Pennsylvania Homeschoolers

AP* Online Classes

In the weeks leading up to the exam, Mrs. Walker led the class in an AP Boot Camp, where we focused exclusively on the exam. My scores on both the multiple choice and essay sections improved significantly during this period, and, by the time the exam came around, I felt confident and prepared.

AP Class Reviews

AP Biology taught by Dr. Terri Kanner

by Students and Parents

Good AP Course posted by Bethany F on May 22 2019 at 03:05:00

Dr. Kanner's AP Bio course prepares a willing, hard-working student well for the AP Biology exam. However, effort must be put in outside of graded work.

The layout of the course is fairly simple: every week we are assigned a chapter or more of the textbook and homework for it. The homework is ususally filling out guided notes and completeing Mastering Biology assignments. In addition, there is usually an assigned question (FRQ) to either answer or go over and sometimes there are two. There are also labs some weeks. This takes around 9-12 hours a week, depending on the student. For some students it may take even less time. This pattern continues until the end of the year when the last few weeks are pure review.

Dr. Kanner's review is excellent. Simply using the documents and powerpoints she provides during these last few weeks can probably be ample review for some students. Personally, I prefer a little more in-depth review of the big ideas but I definitely used her review as a guideline and branched out from there. 

Interaction with fellow students is HIGHLY encouraged and I found my fellow classmates to be very bright and really helpful.

After this course, I found an overall satisfaction in studying Biology and understanding the systems. Be warned that Dr. Kanner certainy demands a lot of each and every student. In addition, the exam itself is very difficult because there is so much material. It is very hard to predict what will be on the exam which of course makes it difficult to prepare. It is not an exam about memorizing equations and processes. It is about knowing the subject of Biology. But I would definitely recommend this course to any student willing to work hard and with an interest in Biology.


Wonderful Class! posted by Jocelyn K on May 14 2019 at 16:48:05

I definitely believe that this course, and the guidance of Dr. Kanner prepared me very well for the AP Biology exam. By the time I took the exam, we had been doing free response questions for the whole year, allowing us to get comfortable with the format and test ourselves on the knowledge of that week's subject matter. Additionally, we're provided with assigned questions all year, which also help to prepare us for the shorter free response questions. The amount of time you spend on the course is very student-specific, but I typically spent about 10-12 hours of work on the course a week, plus an extra 1-3 hours on lab weeks. 

There's definitely a large amount of subject material to cover in the class, but Dr. Kanner does an excellent job of guiding us through the year! I was a bit worried when I saw how large our textbook was, but Dr. Kanner scheduled the year out so that we finished the textbook with around a month left aside for AP exam prep and review. That said, I never felt that we moved too quickly, and Dr. Kanner would occasionally give us extensions on particularly difficult material. My favorite assignments were the practice FRQs we did throughout the year and the practice exams we took at the end of the year.  

I definitely found the discussions with other students on the wwwboard to be beneficial, especially as the year went on. It can be very helpful not only to have a fellow student explain a concept in new terms, but also to try and answer other student's questions, which was something we were encouraged to attempt. All in all, I came into this couse loving biology, and this class has further enhanced my interest in the subject. I would recommend this course to anyone who has a slight interest in science, and is willing to work hard and communicate with Dr. Kanner and their class. 


AP Biology posted by Lizzie C on May 14 2019 at 16:09:02

Heading into this class I was a bit hesitant because I had heard from friends that AP Bio was very much about memorizing boatloads of information. While there was definitely a lot of information to learn in this class, I actually found it quite enjoyable, and I think Dr. Kanner does a great job of covering all the information. She responds to emails in a timely fashion, and really wants you to succeed in her class.

Generally, I spent around 10-12 hours a week on this class, unless there was a time consuming lab which could add at least a couple hours to the workload. Do note that Dr. Kanner has a tendency to post some things a bit last minute so it's important to check the class website frequently and plan ahead. Of all the assignments, I appreciated the practice tests we were given for review towards the end of the year. It was helpful to practice using the information we had spent all year learning. 

I have always liked Biology and I enjoyed learning more about it this year. The class discussion board was especially helpful when it came time to review. In hindsight, I think if we had more discussions throughout the year, that would have been helpful as well. At the time, I didn't see the point in posting questions if I already understood the material, but now I realize that even if I mostly understood something, it's quite helpful to get another person's perspective on it. 

Anyone who wishes to do well in this class must be good at self-pacing. A motivated and diligent student can learn lots from this class. I will say if you prefer "front-loading" your week, i.e. doing everything on Monday and Tuesday, or getting things done in blocks rather than spread out, this class is not super conducive to that. There are certain assignments, such as the assigned questions, where you must a) wait for it to be posted and b) wait for your partner to respond. Overall I would recommend this class to anyone who is willing to work, and knows how to plan their schedule well.


Wonderful Class! posted by Emma Alexander on May 14 2019 at 15:35:40

When I signed up for this class last year, I was very nervous. Hoverever (students who are reading this), there is no need to be afraid. The subject material is challenging, but Dr. Kanner guided us through it, making sure we actually learned and mastered the material. Even though there is a lot of homework (10hrs/wk min for me), it is a very manageable amount. In addition, Dr. Kanner understands that some concepts are harder and gives these concepts a longer due date which really helped me focus on learning material instead of worrying about submitting homework. I would highly recommend this class to a student who wants to learn and has experience managing weekly due dates (instead of daily). I loved this class and would highly recommend it! 


AP Biology posted by Yidian Ye on May 14 2019 at 15:15:13

Yes, the couse prepared me for the AP exam very well. All the practice tests, FRQs, and assignments were from previous tests, and doing them throughout the year helped me become familiar with the types of questions that would appear on the exam and how to answer them. 

I spent about 2 hours every weekday into the course, and around 3 hours in the weekends. 

The AQs were very valuable because I got to practice previous FRQ questions and review the answers of my partner, which really made me think critically and learn from my partner. 

Yes, I think the course gave me a gerneral but quite comprehensive view on biology, and I found many topics fascinating. 

Yes, it was always helpful to see other students perspectives. I learnt a lot from our discussions. 

Students who are motivated, discplined, and wlling to work hard would do well in this course.


Great Class for a Self Paced Learner posted by Annie B on May 13 2019 at 20:05:40

Yes. I was unsure throughout the majority of the year if I was going to be prepared, as the class had not yet had any multiple-choice practice, nor did we take tests that assessed our mastery of multiple topics (we had weekly quizzes). However, by the end of the year, we were provided with many review documents and several full-length practice tests that prepared me well. 

I put in around 7-10 hours per week when we did not have labs, and around 10-15 hours a week when we had labs. There were many assignments that the speed depended on the student. I am an incredibly fast reader and watch all of my videos on twice speed whenever possible, so I was able to move through the required reading and notes fairly fast. The labs, however, required more attention and time. 

The FRQs and labs provided throughout the year really enhanced my understanding of the subject, honestly more than I thought. I also enjoined the examples provided in our notes and homework. I found the application of the concepts easier to remember. On the exam, there were several examples asked about cases that we had already learned about --- even if I forgot the biology concept, I could remember the example and work backwards. 

