AP Biology is a challenging exam to most of the test-takers as colleges provide admittance to students with a minimum score of 3 or 4. It is mandatory that every student attempting the exam be aware of the test content and the testing pattern to ensure success in the first attempt. The recent amendments in the test content require the students to develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills. The new focus is on the application of their fundamental knowledge in solving problems. Students are expected to memorize biological terms, concepts and information in order to answer questions presented in the test. So, before proceeding each student needs to have a thorough understanding of the test content which is very often intimidating to the test-taker.
The exam focuses on 4 main ideas (Big Ideas) including topics ranging from molecular level to ecological level detailed below:
1. The Process of Evolution Drives the Diversity and Unity of Life.
2. Biological Systems Utilize Free Energy and Molecular Building Blocks to Grow, to Reproduce and to Maintain Dynamic Homeostasis.
3. Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.
4. Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.
Additionally, the students are also tested on 13 investigative labs on the AP Biology exam which will be the main focus the Big Ideas. Based on the lab investigations, the students are presented with scientific data and asked to explain the phenomenon or to test a hypothesis. In order to acquire a score of 3 and above, students must understand scientific predictions, analyze data, and explain the data patterns. The experience and knowledge gained in scientific method during high school studies will aid in the process of scientific investigations of the laboratory data. A strong foundation on topics such as evolution, cells, biological systems, use of energy, and transmission of information are advised before taking the test.
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