Ap Bio Exam Study Guide

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How Long Is The Ap Bio Exam What Is The Format

2021 Live Review 1 | AP Biology | Chemistry of Life, Cell Structure, & Function

The AP Biology exam format was updated in 2020. It contains two 90-minute sections, and your score on each comprises exactly half of your overall raw score. Below you can find an accurate, up-to-date summary of the test format.

For those of you familiar with the former AP Biology test structure, all grid-in questions on the Multiple Choice Section have been removed. Additionally, two of the short-answer questions have been removed from the Free Response Section.


You can earn a passing score on the AP Biology exam by scoring a 3 or higher on test day. Roughly 65% of students who took the test last year passed. The average score on the AP Bio exam for 2019 was a 2.92. For more information on AP exam score distributions, check out our post on the easiest and hardest AP Exams.

When In Doubt Draw It Out

If you’re feeling shaky on your knowledge of a process or system in AP Biology, one helpful strategy is to draw it. This will both reinforce what you know and highlight what you still need to work on learning. Once you’re able to draw an accurate diagram of a system or process without looking at your notes, you can feel confident that you know exactly how it works.

For example, you could challenge yourself to draw a diagram of a cell membrane, label its different components, and explain their significance. You could also draw a process like mitosis that happens in clear visual stages, or a more complex process like cellular respiration where you might focus on one aspect at a time .

This advice ties into the next strategy on this list. If you can draw a diagram, you haven’t just memorized factsyou’ve connected them to their place within a larger context.

Ap Biology Review Guide

This AP Biology Review Guide is a BEAST, but it walks through the entire Course & Exam Description with I can statements, questions, and practice multiple choice/free response for each unit. Plus, new this year – explanations for all of the multiple choice questions. CLICK THE IMAGE ————————————————–> There is a pacing guide that will start on Feb. 1Answer keys provided for the multiple choice & free response questions. I am human so please excuse errors. There is no answer key to the topic questions. They were designed as a self-study for you to compile the information to review versus a review book that has all the content for you to read. Please do not ask me for the answer keys, as I never made any.

AP Review Guide Practice Exams

Review Guide Practice Exam

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How Is The Ap Biology Exam Structured

The AP Biology test is three hours long and has two sections: a multiple-choice section and a free-response section.

The next AP Biology exam will take place on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 12 p.m. If there are widespread school closures due to COVID around this time, the College Board will offer digital testing like they did in 2021.

Take A Diagnostic Test

College Test Preparation: ASAP Biology: A Quick

The first step of your AP Biology review is to take a practice exam so you can see how much you’ll need to study and which areas need the most work.

You should take your first complete practice test no later than the beginning of your second semester. You can use a practice exam from a review book or search online for a practice test. The review books I mentioned in the previous section have some useful materials.

When you take a practice test, make sure it’s the newest 2020 version of the exam . If you see practice tests that have 100 multiple-choice questions in the first section, you’re looking at a very old version of the AP Bio exam! You won’t be able to rely on your scores on this version to get a clear picture of where you fall on the new test.

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Tip : Study The Method Not Just The Information

It’s easy to get caught up in going over the minuscule details of every topic in AP Biology, but you should devote at least some of your time to reviewing labs and general experimental principles. This includes concepts such as dependent and independent variables, control groups, and unit conversions.

You’ll see quite a few questions on the AP Biology exam that deal with experimental scenarios. It’s much less stressful to answer these types of questions if you’re familiar with how similar experiments were conducted in your class.

The Best Ap Biology Study Guide

Studying for AP Biology is a big undertaking, and it can seem pretty overwhelming at first. But if you get an early start and have the right strategies and tools at your disposal, you stand a strong chance of getting a great score on the test.

In this complete AP Biology study guide, we’re providing you with all the resources you need to carry out a focused, effective study plan. We give you the most helpful information out there so you can begin your journey to a 5 .

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What Is On The Ap Biology Exam

The AP Biology exam is designed to test your skills in concept explanation, analyzing visual representations, and determining scientific questions and methods. Lets go through some key AP Biology exam information so you know exactly what to expect on the exam.

The exam will test your knowledge of the 4 Big Ideas for the course:

  • Information Storage & Transmission
  • Systems Interactions
  • While the Big Ideas are the foundation of the course, each of these topics is divided into commonly taught units to make teaching and learning efficient and comprehensive. Lets look at what these 8 units are and their relative weightage in the exam.

