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What's tested on the AP Biology Exam

Learn more about what's covered on the AP Biology exam, scoring, and registration.

AP Biology Practice Questions

Test your AP Biology readiness with these practice questions.

Frequently asked questions

  • Are this year’s AP exams different because of the current COVID-19 pandemic?

    To allow schools maximum flexibility during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, CollegeBoard is offering three distinct exam dates in 2021. The first date is a traditional in-school, paper exam. The second two dates allow schools to choose between an in-school paper exam or an in-school digital exam. If a school will not be operating in person at all, it can authorize its students to take the digital AP exam at home. 

    All decisions on AP exam formats and dates will be made by your school. If you're not sure what your school has decided, ask your AP teacher. No matter what format you'll take the AP exam in, the content is exactly the same: it's the traditional, full-length AP exam you've been planning for all year. Focus on your studying and you'll be in great shape no matter what your school decides. 

  • What’s covered in each AP Biology Review Course session?

    Each class session focuses primarily on reviewing about a month’s equivalent of AP material. Throughout the class, you’ll also answer AP exam questions and learn test strategies. After each class, you’ll receive a page of summary notes reviewing the most commonly tested topics you went over that session.

    The topics covered in each session are:

    Session 1 - Biochemistry

    Session 2 - Cell Structure and Function

    Session 3 - Cellular Energetics

    Session 4 - Cell Communication and Cell Cycle

    Session 5 - Meiosis & Heredity

    Session 6 - Gene Expression and Regulation

    Session 7 - Natural Selection

    Session 8 - Ecology & General Review

  • What if I miss a session? 

    No problem! If you miss a class, you can watch a recording later - any time that works for you.

  • How long is the AP Biology exam?

    The AP Biology exam is 3 hours long and includes two sections:

    • Section I: 69 questions (63 multiple-choice and 6 grid-in), 1 hour and 30 minutes, 50% of total score
    • Section II: 8 free-response questions, 1 hour and 30 minutes, 50% of total score
  • Is AP Biology hard?

    The AP Biology exam is generally considered to be one of the harder AP exams offered because of the amount of material covered, so plenty of exam-like practice is highly recommended.

  • What is AP Biology?

    AP Biology includes four major topics:

    • Evolution and genetics
    • Energy, molecules, and cells
    • Organism regulations and processes
    • Ecology
  • How do I study for AP Biology?

    There’s a lot of material to review, so it’s essential to have a plan that optimally uses the study time you have available.

    If you have two months or more:

    • Take a practice test to determine which concepts you need to study
    • Review those concepts using the techniques you like best (flashcards, study guides, quizzes)
    • Take another practice test to check your progress, and then review the answers and explanations
    • Continue to study your greatest areas of opportunity
    • Take one final practice test before the exam

    If you have less than two months:

    • Take a practice test to determine which concepts you need to study
    • Review those concepts using the techniques you like best (flashcards, study guides, quizzes)
    • Take another practice test before the test to check your progress, taking time to review the answers and explanations

    If you have less than one month:

    • Use your performance on the tests you’ve taken throughout the year to determine which concepts you need to review
    • Study those concepts using the techniques you like best (flashcards, study guides, quizzes)
    • Take a practice test, taking time to review the answers and explanations
  • How do I succeed on AP Biology?

    Tips for multiple-choice questions:

    • There's no order of difficulty; that is, questions don't start out easy and gradually become tougher. So, you should answer the questions in the order that makes the most sense for you. 
    • Don't spend too much time on any one question. 
    • Don't leave any question blank; there is no wrong answer penalty. 
    • Eliminate incorrect answer choices; crossing out wrong answers increases your odds of answering the question correctly.
  • What happened last year to the APs?

    In May 2020, since most schools were closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic AP exams were administered online. The exams were 45 minutes long and had only free-response questions. CollegeBoard is not currently planning to repeat this in May 2021. They anticipate a traditional, in-person exam administration this spring.

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