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.
🧪 Unit 1: Chemistry of Life
🔥 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
🧬 Unit 2: Cell Structure and Function
🔥 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
🔋 Unit 3: Cellular Energetics
🔥 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
🦠️ Unit 4: Cell Communication and Cell Cycle
🔥 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 Transduction
4.4 – Changes in Signal Transduction Pathways
4.5 – Feedback
4.6 – Cell Cycle
4.7 – Regulation of Cell Cycle
👪 Unit 5: Heredity
🔥 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.
👻 Unit 6: Gene Expression and Regulation
🔥 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
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.
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