Yes and no. I found some concepts really interesting, and I am glad that I took the course. However, I do not plan on pursuing biology further, and I hope to not take it again in college. 

Yes. Participation was required and highly emphasized in the grading rubric, so we interacted a lot, even if we did not want to…. One particular assignment required peer review of past FRQ questions, and that was helpful.

A student with high problem solving, reasoning, and memorization would do very well. Much of the course is self-paced, so the student must be motivated on her own to succeed. There were weekly quizzes, but not any tests, so the student must also be driven to self-study (Quizlet, Quizlet, and more Quizlet). I would recommend this course to anyone who is an overachiever, biology-lover. I am more of a Calculus and Chemistry gal, so I did not always complete my reading with a joyful spirit, as the topics are not problem-solving, just rote memorization. That said, the class is still valuable and I learned a lot.  


AP Biology - Worth the time and effort posted by Aaron Lehman on July 10 2018 at 24:54:23

I took this course during the 2017-2018 school year as a senior.  I had only taken the general high school biology before this class, so this not only opened my eyes to an enormous amount (and an enormously fun amount) of information, but prepared me quite well for the AP Biology test itself.

I will not lie, this course is not for the student who doesn't want to study, nor is it for the person who only does the bare minimum.  You need to have strong perseverance and diligence in order to get through all the information.  I spent many, many hours each week on this class (I didn't really keep track of the exact number), but in my mind, it was worth it.  Not only did it help teach Biology well and memorably, but it prepared me for the rigorous and intimidating AP test.  If you keep at this class, and keep up with your peers in the class, I think that this class will definitely help you do much better on the test than you would have simply by studying alone.

That brings me to one part of this class that is somewhat unique.  You have fellow students who are working through the same problems as you, learning the same information.  However, since different people see different things, what may be clear to one person can be immensely confounding to another.  But a problem like that is easily fixed by posting your question (and explaining it well) and seeing what others reply back.  There have been some great discussions and questions asked throughout the class.  If you are on the answering side, it can still be very beneficial because you have to explain it to someone who may have no clue about any of it.  This improves both his/her understanding, as well as yours.  Iron sharpens iron in this way.

The various exercises and labs in this course not only are very fun but teach you a lot as well!  Also importantly, they prepare you for the test and its time constraints and specific questions (and answers).  In this class, what you put into it is what you get out of it.  For those looking for a challenging subject (but not unattainable), look no further.  If you think you might be interested in Biology, I would try this course.  At the end of it, you will almost certainly know whether you like it or not.  All in all, this is a fantastic course and definitely helped me achieve a good score on the AP exam.  If I had the chance to take it again knowing what I know, I would still definitely take it!


AP Biology with Dr. Kanner posted by William Shaver on June 01 2018 at 02:55:41

When I took the AP Biology exam I felt very prepared.  This class dives deep into a lot  of biology subjects and will have you prepared for any topic that could come up on the test.  Dr. Kanner is very personable and really cares about her students.  She was always very responsive anytime I had a question or issue and even met with me one on one. She is very knowledgable on the subject and what is tested on the AP Exam.  

I didn't know much about biology before taking this course, but now that I have had a chance to experience it I realize that it is a fascinating field.  Dr. Kanner also showed me how the course content can apply to other disciplines, such as engineering.

Any motivated student with either a passion for biology or a passion for learning in general would do well in this course.  There are a lot of topics to cover though, so be prepared for a heavy workload.  

 


Very challenging and rewarding class posted by Jason Yu on May 29 2018 at 14:16:05

The AP Biology exam is considered to be one of the most difficult AP exams, but I felt very well prepared going into the exam. During the course, Dr. Kanner assigned many free-response questions from previous AP exams, which definitely helped me gain a clearer understanding of what the test was like. Also, we finished learning the material about 3 weeks from the AP exam, giving us plenty of time to review material and take practice tests. Dr. Kanner even posted additional exam review material in the form of documents, recordings, or links to useful websites. Perhaps the most useful resources provided by Dr. Kanner were the extensive guided notes, which essentially covered everything needed for the AP exam. Finally, the class WWW Board (online communication forum) was always full of links to interesting articles, exercises, or explanations which really enhanced my understanding of various topics in biology. Dr. Kanner is not only an extremely knowledgable teacher, but also knows exactly what the test graders are looking for, helping me to more effectively prepare for the AP exam.

This was one of the most challenging courses I've ever taken, second only to honors Calculus II. I spent about 3 hours per weekday studying for this class. While there were no tests, there was a lot of reading, writing notes, watching videos, and extra exercises to be done every week. I devoted a lot more time to this course in the spring than in the fall. This is because the course becomes more demanding, the material becomes more difficult, and there is more emphasis on preparation for the AP exam. In addition, Dr. Kanner would sometimes assign extra activities on short notice. Be prepared to spend more time on this course than you might originally think. If you take this course, I highly recommend taking as many practice tests as you can. This is one of the best ways to prepare for the exam.

The most useful assignments in my opinion were the guided notes and the Mastering Biology homework. The guided notes were very good because I find that writing down ideas actually helps me remember them more. If I need review in a particular subject, then I can just find that section in my guided notes without having to read the long explanations found in the main book. The Mastering Biology homework was also very valuable because it contained videos and many multiple-choice questions. These were not difficult to understand or complete, but they helped me comprehend some of the more difficult topics.

Yes, this course enhanced my interest in biology. Before this course, I knew that I would like to study something related to math/science, but I did not seriously consider going into some biology-related field. However, I am now considering studying bioinformatics or computational biology in college, merging my passions for both biology and math. I also find myself talking about biology a lot more to my family and peers because I find it so interesting.

Yes! Dr. Kanner emphasizes using the WWW Board and communication with classmates. At first, I thought that I would not need it, and I found myself using it only to gain credit for class participation. However, I soon learned that it is an extremely important resource. Students would ask questions which I myself had never considered. If I had a question, I could post it on the WWW Board, and other students would often reply with an answer or a link to a useful resource within hours. In the end, I found myself using this resource quite a lot. 

Students should not take this course for the sake of taking a difficult AP course. You should have some interest or passion for biology if you want to succeed. 


Dr. Kanner's Biology Class posted by Lucy Eyre on May 22 2018 at 12:53:39

Yes! I came into this class knowing almost nothing about biology. Dr. Kanner's assignments helped me learn the material well and quickly. She gave us guided notes, labs, assigned questions, FRQs, and MasteringBiology quizzes that really helped cement concepts. She encouraged us to answer each others' questions on the www.board, which helped us be able to explain concepts better. We had three full weeks of test prep at the end of the year! Dr. Kanner recommended a great review book (CliffNotes). She took the time to make/record review documents/videos to help us with confusing concepts. She was very concerned about whether or not we were learning the material, and took the class very seriously. 

I generally put about 2 hours per weekday into this course, but it definitely varied from week to week. This is the most time-consuming AP class I have ever taken, since there is so much material to learn.  

The FRQs and assigned questions that we took throughout the year were very valuable. They helped me learn how to answer questions as quickly and clearly as I could, so that I was used to hurrying by the time the AP exam came around. 

