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AP Biology – Tips to Prepare for Exam With An Expert Discussion

Nov 12, 2022

AP Bio (Advanced Placement Biology) is the most-liked AP class by many students. What makes students attracted to it are the challenges it offers. For those who desire to pursue their career in life science, AP Bio is one of the great opportunities for them.

Is AP Bio hard? Or is AP Biology easy? How hard is AP Biology? How many hours are required to study for this class? Or are AP tests not as hard as they seem?


These are some general questions students face when they go through this course. This article includes all the course material, statistics, and students’ perceptions that provide a clear idea about the difficulty level of the AP Bio exam and classes.

Basics About AP Biology

It is a college-level course that prepares high school students for higher studies. How hard AP Biology can be guessed with this statistic that states compared to AP Biology, other AP courses are less challenging. Records from 2021 show that out of more than 212,000 students who attempted the AP Biology exam, less than 10% of candidates earned the highest possible score, i.e., five marks. 

 The main features of the AP Bio course are: 
  • It is the most popular course among life science subjects.
  • Owing to its concentrated content and mass study materials, it is very challenging to prepare for this course. 
  • The average score students earn in this AP course is 3, which is counted as a qualified score.
  • A score of 3-5 in AP Biology provides credit and placements for most students.

Factors Determining the Difficulty of AP Bio Class

Whether AP Bio is hard or AP Biology is easy, a few indicators judge the level of difficulty of an AP Bio course. Some of these indicators are given below.

1. Passing rate:

Normally, a score of 3 is counted as the average score on the AP Bio exam. If the majority of students cross or reach this level, it is considered that the AP Bio exam is easy. Otherwise, a lower passing rate means the difficulty level of AP classes.


However, this factor can not be considered correct aways. It may be possible that some students prepared for the exam with more seriousness.

2. Scoring a perfect rate:

5 is the highest possible score for the AP exam. Scoring 5 marks proves the potential of students and helps in determining the difficulty of AP classes. If the students who scored 5 are low in numbers, it indicates that the material is more difficult to master. 


3. Content difficulty:

The complex curriculum is one of the most important factors in determining the difficulty of AP exams. It is obvious that for a higher level studies exam the curriculum level would be advanced.

4. Your skills:

If you have a beginner’s information or knowledge about chemistry and biology, in that case, you can easily expand your understanding of advanced Biology via the AP course.


Statistical Record of AP Biology Exam

From the last five years’ records, it can be easily noticed how hard the AP Biology exam is. For the year 2021, the passing rate of AP Biology was 59.2%, the lowest in the last five years. You can now gauge if AP Bio is easy or AP Bio hard!

Based on these statistical records, can you imagine the difficulty of the AP Biology exam?


Although the AP exam is very popular, many students enrol to take classes for a better future. Still, the last records show its difficulty level very clearly. Students need to get completely attributed towards their preparations.

AP Biology Content

The syllabus for AP Biology is wide, and memorising it requires a lot of complex steps. The basics of biological concepts are very helpful in preparing for an AP course. Many lab assignments are also included in the AP Bio exam. These increase the workload on candidates.


Apart from its syllabus, the exam format of the AP Biology course is also very challenging. It requires extensive knowledge of various topics. The free-response section in the AP Biology exam consists of six questions. It makes the exam lengthy and difficult to complete.

Tips to Prepare AP Biology Exam

It is hard to decide whether you find AP bio hard or easy. But some tips can let you handle the challenges of the AP biology exam.

1. Look for some reliable sources:

To prepare for the AP Biology exam, you can look for some experienced candidates. They can be your teachers, tutors, peers, friends, or seniors. You can ask for their help, giving you a clear idea of how to prepare for the AP exam.

You can contact your teachers and ask for some extra Biology classes. As they are experienced and have academic knowledge, they will provide you with better guidance and a more accurate idea of how hard is AP Biology exam.

You can also look for subject matter experts or counsellors. They will have extensive knowledge of such competitive exams and are more familiar with their preparation patterns. They can explain every detail of AP Biology classes from their perspective.

2. Focus on your strengths and weaknesses:

Although AP Biology includes a major section of Biology, science and mathematics are also included in its syllabus. However, the science and mathematics curriculum does not go beyond the students’ reach.

For a Biology student, Mathematics seems like a typical subject. They find it more difficult to prepare for it. If they get the upper hand in Mathematics concepts, too, candidates will find the AP Biology exam less challenging.

Still, the AP Biology curriculum incorporates other subjects. So, it needs students to have some skills in those subjects too. To cover all the AP Biology syllabus, you need so many skills, which makes studying for AP courses a complex process.

It would be foremost if you were clear about your strengths and weaknesses to gain an advantage. Polish those areas under your strength and practice more to make your weaknesses your strength.

3. Prepare your schedule:

Managing AP classes with your high school classes is a challenging task. If any load gets reduced, you may find this challenge less difficult to complete. It will become unchallenging for you to memorise all the content of AP Biology classes.

Also, if you are clear with the introductory Biology classes, the AP Biology classes will be less challenging. Studying the material you are not clear with lets you gain command over time. You can schedule more ways to prepare for the AP Biology curriculum.


Among other AP exams, AP Biology is the most challenging one. Previous records show that the possible rate of scoring five marks in AP Biology is low, and students need to give their 100% capabilities. 

However, it is hard to say if AP Bio is hard or AP Biology is easy. It is because each student has their own capabilities. Please revise some introductory sections of Biology before attempting AP This way, the challenges you will face during AP exams will become manageable. Hence, the chances of scoring 5 in the exam get accelerated.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it meaningful to join AP Biology classes?

Yes. Clearing the AP Biology exam will boost your confidence level. As a result, students’ GPAs increase. It also increases your college credits. It is up to you when you want to enrol in AP Biology classes. You can enrol in your junior or senior year of high school.

The main purpose is to verify your potential. So, please make an extra effort to qualify for the exam, i.e., to score three marks and be called a qualified candidate.

The reward you reap on qualifying for the exam is an opportunity to get a chance in enrolling for advanced college placement. The most suitable course for an AP Biology course is life science. 

2. Is AP Biology getting value in colleges?

Yes. AP grades can boost the GPA of students. As a result, it accelerates their morale and shows positive results in their high school studies. They can prove their commitment to advanced college studies through AP courses.

As AP Biology has a higher difficulty level compared to other AP exams, nowadays, schools tend to show their favour towards scores earned by students via AP Biology exams. Students scoring high marks or possible highest scorers get advanced college placement and credits for biology programs as their rewards.

3. How many credit points do you get for AP Biology?

Normally, 3-5 credits are provided for the top scorer in the AP Biology exams. Credit marking does not have any effect on schools. As per students’ AP Bio scores, schools offer credit courses, advanced college placement, or both as rewards.

If many students score five on the AP Biology exam, some are rewarded with advanced college placement opportunities. At the same time, others will get a set of credits with or without Biology class placement.

Some schools assign credits for a high score on the AP Biology exam only if students also complete an essential Biology course. 


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