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AP Bio Self-Study?

bigpapi3434bigpapi3434 Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
edited May 2013 in Sciences
hello everybody, i just had a couple questions about the AP Biology test. I am currently a freshman who is taking Biology Honors. I have done very well in this class without much of a challenge, and am actually enjoying the course quite a bit, and i was thinking about self-studying for the AP Biology. The course is offered in my school, but the way my school functions, it is very difficult to fit multiple AP courses into the same year. So my question is, how difficult would it be to supplement my Biology Honors with some sort of test prep book and score a 5 on the AP Exam? I have a lot of time to study, and biology is even a possible major for me, so i would be enjoying the work. I have heard the Cliff AP Biology book is good. Any opinion on this guys? How difficult is the exam in general, and would a test prep book give me enough to be able to take the exam? Let me know what you guys think
thanks a lot!
Post edited by bigpapi3434 on

Replies to: AP Bio Self-Study?

  • acehero8acehero8 - Posts: 139 Junior Member
    Cliffs AP is generally seen as the best prep book out there. I've heard of people self-studying AP Bio with nothing but this book and getting a 5. I wouldn't recommend this method but seeing as you not only have textbook to supplement Cliffs but also a Hnrs. Bio class, I think self-studying is largely doable. Just make sure you know the extra topics covered in AP Bio but not in Honors Bio.
  • NavyBlueNinjaNavyBlueNinja Registered User Posts: 310 Junior Member
    DO. NOT. SELF STUDY. THE. EXAM. I took Honors Bio as a freshman as well, and I am taking AP Biology now as a junior. I've been in your situation, and I felt the same exact way as a freshman. I also thought that AP Biology couldn't be so hard, since I did well in the honors class. It's not ridiculously hard, but it goes so in-depth that you cannot physically learn all of the information in the next 2 months in order to do well (that is unless you can learn 1200 pages of information that quickly). An example: freshman year, we learned that plants do photosynthesis in the thylakoids of their chlorophyll, and we learned the formula. This year, we had a whole chapter dedicated to the mechanisms of photosynthesis, including every single one of the chemicals and reactions involved.

    It took me a good deal of effort to do well on the Subject Test, but it was feasible. I would recommend taking the subject test this year, and the AP exam in one of the upcoming years. I think that a college would much rather see a 5 on an exam taken junior year than a 2 on an exam taken Freshman year.

    From my own experience, I would recommend the Princeton Review subject test book (or the Princeton Review AP Biology test prep book, if you decide that you can take the test). I adore PR, because it teaches you exactly what you need to know in a simple way so that you learn all of the information without the confusion. It also gives you a lot of information in some of the things you might not learn in class, like microbes or energy/chemical cycles in an ecosystem. I also used Cliffnotes, but only to learn about taxonomy. There are only a few (1-3) questions about different phyla/orders/classes of organisms, but if you review the classes the night before you will have enough of a background to take the test. And finally, Sparknotes is a great resource for its flashcards and online book. But be warned: the flashcards are really in-depth and only suitable for a 4-5 scorer on the AP exam; otherwise you will just be too confused using them. The online book is a useful, comprehensive, and free resource. They also have online tests, which were really helpful when I was a freshman. But since then they have made the tests free, and they are some bad-quality tests nowadays. There are computer glitches in the tests, their grading scales are wrong, and some of the questions and answers are incorrect.

    Good luck!
  • bigpapi3434bigpapi3434 Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
    i should have been clearer about this in the original post. i will not be taking it this year, but rather at the end of sophmore/junior year. when i said i have a lot of time to study, i meant more than a year, lol.
  • santeriasanteria Registered User Posts: 462 Member
    Very doable I think. I'm basically self-studying now. I'm in AP Biology, but my teacher manages to waste hours without teaching anything (we do the labs, but I don't think the labs are very helpful), so everything I've learned I've done through Barron's or Campell's and khan academy (look up khan academy if you don't who he is). If you know everything in the Cliff's or Barron's prep book, you can get a 5. Although I haven't taken the tests yet, the practice tests are not difficult if you understand the concepts. Theres also a lot of memorization.
  • viavia Registered User Posts: 757 Member
    bio is plain ol' memorization, you really don't need a teacher. i men it def helps, but you can succeed w/o one
  • QuantumLipidsQuantumLipids Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    I took accelerated biology while self-studying for the AP test and got a 5 in my sophomore year. The test wasn't really hard at all. About 50-70% of the information on the AP test was covered in the school's biology class, and it wasn't really difficult to learn the rest by myself. I used the Cliffs AP book, the biology textbook, Wikipedia, and random internet sources to study. I only started studying about this time last year, so you should be fine. There aren't many questions regarding labs on the test (which is good, since we basically didn't do any labs in the class), and the questions are mainly regarding the results of the labs and the conclusions that can be drawn from them.
  • bigpapi3434bigpapi3434 Registered User Posts: 181 Junior Member
    ok guys, i am probably going to go through with the self-study then. the way i think of it, the biology knowledge i have now is a foundation, and i will use the Cliffs AP book to supplement that information while going into more detail.
  • nmsfsatnmsfsat - Posts: 121 Junior Member
    bigpapi3434...AP BIO SELF STUDY = FAIL

    You can self study the easy stuff like econ, envi sci, but when it comes to Ap Bio you have got to take the class or else you will get destroyed by the exam, and I mean completely trashed. It is one of the hardest exams and unless you have been reviewing it all year, every night, then there is no way you can get a 5, unless you are the brightest guy in the world. Do not even waste your time trying.
  • Master12APexamCUMaster12APexamCU Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Then, I am going 2 self-study 2 w/ AP Biology as well, with either Cliffs or Barrons, but idk, wt 2 do u guys think, since I will b a senior next year, I LIKE BIOLOGY, and my dad taught that same exact class when he was a teacher in high school anyways, but I want 2 make my senior year EASY at the same time, so which book wuld U recommend I would get a 5 on the exam then!!!

    Thanx 4 anything u can reply to, ur opinion, ur feedback, and ur input!!! Ty!!
  • CalPolyEECalPolyEE Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    AP Bio is all memorizing. If you have the determination to force yourself to study then you will do fine.
  • KillaAzzianPwnsKillaAzzianPwns Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    the honors biology class is literally nothing compared to ap biology. ap biology is way harder, and most people who thought honors was hella easy later went on to take ap bio and just completely ****ed it up. don't underestimate ap bio. its considered by many to be the hardest ap test. Although it is a difficult test, you can still self-study, but you have to make sure to start pretty early, like at least January, and not be like me, who crammed the night before (i did take the class and my teacher was way hard). with that much time, you should have enough time to go through the book several times, and get all those concepts into your head, but dont think ap bio is easy because honors was easy. its way harder than you think.
This discussion has been closed.