AP BIOLOGYThe Exam

beginning of content:

Important Updates

AP Calculator Policy Update
Beginning in 2018, for the AP Biology Exam students may now use a four-function (with square root), scientific, or graphing calculator. Visit the AP Calculator Policy page for more information.

New Exam for Classroom Use
A secure 2016 AP Biology Exam is now available on the AP Course Audit website. To access, sign in to your AP Course Audit account, and click on the Secure Documents link in the Resources section of your Course Status page.

Previously Secure Exam Now Publicly Available
A 2013 AP Biology Exam—previously available only through your AP Course Audit account—is now available below. This means you can now use the questions from this older exam without restriction.

  • Event
    • Mon, May 14, 2018

    AP Biology Exam Day 2018

    • 8 a.m. | 3 hrs

Exam Overview

Exam questions assess students' understanding of the big ideas, enduring understandings, essential knowledge, and learning objectives, and the application of those through the science practices. Questions may cover:

  • the use of modeling to explain biological principles;
  • the use of mathematical processes to explain concepts;
  • the making of predictions and the justification of phenomena;
  • the implementation of experimental design; and
  • the manipulation and interpretation of data

Encourage your students to visit the AP Biology student page for exam information and exam practice.

AP Calculator Policy

A four-function (with square root), scientific, or graphing calculator may be used on the exam.

Exam Format

Section I

Multiple Choice — 69 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Multiple-Choice: 63 Questions
    • Discrete Questions
    • Questions in sets
  • Grid-In: 6 Questions
    • The grid-in questions focus on the integration of science and mathematical skills. For these responses, students need to calculate the correct answer for each question and enter it in a grid on that section of the answer sheet.

Section II

Free Response — 8 Questions | 1 Hour, 30 Minutes (includes 10-minute reading period) | 50% of Exam Score

  • Long Free Response (2 questions, one of which is lab or data-based)
  • Short Free Response (6 questions, each requiring a paragraph-length argument/response)

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions from the 2013 exam onward, along with scoring information, check out the tables below.

Past exam questions from 2012 and before are still available. These questions do not reflect the redesigned exam, but the question types are the same and the topics similar, making them a valuable resource for students and teachers.

Be sure to review the Student Performance Q&A. In this invaluable resource, the Chief Reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the reading leadership to describe how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.

 
2017: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Free-Response Questions

Scoring Guidelines    

Exam Resources