2013 AP Biology Exam Results

2013 AP Biology Exam Results


The 2013 AP Biology Exam is significant in that it is the first AP Biology exam of the redesigned AP Biology Course. The format of the 2013 exam was substantially different from previous year’s exams with less of a focus on factual recall and more of a focus on the interpretation and application of data to answer questions. The number of multiple-choice questions was reduced from 100 to 63 and the number of free response questions was increased from 4 to 8. A new question format known as the “grid-in” was introduced in this year’s exam. Six grid-in questions were included, each requiring a numerical response. The percentage of students scoring a 3 or better increased on this year’s exam while the number of students scoring a 4 or 5 decreased.

An Infographic

Over the last few weeks, much information has been released by the College Board about the results of the 2013 AP Biology test.  In order to help make sense of this data I created an infographic as a visual summary of the results.  Click on the image below to view the graphic in its full size splendor!

Note: Please be patient, it may take a short moment to fully load.  The image looks best in Chrome or Safari. If you are using a phone, it may be best to load the image in landscape mode.

2013 AP Biology Exam Results Infographic Thumb

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Jeremy Conn

Science Teacher and Founder of Clear Biology at Clear Biology
I hold a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and have been teaching science in public schools since 2004. I have a love for biology and instructional design. My mission is to share with other educators the best of what I know about teaching.

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  1. this is awesome, thank you so much…I saw a decrease in my 5’s and an increase in my 3’s. It is a bit frustrating as some of my 5’s seemed to drop to 4, but this information helped me make sense of a good bit of it!!!!!! I love your website

  2. Now I know why I didn’t get any 1s or 5s. Looks like they worked fairly hard to normalize the distribution. I wonder how much of that they did by adjusting question difficulty and how much they did by adjusting the cutoff scores? In other words, were the raw scores also a bell curve? Also, it will be interesting to see if and how the distribution changes as teachers adapt to the new test with different teaching and assessment strategies. Great work on the graphic!

    • Hi Edouard. I’m glad you liked the graphic! From my understanding, the standard setting committee went through each question individually to determine the difficulty level and then used this information to determine the cut-scores. I think you would see a similar distribution based off the raw scores. I think the number of 5s will increase over time but probably not to the level it was before. You’re right, in time teachers will adapt. We always do!

      • I find it interesting that they system NEEDS to have a curve, rather than make sure the Maximum number of students score at the higher end. I found that in my class, I was able to raise the scores (skew the curve if you will) up, by teaching time management, and study habits (like your flash cards) without teaching to the test. I also found that taking time to tell the students where the class was going, teaching process biology (how organisms become more complex up the Phylogenetic Chart) was more successful.

  3. Where did you get this information? The College Board has not released score distribution information on it’s website yet.

    • H J, This information was shared freely on the AP Biology Teacher Community website.

  4. What software or site do you use to make your infographics? I’m interested in having my students create some this year, so I’m looking for suggestions.

    • Hi Dave, I used Piktochart.com to make this infographic. Although my graphic is looking kind of wonky right now. I think they just did an update. I need to go to their site and re-edit the image. I used Piktochart, because it renders the graphic in HTML5. This maximizes the resolution and allows for a few animated effects. Using HTML5 can sometimes be little buggy, as I’m observing. They have a few free themes to build off, but I spent way too much time building this from scratch (I get a little obsessive about graphics).

      I have also used infogr.am. You have much less stylistic freedom with Infogram, but it is a little easier to use. Also, I think it has better options for graphs and charts. There are various other infographic makers out there and new ones do pop-up from time to time. I really enjoy using data visualizations in the classroom.


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