1. A Checklist for AP Exam Review
  2. AP Bio Review Resources on
  3. A review schedule  for 2023
  4. FRQ success strategies from AP Readers

A Checklist for AP Bio Exam Review

1. DO RETRIEVAL PRACTICE, AND BEWARE OF OVERCONFIDENCE INDUCED BY OUTLINES. Before I launch into some suggestions about what to do, I want to offer some guidance about how to coach your students about  what not to do. Review outlines are wonderful. But a typical outline can lead to overconfidence.

Here’s why: When a student looks over an outline, they usually feel some familiarity with what they’re looking at. This can lead them to think, “yeah…I know this. I’m set.” But familiarity is not the same as mastery. On the AP exam, your students are going to need to very quickly make choices about good and bad biology, and explain what they know. The best way to do that is through active learning and what’s called retrieval practice. Simply put, you have to make your students recall what they know.

One way I’ve tried to avoid this is by making an outline that’s interactive. Follow this link to my AP Bio exam review outline (it’ll open in another tab). You’ll see that if a student works with it from the top down, they’ll be doing a significant amount of retrieval practice. It’s a very good start.

But flashcards are even better. I’ve created a set of over 400 electronic flashcards that are closely linked to the College Board’s Course and Exam Description. I’ll say more about those below. But don’t start with these. I want you to start with materials from the College Board. Here’s how.

2. LEAVE ENOUGH TIME.  The most important thing in terms of AP exam review is to leave enough time. The AP Bio exam is a tough test, and students need a lot of practice responding to both multiple choice questions and FRQs. How much? I’d recommend three weeks where that’s the main thing that you’re doing.
If you’re not done with your course, then you have a great option: completely offload the last bits of content to Have the students finish the tutorials, while you simultaneously start reviewing.

3. Have your students answer as many College Board multiple choice questions as possible. Last time I checked, the College Board provides you with over 1000 multiple choice questions. In addition, you have three secure exams that should be in your AP Audit file.

I suggest that over the next few weeks, you do frequent MC Review as a kind of cycle of inquiry. Every other day or so, give your students a quiz with about 20 questions. Make sure that these questions span the entire course. Give your students about 1/2 hour to answer them (which replicates the kind of time pressure students will experience on the AP Bio exam. Then go over the quiz and answer questions. As you do this, try to get some data from your students about which types of question or which topics they seem to be having the most trouble with. Then you can create mini-lessons that address the gaps. You can also tell students to keep a tally of this themselves, and then to address the gaps on their own through studying the flashcards on  Here’s a video that I’ve released on YouTube that explains how I’ve done this.

You should also have secure exams in your AP Audit file. I usually administer these as a series of high stakes tests. It’s essentially my final. If you do this, then consider letting students keep their best score out of the series (instead of averaging them together).

4. Have your students respond to as many FRQs as possible. Start with the released FRQs from the 2023 exam. Along with every other released FRQs, you can access these through AP Central.  The College Board gives you both the questions and sample responses.

Don’t make yourself the bottleneck in this process. If you can spot check some student responses, that’s great. Otherwise, now is the time for self-scoring and peer review. The more your students write, the better.

Here are a couple of ways you can organize classroom FRQ review:

  1. The most straightforward is to give your students the FRQs and have them silently write their answers, simulating the conditions on the test. After the writing period, you hand out the scoring guidelines and walk through the answers. After you’ve explained the scoring guide, you can have the students self-score their responses. If you have fast finishers (and you have access to a set of Chromebooks or other devices), you can instruct students who finish early to work on multiple choice questions while they’re waiting.
  2. Put students in small groups and have them discuss one or more FRQs. Then have them write their responses. Then hand out the scoring guide and have them go over their responses with someone who wasn’t in their original group.
  3. Use methods 1 or 2 above. After the writing period, ask students to volunteer to place their responses under the document camera. Then you can evaluate the student’s response, or you can have the rest of the class evaluate the student’s response.
  4. Print out an FRQ, and the scoring guide. Hand these out to your students. Have your students study both, and answer any questions. Then hand out one of the sample student responses provided by the College Board. Have your students evaluate the sample response.

5. Go over the formula sheet with your students.  If you’ve taught a fairly complete course, then your students shouldn’t be seeing much there that they haven’t seen before. Remember that has tutorials about Chi2, Hardy Weinberg, the Simpson Biodiversity Index, and water potential.

Once that’s in place, do flashcards, MC Questions, Practice FRQs, and Click-On Challenges on

The checklist above is a good start. Once you’ve done that (or as you do that), you can also have your students dig into the electronic flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and FRQs on So that your students use these interactive flashcards the right way, I have short instructional videos about each one. For this week, you might want to show your students. Follow this link to view it on the Flashcard Page.

Here are links to the Multiple Choice questions and practice FRQs.

  1. AP Bio Review Flashcards(more than 400: great for retrieval practice)
  2. AP Bio Review Multiple Choice Questions (over 470: wrong answers give you corrective feedback and hints)
  3. AP Bio Review Free Response Questions (over 130 prompts with sample responses)
  4. Click on challenges: These are available off of the main AP Bio menu

FRQ Success Strategies from AP Bio Readers

In April of 2021, I hosted a webinar in which five AP Bio readers shared their best advice about how to prepare your students to succeed on that year’s FRQs.

The teachers were:

  • Kelley Derrick, AP Bio Teacher at Wausau West High School in Wisconsin
  • Jason Cox, AP Bio Teacher at Charlestown High School in Indiana. Jason was Indiana’s 2019 Outstanding Biology Teacher.  He’s been leading Academic Team and Science Olympiad for nearly 20 years, and he’s also been a national presenter for the National Math and Science Initiative for the past decade.
  • Allison Kittay. Allison is an Education Consultant who taught AP Biology for 16 years at El Cerrito High School and 16 years at Redwood High School, both in the Bay Area. She has been an AP Biology Exam reader for over 20 years, and a College Board Consultant since 2002. She’s also a consultant for the College Board, and the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology
  • Tom Freeman, AP Bio Teacher at Esperanza High School in Anaheim California. Tom has been an AP Reader since 2010. He’s also the National Association of Biology Teachers Regional Director for Region IX (the whole West Coast) and a member of the NABT Professional Development Committee.
  • Corey Mullins, AP Bio Teacher and science department chairperson at Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Corey has been a reader since 2010, and has also served as a table leader, and this year she’s going to be a question leader.

Our specific focus was on how to get our students to successfully respond to the AP Bio task verbs (describe, predict, calculate, etc.) that make up the core of each question. Here’s the video:

A Schedule for AP Exam Review

Here’s a schedule for maximizing your students’ performance on the AP exam. The key move to make is to expose them to as much College Board-created AP exam material as possible. The best of these are the three AP Exams from 2020 that you’ll find in AP Classroom (or in your AP Audit folder). Each exam has 60 questions and six FRQs. These are secure tests, so you should do your testing in class, collect the materials, etc.

Your students already know the content. Now they just need to become familiar with the style of the questions and build their endurance.

The day by day schedule is in our Week by Week Plan. Scroll down to the bottom, and that’s where you’ll find it.