The Advanced Placement Biology curriculum is equivalent to a college course usually taken by biology majors during their first year of college. Students obtain weighted credit by successfully completing the AP Biology exam at the end of the course.
The course differs significantly from a first year high school Biology course with respect to the kind of textbook used, the range and depth of topics covered, the kind of laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required by the students.
The primary emphasis of the course is on developing an understanding of concepts; a grasp of science as a process rather than as an accumulation of facts; personal experience in scientific inquiry; recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and the application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.
Topics covered in the course include chemistry of life, cells and cell energetics, heredity, molecular genetics, evolution, diversity of organisms, structure and function of both plants and animals, and ecology. The course is broken down into three areas of study: 25% molecules and cells, 25% genetics and evolution, and 50% organisms and populations.
In addition, students will conduct all thirteen of the Collegeboard AP Biology laboratories.
The course outline:
Unit 1: evolution
Unit 2: cellular processes: energy and communication
Unit 3: genetics and information transfer
Unit 4: interactions