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Get a five on the AP Biology exam! Everything you need to know.

How to Get a 5 on the AP Biology Exam

What do you need to get a five on the AP Biology Exam? Looking for an AP Biology exam review packet that is laser focused on what the College Board expects you to know? Here it is.

Increase Student Confidence

Every student wants to know the same thing, how do I get a 5 on the AP Biology Exam? They want to know that the year they spent learning and studying and working hard produces that college credit they need. Using this AP Biology Exam Review Packet has made a huge difference in the confidence my students have on exam day. They truly feel more prepared, because they know they have seen and interacted with every part of every unit. Also, as a teacher, I know that I have given them everything they need to be successful on the exam!

The AP Biology review packet covers every Topic, one at a time, for all eight Units. Questions are mostly open ended, asking students to make connections, predict outcomes, describe processes, label diagrams, and draw models. No fluff, no wasted space, no wasted time.

Accompanying each Topic’s question set is a copy of the actual Essential Knowledge statements from the AP Biology Course and Exam Description. I have my students start with the standard, reading through and highlighting key vocabulary and bits of info they need to spend extra time studying. This way there are no surprises come Exam day – students are familiar with every part of the standards! 

Completing the AP Biology Exam Review Packet in Class:

Whether you have a week before the exam or three months, it is best to only give students one Unit at a time, rather than the whole Review Packet once. Such a large packet all at once can be overwhelming, even to the most motivated student! 

You have a few months before the AP Biology Exam:

It is a good idea to spread out the review for a few weeks before the exam. This will help avoid burn-out and students feeling overwhelmed!  Rather than cram review time into the last weeks of class, start today! Sprinkle a few review sheets in between new lessons!

For example, let students work on review sheets for all of Unit 1 this week. Give them a set amount of class time each day to work in groups or pairs, maybe the first or last 15 minutes. Then finish the rest for homework. On Friday, go over the whole Unit (see Grading Thoughts below), and start into Unit 2 the next week. 

You only have a few weeks or days before the AP Biology Exam:

AP Biology Exam Review Guide for the Full Year
No fluff, no wasted space, no wasted time! AP Biology Exam Review Packet

There are still ways to make AP Biology Review more interactive! Put students into small groups of three or four. They work together to each complete the questions. Make it a game – the fastest (and most accurate!) group to finish Unit 1 gets candy, or bonus points, or the chance to work outside, or downtime until all the other groups are done with Unit 1. See Grading Thoughts below on a way to quickly grade packets done in groups.

Grading Thoughts:

If time allows, it is best to grade/collect/review each Unit separately so that students have smaller milestones (complete one Unit by Friday rather than complete eight units this month!). Either way, it is a lot to grade! AP kids are (should be) very self-motivated to learn material and do well on the Exam. This being true, here are some possibilities to save time for you…

Spot check students’ packets at intervals, or when a whole Unit should be finished. While students are working on something else, walk around and flip through their work, grading for completion. While you are going you will begin to see a pattern of missed questions that you can go over as a whole class!

Collect and grade randomly: Let students know that at any time you may collect their work and grade it all, or select a handful of questions within the packet to grade. 

Grade in Pairs:

Swap, Circle and Star: Have students swap work. Give everyone access to the answer key. Have students circle answers that are wrong, and star questions that need a bit of tweaking or addition. Then students get back their own work, and in a different color pen (without erasing the original answer!), make corrections. Corrections may have to be on their own piece of paper if there is not enough space. Collect and spot check just the corrections. This also lets you see any patterns of possible misunderstanding, areas to review with the whole class.  

Grading as a Group:

Group Review: If your students are working in groups to complete the review packet, tell them you will randomly choose one group member’s packet to grade. To make it truly random, assign each group member a number (1-4 or however many there are in the group), number four popsicle sticks, and blindly pull one stick. Quickly skim through the packet, do not make corrections, but circle answers that are wrong or need more info. Give the packet back to the group to fix, then grade the questions that you circled. Everyone in the group gets the same grade! Do this process for each Unit separately so different students’ packets are graded each time. 

Group Presentations: at the end of each Unit, put students into small groups and assign each group a set of questions to present to the class. Give them just a few minutes to write out their answer on a large whiteboard, or a shared Google Slide. 

Don’t Grade It!

Open Note Assessment: Allow students to use the Review Packet on a practice AP Biology exam. Those who have done a good job completing the work will be rewarded with less stress and a better grade!

AP Bio exam review guide! Exactly what you need to know to get a five on the AP Biology Exam.
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Never too Early

If you are just starting the semester, it is never too early to provide this packet for your students. My favorite way of using the packet is to give the questions out one Topic at a time at the start of a Unit. Students use the questions as a learning guide while they read the text book. Then we discuss the questions in class as we go through the Unit. At the end of the year, students have a comprehensive packet ready to use for review!

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