Yes! I really enjoyed the sections about genetics. Since statistics is my other favorite subject, I am now considering majoring in Biostatistics. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn a lot about biology and feel prepared for the AP exam!


Wonderful class!! posted by Mary Eyre on May 17 2018 at 24:22:39

I really enjoyed AP Biology with Dr. Kanner. She did a wonderful job getting the immense amount of material into our schedule and still left quite a bit of time for review at the end. The assignments we worked on throughout the year were very helpful (especially the free response questions) and I felt that I learned the material very well. I enjoyed learning about biology before this class, and my enjoyment in this subject grew throughout the year. Dr. Kanner is an excellent teacher and she really cares about her students. I felt very prepared for the exam after this class.

I greatly recommend this course!! However, AP biology is a difficult subject because of the sheer amount of material that must be covered, so be prepared to work hard and spend a lot of time on this course.


posted by Boone M. on May 17 2018 at 14:22:27

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

     Yes, the course thoroughly prepares you for the AP Biology exam. It especially prepares you for the Free Response half because you spend all year doing real Free Responses from previous tests.

How many hours of work per day or week did you generally put into the course?

    I typically did 2 hours per week day and 2 to 3 hours on the weekend, for a total of 12 to 13 hours per week.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

    Yes, the course greatly enhanced my interest in biology. In fact, it helped me decide to major in biology in college.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

   Yes, I found them to be extremely valuable and interesting. The course not only has a place where I can ask/answer questions to the entire class, but Dr. Kanner also assigns everybody a partner to coordinate certain assignments with. With the communications this class provides, I was able to study, bounce around ideas, and work on labs with my fellow classmates.

What sort of student would do well in this course? 

    Any student that has a pre-existing interest in biology, a basic understanding of algebra, and a good work ethic will do well in this course.


AP Biology Course Review posted by Vivian Sandifer on May 16 2018 at 22:07:01

AP Biology is the first class I have taken through PA Homeschoolers, and I have been extremely pleased with the quality of the course and the instruction. Dr. Kanner has been a wonderful instructor, and I appreciated all the time she put into making sure that the class understood many of the challenging concepts. When I had questions regarding the course material, I was always able to email her, and she promptly responded and referred me to different resources that helped me grasp the material. Additionally, Dr. Kanner conducted several review sessions throughout the year, particularly around exam time, that helped me better understand the material. Overall, I felt like Dr. Kanner both prepared me for the AP exam and helped me master the course content.
As far as the workload goes, the course was challenging, but it was not undoable. I felt like all the assignments were valuable, and I particularly enjoyed the guided notes that were provided. The guided notes made it much easier for me to understand the vast amount of information that was contained in each chapter. If I had attempted to read and take notes on the chapters by myself, I feel like I would have missed many of the important concepts. I also felt like the exam preparation Dr. Kanner provided was phenomenal. The Assigned Questions and Free-Response Questions I completed throughout the course helped prepare me for how to formulate my answers on the actual AP exam. Additionally, the review provided in the weeks before the exam helped refresh my memory and prepare me for the concepts on the exam. 
When I took the AP Biology exam, I felt extremely well prepared. The multiple choice questions went well, and I did not feel confused on any of them. I completed the multiple choice section with time to spare, and I was able to recheck all of my work. The Free Response Questions also went well for me. As a result of the practice in the class of writing and formulating Free Response Questions within the time constraints of the exam, I was easily able to complete all of the questions in the required time. None of the concepts introduced on the exam were new to me, and I felt like the AP Biology course had prepared me well for the test environment.
I would recommend this AP Biology course to any student who is willing to work hard and is interested in not only achieving a good score on the AP exam but also gaining a deeper appreciation of biology. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions (both with Dr. Kanner and the class) in this course, and I felt like the material further enhanced my desire to pursue a career dealing with biology. I have been very pleased with my experience this school year, and I encourage anyone considering taking the course to sign up!


Enjoyable and information-intensive (but not heavy on test-taking practice) posted by Caitlin Curry on May 16 2018 at 20:54:49

I very much enjoyed this biology course. The work was spaced out well and easy to follow by the weekly worksheets with a flexible schedule. I learned so much in only a year, and the course is structured to cement the knowledge in memory. The extra review time at the end of the year was very helpful. The labs aided my understanding of the material, and I especially liked building a mathmatical model of an evolving system.

I worked about 8 hours on this class a week with an additional 6 hour lab every other week or so.

Partcipation is highly valued in this class as the class does not have live sessions.

I knew the information needed for the AP exam very well; however, I had trouble filling in the answers in the time limit, which we only worked on minimally in the course. We practiced free response questions from old AP exams, but the time limit was flexible. We did not practice multiple choice questions.

Overall, I am glad I took this class. It has been fun and satisfying to have learned so much.

 

 

 


AP Biology Review posted by Meghna Gaddam on May 16 2018 at 05:05:42

I had a really great time in this course. Dr.Kanner provides a lot of great information, guidance, and felxibility in learning the course material. I felt very prepared going into the AP exam given her review material and intensive curriculum throughout the year. I would say that a student who is diligent and self driven will do very well in this class. AP Biology requires a lot of time and understanding, and if you are willing to put in that time, the reward is great. I spent about 6-10 hours a week on this class, and the students I interacted with were phenomenal. My favorite part was the labs- I definitely learned the most from them! I would definitely reccommend this class to other students who love to learn! 


Enjoyable class, minimal test prep posted by Grace LeFevre on July 06 2017 at 17:46:14

I truly enjoyed taking this class. Dr. Kanner is a firm but kind teacher, and was very accommodating of the senior-year craziness that caused me to fall behind on a couple assignments. The workload is quite reasonable, and I felt that all the assignments actively contributed to my learning of the material. My favorite assignments were the labs, because hands-on learning really helps cement concepts in my head. Most weeks I spent about 4-5 hours on this class; lab weeks added 3-6 hours on top of that.

One of the best parts of this course was my interactions with other students. As a few other reviewers have mentioned, we organized a student Skype group that was a wonderful source of encouragement and resource-sharing throughout the year. We also had an active wwwboard with many questions posted each week, especially toward the end. I didn’t contribute to the board too much myself, but it is a helpful resource if you need it.

However, I must echo previous sentiments about the complete lack of test prep provided. Review materials were introduced very late in the year (end of April) relative to other AP courses I have taken, and they were not helpful even then because they were all keyed to our giant textbook rather than to the CollegeBoard’s curriculum framework. Not a single official practice exam was provided either, which was a major disadvantage to us because neither the multiple choice nor the free response questions we did during the school year were in the same style as those that appear on the actual AP Bio exam.

In this situation, I opted not to do the provided review materials and instead collected official CB practice materials on my own and used those along with Bozeman’s AP Biology video playlist. Fortunately, this strategy worked and I got a 5 on the AP exam. However, I attribute a large part of my success to my extensive test-taking experience and previous science background (biology was my twelfth AP exam and my third AP science course). I am confident that I would not have achieved the same results taking the class as a sophomore or junior given the lack of disciplined review and test prep.