    Instruction Units
  • Statistical Tests and Data Analysis
  • More information on the units, topics, and major concepts you will study in AP Biology may be found in our guide to the AP Biology course and exam description.

    Calculate Your Score And Set A Goal

    The New AP Biology Exam – A User’s Guide

    Once you’ve taken a diagnostic test, you can calculate your score on the 1-5 AP scale. According to the CliffsNotes review book mentioned above, you can estimate your score using the following method:

    • Multiply the number of questions you answered correctly in Section 1 by 0.725
    • Multiply the number of points you earned in Section 2 by 1.25
    • Add those two numbers together to get your raw score

    Then, convert the raw score to an AP score using the following chart:

    Raw Composite Score


    For example, if you got 42 questions correct on the multiple-choice section and earned 25 points on the free-response section, your raw score would be + = 61.7 = just barely made it into the 5 category!

    This is without taking the curve into account, which is different every year, but it should give you a rough idea of where you stand. Unless you’re scoring a really high 5 , you should still put in a bit of study time to make sure you’re fully prepared.

    If you score low , you might make it your goal to raise your score to 3. Just keep in mind that some schools don’t accept 3s for college credit, so you might want to aim higher after you make it to this first milestone.

    Most colleges consider 4 to be the standard cutoff for AP credit, so you should try for at least a 4 if you’re hoping to get a head start in college. Once you’re consistently scoring in the 3 range on this exam, you can set 4 or 5 as your goal.

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    Tip : Use Appropriate Review Materials

    The importance of using the right review materials can’t be overstated, especially in the case of AP Biology. With the recent changes to the test, it’s critical that you don’t use old study materials and assume that they’ll give you all the tools you need to succeed on the new format.

    Some review books students have found the most useful include CliffsNotes’ AP Biology for content review and Sterling’s AP Biology Practice Questions for practice questions that give you a good sense of what the test is like.

    Avoid using practice questions that come from exams before the 2013 test, when some of the more drastic changes were implemented. You might still be able to use older questions to refresh your memory on certain topics, but they won’t really prepare you for the more analytical framework of questions on the current AP Biology test.

    Furthermore, the College Board now offers a great online resource called AP Classroom, through which students can interact with teachers, complete homework and get feedback on assignments, and receive access to review materials for the AP Bio test, including real practice questions. You’ll use your College Board student account login credentials to access AP Classroom, and once logged in, you can access a different section for each AP class you’re taking.

    Looking for help studying for your AP exam?

    Tip : Review Your Labs

    Labs make up 25% of the AP Biology course, and for good reason. Its important to understand how labs are conducted and how the principles behind them relate to the main ideas of the course. This will help in answering both free-response and multiple-choice questions that deal with lab scenarios on the test.

    Many free-response questions ask you to identify the components of a proposed experiment or to design a lab to test a certain hypothesis. You might have forgotten about the labs you did toward the beginning of the year, so take extra care to go over them. Make sure that you understand exactly how they were conducted and what the results mean.

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    Why Take Ap Biology

    AP Biology has consistently been one of the most popular AP courses. In the year 2021 alone, a total of 212,198 students attempted the AP Biology Exam and more than 50% of the students scored 3 or above. So, not only is it a course that enjoys some fame, but its also one that you can score big on!

    If theres one thing that students who took AP Biology will tell you, its that it was challenging. But remember, challenging yourself can be exciting in its own way. There is a lot of memorization involved, but at the same time, AP Bio is one of those few subjects that puts a heavy focus on application of concepts. So its not all one big memorization drag its loads of fun. Plus, doing well could equate to some serious street cred with your peers.

    Heres a breakdown of all the advantages of taking AP Biology. These advantages should help you see why taking AP Bio can be worth your time.

  • Competitive Transcript for College Admission: Admissions officers are always appreciative of students who have AP courses on their high school transcripts. This shows admissions committees that the student is ready for college-level academics. So, if you take AP Biology in high school and do well, it will definitely give you a leg up during the college admissions process. You will also have a larger pool of colleges to choose from since colleges are more certain of your ability to perform well.
  • Get Multiple Sheets Of Blank Printer Paper Or Scrap Paper With One Side Blank And Settle In To Read The Chapter

    Ultimate Guide to the Biology AP Exam

    One reason I like to use scrap paper is to remind myself that Im not making a precious study guide. Students often get overwhelmed with making a study guide that is most complete, best organized or best looking. Writing by hand using a piece scrap paper can be a useful reminder that these notes are only being taken to enhance your own learning. Youre not getting graded on thisdont waste time or energy trying to get it perfect.

