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AP Biology without having taken regular Bio first? Thinking things through....

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Long story short: DS16 will be a senior next year and still needs a credit for high school biology. He can't do it dual enrollment because either college chemistry or AP chemistry is a prerequisite (he took chemistry at a hybrid school type place--not AP). So I'm planning to sign him up for an online class through Georgia Virtual School. He's mathy and is taking and enjoying physics this year, but he has no interest whatsoever in biology, so we were just going to do the regular, on level class to get it done. But I was looking at the core curriculum requirements for UGA (where he might or might not go) and noticed that a life science is pretty much the only thing he'll come in without credit for. And it'd be awfully nice for him to knock that out.

 

So I'm wondering if he should do AP bio instead (also offered through GAVS). As far as I can tell, regular bio is generally a prerequisite for AP bio, though? He did take a small coop biology class in 7th grade with a curriculum that billed itself as high school level, but I doubt he remembers much of anything from that. Thoughts? Has anyone taken AP bio without an intro bio first and how did it go? Another option might be to take it at our local CC instead of the university where he's doing DE; I don't think they have the same prerequisites. 

 

Downside is that he already has a pretty tough course load next year (he'll be taking linear algebra and calc based physics and Spanish DE, plus AP lit at home), and he's not a fan of AP exams. But he might be more of a fan of taking one year of bio with an AP exam than taking it without AND having to take another semester in college. 

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The advanced math students at my daughter's school do one year of chemistry in ninth grade then go straight into AP Bio in 10th. They don't have a regular Bio class prior. The only prep is that they take Advanced Science in 8th. Another thing to look into is if he could knock the credit with a SAT Bio subject exam instead if that is more palatable?

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The advanced math students at my daughter's school do one year of chemistry in ninth grade then go straight into AP Bio in 10th. They don't have a regular Bio class prior. The only prep is that they take Advanced Science in 8th. Another thing to look into is if he could knock the credit with a SAT Bio subject exam instead if that is more palatable?

 

That's a good thought....but I just checked and UGA won't give credit for the subject test, only DE or AP :(

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My ds is currently self studying AP Bio without either prior Chem or Bio. He's not really interested in Biology but just wanted to get it done. It is a lot of content and it would certainly be easier if some of the concepts were not brand new; however, I think a diligent student could do it with focused studying. It is a relatively time intensive course.

 

If you do decide to do the course, here are a few recommendations:

 

  • Review the AP course outline -  The outline is essential to narrow down your scope of coverage as it specifically indicates certain areas that do not need to be memorized in detail (e.g. Krebs cycle etc.). The Campbell Biology book is voluminous and can be overwhelming if you don't narrow the scope.
  • Videos: We have been using
    in conjunction with Campbell. They are thorough, comprehensive, and the instructor is top notch but there is a fee. Homeschoolbuyerscoop often has discounts.  Bozeman and Kahn are free resources that are also good.
  • Flashcards: My ds greatly prefers the old school Barron's flashcards over quizlet type ones but YMMV. 
  • Practice Tests: There are a number of AP Bio practice tests/previous exams available. These are extremely helpful in preparing for the actual exam. The AP Bio test was changed in 2013 and modified again in 2015 so only tests after 2012 are useful. If you submit an AP syllabus to the College Board, you will have access to several years of practice tests. Most of the practice tests can also be found by googling.
Edited by 3andme
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That's a good thought....but I just checked and UGA won't give credit for the subject test, only DE or AP :(

Oh! That's too bad you don't have that option.

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My ds is currently self studying AP Bio without either prior Chem or Bio. He's not really interested in Biology but just wanted to get it done. It is a lot of content and it would certainly be easier if some of the concepts were not brand new; however, I think a diligent student could do it with focused studying. It is a relatively time intensive course.

 

 

 

Thank you! It sounds like he could do it, so I guess it's just a matter of deciding whether he wants to put the time into it or not.

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My dd took ap bio last year as a sophomore and did well.  She had not taken high school level biology prior.  Her freshman science was ap chemistry, which fulfilled the prerequisite for her particular class.  

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Though having written that, I don't know if he should devote so much time to an AP bio class if he doesn't really care for biology, unless he is motivated to test our of a college class.  And he has an open mind to learning about living things around him.  

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