In short, this class is worthwhile if you are genuinely interested in biology and/or want to receive college credit for it. I simply recommend it only to those students who already have significant experience with AP tests and who have the discipline and foresight to prepare for the exam on their own.


Great class, but there's room for improvement posted by Danielle on June 16 2017 at 13:46:29

AP bio was one of my first AP classes, as well as my second AP exam. On top of that, this was also one of my first online classes. That being said, I was super nervous going into this class. However, biology was, and still is my favorite subject, and I was willing to put in the hard work necessary for this class. Now that I'm done, I can say with confidence that I have learned SO much over the past school year. Not only did I learn an insane amount of biology, I learned how to make a lab report, how to write an email to a teacher, and perhaps most importantly, good study habits. (I already thought myself as a good student before this class, but nevertheless, AP bio has helped me improve my study habits.)

Every week, typical assignments included reading a chapter from the textbook (15-20 pages), filling out guided notes (usually 3-10 pages), and MasteringBiology (about 40-60 questions that reinforce what we learned, plus a quiz with about 30-40 questions). Every other week, there are timed FRQs, and every month, an AQ (assigned question that reviews last week's quiz) and peer review (a review of a classmate's AQ). Depending on the week, there’s also a lab (sometimes two, but that only happened twice a year). Each lab is different, so they can take up anywhere from 3-7 hours. A couple times a week, Dr. Kanner posts a class bulletin, where she would update us on the grading, encourage us, check in with us, or post instructions.

Each of these assignments, particularly the guided notes, FRQs, AQs, and labs, helped cement the concepts I was learning. While these assignments (especially guided notes and labs) are time consuming, they’re worth it in the end! When it came time to review for the exam, I found that I didn’t have to spend a lot of time relearning the information because I learned it well the first time around.

I spent around 7-12 hours per week on this class, depending on what assignments I had. The reading and guided notes took about 4 hours, MasteringBiology about 1.5 hours, FRQs 20-25 minutes, and AQs/peer reviews about 30-60 minutes.

Class participation (asking questions and responding to other classmates' questions on the WWW Board) is also a significant part of your grade. The more time you put in, chances are you’ll have a better grade and a better understanding of a concept. I’ll admit I had little to no participation on a week to week basis in the first semester. However, by the end of the year, I was more comfortable with asking and responding to questions. A week before the exam, Dr. Kanner hosted an optional Q&A Session, which was super helpful; I wish we had them more often! Besides the WWW Board, most of my class interaction was through our Skype study group, where there were more informal conversations, ranging from reminding each other of deadlines, encouraging each other, asking quick questions, and random discussions that happen to come up during our discussion of biology. It was also handy because someone’s question could be seen and answered right away, since a couple of us were on Skype regularly, as opposed to the WWW board, which you need to check multiple times a day. If none of us were sure about the answer, we could always turn to the WWW board or email Dr. Kanner.

As you can see, this class is not easy – there will be times when you’ll feel discouraged or tired of the work. However, if you have the drive and discipline to keep up with the workload, you can be successful in this class – even if you aren’t in love with biology (though a love for biology makes the burden of the workload a tad easier). I also want to emphasize the importance of asking questions in this class. If you’re not willing to ask a classmate or Dr. Kanner about an assignment or concept that you don’t understand, then this class is not for you. Though it’s hard and often nerve wracking to post a question that you think sounds like a no brainer, asking questions helps both you and the classmates who answer them.

There was only one main drawback of this class, which was the lack of preparation for the exam, especially for the MC section. Also, though we were given timed FRQs throughout the year, they mostly helped with solidifying the concepts I learned, but not with test prep. If you’re planning to take the AP exam, expect to add another 2-4 hours per week in the weeks leading up to the exam so that you can adequately prepare for it. However, I feel like I could have gone through some of the concepts (such as evolution and ecology) much faster in order to leave ample time for test prep in April. Having to do test prep on top of the normal assignments required a lot of time management, late nights, and weekends at the library.

Despite the hard work I had to put in this class, it was worth it. Besides moderately preparing me for the exam, I think this class prepared me for my future college classes. Dr. Kanner made it clear that though we were in high school, she expected the same from us as her college students. The workload was challenging to adjust to and to keep up with, but by the end of the year, I realized how much it paid off. In March, during a college visit, I visited a class (Principles of Organic and Biochemistry). During the class, the professor was reviewing cellular respiration (an important concept in biology that’s covered on the AP exam). It was the exact same information I learned just a couple months before, and I found that I was able to keep up with the pace of the class with no trouble at all.

In the end, I’m so glad I ended up taking this class. Though I might’ve scared you with the workload, know that if you put your mind to it and work hard, you can succeed in this class!


AP Biology Review posted by on May 30 2017 at 15:17:05

The course made me feel genrally prepared for the exam. I really like the course notes that we were given, even if they were really long and quite involved. They made you think and really helped for reviewing. However, I felt completely unprepared for the grid-in questions. To me, they were for sure the most difficult part of the exam. When I had looked at them in my review books they didn't seem so bad and I did pretty well on them. However, when exam time came I found myself at a loss on how to solve most of the problems.  As far as the multiple choice section, I did feel prepared. However in previous AP classes, we took several practic tests to prepare for the exam but in this class we only started having them available pretty close to exam time. I like that in other classes we started taking them at least a month in advance.

The time you have to put into this course is quite extensive. I found myself struggling to allot time but I am still working on my time management skills. You need to have time set aside each day, at least an hour, to work on this course. not only must you read and take notes there is also the extras like FRQs and labs. I'd like to note that the labs were by far the most challenging part of this course. The instructions were unclear and confusing and left many of us in the class baffled. I do not feel like the labs helped my knowledge of the subject, they only made me frustrated and even more confused. A lack of explanation could come from the online format as being in person is definitly easier to explain things. However, a more in-depth explaination of what exactly we were supposed ot be doing in the lab and how to do it certainl could've been provided.

I have always loved biology but unlike my AP psychology course I took with a different group last year, this course did not increase my love for biology. I do appreciate all I learned in the course but there were too many frustrations and lack of in-depth teacher interactions that I feel like my love for the subject has stayed at the same level. I often found that talking with the other students on the group chat was extremely helpful and we all encouraged each other and helped explaing things. During labs, I found this to be more helpful than the actual instructions.

If you are able to handle independent study then I reccommend this course. As it is online, teacher interaction is limited but I feel like it could've been better. Responses were often brief and the review we got wasn't the most helpful to me particuarily. I felt like I was left to my own devices for most of preparation. However there are good aspects to the class. You do learn a lot and what you learn is helpful. If teacher interaction was upped, tI would've liked the class more.


Disappointing for me, but could be enjoyable for a student passionate about Biology posted by Kaylee Kimbrough on May 29 2017 at 13:21:04

I want to preface this review with the disclaimer that, coming into this class, I did not have a strong biology or chemistry background and was not exceptionally interested in biology. Nonetheless, I was willing to work hard and hopeful that I could gain a greater appreciation for and interest in biology. In comparison to my extremely positive experiences with other PAHomeschoolers courses, I was disappointed by AP Biology. The factors that contributed to my negative experience were a lack of teacher interaction and communication in the first semester, unclear lab directions that left much of the class frustrated, and inconsistency with the revised AP Biology curriculum (per the College Board).

