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VIDEO: Tackling FRQ 3 – Modeling a Periodic Context

Updated: Apr 25

The second section of the AP Precalculus Exam features 4 free response questions (FRQs). The FRQs are based on task models, meaning that each question has a predictable structure from year to year, and features mostly the same skills and function types. The first FRQ on the non-calculator section is another modeling scenario (similar to FRQ 2), but this time featuring a periodic context and a sinusoidal function.

In this video, we share the structure of FRQ 3, including what students can expect in each part and subpart. We also identify the specific content that students should be familiar with for this question.

Download the handout for students to complete while watching the video.

This video is part of the official Calc Medic AP Precalculus Review Course. To receive access to more videos, practice problems, and full length practice exams, get a quote.

Important Take-aways:

  • FRQ 3 will always be about "Modeling a Periodic Context".

  • FRQ 3 does not allow students to use a calculator.

  • FRQ 3 will ask students to construct a sinusoidal function that models a real-world scenario.

  • FRQ 3 is the most scripted of all the FRQs. Part (A) will always have students label 5 points on the sinusoidal function on an unscaled graph. Part (B) will ask students to determine the parameters of a sine or cosine function model. Part (C) has a multiple choice question in subpart (i) asking about the sign and increasing/decreasing behavior of the model on a given interval. Subpart (ii) asks students about the rate of change of the model on that given interval.

  • There are multiple correct answers to parts (A) and (B).

  • Only content from CED Unit 3 is included in this FRQ.

Time to Practice

Now that your students are comfortable with what FRQ 3 is all about, it's time to put this knowledge to the test! We've created a sample question in the style of FRQ 3 you can use to help your students practice their new skills.

Practice FRQ


Note: this practice FRQ was created by Calc Medic and is not an officially released question from the College Board.

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