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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
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Princeton Review obviously hasn't done their homework regarding the new AP Biology curriculum. It still reflects the old AP test format and completely omits entire sections. There is WAY to much emphasis on ecology and not enough on cells. Cell signaling and transduction is heavily emphasized in the new curriculum and this book doesn't even mention it!

I was looking forward to previewing this book and encouraging my AP Biology students to buy it. I will certainly not be recommending this.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
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The 2013 edition of this book doesn't at all reflect the changes that have been made to the AP Biology test. This book is almost identical to my 2010 edition of the same book. That means that this book includes a great deal of information that is no longer covered on the AP test, and lacks a great deal of information that is.

For example, the new AP Biology course description states, "Memorization of the names of the phases of mitosis is beyond the scope of the course and the AP Exam." This book teaches you to memorize the phases of mitosis. What it doesn't teach you, though, is that "Cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases control the cell cycle," which the College Board requires students to know for the AP test.

The "Big Ideas" that are stressed in the AP Biology course and exam description are completely absent from this book. Instead, this book stresses the themes of the old AP test. Also lacking are any tips for how to succeed in the new free-response section of the test. Instead, it prepares you for the old free-response section that no longer exists.

But if you are a college student or general biology teacher looking for a good biology overview, this book is actually quite good. Just don't use it to prepare for the AP test.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
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I have been teaching AP biology for four years and was looking forward to this book being released in the hopes that it would be a good review book for the changes that collegeboard has made to the AP Biology test. It is just like all previous review books with no mention of the four big ideas or any other changes to AP bio. I originally bought the book so I would have more conceptual based questions to show my students and was severly disappointed with this book. It even states that there are four essays with equal amounts of time (when in reality, the new test will have two longer questions and a few short answer). Anyway, don't waste your money if you're hoping for an up-to-date book. Just buy a used one. I will be returning this one tomorrow :(
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
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I am extremely disappointed that The Princeton Review completed missed the revision made to AP Biology. As a teacher I purchased this book for students to borrow in preparation for their AP exam, but it will do little good. The course description is inaccurate, the exam set-up is completely outdated, and the sample exams contain questions that will not even be on the exam. Shame on you, Princeton Review! I think you should offer a refund!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have taught AP biology for the last ten years. I have also been involved with College Board as a reader for the AP biology test. One of the challenges of this school year was a brand new AP biology curriculum and a brand new AP biology test. As teachers, we have been waiting for new materials for this new test. I ordered this book as soon it was available and I was shocked at the poor quality. This book claims to be rewritten for the 2013 test, but the only thing changed was the number of questions on the practice test.

The content of this book was NOT changed to match the new curriculum, which means it still includes information that is no longer a main focus of the course. The list of labs also was NOT changed. In the old curriculum, there were 12 labs. The new one has 13 labs. The list in this book matches the old curriculum, not the new one. Several of the labs listed in this book have been eliminated in the new curriculum. Finally, the practice tests do NOT reflect the questions on the new test at all. Every single question on the 2013 test will be an application question, and all recall questions have been eliminated. The practice tests in this book still have a bunch of questions that are simply memorization. In addition, these questions focus on content that will not be covered on the 2013 test.

My concern is that well-meaning AP students will buy this book and use it to prepare for the 2013 test. While the content is still valid biology, this book does not reflect what the students will be asked to do on the new test. I am disappointed in the folks at Princeton Review for not producing a new product for a new test. Please, do not waste your money or time on this review book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
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The only reason that I pre-ordered this book was that it was for the 2013 exam. This new exam is totally different than previous ones. However, the book missed the part about the new essay questions. There are 2 long FRQs & 4 short ones. There is also no guessing penalty. The book says that there are 4 long FRQs and a guessing penalty. This is a terrible error. The review materials seem correct, though.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
This book is a complete waste of money as it shows NONE of the changes to the content, the format, anything! I teach AP Biology and I am so glad I picked up a copy to check out before I asked my students to. This book is still written for the old exam and is a complete waste of money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2012
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This "2013 edition" does not contain any updates pertinent to the newly revised AP curriculum. Nation-wide changes have been made to the 2012-13 curriculum content, including different test make-up (new shorter free response questions in addition to the longer free response essays + more practical application instead of fact-based questions). This text does not even mention any of these changes and I will not be recommending it to my students.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I teach AP Biology, and as the curriculum and structure of the test have changed significantly for this year, I was really looking forward to the "revised" 2013 edition that became available on Dec. 11th. As far as I can tell, VERY little revising was actually done. In particular, the practice tests still have a heavy emphasis on memorized detail, with little attempt made to include the higher order thinking questions that typify the redesigned test. This makes the practice tests fairly worthless, as they do not assess students in the manner they will be assessed on the new AP exam.

There is NO mention anywhere of the incorporation of the 4 so-called "Big Ideas" around which the new test is based - how could the publisher of a test prep book leave that information out? I know Princeton Review has made its reputation on test-taking strategies, but knowing the 4 GIANT themes that every question on the test maps to seems like fairly important information no matter what testing strategies you attempt to teach.

The review material seems reasonable - the summaries of facts and processes are accurate as far as I have seen; I'm just not sure how useful they will be in preparing for the real test, which no longer stresses memorization of vast quantities of material.

Overall, I'm really disappointed with this book. Princeton beat other publishers to market with this book, but it's not going to do the job of preparing them for the revised test. Let's hope some of their competitors get it right...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
I bought this book with high expectations. After looking it over, I found very little I could actually use. It does not reflect the changes of the new framework. It still has too much emphasis on memorization and nothing is mentioned about he the 4 big ideas. Don't waste your money as I will not even mention this to my students. I am no fan of the Princeton Review books anyway so this is the icing on the cake. I am hoping Cliff's does a better job but theirs isn't coming out until April, probably because they are doing their homework. I wish someone would put something out there we can actually use before May.
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