Study Guides for Every AP Bio Unit

Published on Apr 30, 2020

AP Bio at a first glance might seem to be all about memorization and knowing the vocabulary for each unit, but it is actually more than that. Biology is also about gaining an understanding of what comprises the building blocks of life and the processes associated with it from cellular respiration to DNA translation into RNA. By knowing the key points to focus on, however, you’ll surely snatch that 5 and learn to appreciate the class as a whole.

Please note! Due to the COVID outbreak, the 2020 exam only covers units 1-6. Find the 2020 exam schedule, learn tips & tricks, and get your frequently asked questions answered on Fiveable’s Guide to the 2020 AP Exam Updates.

๐Ÿงช Unit 1: Chemistry of Life

๐Ÿ”ฅ Quick Tip: Identify what makes each of the four groups of macromolecules similar or different from each other. This will help you understand later concepts such as the plasma membrane and DNA!

1.0 – Overview of Unit 1
1.1 – Structure of Water and Hydrogen Bonding
1.2 – Elements of Life
1.3 – Introduction to Biological Macromolecules
1.4 – Properties of Biological Macromolecules
1.5 – Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules
1.6 – Nucleic Acids

๐Ÿงฌ Unit 2: Cell Structure and Functionย 

๐Ÿ”ฅ Quick Tip: Familiarize yourself with the function of most, if not all, cell organelles by using analogies to real-life scenarios and mnemonic devices!

2.0 – Overview of Unit 2
2.1 – Cell Structure: Subcellular Components
2.2 – Cell Structure and Function
2.3 – Cell Size
2.4 – Plasma Membranes
2.5 – Membrane Permeability
2.6 – Membrane Transport
2.7 – Facilitated Diffusion
2.8 – Tonicity and Osmoregulation
2.9 – Mechanisms of Transport
2.10 – Cell Compartmentalization
2.11 – Origins of Cell Compartmentalization

๐Ÿ”‹ Unit 3: Cellular Energetics

๐Ÿ”ฅ Quick Tip: Use flashcards to highlight the major steps of cellular respiration and photosynthesis, the key players involved, and the byproducts of each process. It’s easy to confuse NADPH with NADP+!

3.0 – Overview of Unit 3
3.1 – Enzyme Structure
3.2 – Enzyme Catalysis
3.3 – Environmental Impacts on Enzyme Function
3.4 – Cellular Energy
3.5 – Photosynthesis
3.6 – Cellular Respiration
3.7 – Fitness

๐Ÿฆ ๏ธย Unit 4: Cell Communication and Cell Cycle

๐Ÿ”ฅ Quick Tip: Remember the acronym PMAT for the order of events of mitosis when it comes to the cell cycle and be sure to be able to name key events in each phase. Signal transduction and cell communication provide additional background on the technicalities behind various intracellular processes that could be asked on the exam.

4.1 – Cell Communication
4.2 – Introdcution to Signal Transduction
4.3 – Signal Transductionย 
4.4 – Changes in Signal Transduction Pathways
4.5 – Feedback
4.6 – Cell Cycle
4.7 – Regulation of Cell Cycle

๐Ÿ‘ชย Unit 5: Heredity

๐Ÿ”ฅ Quick Tip: Practice your Punnett Squares and do lots of practice problems! Many students make careless mistakes because they gloss over them due to its seemingly easy-to-set-up nature.

5.0 – Overview of Unit 5
5.1 – Meiosis
5.2 – Meiosis and Genetic Diversity
5.3 – Mendelian Genetics
5.4 – Non-Mendelian Genetics
5.5 – Environmental Effects on Phenotype
5.6 – Chromosomal Inheritance

๐Ÿ‘ป Unit 6: Gene Expression and Regulation

๐Ÿ”ฅ Quick Tip: Do a quick refresher on the differences between DNA and RNA before making flashcards for the steps of DNA replication, transcription, and translation. Don’t confuse those three processes with each other!

6.0 – Overview of Unit 6
6.1 – DNA and RNA Structure
6.2 – Replication
6.3 – Transcription and RNA Processing
6.4 – Translation
6.5 – Regulation of Gene Expression
6.6 – Gene Expression and Cell Specialization
6.7 – Mutations
6.8 – Biotechnology

If you need more explanations, drop your questions in the community chat or join us for this week’s cram session.

All of these study guides were created by AP Bio teachers and students who have passed the exam. They include everything you need to know to get a 5 on the exam.

We’re publishing more every day, so check back or send us a message with any immediate requests!

๐Ÿงฌ 2020 ap bio study guide

Prepare for the new 2020 AP Biology exam format with weekly lesson plans, study materials, and FRQ practice!

Hey, hey! I am a rising junior from Vista, CA. As a current AP (and future IB) student, I couldn't help myself from falling in love with academics especially with mathematics, science, and literature. Other than working as a Director of Content and blogger for Fiveable, I manage my own lifestyle-slash-travel blog, take pictures, and collaborate with service-based clubs and organizations as a volunteer to make this world a better place for everyone!
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1 Comment

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    How come there’s no study guide or notes on Plants & Animals? Are these excluded from the AP exam? Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚


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