Human Chromosomes (SEM)

AP Biology

Framingham High School- Dr. Langdon (email)

Is AP Biology the right course for me?

Advanced Placement Biology is a full year introductory college biology lab and lecture course--it encompasses two semester of lecture and two semesters of lab.  Though taught in a high school, it is no easier or slower than its college counterpart. It is a close to college course as we can make it.

AP courses may earn you college credit, possibly allowing you to graduate early or freeing your college schedule for more advanced courses in your upper-class years.  If completed with a good grade, AP classes also demonstrate to a college that you are capable of doing college-level work, making you a more desirable admissions candidate.

AP course should also come with a warning:  simply taking them does not impress a college.  You must do well in the class.  If you are getting poor grades in an AP course, you have just proven to a college that you cannot handle college-level work.  AP courses are not for everyone.

College course differ from high school courses in many ways.  First, students must learn from multiple sources such as lectures, the textbook, labs, and discussions.   You will be tested on material not covered in lecture, but found only in the textbook or lab manual.  Second,  you must have background in diverse fields. A college biology course expects you to have completed a chemistry class be able to use the skills you learned in that course.  You also must be able to write clearly.  Third, there is much more material to cover.  The content of an AP Biology class is about twice as much as an honors biology class. Finally, we expect you to be able to apply the material you learn.  Memorizing the definition of a term not adequate;  you must be able to study a system you have never seen before, identify what is occurring, and then sue what you have learned to describe what is occurring.

Make sure you have the background in biology and chemistry needed for this course.  Make sure that you have enough time to devote to AP biology, taking into consideration your other classes, your athletic and civic obligations, your social life, and the time needed to apply and visit colleges.  And finally, make sure you have the discipline to consistently work hard in the class. 


  • Successfully complete introductory biology (it is recommended that you complete CP1 biology with an A- or better, and honors with a C or better)
  • Successfully complete introductory chemistry (it is recommended that you complete CP1 chemistry with a B+ or better, and honors with a C or better)

The successful AP Biology Student...

  • Has a strong background in biology and chemistry by mastering introductory courses
  • Has the necessary amount of time (about 1-1½ hours per night) to devote to the course
  • Can read a college-level science textbook for understanding
  • Has good writing skills, and can easily compose a clear, technical essay in about 20 minutes

Quick Links

Official College Board® AP Biology Course Description (PDF)

FHS AP Biology Course guidelines  Word | PDF

Chemistry Pretest for college biology (from MIT)  Word | PDF