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    Should I Take Ap Biology

    Choosing to take AP Biology is not an objective decision. Each student is different and will have a different aptitude for studying biology. So it cant be said for sure that everyone can take AP Biology and achieve a passing score of 3 or above. You can make it easier to decide by asking yourself some questions.

  • Have You Studied Biology in High School?It is recommended across the board that students intending to opt for AP Biology should study biology at the high school level. In fact, it is even better if students take Chemistry as well. There are many concepts in AP Biology that require an understanding of chemical compounds and reactions. While you can still take AP Biology without taking biology as a subject in high school, it isnt suggested. It can be very challenging to grasp concepts and do well because the foundation you wouldve otherwise built from studying high school biology would be lacking.
  • Are You Passionate About Biology?Now we know you probably wouldnt even be considering AP Biology if you werent already certain of your love for biology. However, given how challenging the course can be, it is important to ask yourself if youre ready to give it your 100%. When preparing for the AP Biology exam gets overwhelming, you should be able to take a step back and remind yourself of why you chose to do it. So be sure that you are passionate about all things biology.
  • Options For Ap Biology Study Plans

    Before you decide on a study plan, we advise you to take a practice test to see where you’re currently scoring. You can use a test in a review book or look online for full-length tests.

    It’s best to prioritize official practice exams over unofficial ones. Unfortunately, because the AP Bio test changed in 2020, there are no free official practice exams that match the new format .

    Here are the official AP Bio exams currently available online:

    Once you take and score your practice test, you can think more critically about how much time you’ll need to spend studying for AP Biology. We’ll give you examples of two study plans.

    The 10-hour plan is if you’re hoping to improve by 1 AP point or just hone your skills so that you’re more solidly in the 5 range. The 20-hour plan is for students who want to improve by around 2 AP points.

    Each plan has the same four components, which we introduce below.

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    Ap Biology Free Response Questions

    The free response section consists of two long-form free-response questions, both of which require data analysis, and four short-form free-response questions that require a paragraph-length response that covers your ability to describe, explain, predict, justify, or represent a given scenario. You will have 90 minutes to answer all 6 questions. Unlike the multiple-choice section, which is scored by a computer, the free-response section is graded by high school and college teachers. They have guidelines for awarding partial credit, so you may still receive partial points should you not correctly respond to every part of question in your essay.

    Ultimate Ap Biology Study Guides

    2021 Live Review 4 | AP Biology | Studying Meiosis & Diversity

    We offer detailed AP Biology study guides for free to students, and they are linked by unit below. They include key terms to know, chapter outlines and key concepts, and links to the best diagrams and YouTube explanation videos for reviewing specific topics.

    Want a review of all the most difficult and frequently tested concepts, along with 15+ FRQ and MCQ problem walkthroughs? Check out our AP Biology Intensive Exam prep course – it is self-paced, concise, and everything that students need to prepare well for the AP exam all in one place.

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    Ap Biology Exam Review Tips

    AP Biology may be challenging but we have a few quick exam review tips to help you ace the exam!

  • Make a schedule: Having a well-planned schedule is the best way to keep track of the topics youve covered and the ones you have yet to work on.
  • Get familiar with the format of the exam: Knowing the format of the exam will help you know exactly what to expect on the exam. That way you wont be caught off guard in the middle of the examination.
  • Review material: Invest in good review material such as UWorlds online practice tests and flashcards. You can also create your own formula sheet for quick reviewing closer to the exam.
  • To get more such exam review tips for AP Biology, check out our AP Biology Study Guide. You can also get familiar with the concepts and format of the exam by trying out online AP Bio practice tests at UWorld. Our practice tests allow you to set the number of questions you want to attempt and track your progress with detailed answer explanations for your reference. The explanations also have tons of educational illustrations for the answers, so its an interactive way for you to learn the concepts.

    • A four function, graphing, or scientific calculator
    • No. 2 pencils to use in Section 1 of the exam
    • Dark blue or black inked pens

    The Best Ap Biology Notes To Study With

    It’s natural for your in-class notes to get a little disorganized in a course that covers as much material as AP Biology. Whether you’re missing a couple of sections of notes or you just want to see a clearer outline of how the course is structured, this article will be helpful.

    We’ve compiled all the information you need to know for the AP Biology test in the form of links to online notes and descriptions of labs. We’ll also follow up with some tips on using these notes effectively.

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