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Studying for the 2024 AP Biology Test

Preparing for the 2024 AP Biology Exam

Do you have a plan to get ready for your AP Biology exam?  Marks Education has some tips to share as you prepare for the big day.  First, let’s review the basics.


Test Date is May 16, 2024 12:00 PM local

Exam Format and Content

Section I: Multiple Choice

60 Questions | 1 hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Individual questions.
  • Sets of questions with 4–5 questions per set.

Section II: Free Response

6 Questions | 1 hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • There are 2 long questions and 4 short-answer questions. Long questions are worth 8–10 points each; short-answer questions are worth 4 points each.


The College Board’s AP Biology course and exam description (CED) encompasses eight (8) content areas or units with an approximate exam weighting for each unit listed below.

Tips on Preparing for the 2024 AP Biology Exam

Studying effectively for the AP Biology exam is a matter of knowing what to study and how to study. We’ve included some practical tips for preparing for the AP Biology exam below.

  1. Figure out how much time you have before the test and how much time you need to devote to AP Bio. Then create a calendar to budget your time.  Perhaps you feel you need 20 hours to study – 2 hours to review the content for each of the 8 sections plus 4 hours of direct testing experience.  If you start prepping in mid-March, you have 8 weeks before the exam, so you could do 2-3 hours of preparation each week.  Think about when to fit in those 2-3 hours in your weekly schedule and write them in.
  2. Access the AP Biology course homepage in AP Classroom on the College Board website. There are multiple-choice (MC) and free-response (FRQ) problem sets for all eight AP Biology units, and these are excellent review tools. They do need to be unlocked by your teacher, so if they are still locked, ask your teacher to unlock them so that you can begin using them. The site also includes daily videos.
  3. Nail down the basics. Know the following inside and out (so well that you could give a mini lecture on them). These are some of the ‘big ideas’ that you can expect to see on the AP Biology exam.

  • Macromolecules
  • Cell parts and functions
  • Photosynthesis
  • Cellular respiration
  • Mitosis
  • Meiosis
  • Mendelian genetics.

  1. Study free response questions on past AP Biology exams (from 1999 – present) here. Focus on the most recent year’s questions first and work your way backwards until you get to 2012. In 2013, the exam underwent significant changes, so stick to tests from that year or after. You can access a full practice exam here.
  2. Study actively. Resist the urge to study passively, such as simply rereading your notes or reviewing lecture slides. Instead, find ways you can study actively by attempting the multiple choice and short answer questions at the end of each chapter in your biology textbook. These exercises will be a very good litmus test (sorry, couldn’t resist) of whether you know the material in a given chapter well enough to proceed to the next unit.
  3. Use flash cards or Quizlet as needed. If you’re having trouble learning certain concepts, find an effective way to commit to memory these basics. Flash cards and Quizlet can be great tools for aiding memorization. However, it’s also important to know what you need to memorize. It isn’t necessary to memorize, for example, all twenty amino acids, but it is important to know that differences in these twenty amino acids stem from differences in their r-groups. Recognizing what you need to know and what you don’t will make studying for the AP Biology exam less disorienting.

Marks Education offers wide-ranging services in counseling and tutoring for students seeking admission to high schools, colleges, and graduate schools.

If you would like help as you prepare for the AP Biology exam, check out the bios of our experienced AP Biology tutors here: Dan Bloss and Dan Hertz and feel free to contact us for more information.

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