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# What You Need to Know About the AP Biology Exam (page 3)

based on 2 ratings
By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Oct 24, 2011

### How Is My Composite Score Calculated?

This is where fuzzy math comes into play. The composite score for the AP Biology exam is 150. The free-response section represents 40 percent of this score, which equals 60 points. The multiple-choice section makes up 60 percent of the composite score, which equals 90 points.

Take your multiple-choice results and plug them into the following formula (keep in mind that this formula was designed for the 1999 AP Biology exam and could be subject to some minor tweaking by the AP Board):

Ncorrect - 1/4 Nincorrect X 0.7563 = your score for the multiple-choice section

Take your essay results nd plug them into this formula:

 (Points earned for question 1)(1.50) = score for question 1 (Points earned for question 2)(1.50) = score for question 2 (Points earned for question 3)(1.50) = score for question 3 (Points earned for question 4)(1.50) = score for question 4 Total weighted score for the essay section = sum of scores for questions 1-4

Your total composite score for the exam is determined by adding the score from the multiple-choice section to the score from the essay section and rounding that sum to the nearest whole number.

### How Is My Composite Score Turned into the Grade That Is Reported to My College?

Keep in mind that the total composite scores needed to earn a 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 change each year. These cutoffs are determined by a committee of AP, College Board, and Educational Testing Service (ETS) directors, experts, and statisticians. The same exam that is given to the AP Biology high school students is given to college students. The various college professors report how the college students fared on the exam. This provides information for the chief faculty consultant on where to draw the lines for a 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 score. A score of 5 on this AP exam is set to represent the average score received by the college students who scored an A on the exam. A score of a 3 or a 4 is the equivalent of a college grade B, and so on.

Over the years there has been an observable trend indicating the number of points required to achieve a specific grade. Data released from a particular AP Biology exam show that the approximate range for the five different scores are (this changes from year to year— just use this as an approximate guideline) as follows:

• Mid 80s–150 points = 5.
• Mid 60s–mid 80s points = 4.
• High 40s–mid 60s points = 3.
• High 20s/low 30s–high 40s points = 2.
• 0–high 20s points = 1.

### What Should I Bring to the Exam?

Here are some suggestions:

• Several pencils and an eraser.
• Several black pens (black ink is easier on the eyes).
• A watch.
• Something to drink—water is best.
• A quiet snack, such as Lifesavers.
• Tissues.

### What Should I Avoid Bringing to the Exam?

You should not bring:

• A jackhammer.
• Loud stereo.
• Pop rocks.

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