score


  • 1 long free-response question (50% of section score, or 10 points)
  • 2 short free-response questions (each worth 25% of section score, or 5 points each)
  • Questions ask you to analyze unique scenarios using different course concepts. You will be expected to synthesize many of the concepts you have learned throughout the course.
  • Some questions in the free-response section require graphical analysis, mathematical calculations, or both. Any time you perform a calculation, you must show all of your work!


Look for keywords in the FRQ section of the exam:

You can think of three key skills when taking the FRQ: use your words, use your graphs, and use your math. Some keywords guide you by telling you specifically what your grader is going to be looking for:
  • Calculate: use your math! This requires the use of mathematical models to demonstrate you understand how these models are implemented. Exams in previous years have asked questions that ask you to, among other things, calculate the money multiplier, the tax multiplier, the spending multiplier, opportunity costs, real GDP, nominal GDP, the GDP deflator, the CPI, the unemployment rate, and the labor force participation rate. Whenever you see the word calculate, it is imperative that you show all of your work.
  • Draw and Show: use your graphs! This requires you to use graphical models to illustrate a situation, like the current state of the economy, and how that situation might change. For example, you might be expected to show what a recession or an inflationary gap looks like using an AD-AS model or in the Phillips curve model. Remember that a graph shows the relationship between variables, which is why it is imperative that you use the appropriate labels. If you are given specific values or notation in the question, use those and use them correctly.
  • Explain or What happens...: use your words! These require you to explain economic principles and models by describing or interpreting outcomes and events. If you are asked to explain an outcome, don't assume you can get partial credit by merely giving the outcome.

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