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Your AP Biology Resource Center

Overview of AP Biology

AP Biology is a college-level course offered by the College Board to high school students who are interested in studying biology at an advanced level. It was opted by 242,000 students in 2023 as it is one of the preferred AP courses. The pass rate of the 2023 AP Biology exam was 64% and 14% of students scored a 5. AP Biology is known for its challenging curriculum and rigorous exams. It deals with topics such as cellular structure and function, genetics, evolution, ecology, and the diversity of life.

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Course content

Unit 1: Chemistry of Life

You’ll learn about water’s role as the basis of life and the functions of macromolecules like lipids and proteins.

  • The structure and chemical properties of water
  • The makeup and properties of macromolecules
  • The structure of DNA and RNA

  • Cellular components and functions of those components
  • Cell interaction with its environment
  • The cell membrane structure and function
  • Cell regulatory mechanisms like osmosis and selective permeability
  • Cellular compartmentalization

  • The structure and function of enzymes
  • The role of energy in living systems
  • The processes of photosynthesis
  • The processes of cellular respiration
  • Molecular diversity and cellular response to environmental changes

  • The mechanisms of cell communication
  • Signal transduction
  • Cellular responses and feedback mechanisms
  • The events in a cell cycle

  • The process and function of meiosis
  • The concepts genetic diversity
  • Mendel’s laws and probability
  • Non-mendelian Inheritance
  • Factors affecting inheritance and gene expression

  • The roles and functions of DNA and RNA
  • The mechanisms of gene expression
  • How genotype affects phenotype
  • Mutations, genetic diversity, and natural selection
  • Genetic engineering and biotechnology

  • Evidential support for evolution and common ancestry
  • The mechanisms of natural selection and speciation
  • Environmental and human-caused factors in evolution
  • Charting species ancestry through phylogenetic trees and cladograms
  • Extinction
  • Models of the origin of life on Earth

  • Communication and responses to environmental changes
  • Energy flow within and across ecosystems
  • Factors in the growth, density, and success of populations
  • Factors in community and ecosystem dynamic
  • Invasive species, human interaction, and environmental changes

Exam Date

AP Biology Exam

Will be conducted on

Thu, May 16, 2024 | 12 PM Local

AP Biology Exam Guide

AP Biology is known for its challenging curriculum and rigorous exams. In the AP Biology exam guide, we provide you with the exam structure, topics, study resources, and student performance over the past 10 years of AP Biology exams to put together the comprehensive AP Biology exam guide.

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AP Biology Course Resources

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AP Biology Course

The College Board website offers a variety of extra resources to help AP Biology students succeed on the exam. These resources include the AP Biology Course at a Glance, the AP Biology Course and Exam Description, the AP Biology CED Scoring Guidelines, the AP Biology Equations and Formulas Sheet, the AP Biology Lab Manual, and more. To help students prepare for the AP Biology exam, we have provided a list of extra resources below.

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AP Biology Course Overview

This resource provides a succinct description of the course and exam.



AP Biology Course and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course. It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and the AP Program in general. The CED was updated in the summer of 2020 to include scoring guidelines for the example questions.



AP Biology CED Scoring Guidelines

This document details how each of the sample free-response questions in the course and exam description (CED) would be scored. This information is now in the online CED, but was not included in the binders teachers received in 2019.



AP Biology: Equations and Formula Sheet

Students are allowed to use this resource on the AP Biology Exam. It is also available in Appendix A of the CED.



AP Biology Lab Manual

See an overview of the manual that supports AP Biology laboratory investigations and learn how to order a copy.


AP Biology Free Response Questions

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AP Biology Youtube Channels