While Dr. Kanner did lay out a clear syllabus and (rigorous) schedule of assignments, I felt as if I easily could have followed a similar study plan by self-studying. I know every teacher has a different communication style, and meaning can be distorted through text-only communication, but Dr. Kanner’s instructions and feedback tended to be extremely brief. My interactions with classmates were positive and supportive, but our class did not receive the subject-specific tips and explanations or support that I’ve found essential to a positive online classroom in other PAHomeschoolers courses. Also, we were regularly told that our FRQ responses must be in paragraph-form; the application of this policy in feedback on my assignments was that when I strove for a concise answer, I was told that outline-format was not acceptable, but when I wrote a thorough response, I was told that I included too much information. Around March or April, Dr. Kanner did begin communicating with the class more consistently, and even offered one-on-one study sessions by phone.

A large part of the AP Biology curriculum and of your grade in this course is labs. For the most part, these labs are completed on your computer using some type of downloaded software or Microsoft Excel. During the fall semester, I believe I spent around $50 on downloaded lab software that we only used once or twice. I believe this is more of a pitfall of the AP Biology curriculum (and adapting it to an online course) than it is of Dr. Kanner’s course, but the directions for these labs were extremely difficult to follow. The nature of the online labs made it difficult to ask questions, and many lab questions posted on the WWWBoard would go unanswered. For me, few of the labs contributed to a better understanding of biology. I did enjoy a hands-on lab we did with spinach, as well as a lab observing pillbugs.

Finally, as other students have noted, this course was inconsistent with the revised AP Biology curriculum. The FRQs we completed primarily came from years prior to the course revision, and the weekly MCQs we completed on the Pearson Mastering Biology site were unlike the new AP Biology exam format.

If you love biology, can work independently, are willing to research and study for the new AP Biology exam format on your own, and want to be surrounded by smart, hard-working classmates, this course would be a great fit for you. However, I would caution any prospective students that (at least in my year) this course was sparse on teacher involvement and involved labs that, in the opinion of myself and a few close friends in the course, were extremely frustrating without having clear benefits.


Amazing Biology Class! posted by Carissa Samuel on May 16 2017 at 05:07:07

I felt very prepared for the AP Biology exam M.C.Q. section after taking Dr. Kanner's class. I was thoroughly equipped to handle all the questions, even the hard ones. However, the F.R.Q. section was very hard for me due to lack of time to finish everything. Althoguh we took F.R.Q.s in class, we never did an entire set under time. This really hurt me on the test. Also, I did not understand how everything was planned towards the last two weeks. Although Dr. Kanner brought the content together in the end, it was pretty confusing. 

I generally spent about 10 to 15 hours per week on this class. 

My favorite assignment was the fly lab. It was so cool to be able to conduct genetic crosses and watch the genotypes and phenotype of the flies change, all online! This really furthered my love for genetics.

The course also opened my eyes to so much of biology in the world we live in that I never saw before! Every single day, I will tell my mom something about a biological process which is related to my day's events. It is so cool to see life in this new lense! This newfound love of biology has definitely strengthened my desire to major in something with biology. 

The communications with other students was highly valuable for me as well! I got to meet so many people with passion for the same subject. They challenged and encouraged me to keep working at the heavy class work and do better with each day. 

For any student doing this course, the student must be willing to put their heart into this subject. The work is very hard! This last year, biology was literally at the center of my schedule every single day! Students must be highly dedicated to be able to do well in this course. Also, doing extra work which isn't due is also a necessity for doing well on the exam! Students like that will find this an inspiring and beautiful course with a great teacher! 

 


Great Class!! posted by Andrew Joyner on May 15 2017 at 11:12:15

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

I did not take the AP exam because the college I am attending next year would not take the AP Biology credit. However, I still felt like I was prepared for the exam. Dr. Kanner did a great job of helping us memorize the key points of each chapter and when it was time to start reviewing, she did a lot to make sure we were prepared for the exam.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

About an hour a day.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

The guided notes were especially helpful in helping you learn the key points for each chapter.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

I can't say I left this course determined to pursue biology as a career, however, this course certainly gave me a new appreciaiton for the science.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Yes! One of the best parts of this course was all of the valuable links and materials that the students shared with each other. Asking questions and communicating with other students was a key part of this course.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

I would definitely recommend this course. It is definitely a lot of work (especially the weeks with labs), but if you are willing to put in the time, you will do well.


Great biology class, but not most relevant to the exam posted by A 2016-2017 student on May 11 2017 at 13:02:11

This AP Biology course is a great way to connect with other students who are interested in similar fields as you! I generally spent about 10 hours per week on the course material, with a little extra on the weeks we had labs due. However stressful the labs may have been, I felt they have prepared me well for college because we had to write up formal lab reports, something I was not totally comfortable with at the beginning of the year, but now feels much more natural. 

The course definitely made me appreciate everything around (and in) me so much more! I'm more of a chemistry person, but this course convinced me that maybe I should be considering biology or biochemistry as a major too! :) 

Participation was definitely a valuable component of this course for me. We were required to ask and answer questions on the WWWboard, and doing so helped me get a much better grasp on the material whether I was asking or answering questions! Our Skype group the students set up was motivational beyond belief and a great support group! 

As far as the AP exam goes, I felt that I was a little prepared, but only because I did a lot of reviewing on my own (the in-class review was very rushed and crammed to the end). I felt that the review documents posted and all the class material in general focused too much on details and specifics, which was necessary for the old AP Biology curriculum. But the AP exam was revised for 2013, and the new curriculum focuses less on specific knowledge and more on synthesis and application of ideas, which I felt very unprepared for. Most of the FRQs we practiced in class were from the old curriculum and thus didn't really help for the exam. I felt somewhat prepared for the exam, but only because I took a lot of recent practice tests and did FRQs from the new curriculum on my own.

However, Dr. Kanner is a wonderful teacher very invested in this class and helping every student succeed. It is a great course that prepares you for a college biology course, even if it is not quite right for the new AP exam. If you are looking for a college level biology course, this is it! If you are looking for one that will prepare you for the AP exam, this would have been it before the College Board revised the curriculum! I would still advise you to take this class for the AP exam, just be prepared to do lots of reviewing and practice on your own! 


AP Biology Review posted by Anonymous on May 10 2017 at 20:31:39


Great class for focused and curious students (with caveat!) posted by Anna N. on May 10 2017 at 14:57:02

After taking the exam this Monday, I can definitely say that I will be very sad to return my Biology textbook to the shelf and say goodbye to Dr. Kanner and my fellow biology students. 

