What You Need to Know About the AP Biology Exam
The Advanced Placement program was begun by the College Board in 1955 to construct standard achievement exams that would allow highly motivated high school students the opportunity to be awarded advanced placement as first-year students in colleges and universities in the United States. Today, more than a million students from every state in the nation and from foreign countries take the annual AP exams in May.
The AP programs are designed for high school students who wish to take college-level courses. In our case, the AP Biology course and exam are designed to involve high school students in college-level biology studies.
Who Writes the AP Biology Exam
After extensive surfing of the College Board Website, here is what I have uncovered. The AP Biology exam is created by a group of college and high school Biology instructors known as the AP Development Committee. The committee’s job is to ensure that the annual AP Biology exam reflects what is being taught and studied in college-level biology classes at high schools.
This committee writes a large number of multiple-choice questions, which are pretested and evaluated for clarity, appropriateness, and range of possible answers. The committee also generates a pool of essay questions, pretests them, and chooses those questions that best represent the full range of the scoring scale, which will allow the AP readers to evaluate the essays equitably.
It is important to remember that the AP Biology exam is thoroughly evaluated after it is administered each year. This way, the College Board can use the results to make course suggestions and to plan future tests.
The AP Grades and Who Receives Them
Once you have taken the exam and it has been scored, your test will be graded with one of five numbers by the College Board:
- A 5 indicates that you are extremely well qualified.
- A 4 indicates that you are well qualified.
- A 3 indicates that you are adequately qualified.
- A 2 indicates that you are possibly qualified.
- A 1 indicates that you are not qualified to receive college credit.
A grade of 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 will usually be reported by early July.
Reasons for Taking the AP Biology Exam
Why put yourself through a year of intensive study, pressure, stress, and preparation? Only you can answer that question. Following are some of the reasons that students have indicated to us for taking the AP exam:
For personal satisfaction.
To compare themselves with other students across the nation.
Because colleges look favorably on the applications of students who elect to enroll in AP courses.
To receive college credit or advanced standing at their colleges or universities.
Because they love the subject.
So that their families will be really proud of them.
There are plenty of other reasons, but no matter what they might be, the primary reason for your enrolling in the AP Biology course and taking the exam in May is to feel good about yourself and the challenges you have met.
Questions Frequently Asked About the AP Biology Exam
Here are some common questions students have about the AP Biology exam and some answers to those questions.
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