Did taking AP Biology in HS help you in college?

Discussion in 'Exam HQ' started by CrazyboyMD, Apr 23, 2017.

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  1. CrazyboyMD


    Apr 22, 2017
    Just curious
    Noice likes this.
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  3. SterlingMaloryArcher


    Jan 24, 2017
    It helped you in the way that you already have a context of the material for when you take it again as a college course. Unless you're a bio major, using your AP bio to fulfill the med school prereqs, even at schools that say they accept AP, would be doing yourself a disservice. You'd be much better off taking General Bio I & II at college and getting an A in both. If you decide not to go this route then at least take a couple other higher level bios like genetics and cell biology.
  4. SterlingMaloryArcher


    Jan 24, 2017
    I found college composition and college general chemistry to be easier and more practical than AP. Not sure about bio.
    AndyB1994 likes this.
  5. Gilakend

    Gilakend 5+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    hSDN Alumni
    I would say do what you'll enjoy. Going back, the only class I wish I would have taken in HS was woodshop. I don't think it will make a difference, but if its the class you'll enjoy the most then I say go for it.
    wholeheartedly likes this.
  6. Spr1ngrolls

    Spr1ngrolls 2+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2015
    My #1 regret in college was applying all my AP credits. I wish I had taken the general bio courses and bumped up my GPA (those are A LOT of GPA credits). Without them, (as I did) you will essentially "thrown out to the sharks" and will be taking upper division bio courses from the start which is REALLY not fun as you're just adapting to a college curriculum.
    SterlingMaloryArcher likes this.
  7. Danny L

    Danny L

    Jun 7, 2016
    AP Chem helps for sure

    AP Physics B helps some, AP Physics C would help a ton since the physics you're supposed to take is calculus based. However the concepts are essentially the same so you'd be fine with either

    AP Bio at my school gives credit to the course before the pre-med bio (which is what non-stem majors usually take if want to take college bio). There's probably content overlap but it would probably help the least

    I would also suggest not using your AP credits. In addition to it being an easier A, if your college has a tough pre-med req curriculum you'll probably cruise through it while everyone else is stressing out. That gives you more time to go out and have fun, be involved in ECs, etc. Or if you have bad procrastination habits you'll have a chance to work on that without a major impact on your GPA
  8. b52bomber


    May 6, 2017
    Yes. The more times you see the material, the more familiar you are with it.
  9. LBJxyz


    May 12, 2017
    Depending on the professor, you might not even have to go to class if you took AP Bio and AP Chemistry that is if you retain the information. I remember not going to my General Chemistry lecture often because it was just a review and I could just do that online before class so it is definitely helpful. Also, if you do well on the exam you might actually not have to take the basic general chemistry or general biology course or the credits could be applied towards some elective so do take the class even if you don't want to take the ap exam.
  10. Endoscopy

    Endoscopy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    If you repeated Biology and didn't take the credit absolutely. It also saves you the money for having to take it in college which is useful. For other classes, it can be a bit of a trap because Bio 101 teaches some things that are ignored at the AP/IB level like detailed cellular biology such as signal transduction and biochemistry (unless your teacher chose that elective to teach in 12th grade). Also, things like Action Potential are taught in AP/IB Bio but it may take a bit of repetition for you to finally understand it. For that reason, I would just throw a word of caution out to those who want to jump right into the 400 level upper level biochemistry classes right out of freshman year with AP/IB Credit. Also, for upper level science classes graded on a curve, do you really want to be competing against someone who's seen the material twice?

    Some other posters commented on other APs so I'll do the same. IB (or AP) Chemistry HL was awesome to get out of the way and IB Physics HL (AP Mech&EM) /IB Math HL (AP Calc BC) would have been awesome to get credit for because none of your classes will build on that material and it's all what you need for the MCAT. The Old MCAT mainly focused on formula application and quick concepts (expressing forces uphill as mgsin, etc.) and you don't need university physics/chem for the MCAT. Also, if you're not a math/concept person, getting these out of the way may help with GPA if you struggle in these areas.

