AP Biology Syllabus 2011-12

Instructor: Cheryl Massengale
copyright 2010

Biology ( Seventh Edition) by Campbell and Reece
College Board

Course Overview:
    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 twelve of the Collegeboard AP Biology laboratories. 


  1. To familiarize students with the terminology and concepts of Biology using a theme-oriented approach that emphasizes concepts and science as a process over knowledge of facts.

  2. To enhance problem-solving skills of students using hands-on labs,  readings, collections, independent projects, and class discussions.

  3. To strengthen studentsí communication skills with the use of written assignments, essays, abstracts, and lab reports.

  4. To prepare students for further study in the Biological Sciences.



First Semester


Weeks of Instruction

% of AP Test

Chemistry of Life









Second Semester

Mechanics of evolution



Biological Diversity



Plant Form & Function



Animal Form & Function








PreAP Biology, Chemistry I (may take concurrently), and Algebra 1 are required with a grade of 80% (B) for each semester in these courses. Students may also enroll with teacher recommendation.

Course Requirements:

Students should maintain a "C", each nine weeks, in order to remain in the course. Students are also required to take the AP Biology exam in May.

Textbook & Study Resources:

Biology 7th ed. By Campbell, Reece, & Mitchell, Benjamin/Cummings Publishing, 2005.

CD-ROM: Interactive Study Partner, By Campbell, Reece, & Mitchell, Benjamin/Cummings Publishing, 2005.

Student Study Guide for Campbell's Biology, 7th Edition. 2005. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co., Inc.

Laboratory Manual:

Advanced Placement Biology Laboratory Manual for Students, College Entrance Examination Board, 2006.

Required Materials:

Course Time:

Advanced Placement Biology is a two semester course with each semester 18 weeks in length and divided into nine week grading periods. The class period of approximately 50 minutes and meets five days a week.

Grading Scale:

Credit is based on Carnegie units; therefore, a year course is valued as one (1) unit.

Grading Scale Grade Points

Weighted (AP)

90 -100   A A = 4 A = 5