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AP Biology Practice Test

One of the main goals in taking an advanced placement (AP) course in high school is to gain college credits for the course. Perhaps you took AP bio because you needed a challenge or liked the class, but you always have the option of getting a college credit. To do so, you need to take the AP biology exam.

If you are one of the students hoping to get college biology credit before actually heading to college, you may need an AP biology practice test to help you study for the exam. A good AP bio practice test will make you feel comfortable before you go to take the test.

Summary: Use the AP biology practice questions listed below to prepare for your upcoming exam.

AP Biology Practice Test

When studying for the AP biology exam, you will want a chance to familiarize yourself with the questions that might appear on the test. The best way to do that is to take a practice test.

A good AP bio practice test will give you answers and explain why they’re right, like the ones below.

Name of TestNumber of Questions
AP Biology Diagnostic Test63 multiple-choice, 6 free-response
AP Biology Practice100 multiple-choice
AP Biology 2013 Practice Exam53 multiple-choice, 8 free-response
AP Bio Evolution Practice Test138 multiple-choice, 3 free-response
College Board Past AP Bio QuestionsVarious amounts of free-response questions
2020 Sample AP Biology Questions2 free-response

What is the AP Biology Exam?

The AP biology test is the way that high school students are able to get college credit for deciding to challenge themselves with a more difficult class. By passing the AP bio exam, a student will be able to skip out on biology in college. Learn more about the test in the following paragraphs.

AP Biology Exam Description

There are eight units covered throughout your AP biology course and on the AP biology test. Your teacher may choose to group them together differently or to teach them in a different order, but these are the eight ideas you will see on the exam:

  • Unit one: Chemistry of Life – Learn how water serves a vital role as the basis of life as well as how macromolecules, like lipids and proteins, function (8-11%)
  • Unit two: Cell Structure and Function – Study cells design and makeup plus the fundamentals of evolution (11-13%)
  • Unit three: Cellular Energetics – Explore how cells interact with the environment and the cellular level of other fundamental biological processes (12-16%)
  • Unit four: Cell Communication and Cycles – See how cells grow then reproduce and how they communicate with one another (10-15%)
  • Unit five: Heredity – Discover how traits pass from parents to children (8-11%)
  • Unit six: Gene Expression and Regulation – Study trait expression and how heredity information passes from parent to child (12-16%)
  • Unit seven: Natural Selection – Examine Charles Darwin’s theories about natural selection and evolution (13-20%)
  • Unit eight: Ecology – Explore biological concepts at the broad organism level and analyze how populations interact in ecosystems (10-15%)

You will also be asked to learn how to design experiments and procedures to discover if a theory or prediction is accurate. Collecting and analyzing data is another thing you can expect to see on the AP biology test.

To succeed on the test, you will also need to be able to interpret data and draw conclusions as well as use evidence to support your scientific claims.

About AP Biology Test Questions

Now that you know which topics to expect, we can look at the AP biology questions that you will see on the test.

There are a total of sixty-six questions on the AP biology exam. You will have ninety minutes to answer sixty multiple-choice questions, which means you have a little more than a minute to answer the questions.

You will be asked to answer six free-response questions also in ninety minutes, so you will have plenty of time to develop well-thought-out answers to best respond to the question.

Both of the sections are worth fifty percent of your exam score. This means that neither part should be taken lightly even though the free-response section has one-tenth of the questions that the multiple-choice section has.

Since the sections are both half of your score, you should split your study time to accompany for both parts equally. To study to the best of your ability, you need to know what to expect on each part. Here is what you can see on each section of the AP bio exam:

  Answer Type % of Score Time Given Questions Topics
Section 1 Multiple-choice 50% 1 hr 30 min 60
  • Explain biological concepts, processes, and models
  • Analyze diagrams, flow charts, and other visual representations
  • Use the scientific method
  • Perform mathematical calculations to analyze data
  • Support scientific claims with evidence
Section 2 Free-response 50% 1 hr 30 min 6
  • Scientific Investigation
  • Conceptual Analysis
  • Analysis of Model or Visual Representation
  • Analysis of Data

In the free-response section, there a four short-answer questions and two long-answer ones. There are four topics covered, as you can see in the graph above, so you can be assured those will be covered in the short-response section to better help you prepare.

How to Use an AP Biology Practice Test

The most important part of any AP biology exam is the questions that are on it. The AP biology practice questions on a practice test should cover a wide range of topics to ensure that you are getting all the information you need to succeed on the test.

The whole point of an AP biology practice test is to make you feel more comfortable on the real exam when the time comes to take it. There are two ways the AP biology practice questions on the practice test can help you feel prepared.

When you take an AP biology practice exam, you begin to familiarize yourself with the question formats. Typically, the questions on a practice test are ones that appeared on previous versions of the test. If you can get to the root of what the question is asking quickly, you give yourself more time on the exam.

You can also get a better understanding of how each unit is broken up on the test. While the percentages above can give you an idea of what the test will look like, you can get a better idea by taking former tests and seeing them for yourself.

With that knowledge, you can better prepare yourself by knowing which topics to spend the most time studying. Becoming an efficient studier is a key part to succeeding on the AP biology test.

You can find some free AP biology practice tests above to best prepare yourself for the AP biology exam.

How Do I Prepare for the AP Biology Exam?

While the AP biology exam may seem daunting when you first hear about it and look at this guide, it gets incredibly less terrifying if you are properly prepared.

The first step you can take to prepare yourself is to create or find flashcards to cover important topics that you learned in class. Whether you use a site like Quizlet or make your own on index cards, have them readily available to take with you to study at all free moments.

You can also use practice tests to help prepare yourself for the exam. There are practice tests listed above if you aren’t sure where to gain access to practice tests.

A good practice test will have a diverse set of questions, give answers to check your responses, and have detailed explanations for the right answers so you can learn from your mistakes.

The last step you can take to prepare for the AP biology exam is to ask for a study guide or review from your AP biology teacher. They should be able to give you topics to review from the things that you have studied all year. You can even invest in the help of friends in the class to study.

AP Biology Test FAQs

The pass rate for the AP bio exam is over 60%, but only around 30% of all test takers get a 4 or 5. So, if you really want to wow your future college, proper preparation is necessary.

To get a 5, you need to get around 80% of all the questions right to be able to get a 5 on the exam.

You can practice for the AP bio exam by making flashcards, using practice tests, and reviewing with your teacher and classmates.

Dave Evangelisti
Dave is our founder and CEO. He has 20+ years of experience in the testing and test prep industry.