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5 Best Resources for AP Biology

5 min readoctober 29, 2020

caroline-koffke

Caroline Koffke


In 2019, 7.2% of students scored a 5 on the AP Biology exam. So... what are the best resources out there to help you on your journey to get that 5? It’s a little overwhelming to filter through the hundreds of AP Bio tools, but no worries! We’re here to help you out. Click the headings to get redirected to each resource!

Resources:

1. 😁 Fiveable for AP Biology

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2FScreen-Shot-2020-01-11-at-12.37-3trVi52knrU9.png?alt=media&token=d5b7400c-2b88-43c3-9b23-a774631ec5cb
What is it?
Fiveable has on-demand lecture videos, study guides, trivia games and many more resources for AP Biology. The topics are aligned with the College Board’s exam curriculum (check out the course framework). Navigate to the unit you are studying in class, and you’ll find everything you need to learn and review (and cram). You will be learning from excellent teachers who break down the content. They teach the foundation and build you up, so you can tackle the stimulus-based questions on the AP exam.
Why is it helpful?
Fiveable’s unique feature is that you can tune into live sessions with a real teacher. This gives you a chance to ask your questions and get the answers you need right away from a real person. If you miss a live session, you can watch the replay and see other students’ questions.
How to use:
Make note of the topics you do not understand in class (i.e. Mosaic Model, enzymes). Find the corresponding video. Fiveable is also a good review to prepare for tests assigned by your teacher and the AP exam. Begin watching the replays a couple of nights before while taking notes, and you’ll be good to go.

Resources:

2. 🔬 AP Biology Practice & Prep (for iOS)

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-uigR0CQLhAxf.jpg?alt=media&token=bd001d47-bf84-4b7b-9493-83a51d4d71b4
What is it?
This is a FREE app with quality questions and excellent content. You can test yourself on different AP Bio topics and get detailed feedback on questions you got wrong. It keeps track of your scores, so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. The app is organized into specific subsections where you can learn or review a topic
Why is it helpful?
The key to mastering AP Bio is exposing yourself to all types of questions and understanding your mistakes. The detailed explanations in this app and content organization allow you to review essential content. The majority of questions are fact-based, so vocabulary words and overarching ideas will be reinforced. There are some stimulus-based questions.
How to use:
Find the questions that align with the unit you are studying in class. Every day, make an effort to practice 5-10 questions. This spaced repetition will keep the concepts fresh in your mind.

Resources:

3. 🕛 AP Bio Past FRQs

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2FScreen-Shot-2020-01-11-at-12.40-vn7RO9j3VALx.png?alt=media&token=74df05f7-51bc-4fde-af40-05884ef2a8e0
What is it?
College Board has released the actual FRQs from past years’ exams. The answer keys and scoring rubric are also provided. They also publish examples of student work for different scores so you can see what a perfect score and not-so-perfect score looks like.
Why is it helpful?
For any AP class, you want to get your hands on as many practice questions as possible. The FRQ section presents a new style of questions you are not familiar with. The key to mastering the FRQ section (which is 50% of your score!) is to practice, practice, practice. You will become more familiar with how to respond to different prompts and secure all the points you can get.
How to use:
Go through the released questions and complete the ones that align with the unit you are learning. Remember that you need speed and accuracy. As it gets closer to May, you will have learned everything you need to answer all of the FRQs. Simulate the testing environment by timing yourself while you do an FRQ set.

Resources:

4. Princeton AP Review books

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-O8tp7WCdOT7V.png?alt=media&token=e6bbe4b8-52e0-4eb6-bb9a-9a1a0987396c
Source: Amazon
What is it?
Usually, students like to invest in a quality review book for their AP classes. Review books are a very condensed version of your textbook. There are practice questions, summaries, and test strategies in each chapter.
Why is it helpful?
For AP Bio, review books are good for a quick overview of a topic. While it is not a complete substitute for the textbook, it does provide quick and easy crash courses on the content when your textbook is confusing. You should use this only as a supplement to textbook readings. It has been updated for the 2020 exam, but the questions are not written in the stimulus-based AP style. The AP Biology Practice & Prep App would provide better quality questions.
How to use:
You can read through the simple explanations before your next lesson, so you can go into class with the foundational knowledge and vocabulary associated with the topic. As you are studying for a test, you can use the review book to remind yourself of the topics and get a general overview.

Resources:

5. 📹 Bozeman Science Videos

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2FScreen-Shot-2020-01-11-at-12.43-eg1zayGhgLFB.png?alt=media&token=30897c26-54b6-4b50-9015-5f089363def7
What is it?
Mr. Paul Anderson, a teacher from Montana, has created 52 videos that align directly with the Essential Knowledge standards from the College Board curriculum. Each video comes with a video guide and the slideshow he uses.
Why is it helpful?
He is a great, experienced teacher that will teach you all the biology concepts you need to know. After watching his videos, you’ll really internalize topics like DNA vs. RNA or Chi-Square. He teaches you exactly what you need to know and avoids going down rabbit holes of extra information.
How to use:
His videos are organized under the Big Ideas. Watch the video that corresponds to the topic you need to review. Most of the sections have extra examples and practice worksheets. This is especially helpful for solving questions you need to practice such as Phylogenetic trees, Mendelian Genetics, and Chi-Square.

I guarantee you that all the AP Bio resources in this comprehensive list will help you a lot in the long run. With hard work and continuous practice, you will definitely ace the AP exam in May and get that 5. Good luck and happy studying!

Resources:

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