How to Get a 5 on the AP Biology Exam!

How to Get a 5 on the AP Biology Exam!

How to Get a 5 on the AP Biology Exam!

Jacqueline GoochMEK’s Advanced Placement Course & Exam Prep classes are opening in January 2024. We’re offering small group virtual and in-person classes and private tutoring designed to give students the strategies and skills to ace their challenging AP classes and earn a 5 on the AP exam in May.

This Spring, we are offering AP Biology taught by expert instructor Ms. Jacqueline Gooch.

Ms. Gooch is a skilled science teacher with over 13 years of experience in teaching high school students. At MEK Review, she teaches virtually, using her signature enthusiasm and dynamic teaching methods to nurture a lifelong love of learning in her students. 

Read on to find out Ms. Gooch’s top 3 tips for scoring a 5 on the AP Biology exams in May!

Tip #1: Make connections between topics.

AP Biology is a dense subject. Do not try to just memorize information; you need to make connections. Making connections between concepts leads to a deeper understanding of the material. It helps students grasp the “why” and “how” behind the facts, which is essential for a comprehensive understanding of AP Biology. Being able to make connections leads to a deeper and lasting understanding of the content.

The AP Biology exam requires the application of knowledge to new scenarios. Understanding and making connections enable students to apply concepts to unfamiliar problems. Making connections helps develop higher-order critical thinking skills. On the AP exam, students will be given real-world situations and have to apply the science concepts to answer the questions.

For example, when you study DNA, don’t just memorize the structure and the names of the enzymes used in replication. You should be able to use that knowledge to explain how DNA goes from a chain of molecules inside a cell to being the foundation of every organism’s individuality. The connection would be that DNA sequences code for specific proteins, and these proteins are responsible for all the different traits we see in organisms.

Tip #2: Do THIS to prepare for the AP Biology Exam!

  1. Understand the Exam Format and Content: Familiarize yourself with the exam’s structure, types of questions, and the weighting of different topics. This helps in focusing study efforts on the most important areas.
  2. Regular, Active Review: Instead of cramming, engage in regular review sessions. This includes revisiting notes, reading textbooks, and using active recall methods like flashcards. Understanding key concepts is crucial, so focus on understanding rather than just memorizing facts.
  3. Practice with Past Exam Papers: Use previous AP Biology exam papers for practice. This will help you get used to the question format and time constraints. After completing practice exams, thoroughly review your answers to understand any mistakes.
  4. Focus on Weak Areas: Identify your weak topics and dedicate more time to them. This might involve re-reading textbook chapters, watching videos, or seeking help from teachers or peers.
  5. Develop a Study Plan NOW: AP Biology has a lot of content. Students need to create a timeline that allows them to review all the topics prior to the exam. You cannot cram for this exam the weekend or night before. Students should identify what they want to achieve for each study session. If you know your teacher is not going to cover a topic before the exam, set aside extra time to go over those topics. AP Classroom is your friend; use the videos and progress checks during your study sessions.

Tip #3: The best way to approach Free Response Questions is to keep your writing clear and direct.

When writing for the AP Biology exam, focus on clear and specific responses. Avoid essay-style introductions and conclusions. Directly address the question without restating it, and use precise, college-level language. Be specific in your answers, detailing changes and reasons, and avoid vague terms. Write legibly in navy blue or black ink, and cross out any text you don’t want graded.

Diagrams must be integrated into your answer, not just included as standalone elements. Avoid absolute statements and vague terms like “maybe” or “might.” Label each answer corresponding to the question parts (a., b., c., etc.), and write on the lines for clarity. Aim for concise answers, directly addressing the prompt, and be aware that the national average score is typically around 5 out of 10 on the long FRQs.

Over-answering or contradicting yourself can result in losing points. For free-response questions, if you provide more examples than asked, only the first ones count, unless later ones contradict the earlier responses, which can result in lost points.

Next Steps

Although AP courses are tough and may seem intimidating at first, a solid study plan and good study habits can help students get high grades and ace the exams.  

Many AP teachers focus on only the course material, leaving students underprepared for the actual 2-3 hour exam. At MEK, we take a two-pronged approach to AP Prep. Through providing students with both lectures by experienced teachers and practice exams, students gain a solid understanding of the material and learn test-taking skills to maintain their performance under time pressure.

Click here to learn more about our AP Course offerings for Spring 2024!

Interested in registering for AP courses with MEK? Fill out our Registration Form to get started.

Or if you have questions, contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.


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