How To Study For Ap Biology

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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How To Study For Ap Biology

How to Ace AP Biology

AP Biology is a challenging course you can take in order to earn advanced placement or credits for college. Since AP Biology is a college-level class, it prepares you for your upcoming collegiate studies and allows you to earn college credits if you pass the test. If you want to ace your AP Biology class and exam, you’ll need to prepare for class, study hard, and master the content.

Part1Preparing for the Class

  1. 1Complete prerequisite courses. Check to ensure you completed the prerequisite classes necessary for enrolling in AP Biology before signing up for this class. Biology and chemistry are the prerequisite courses that must be finished successfully.
  2. 2Contact your teacher prior to the start of class. It is always a good idea to introduce yourself to the teacher so they can get to know you. You want your teacher to be able to differentiate you from the other students. Your teacher will be able to help you throughout your time in their class, including extra tutoring if you need it.[2]
    • Send an introductory email or visit the teacher in person.
    • Gather information regarding prerequisite reading or prep work.
    • Address your teacher appropriately using “Mr.”, “Ms.”, “Miss.” or “Dr.”
    • Express your intent to work hard.
  3. 3Purchase the required materials. It is very important to have everything necessary for a rigorous class like AP Biology. Research supplementary materials that may be helpful besides what is required. Buy them during the summer months to familiarize yourself with the concepts early.
  4. 4Set a schedule for yourself. Make sure you have adequate time to complete homework and study. If you find that your schedule is packed with too many activities, prioritize so you can put forth essential time and effort. Schedule study sessions every evening and on weekends, making sure you have time for other activities, as well.[4]
    • Ask your teacher how much time they recommend you spend on your studies.
    • Make sure that your friends and family know when you plan to study or work on homework so you aren’t disturbed.
  5. 5Organize materials and other necessary items before class. Make sure your homework is completed and ready to turn in. Check that you have the right book and notebook, as you need to be ready to take notes. Be sure to organize your items every night before school.
    • Purchase a planner and use it to mark important due dates.
    • Highlight important information on your syllabus.
    • Pack items such as pens, pencils, highlighters and erasers.
    • Mark chapters in your textbook using colored tabs to find information and quickly turn to chapters.

Part2Conducting Yourself During Class

  1. 1Come to class prepared every day. Do not show up the first day without all of the required materials. You want to make a good impression right from the start so the teacher knows you are serious about their class. For the rest of the year, make sure you have your materials before leaving home each morning.
  2. 2Pay close attention. While sitting in class, try your best not to doodle, daydream, or become distracted. It is vital that you are paying good attention during the entirety of the class to avoid missing pertinent information.
    • Choose a seat near the front and close to the teacher to avoid falling victim to chatting with others.
    • Sit near someone who also has a vested interest in the class and can assist you if needed.
    • Listen attentively so you can retain the information, ask questions, and participate.
  3. 3Ask questions. Many students are afraid to ask questions during class, but it actually helps you better understand the material. Make sure to ask any and all questions you have, then listen to the answer.[5]
    • Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. Your teacher will be happy to see that you’re interested in the material, and your classmates will benefit from hearing the question and answer.
  4. 4Take notes. Make sure you are writing down information while the teacher is lecturing and write it legibly. Focus on the key concepts and the information your teacher emphasizes.
    • Ask your teacher if you can record their lectures so you won’t miss any important information.
  5. 5Choose a reliable and serious partner. A quarter of AP Biology consists of practical laboratory work that stresses the importance of inquiry-based investigations. If given the opportunity for a partner, and choice in selecting one, pair up with someone you can depend on that will conduct the experiments safely.

