AP Biology is a challenging exam for most test-takers as colleges admit students with a minimum score of 3 or 4. Every exam student must know 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 applying their fundamental knowledge in solving problems. Students are expected to memorize biological terms, concepts, and information to answer questions presented in the test. So, before proceeding, each student must thoroughly understand 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, Reproduce and 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.
The students are also tested on 13 investigative labs on the AP Biology exam, which will be the main focus of 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. 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 methods during high school studies will aid in scientific investigations of laboratory data. A strong foundation on topics such as evolution, cells, biological systems, use of energy, and transmission of information is advised before taking the test.
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