But I must express one caveat about the course: 

While this class will give you Biology knowledge and study skills that you will benefit from for the rest of your life, it will NOT help you with test-taking skills like pacing. I took the AP test 2 days ago and had to leave an entire FRQ question blank due to poor pacing and accidentaly wrote long, exhaustive responses for the short FRQ's and short responses for what were supposed to be long FRQ's! I just had no idea how many FRQ's were going to be on the test and what it was going to be like since I had never taken a practice exam. I had no trouble with the material of the exam, I just wish that the course had at least touched on some test-taking strategies to eliminate simple avoidable mistakes like mine. - Yes! Study up on the Endiosymbiont Theory and Chemiosmosis! But PLEASE - get to know the strucuture and strategies of the test as early as possible! You will not regret it. 

To conclude, if you plan on taking this course, I would recommend two absolute essentials: 

1. LOTS of questions!! - probe into every aspect of the material to get the most out of the class

2. Large gel pen set - diagram, draw, and color EVERYTHING!!! This sounds cheezy (I know) - but it cannot be overemphasized! When you can visualize a process taking place, you know you have mastered it. 

Every kind of student can benefit from this class - You just have to be willing to shamelessly adapt the material to YOUR personal learning style. 

 

 

 

 


AP Biology with Dr. Kanner posted by Anonymous on May 09 2017 at 19:01:09

I feel this course prepared me pretty well for the AP exam.  From week 1, we practiced FRQs (timed and untimed), and Dr. Kanner gave us some great tips, strategies, and feedback from the beginning to hone efficiency and accuracy to our FRQs.  On the other hand, we didn't complete a single AP multiple-choice section to practice our timing.  I felt the review of course content was rushed (crammed in a single week before the exam), but even though I didn't review all the chapters again, I felt confident going into the exam that I could apply biology concepts correctly on the exam because of how well Dr. Kanner's guided notes teach you the material while you are reading it the first time.

I invested about 6 hours a week on non-lab weeks and about 8-10 hours on weeks with a lab.

I definitely found the labs the most valuable in truly understanding and applying concepts, as well as learning how to design my own experiment, a skill necessary for the AP exam.  They were very time-consuming and work-intensive, and the benefit wasn't clearly visible (for me) while working on them.  However, the labs (for me) cemented abstract concepts and provided examples and content to write about in FRQs.  

A note for all future students: start the labs early in the week, and don't wait until the last minute because they usually take longer than expected.  Also, questions on labs almost always come up, and the earlier you start, the sooner Dr. Kanner or another student can answer your question.

Very much so!  Before this class, I was considering on majoring in chemistry, but after taking AP Biology, I am planning on majoring in Biochemistry/Cell Biology or Molecular Biology.

Yes.  First, the class utilized a WWWBoard to post and answer other students' questions.  People post a variety of questions, study resources, and interesting biology videos/articles.  Also, Dr. Kanner had us doing peer reviews on each other's assigned questions, forcing us to critique and learn from each other in a constructive way.  A couple of the labs were group labs, and I really enjoyed that collaboration.  

Besides all these formal communications with other students, there was also a Skype group for more informal communication (about 25 of us joined).  We encouraged each other, reminded each other of deadlines, held some informal study sessions, and just got to know each other.  If you are looking for a community in an online class, I would highly recommend starting a Skype or other similar group for this class.  (I mean, who else can understand the difficulty of Lab 9 except the people in your class also working on it at 11 PM the night it is due?)

A hard work ethic is definitely a must-have for this course, and I can't emphasize that enough.  AP Biology is not supposed to be easy, but it is very doable if you are willing to put in the necessary work.  Also, a successful student must not be afraid to ask questions (fellow students likely have the same burning question you do).  Successful students are engaged in the course and participate by jumping in, asking and answering questions, and follow Dr. Kanner's instructions.

Overall, AP Biology is a great course, and Dr. Kanner is an amazing teacher.


Class Review posted by Angelia on May 09 2017 at 11:47:36

Yes

13 per week 

Some of my favorite assignments were the timed FRQs that we did. Since we started them in October, we were able to practice them for months before the AP Exam. This was really helpful in making me feel more comfortable on the actual exam day. 

Absolutely! One of the most helpful aspects of the course was the assigned Peer Reviews of questions that other students had written. Dr. Kanner encouraged us all to write specific and detailed corrections of each others work, which helped me so much as the writer of the question to see how to improve, and also as the person giving corrections and being able to see how things come across. I also had great experiences working on labs in groups with other students. 

I would recommend this course to students who are motivated, disciplined, and have a basis in science and AP exams already. I think that any student who works hard on all of their assignments will suceed in this class.


AP Biology posted by Lindsey Furness on May 09 2017 at 01:32:15

This was definitely an amazing course! It was set up in a straightforward style that ensured thorough understanding of all the materials. With set assignments each week, it was easy to follow and to understand all the material. There was not a whole lot of busy work but instead, all the material contributed to a thorough learning and understanding of the content of the AP exam. 

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes in terms of content, however there could have been a little more preparation specifically for the exam itself like actual practice exams and practice questions. I was a little blind going in since I didn't know exactly how the exam would be set up and how to manage my time. But I understood nearly everything that was presented to me and could answer with confidence. Also, our review was presented a bit late - it would have been nice to start reviewing a little earlier in the year - I found myself cramming a ton in right at the end.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students?

Yes! I would! I learned so much in this course! I think students should definitely be ready to tak in a lot of information and put some time in - I put in about 6 hours a week on a regular basis with a huge increase towards the end and towards the review. But it is a rigorous course that certainly covers Biology in depth!


Best course of my highschool experience! posted by Justin Lowry on June 03 2016 at 14:08:43

I felt that the course prepared me above and beyond what was required by the AP exam.

All in all, I spent an average of 15 hours (+/-) per week in this course. About 4-6 hours for reading and note taking, 2-3 for answering the homework problems, 12 or more on each lab, 3-4 on FRQ study, and 1-2 on Assigned Questions.

I absolutely LOVED the labs! They went so in-depth and helped guide a thorough investigation of various topics. The hands-on experience and real-life applications cemented many concepts in every lab. Plus, as part of a lab group, the student interaction and discussion of concepts made the learning value of labs even better (plus it was more fun with more people). :)

YES! I have always loved biology, but I have never studied it as advanced as this course went. By diving into a vast array of the complexities of life, the course made me immensly more interested in the study (in fact, biology is now my college major for the upcoming fall semester!)

Yes, student interaction promoted deeper discussions and making connections of the book concepts and helped make sure that there were no misunderstandings of the material.

A self-driven, devoted, hard-working student would do well in this course. The material is very rigorous, and if you do not spend a lot of time an energy on it, you will not do well. However, if you are willing to put in the hours and follow directions then, you should definitely take this course! It is very rewarding, and even if you don't want to be a biology major, you will finish the course with a greater appreciation for the subject and a better ability to do well with any science.


Excellent class posted by Esther Zhitomirsky on June 02 2016 at 23:42:17

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

I wonder if it is possible to be entirely prepared for such a difficult exam as AP Biology, but I did not feel intimidated by the test thanks to this course, and was able to answer the questions I did know (especially the free responses, which required extrapolation and more application of knowledge rather than of rotely memorized details) with confidence, and make educated guesses on what I did not know or was not sure of (for the fewer questions I was especially unsure of, I was nevertheless able to understand what was being asked, even if I did not know the answer).