    All things to think about.
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  11. Endoscopy

    Endoscopy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    Good point! At my school (I repeated biology but took honors lol) it was 10 credits (3 credit lecture, 2 credit lab x2/semester) out of the 86 college credits I took (received 24 credits via 3 IB HL exams) so that was like 4.0 for 11% of my GPA right off the back.
  12. ill be a doc soon

    ill be a doc soon Banned Banned

    Apr 27, 2017
    In my AP biology class, the teacher would give us multiple choice quizzes for every chapter, and he reused the quiz questions for the exam. All we had to do was memorize the questions and answers and we would get a 100% on every test. I feel like I learned the most when I studied for the AP test, not when I took the actual class. I didnt pass the AP test however (I think like 3 people in my whole class did). You'd probably be better off taking general biology in college.
  13. AcaffinatedMinD


    Jan 24, 2016
    I took AP Bio and it helped me so much in college. I got an A in Bio I no problem, and having an easy class allowed me to focus more on my other classes (which is especially helpful in your first semester of college). My school did not allow us to apply AP credits to classes that were required for our major and i'm glad they have that policy because I probably would've tried (I was quite enthusiastic about finishing in as little time as possible upon entering college).
  14. skiier54

    skiier54 2+ Year Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    US MD Student
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  15. TheFutureFatMan

    TheFutureFatMan Faking it till I'm making it

    Apr 8, 2016
    No. Quit worrying about that. Seriously. The material in college is more in depth. The material in medical school is WAY more in depth, and way faster. Make good grades. Do AP if it means getting into the school of your choice, but the reality is that your HS courses will not matter for college. They just won't.

    Same thing applies to college courses helping in medical school. Everyone winds up on the same page fairly quickly. You might have an advantage in a random spot, but overall...everyone's equal.
  16. allantois

    allantois 2+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Some of my AP courses were a great deal more extensive, and definitely helpful! You also don't have to worry about getting the best grade while in high school.
    Noice likes this.
  17. Noice

    Noice Dental Student

    May 2, 2017
    I took all the main science APs: Calc AB/BC, Bio, Chem, Physics (w/ calculus). I never planned to use them for college credit. For me, it was more about proving I could get a "good" score. The problem with that method is that I suck at all the AP subjects that I took senior year (because I never planned on taking the AP exam). During college, it was very obvious that the APs I took junior year were super useful and the APs I took senior year were super useless.

    The point of the story is: APs can help a lot, but only when you actually learn the material. In college, they made us memorize so much random stuff that wasn't taught in AP Bio. You don't want to be the only person in your class that doesn't already know the material.

    One thing to remember: a lot of SDNers probably took the old version of AP Bio. Some people view the new AP Bio as a dumbed down version of the old AP Bio. I don't know if that's true, but in my experience college bio was very memorization heavy.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  18. TheBiologist

    TheBiologist 2+ Year Member

    Sep 13, 2015
    United States
    in my experience, AP chem and physics (and maybe calc) are the closest AP classes to the real college class. every school does their biology different, and I wasn't even required to take the organismal/ecological biology that makes up, what, half the AP exam?
  19. Premed2295


    Sep 2, 2017
    Hi there :) Recent college grad so I can give you guys some advice. I would take AP Bio. My Undergrad school allowed students to count AP Bio toward their core science credits, so if they weren't a science student they got out of taking science (not likely to be you)

    Those who WERE science students were allowed to count the credits but still had to take general Bio (the theory was that we didnt know how to keep lab notebooks). Taking general Bio with AP Bio Fresh in my mind rather than not having seen Bio (on an easier level) as a Freshman really boosted my grade in General Bio, and having the credits let me have more seniority and be able to register for courses with the students 1 year old than me, which helped me get into the classes/ professors I wanted. So if you are invested in Bio, do it!
    SterlingMaloryArcher likes this.
  20. Spectral

