Exam Information (AP Biology Exam from spring 2012 and prior)
The Topic Outline in the Course and Exam Description provides details about the content on the exam. About 25 percent of the multiple-choice questions are likely to be on the subject areas listed under Area I (molecules and cells). Similarly, one of the four essay questions will also be taken from that area; another question will be on Area II (heredity and evolution); and the remaining two questions will be on Area III (organisms and populations). In answering any of the four free-response questions, students may need to analyze and interpret data or information drawn from lab experience (as well as from lecture material) or to integrate material from different areas of the course.
For sample multiple-choice questions, refer to the Course and Exam Description (.pdf/490KB).
Past Free-Response Questions
Below are free-response questions from past AP Biology Exams. Included with the questions are scoring guidelines, sample student responses, and commentary on those responses, as well as exam statistics and the Chief Reader's Student Performance Q&A for past administrations.
Important Note About the "Form B" ExamsBecause of the worldwide growth of the AP Program and the administration of exams in multiple time zones, another version of the AP Biology Exam, called "Form B," may be administered in order to maintain security.
Multiple Choice — 52 to 55 Questions | 1 Hour | 45% of Exam Score
- Excerpts from non-fiction texts are accompanied by several multiple-choice questions
Free Response — 3 Free-Response Questions | 2 Hours, 15 Minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period) | 55% of Exam Score
This section has three prompts:
- Synthesis: Students read several texts about a topic and create an argument that synthesizes at least three of the sources to support their thesis.
- Rhetorical analysis: Students read a non-fiction text and analyze how the writer's language choices contribute to his or her purpose and intended meaning for the text.
- Argument: Students create an evidence-based argument that responds to a given topic.
The total Section II time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. This includes a 15-minute reading period. The reading period is designed to provide students with time to develop thoughtful, well-organized responses. They may begin writing their responses before the reading period is over.