 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

The laboratory assignments were very in-depth--I enjoyed the Animal Behavior lab (analyzing the behavior of pillbugs) and Photosynthesis lab (which was one of the most "hands on" labs in that I actually did it with materials at home). Many of the labs involved simulations for otherwise inaccessible/expensive experiments, that I found to be quite detailed and even fun to go through as well.

 

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Most definitely. Biology is a very vast subject, and although said breadth and depth of information can feel overwhelming sometimes, it is still something I am very fascinated by and would like to pursue further in education.


I loved AP Biology! posted by Mardy S on May 22 2016 at 17:54:26

 Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam? I felt very prepared, Dr. Kanner did such a great job! Our quizzes and chapter work turned out to be much trickier than the exam, the AP multiple choice section was a breeze! Our weekly "Assigned Question" were very helpful in analyzing multiple choice questions and writing about a topic that might show up on the FRQs.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course? I did spend a lot of time on the course (maybe 15-17 hours a week) but all the work was so fascinating—the time flew by!

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable? I found responding to other student’s Assigned Questions a really valuable way to bounce ideas off my fellow students and was a favorite part of class-interaction.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject? Definitely! I wasn’t sure before taking this course, but now I really want to go into a biological field.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students? I would recommend this course to anyone who is willing to work hard and: wants to enhance their knowledge of life-science, who wants to get a head start on college work by testing out of a freshman course, and/or anyone who wants to work with other students and come up with new ideas.

                I would not recommend this course to someone: who doesn’t like biology (though I’ve never heard of this condition), who resents reading from a well-written text book like our Mastering Biology, who is allergic to a computer keyboard (you’ll do a lot of typing in this course), or who is really lazy or is gripped with anxiety at the thought of turning in an assignment three days early instead of four. I would also not recommend this course to a ridged fundamentalist. Biology is based on evolution and you must be able to put your objections aside in order to do well on the exam or this course.  


Excellent Class Taught by an Excellent Teacher posted by Kristen Manning on May 22 2015 at 19:14:51

If you are willing to work hard and if you are looking for an AP Bio course, I highly recommend this class. I have learned so much information about biology in this class. Now, I am better able to understand and appreciate the intricacies of life. This class enhanced my interest in biology. I know that this class provided an excellent foundation for me to build upon as I start college. The material challenged me in density but also in quantity.

I spent about four hours a day studying for class. This included reading the textbook, using online recourses provided by Dr. Kanner (very helpful), completing the guided reading, taking notes, and taking quizes. Days that I worked on labs, I generally added 2-4 hours of work. 

After each quiz, Dr. Kanner assigned a quiz question per student. It was the student's responsibility to analyze the question in writing. This inlcuded providing necessary background knowledge, definitions, and helpful context. The student then explains why each answer was incorrect or correct. I loved this exercise. It normally took me one to two hours to complete, but it required going deeper in a certain area and it really cemented my understanding of the concepts and processes studied. 

I would encourage students considering this class to take advantage of the group study calls. During my time in this class, various students led the study calls. Unfortunantly, I did not take advantage of them and only attended a few near the end of the year. However, the calls I attended were encouraging and helped cement knowledge. They challenged me to think faster as well as the other students in the calls answered questions with incredible speed.

Through the WWWBoard (an online forum for questions and sharing) and cooperating on lab reports, this class provided a sense of community. The students were generally excited to learn and challenged me. If I had questions or advice, I could post it on the WWW board and know that someone would comment with help or with a relating idea.

Dr. Kanner did an excellent job teaching this class. I couldn't imagine anyone doing a more thorough job. She responded with patience to my many questions and she encouraged us when the work load weighed us down. The resources she provided were very helpful. Her comments on my assignments, more specifically on my essays and my lab reports, were very beneficial. She clearly explained how I could improve and why specific changes needed to be made. She connected with us daily to address areas that needed more attention or to encourage us regarding our work. When I began this class, I did not imagine that it would involve such interaction between all the students and the teacher. I value the daily interactions and don't know how we could have made it through this class with such a proactive and supportive teacher.

This was not only a great class, but a great experience. I'd highly recommend it! 


Excellent Class! posted by Catherine Bodnar on May 21 2015 at 20:10:25

     Dr. Kanner’s course is amazing and a must-take!  When I started this course, I had already been interested in the sciences; that interest, however, quickly became a passion as a result of Dr. Kanner’s class.  I had heard that AP Biology was one of the hardest AP courses available; however, this has, by far, been the most intriguing, challenging, and rewarding class I have taken during my high school career. 

     As Dr. Kanner warned us at the beginning of the year, her course is structured at a college level rather than at a high-school level, complete with college-level rigor and expectations.  That said, she is very understanding about deadline extensions (provided there is an emergency or very good reason!) and she is always available to explain difficult concepts.

     I spent around 2-3 hours a day on this class, mostly reading the assigned chapter and going through all the helpful links, prezi and powerpoint presentations, outlines, and videos which supplemented that particular topic.  As my peers can attest, arguably the most helpful assignments were the “assigned questions” that followed each test—we would each be assigned a multiple choice question to explain thoroughly, and would then follow up by reading and commenting on other AQs, thus widening our understanding of the subject matter.  Those AQs, along with the optional daily multiple-choice study questions (which also served as extra credit) truly made all the difference on the multiple choice portion of the AP exam.

     The labs gently forced us to think not like high-school students, but as researchers approaching novel problems, designing our own experiments, and writing up our own lab reports (which Dr. Kanner then thoroughly reviewed and gave comments on where we could improve to make them more professional).  I honestly cannot say which lab was my favorite—there were so many that could take that spot!  From the virtual bacterial transformation lab to the animal behavior lab (with live pill bugs!), to the hands-on lab dealing with artificial selection of fast plants, the assignments were an invaluable learning experience, and also a great way to meet with classmates and make new friends.

     This course truly prepares beyond the scope of the AP exam; as a result, the exam was straightforward.  Dr. Kanner went above and beyond with this course—I not only knew what was necessary for the exam, but I find now that I have a treasure trove of knowledge in both breadth and depth, on topics ranging from ecology and animal behavior to molecular genetics and cell function.  Such knowledge in itself is invaluable to my future studies in the university setting.


My Favorite Course! posted by Nathan Mudrak on May 20 2015 at 16:28:29

 Participating in Dr. Kanner's AP Biology course has been one of my favorite experiences of this year. I highly recommend this course and consider Dr. Kanner to be one of the best teachers I have ever had. As I am planning to go into a career in the biological sciences, I did extensive research to try and find the best AP Biology course. Dr. Kanner's name kept popping up on different forums and, after reading the student reviews, I decided to take the leap. I'm so happy I did so.

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

This course prepared me above and beyond the scope of the AP exam. When I started reviewing for the test, I realized that the material we had learned in September was still fresh in my mind seven months later! Through all the activities we completed, such as daily study questions, essays on past material and assigned quiz questions that we had to “dissect and explain”, I retained all the material we had covered.

