AP Biology

AP Biology

In the United States, Advanced Placement Biology (also known as AP Biology or AP Bio) is a course and examination offered by the College Board to high school students as an opportunity to earn placement credit for a college-level biology course.

The Course

This course is offered to highly motivated students who wish to pursue their interests in the biological/ biochemistry sciences. Collegeboard recommends a successful completion of High School Biology and High School Chemistry, [ [http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_bio.html AP Biology at CollegeBoard.com] ] though the actual prerequisites vary from school to school and from state to state. Many schools, for example, require no background in biology to take the course. There are critics of the AP program that believe that the high school science curriculum does not adequately prepare students with a college-level scientific background, and students who have studied AP Biology do not perform as well in college science classes as might be expected of someone who successfully completed an AP course in the subject matter. [ [http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/archive/2006-02/2006-02-22-voa1.cfm?CFID=187709533&CFTOKEN=86041863 Praise for Advanced Placement Classes, but Also Criticism] ]

Topics covered

Topics covered by this course include:
*Anatomy & Physiology
*The Cell
*Developmental Biology
*Molecular Biology
*Origin of life
*Population Biology
*Molecular Genetics

The exam

The AP test for this course consists of two sections. Section I, administered over a period of 1 hour 20 minutes (80 minutes), is comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions [ [http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/ap/students/biology/ap-cd-bio-0708.pdf CollegeBoard AP Biology Course Description, May 2008 and May 2009] ] . Section II, which lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes, consists of 4 essay prompts to be answered comprehensively by the student [ [http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/ap/students/biology/ap-cd-bio-0708.pdf CollegeBoard AP Biology Course Description, May 2008 and May 2009] ] . A mandated 10 minute reading period is held prior to beginning to write the four essays. The 10 minutes provided for the reading period are NOT included in the total 1 hour and 30 minutes allowed for writing the essays; during this time, a student may record notes in the exam booklet containing the essay prompt, though the booklet used to record official essay responses must remain sealed until the reading period is completed. Overall, the exam thus lasts 180 minutes, or three hours.

The exam grade is weighted unevenly between Section I and Section II, with 60% of the score dependent on success in Section I and the remaining 40% determined by results from Section II.

Grade distribution

In the 2007 administration, 144,796 students took the exam from 8,486 schools. In the 2008 administration, the overall percentages of the higher scores (namely 3s to 5s) dropped significantly overall while scores of 1s climbed more than two-fold. The mean score was a 3.04 for the 2007 exam, however for the 2008 exam, the average score totaled at 2.68. Most colleges award credit in an introductory biology course for a score of 3 or higher. Higher tier schools generally accept 4s or 5s.

The grade distribution for 2007 was:

The grade distribution for 2008 was:


External links

* [http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_bio.html?biology AP Biology at CollegeBoard.com]
* [http://www.course-notes.org/biology AP Biology Notes and Outlines]
* [http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/biology/dist.html?biology AP Biology 2006 Grade Distribution]
* [http://www.biologysap.com AP Biology Notes]

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