    Spectral Banned

    Sep 2, 2017
    hSDN Member
    Hey Springrolls, what do you mean by "taken the general bio courses and bumped up my GPA"? How does that work with AP credits and all in college?
  21. pianoo


    Sep 2, 2017
    What he means, is that he got really good grades when he took general biology at college. (it was easy to do well because he already took AP bio). Presumably, there was also more time to study for other classes, since you wouldn't need to spend so much time on biology, since you would be somewhat familiar.
  22. Premed2295


    Sep 2, 2017
    Presumably it means that taking AP Bio and then General Bio right after made it easier to do well in General Bio. I had the same experience.
    Take it if you can, but that being said I took 7 APs in High School and it didnt help all that much as I got to college lol
  23. sparrow_lily


    Jul 26, 2017
    Rather than taking AP HS courses, I opted to take college courses offered through an early start program by a community college. It allowed me to start college courses in my junior/senior year. A concern regarding taking AP courses is HOW they transfer to a lot of colleges. I was advised to do what I did after taking an AP English course, which transferred to college as an extracurricular credit rather than an actual English credit.
    If this is an option for you to pursue I would do so!
  24. GoCubsGo20


    Mar 9, 2016
    No. And it didn't help me with the MCAT. Also hasn't helped one bit in medical school.
  25. Dylanation


    Oct 2, 2017
    I actually took AP biology in high school and didn't take it seriously. I wish I did because I would have been able to skip biology 1 in college. That being said, I ended up getting an A in my intro biology course in college. My college bio course was literally a repeat of AP biology but more in-depth, more specific and definitely more work. I would say that AP biology made it easier for me since I was already familiar with many of the concepts. Had I not been familiar, I would have been studying a little bit more for sure.
  26. Soccer171983

    Soccer171983 living the dream 5+ Year Member

    Aug 4, 2011
    Las Vegas
    Yes. It prepared me for the heavier bio,chem, biochem etc that I needed for my major and in prepping for MCAT. It definitely will not hurt you and will prepare you for more difficult science courses.
  27. SterlingMaloryArcher


    Jan 24, 2017
    I did dual enrollment instead of AP's, and I think it's the best option. Just make sure you get good grades because those grades you earn in HS/CC dual enrollment WILL affect the GPA you apply to med school with.
  28. watermelon master

    watermelon master

    Oct 17, 2016
    Why do you think this is better than AP classes? I've heard of more stories of where dual enrollment came to bite people in the ass when it came to applying to med school.
  29. SterlingMaloryArcher


    Jan 24, 2017
    I don't see any way they can bite anyone in the ass except for in one way, the way they will with me: Not treating them like "the real deal" and doing poorly/a mediocre job in them. I think there are two reasons (but NOT good excuses) for this:
    A.) It's surreal, so not taken seriously-
    1. all your friends are going to HS taking BS classes, doing BS busy-work and you're going to class maybe as little as 3 days a week or 5 days a week for a couple hours, and
    2. It doesn't really hit you that it's the "real deal." I think because there's an attitude that likes to discredit young premeds, premeds in community college, and you're both - you haven't even graduated HS yet. You need to constantly remind yourself that it is real, you are a "real premed" because these WILL be on your AMCAS and this IS an MCAT subject class.
    B.) Senioritis. Horrible excuse but it's easy to fall into. Don't consider it your senior year/the end of high school. Just move on and consider it your first year of college. It's easy to do if you DE all your classes. I did and I didn't even go to the HS ALL YEAR.


