CliffsNotes AP Biology: 5th Edition
I am the author of this book, but there are many who have contributed to its final form.
Many thanks go to Patty Compeau and her AP Biology students at La Canada High School for their valuable suggestions and corrections to early chapters of this book. I am also indebted to students past and present at Woodbury University for their challenging questions and their stimulating discussions. It is no exaggeration to say that I am a student in my own classroom.
I am grateful for the support and encouragement of the editorial team: to Catherine Schwenk, copy editor, for her attention to detail; to Kellie Ploeger Cox, Ken Crawford, and Scott Ryan, technical editors, for their attention to accuracy; and to Christina Stambaugh, for her penetrating questions and insightful suggestions. A special thanks to Greg Tubach for his persistent encouragement and unending prodding, without which I’d still be writing a chapter somewhere in the middle of the book.
Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Mary McGinnis, and daughter, Megan McGinnis-Pack, for their patience, love, and understanding through the course of this project.
What’s on the Exam
The College Board has developed a curriculum framework that identifies major areas of content that must be included in an AP Biology course. The framework organizes the course around four broad principles, called “Big Ideas,” each of which encompasses a variety of unifying concepts. Within these Big Ideas, the framework outlines “enduring understandings,” with supporting statements of “essential knowledge.”
This book reviews every concept included in the AP Biology curriculum framework. It carefully excludes those concepts that are omitted from the framework (but are often included in college biology textbooks). This book is what you need to know—no more, no less.
The table that follows illustrates how the major topics taught in a college introductory biology course fall into the four Big Ideas. Note that some of the major topics fall into more than one Big Idea. If the table were expanded to include more detail, you would see considerably more overlap of the topics across the Big Ideas.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, a famous geneticist, once wrote an essay entitled, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.” Similarly, many diverse topics in biology cannot be fully appreciated without studying them through the multiple lenses of other biology topics. Biology is not just a set of individual concepts or processes to be studied in isolation. Biology is a web of interconnecting themes. To fully grasp a theme, you must understand how it is shaped and influenced by other themes. This is why many topics appear in more than one Big Idea.
But as you probably have already discovered, biology consists of a lot of technical words, concepts, and processes. It is often much easier to study a topic in detail, when the connections among the words, concepts, and processes are presented together, before going on to the next topic. That is why this book, and in all likelihood your textbook, present the topics in an order quite unlike that presented in the four Big Ideas. As you read your textbook and review with this book, it is important to remember that the AP exam will test not just your knowledge of individual topics, but how various topics contribute to overlapping themes. Both multiple-choice and free-response questions will evaluate how well you understand this big picture of biology.
Keep in mind that the big picture is supported by content. For free-response questions, the quality of your content is often determined by the detail that you provide. That detail is in this book. But the AP curriculum also indicates certain material that you do not need to know for the exam. If that material appears in this book, it does so to help you understand a concept or to connect the material with your textbook. That information, however, what you are not expected to know for the exam, is clearly identified.
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|July 9, 2022|
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