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The AP Biology Exam

Important Updates

New Exam for Classroom Use

A secure 2016 AP Biology Exam is now available on the AP Course Audit website. To access, sign in to your AP Course Audit account, and click on the Secure Documents link in the Resources section of your Course Status page.

Previously Secure Exam Now Publicly Available

A 2013 AP Biology Exam — previously available only through your AP Course Audit account — is now available on AP Central. This means you can now use the questions from this older exam without restriction.

Exam Day 2017

Mon, May 8, 8 a.m.

Exam Duration

3 hours

Exam Overview

Exam questions assess students' understanding of the big ideas, enduring understandings, essential knowledge, and learning objectives, and the application of those through the science practices. Questions may cover:

  • the use of modeling to explain biological principles;
  • the use of mathematical processes to explain concepts;
  • the making of predictions and the justification of phenomena;
  • the implementation of experimental design; and
  • the manipulation and interpretation of data

Encourage your students to visit the AP Biology student page for exam information and exam practice.

Access online score reports for your students.

Policies

A four-function with square root calculator may be used on the exam. Refer to our calculator policies for more information.


Learn about late testing policies, and see all late testing dates.

Exam Format

Section I

Multiple Choice — 69 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Multiple-Choice: 63 Questions
    • Discrete Questions
    • Questions in sets
  • Grid-In: 6 Questions
    • The grid-in questions focus on the integration of biology and mathematical skills. For these responses, students need to calculate the correct answer for each question and enter it in a grid on that section of the answer sheet.

Section II

Free Response — 8 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes (includes 10-minute reading period) | 50% of Exam Score

  • Long Free Response (2 questions, one of which is lab or data-based)
  • Short Free Response (6 questions, each requiring a paragraph-length argument/response)


Exam Questions and Scoring Information

Looking for sample multiple-choice and free-response questions? You can find them in:

The Course and Exam Description (.pdf/5.8MB), which has everything you need to know about the course and exam.


A full practice exam on AP Course Audit. Log in to your account and then click on the Secure Documents link within the Resources section of your Course Status page.


An AP Biology Exam from 2013, previously available only through your AP Course Audit account. Since this exam is now publicly available, you can use the questions without restriction.


The pre-2013 exam questions page. Although these questions do not reflect the redesigned exam, the question types are the same and the topics similar, making them a valuable resource for students and teachers.


The Student Performance Q&A. In this invaluable resource, the Chief Reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the reading leadership to describe how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.

And for free-response questions from the 2013 exam onward, along with scoring information, check out the tables below.

 



2016: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Sample Responses Q8

Score Distributions

2015: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Sample Responses Q8

Score Distributions

2014: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Sample Responses Q8

Score Distributions

2013: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Sample Responses Q8

Score Distributions

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