    Yup and here's my argument:
    1. Premed classes at the community college are fine. Especially the first year ones, like biology. Especially especially as dual enrollment (being "ahead" of your HS class and not "behind" because you just couldn't get into a better college.) In most states, they really aren't sub-standard. A lot of medical schools accept AP as fulfilling the prereq, but a lot don't. Almost all say that CC classes do, even the Ivy's.
    2. It may help you get into a better 4-year university. Recovering from something? Want an academically-oriented edge on your common app? There's no better way to rebound/redeem some old HS grades than to take some college classes and do well in them - (1) they're simply better indicators you will do well in college and (2) unlike many high schools, you will have a complete fall transcript to show 4-years, while HS class grades will still be in progress, thus you can't really salvage/improve much during your senior year.
    3. It saves you time. The non-premed classes your high school makes you take will fulfill a lot of your humanities/social science general education requirements in college. If you have to take a social science elective (say sociology,) English, and whatever else your high school makes you take, and you have to take freshman composition at college, and a social science elective there, why do it twice? Just kill two birds with one stone. It will also increase the liklihood you will COMFORTABLY graduate in 4 years, and maybe even earlier.
    4. You are absolutely prepared, I promise. At this point, senior year high school classes aren't going to prepare you/make you more capable of college than you already are. Many of my friends took AP English-Lit/AP English-Lang, some AP history classes, AP Chem, and they had classwork out the wazoo - just to have the amount of assignments highschools often require, just useless busy-work (dumb crossword puzzles, word searches, quizes all the time.) What I'm saying is its easy to lose track of - college is easy - you get a syllabus that lists a few tests/projects/papers, maybe a small homework grade (and homework in college is actually usefull practice, not just for the sake of it) with the due dates and you put all your energy into getting good grades on the handful of assignments the course prescribes. I found college composition I/II to be so much easier than the AP route.
    5. It saves you (your parents) money. A lot of people think "Yeah dual enrollment is nice if your parents want to pay $2000 for a semester of HIGH SCHOOL." But you have to realize, most of these are classes you're going to be taking anyway, that will cost A LOT more at a 4-year.
    6. It's a great way to transition to college work. Would you rather transition to college work at the same time you're adjusting to living away from home, rushing a frat, whatever? no. DE is a great in-between.
    7. And if you do f up in HS dual enrollment, it looks slightly better to get bad grades in HS-DE (obviously you don't want to do this - I lose sleep over it, but if you have to) than freshman year-college. See the attached image of how your GPA trend is viewed. You would rather a GPA youre not proud of be in the "High School" slot, wouldn't you?
    (image isn't mine)
    sparrow_lily likes this.
  30. SterlingMaloryArcher


    Jan 24, 2017
    If I could do over again, I would have gotten serious my sophomore year of HS (which I did, actually) and I wouldn't have worried about my botched freshman year so much or have framed it as "doing me in at this point" and I would have Dual Enrolled all my classes Junior Year AND senior year, applied to really good colleges and 6-year MD-programs (just to see, I don't think they're actually that great). Who knows where I could be. Hindsight is 20/20. I have a lot of things I would have done differently, take it from me.
  31. sparrow_lily


    Jul 26, 2017
    ALL OF THIS!!!! My AP English Course did little to no preparation for me, even for CC courses! Taking CC I saved a LOT more money than my friends who waited until after HS to go straight to a 4yr Uni. I'm at a 4yr Uni now to finish up some courses, I only have 1 this semester and that ONE class is $4000!!! I paid less for a FT semester at CC! I also recently moved to attend this 4yr Uni and the transition didn't mess up my grades/general life (working FT swing shifts, college, and moving). Guaranteed I'm pre-vet, not pre-med, however both are just as challenging to get into! I haven't had a single school outright reject me due to dual enrollment CC courses, getting an AS and graduating HS the same year with 3.9GPA reflected very well on my application! Even if I didn't do as well in CC as I did, the option to retake them and do better is always there!!
    It is an adjustment to go to CC courses while in HS, I worked harder than any of my other friends but I was able to maintain all other extracurricular activities. It better prepared me for the future studying I'd have to do while maintaining a life and EC activities for application!
    I also found my CC English courses to be a LOT easier than the AP course I took :rofl:
    A lot less frustration :bang: involved!!
    SterlingMaloryArcher likes this.

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