Part3Exerting Effort Outside of Class

  1. 1Complete all homework. Your teacher is assigning you homework because it is the best way to put into practice what you learned during class. Homework also generates good questions you can ask during your next class meeting. [6]
    • Complete your homework as best you can. You may get stuck while working on a particular question or task, but just the process of figuring out how to complete the challenging assignment is helpful, so complete the homework entirely, regardless of how tough it is.
    • Questions on the exam will require you to put into practice the mathematical methods and quantitative skills acquired through completion of homework.
  2. 2Never skip reading assignments. Even if you think it is a waste of time to read your book, do it. Each and every assignment is extra practice needed to master the concepts you are learning and this includes reading, so treat it like any other assignment, despite the fact that it can’t be turned in.[7]
    • You cannot rely on the lectures from class to acquire all the material from your textbook.
  3. 3Allocate sufficient time to complete your work. Make sure you’ve set aside plenty of time to complete assignments. You don’t want to be scurrying to get it done right before class begins.
  4. 4Write down questions. While completing your homework write down questions to ask your teacher. Your teacher will be able to help you and maybe even set you up with a tutor.[8]

Part4Preparing for the AP Biology Exam

  1. 1Begin studying early. Cramming doesn’t work and is usually a recipe for being under-prepared. Start studying on the very first day of class. If you devote a little time every night to studying, you’ll only need to review the material, come time for the test.[9]
    • While in class, indicate the items your teacher alerts you will be on the test so you can refer to them when studying.
    • Work on a few skills at a time so you are not overwhelmed at the end of the course.
  2. 2Complete practice exams. By using practice tests to train, you will familiarize yourself with the exam’s structure and knowing this beforehand will be very advantageous.[10]
    • Build your endurance early for this three hour exam by treating the practice exams like the real one.
    • Practice answering the types of questions on the exam; multiple choice and free response questions.
  3. 3Note strengths and weaknesses. By completing practice tests you will learn your strengths and weaknesses so you can allocate more time to particular questions. You will be able to perform better because you will spend more time on the questions that you are aware take you a little longer to answer.[11]
  4. 4Set goals. Set goals to encourage yourself to do better. After completing a practice test, write down your score and create a goal for the next one. Perhaps you want to score higher or you just want to finish quicker. Whatever your goals are, set them and you will aim higher each time you sit down to test.
  5. 5Sleep and eat prior to the test. You want to be well rested so you can get up with plenty of time to eat and mentally prepare yourself.[12]
    • Have a light breakfast and don’t eat foods that are too heavy and can cause you to tire or foods you’re not used to eating that may upset your stomach.
    • You want to satisfied and energized before sitting down for three hours.

Part5Understanding the AP Biology Exam

  1. 1Know the content. You must be fully aware of the types of questions on the exam and the substance of those questions. The four Big Ideas that this course is founded on, consists of concepts relating to evolution, biological systems, and living systems. You will be able to focus on these notions and prepare for the exam with an emphasis on those main ideas.[13]
    • Evolution as a process expounds the variation and harmony that characterizes life.
    • Free energy and building blocks are used by biological systems for essential processes.
    • Biological systems all work together as a network to perform specific jobs.
    • Life systems accomplish 4 major tasks concerning information, tasks fundamental to the processes unique to life.
  2. 2Familiarize yourself with the test format. The test is comprised of 2 parts, a section for multiple choice questions and a section for free response questions. If you know the how the test is structured before taking it, you will be significantly more prepared. You will be able to dedicate more time to the section of the test that will take you longer to complete because you will already be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.[14]
    • The multiple choice section accounts for 50% of the exam score and consist of 69 total questions.
    • The free response section account for 50% of the exam score and consists of 8 long and short answer response questions.
    • You are able to use simple calculators for mathematical calculations during the test.
  3. 3Learn the scoring process. By understanding how the AP Biology exam is scored you’ll be better equipped to attain the score you desire.[15]
    • A machine scores the multiple choice section of the exam.
    • Expertly trained teachers score the free response portion of the exam.
    • Each free response question is worth more points than each multiple choice question.
    • The scores calculated for the multiple choice questions and the free response questions are combined to produce a score representative of 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 in descending order of value.
    • The numerical values of the AP scores signify letter grades in college courses.
  4. 4Understand how to interpret your scores. The number scores on the AP Biology exam are representative of letter grades in a comparable college level class.[16] When your scores are ready you can check them online.



  • Purchase Review Books that contain practice exams.
  • Do not wait to contact the teacher about any concerns or struggles so they can provide you with helpful resources.


  • Hold yourself accountable and make sure you are completing all of your homework and studying thoroughly.

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