5 Steps to a 5: AP Biology - Mark Anestis 2021


Hello, and welcome to the new edition of the AP Biology review book that promises to be the most fun you have ever had!!!! Well, OK. . . . It will not be the most fun you have ever had . . . but maybe you will enjoy yourself a little bit. If you let yourself, you may at least learn a lot from this book. It contains the major concepts and ideas to which you were exposed over the past year in your AP Biology classroom, written in a manner that, we hope, will be pleasing to your eyes and your brain.

Many books on the market contain the same information that you will find in this book. However, we have approached the material a bit differently. We have tried to make this book as conversational and understandable as possible. We have had to review for countless standardized tests and cannot think of anything more annoying than a review book that is a total snoozer. In fact, we had this book “snooze-tested” by more than five thousand students, and the average reader could go 84 pages before falling asleep. This is better than the “other” review books whose average snooze time fell within the range of 14—43 pages. OK, we made up those statistics . . . but we promise that this book will not put you to sleep.

While preparing this book, we spoke to 154,076 students who had taken the AP exam and asked them how they prepared for the test. They indicated which study techniques were most helpful to them and which topics in this book they considered vital to success on this test. Throughout the book there are notes in the margins with these students’ comments and tips. Pay heed to these comments because these folks know what they are talking about. They have taken this test and may have advice that will be useful to you.

We are not going to mislead you into thinking that you do not need to study to do well on this exam. You will actually need to prepare quite a bit. But this book will walk you through the process in as painless a way as possible. Use the study questions at the end of each chapter in Step 4 to practice applying the material you just read. Use the study tips listed in Step 3 to help you remember the material you need to know. Take the two practice tests in Step 5 as the actual exam approaches to see how well the information is sinking in.

Well, it’s time to stop gabbing and start studying. Begin by setting up your study program in Step 1 of this book. Take the diagnostic test in Step 2 and look through the answers and explanations to see where you stand before you dive into the review process. Then look through the hints and strategies in Step 3, which may help you finally digest all the information that comes at you in Step 4. Then, we suggest that you kick back, relax, grab yourself a comfortable seat, and dig in. There is a lot to learn before the exam. Happy reading!


This project would not have been completed without the assistance of many dear friends and relatives. To my wife, Stephanie, your countless hours of reading, rereading, and reading once again were of amazing value. Thank you so much for putting in so much time and energy to my cause. You have helped make this book what it is. To my parents and brothers who likewise contributed by reading a few chapters when I needed a second opinion, I thank you. I would like to thank Chris Black for helping me edit and clarify a few of the chapters. I would like to thank Don Reis, whose editing comments have strengthened both the content and the flow of this work. Finally, a big thank-you to all the students and teachers who gave me their input and thoughts on what they believed to be important for this exam. They have made this book that much stronger. Thank you all.

—Mark Anestis


MARK ANESTIS was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Connecticut since the age of six. He graduated from Weston High School in Weston, Connecticut, in 1993 and attended Yale University. While taking science courses in preparation for medical school, he earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude in economics. He attended the University of Connecticut School of Medicine for two years and passed the step 1 boards, then chose to redirect his energy toward educating students in a one-on-one environment. He is the founder and director of The Learning Edge, a tutoring company based in Hamden, Connecticut (www.thelearningedge.net). Since January 2000, he has been tutoring high school students all over the globe (online) in math, the sciences, and standardized test preparation (including the SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests).

In addition to this review book, he has coauthored McGraw Hill’s SAT, McGraw Hill’s PSAT/NMSQT, and McGraw Hill’s 12 SAT Practice Tests and PSAT. The author also created the DAILY WORD app (thedailywordapp.net), which allows students to build better vocabularies! The app is available on the App Store.

KELCEY BURRIS is originally from Vancouver, Washington. He earned his bachelor’s in biology at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, and his master’s in education from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. He started teaching at Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Florida, in 1999. Kelcey opened Palmetto Ridge High School in 2004 as the science chair before relocating with his family back to Vancouver. He has been the science chair at Union High School since it opened in 2007 and is still there today, teaching AP Biology and AP Computer Science Principles. He has taught AP Biology for 20 years and is an active AP Reader. Kelcey is an AP Biology Consultant for the College Board, training teachers all over the United States and the world, including Guam and Chengdu and Shanghai, China. He enjoys spending time with his daughter and wife.