Important Updates for 2019-20
AP Biology Updates and New Resources for 2019-20
To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP Biology Exam, we’ve clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.
New AP Resources
This August, we’re introducing AP Classroom, with a suite of new resources designed in collaboration with AP educators that will help give students personalized feedback throughout the year. These include in-depth unit guides, personal progress checks and a dashboard to measure student progress, and a question bank of real AP questions.
AP Biology Course and Exam Description—Fall 2019
This is the core document for this course and is updated for the 2019-20 school year. New unit guides clearly lay out the course content and skills and recommend sequencing and pacing for them throughout the year. The CED also more clearly outlines how material will be assessed on the exam, provides instructional strategies, and gives information on the AP Program in general.
AP Biology is an introductory college-level biology course. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes—energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions.
Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students must know, be able to do, and understand, with a focus on the big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced work in STEM majors.
The AP Biology framework is organized into eight commonly taught units of study that provide one
possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.
Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
|Unit 1: Chemistry of Life||8%–11%|
|Unit 2: Cell Structure and Function||10%–13%|
|Unit 3: Questions and Methods||12%–16%|
|Unit 4: Cell Communication and Cell Cycle||10%–15%|
|Unit 5: Heredity||8%–11%|
|Unit 6: Gene Expression and Regulation||12%–16%|
|Unit 7: Natural Selection||13%–20%|
|Unit 8: Ecology||10%–15%|
The updated AP Biology framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called science practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like biologists.
|Skill||Description||Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)|
|1. Concept Explanation||Explain biological concepts, processes, and models presented in written format||25%–33%|
|2. Visual Representations||Analyze visual representations of biological concepts and processes||16%–24%|
|3. Question andMethod||Determine scientific question and method||8%–14%|
|4. Representing and Describing Data||Represent and describe data||8%–14%|
|5. Statistical Tests and Data Analysis||Perform statistical tests and mathematical calculations to analyze and interpret data||8%–14%|
|6. Argumentation||Develop and justify scientific arguments using evidence||20%–26%|
AP and Higher Education
Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.
This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the Credit Policy Search.
Meet the current Development Committee for AP Biology.