AP Biology vs SAT Biology: Which of the Two Is Harder?

AP and SAT exams are Standardized tests in the United States. The curriculum of both exams can differ significantly even if the subjects are the same. Here’s more about the courses!

What is AP Biology?

AP Biology is an Advanced Placement introductory course for High school students who want to gain an additional understanding of biology topics.

These would include evolution, genetics, cell, and molecular biology. It is a type of test for students to take college admissions or for college credit.

What is SAT Biology?

SAT Biology is a subject Test taken by students either in Ecological Biology or Molecular Biology. This exam helps in assessing the major concepts of Biology learned in high school by the students.

However, both these tests have the same course material but have a distinct layout.

How do they differ?

AP biology is a much-prolonged exam with around 63 multiple-choice questions along with six numerical grid-in questions to be completed in 90 minutes.

The paper doesn’t end here! There are eight more free-response questions to be done within 90 minutes.

Students have the benefit of 4 answers to each multiple-choice question with no negative marking for incorrect answers.

On the other hand, SAT Biology is a short exam entirely multiple-choice exam, having 80 questions to be completed within 60 minutes.

The question holds five answers for each question, where ¼ point is deducted for incorrect answers.

Talking about the exam content, similar topics are covered with different approaches.

AP Biology deals with the scientific method, experimental design, etc. It focuses on the in-depth study of biology, which requires sheer dedication towards the subject.

Students find it more complex because of the emphasis on Mathematics; therefore, calculators are permitted.

The SAT Biology exam is less intense than the AP test. Since these exams are quite analytical, students should be well versed with the concepts having an unparalleled approach.

Time Management

While giving the exam, time management is of the essence. Students need to be quick while deciding which question requires more attention and time.

With negative marking on the SAT, it would be wise to move further if unsure about a certain question.

The free-response questions in AP will help you score better if you hold a unique approach while attempting them and explain your point properly.


AP Biology and SAT Biology are like two branches of the same tree. Students should try for both and take guidelines from the teachers and work towards achieving the desired goal.

Read: Is AP Capstone Worth It?

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