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In the AP Digital Edge program, AP Microeconomics students learn AP content by engaging in activities that require the use of Microsoft® Excel. These activities focus on especially challenging AP content and give students a chance to practice the skills tested on the Excel certification exam.

Microsoft® Certification in Excel

The Microsoft Certification Program oversees official certification in Microsoft software. Throughout the semester, students taking part in AP Digital Edge prepare for the exam that earns them the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS): Excel 2013 certification.

Visit Microsoft Learning: Certification Benefits to learn more about Microsoft Office Specialist certification. To find out what skills are assessed on the MOS in Excel 2013 exam, visit Microsoft Learning: Excel 2013.

Using Excel in AP Microeconomics

Here are some AP Microeconomics topics, along with the Excel skills used to explore them, that are featured in AP Digital Edge lessons and activities:

  • Supply and demand. In the course of studying this topic, students practice the Excel skills of applying formulas and functions and presenting data visually.
  • Market failures. In the course of studying this topic, students practice the Excel skills of presenting data visually and analyzing and organizing data.

The teachers' resources map the Excel skills practiced in each lesson and activity and give tips for guiding students' Excel use.

Sample Lesson

As an example, let's look at an AP Digital Edge lesson plan for AP Microeconomics called "Factor Markets: Hiring Decisions in Perfectly Competitive Labor Markets."


In this lesson, the teacher begins with a discussion of President Obama's call to increase the minimum wage. The teacher then explains why the quantity supplied of labor is directly related to the price of labor and why the quantity demanded for labor is inversely related to the price of labor.


Students analyze data in Excel to investigate the relationship of the market supply and demand for labor on the wage that firms pay to their workers. This helps solidify students' understanding of the labor market equilibrium.

Next, students use Excel to create graphical representations of hiring decisions in a perfectly competitive labor market, determine a new equilibrium wage as demand changes, and investigate what the effects will be if a firm in a purely competitive labor market decides to pay less than the going market wage rate.


This lesson's learning objectives state that after the lesson, students will be skilled at "analyzing and predicting (using graphs where appropriate) the profit-maximizing input level for firms buying labor (with other inputs fixed) in perfectly competitive labor markets," as well as being able to "explain why marginal revenue product equals marginal resource cost of labor." The students will have also practiced analyzing and organizing data in Excel spreadsheets and using them to create charts.


Visit the AP Microeconomics Resources page to download the AP Digital Edge resource AP® Microeconomics: Activities to Build Understanding Through Excel Applications, which includes lesson plans, student handouts, student Excel workbooks, and grading keys.

Go to the online AP Digital Edge Teacher Community to connect with colleagues to share strategies, find and rate classroom resources, and more.