When it came time to take the AP exam, I must admit I was nervous. However, the test was a fantastic experience;I knew how to answer the questions on both sections of the AP exam. I am amazed at how well this course prepared me for the exam. If you want that “5”, you should look no further than Dr. Kanner's class. Her students have consistently scored well above the national average on the AP exam and that is all due to her fantastic teaching style and curriculum.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

From September-March, I probably spent an average of 12 hours a week on coursework. From April-the AP exam, I spent an average of around 16 hours a week on coursework. I would definitely say that it is beneficial to work on both weekdays and weekends, simply because of the quantity of material covered. This is not a high school course. Dr. Kanner holds all her students to high expectations; You are expected to behave like college students. That being said, knowing that we are not yet college-age, Dr. Kanner is understanding when it comes to things like grades or deadline extensions (though it has to be for a good reason).

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

There is a wide variety of assignments in this course. One day, we may simply be asked to read from the textbook. The next, we may be asked to design our own experiment measuring the rate of photosynthesis. All of the assignments were enjoyable, simply because Dr. Kanner makes the study of biology exciting. You learn the real-world applications of the material you are learning, so you can always relate your knowledge back to the “real world”.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Yes! I've always wanted to go into a career in the biological sciences (possibly medicine), and this course just heightened my interest in the field. If you are at all interested in a career in the biological sciences, this is the course for you. Much of the material you learn in college will be building on the “foundation” that is AP Biology so it's important to get as strong a course as possible. I don't think you can find a stronger biology teacher than Dr. Kanner.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

I never thought that in an online course I'd know all my fellow peers by name, or that we'd have so much fun together. Whether interacting via text-based communication in the WWW board, or video chatting in a weekly study group we set up, learning was always a collaborative experience. Dr. Kanner greatly emphasized the importance of proper communication at the beginning of the school year, and that emphasis created a wonderful learning dynamic.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

The key words are work hard! If you are not willing to put in the time and energy required for this challenging course, you might as well not join in the first place. Proper communication is not optional, rather it is required. If you are willing to put in the time and energy, this is the best AP Biology course available. I do not say that lightly.

 

P.S. Prospective student, if you would like more information about this course, please don't hesitate to email me at mudraknathan@gmail.com and I would be happy share my experience in greater depth.


Excellent Class - Definitely Worth Taking! posted by Hailey Adler on May 16 2015 at 24:12:59

I'm so thankful to have spent this amazing year as a part of Dr. Kanner's class.  I have loved science all of my life, but I think this is one of the best years of science I have ever experienced.  I understand so much now about the way living things work at all different levels, from cell to organ to population!  I highly recommend this course to any students looking to further their knowledge of biology. 

Yes!  I was a little worried in the days leading up to the test, fearing that there would be questions on the test about subject areas that I hadn't studied thoroughly enough.  This didn't end up being the case at all.  Every one of the multiple-choice questions was about a topic completely familiar to me.  Out of the 63 MCQs, only two made me slightly doubt my answer at all.  The free response section was equally simple after all the practice we've had.  The test actually seemed easy compared to some of our class assignments!  Dr. Kanner gave us very good guidance on everything we'd need to know about the test, and I additionally worked out of a Barron's study guide for review.  Honestly, though, Dr. Kanner provided enough review information at the end of the year that a study guide is not necessary.  

This varied a great deal, depending on the week's workload, how fast I worked, and what I else I had going on at the time.  I prefer to study thoroughly, but I'm also a fairly fast learner.  I would say that I spent on average ten hours per week on this class.  There were definitely lighter weeks and a few heavier ones as well.  There were always days in the week that I didn't study at all, and there were also days that I spent several hours on a lab or on the assigned reading.  The class was very flexible that way.  Also, while I never personally asked for an extension, I know that Dr. Kanner was willing to offer them if a student had a conflict or needed extra time.  The class is intensive, but definitely schedule-friendly. 

I really loved the labs!  They were all so engaging, especially the hands-on ones.  Dr. Kanner did a good job of mixing up the ways we did our lab reports as well.  However, I must say that I believe the most valuable exercises that we did in class were the assigned questions.  After each quiz, Dr. Kanner would assign us a question from the quiz that we had to explain as if we were teaching it.  We then posted our AQs on the class website.  We were also required to add to correct at least one other person's AQ (by writing a comment).  I felt that both writing and responding to the AQs really prepared me for the free response section of the test, almost more than the actual essays.  (although the essays were very worthwhile as well.)

Actually, yes.  I've always loved science, but this in-depth look at biology really sparked my interest.  I found the molecular biology to be particularly fascinating - so much goes on within a tiny cell.  It's like a whole little city!  Since I hope to be a veterinarian, I will be taking more advanced courses of biology in the future, and if they are anything like this one, I am looking very much forward to them.  However, I think that Dr. Kanner's class was much more engaging than anything I will find at a university. 

I loved the student interaction in this class.  Not all of the students participated a lot, but most of us were very active in helping each other, and I found it both helpful and enjoyable to work with my classmates.  We regularly posted questions, comments, and helpful links on the class WWWBoard, and we also met in study groups (not organized as part of the class, but recommended by Dr. Kanner).  I joined study groups for the second semester and am very glad that I did.  We got a lot of studying done while having fun at the same time! :) 

If you love science, then this course is for you!  I have loved science and nature all my life, so everything we learned in this course was fascinating.  I'd also say that if you aren't particularly attracted to biology, then you should still enroll.  Some of my classmates had never taken biology before, but found that the course sparked their interest.   

AP Biology itself requires a lot of memorization of vocabulary words and of concepts, and not as much as math as, say, physics, so if your brain works well in these ways, you should have a smooth ride.  My only recommendation is that you really consider whether or not you are ready for this course if you are not yet in high school.  I was a sophomore this year and I had no issues, and there were definitely some younger students who had no difficulties, but the workload is heavy, so be sure that you are ready before you enroll.  :)

I hope that you decide to enroll in AP Biology this year.  I promise you won't regret it! :)


One of the best courses I've ever taken posted by David Ezana on May 15 2015 at 21:47:38

Yes, it did. The course is very challenging, and involves a substantial amount of work. The AP Exam involved a lot of analytical thinking - this class will really help you think critically about the information presented to you. As long as you keep up with the workload and participate in the discussions, you will be prepared for the exam.

I had to put in between 8 and 12 hours a week between studying, discussions, and tests. 

The guided reading and AQs were the most helpful assignments for me. The guided readings were especially helpful in memorizing the actual content, and the AQs were helpful in actually understanding and reinforcing the material.  

It absolutely did. Before this course, I had only taken a basic biology class, which did not require that much hard work and didn't go into half the depth of this course. I started out the year just looking at this class as another course to get through. I really, really enjoyed learning so many new things this year. Practically every day, certainly every week, there was something I learned that I never knew before. So much of this material relates to my every day functioning, like learning about the immune system and how it relates to my allergies and asthma. I am planning on taking this course again in college, and possibly pursuing it further as a major or minor. 

My communications with my classmates were very valuable. I learned nearly as much from my interactions with classmates as I did from the text and notes. After I took the exam, I could definitely see why our discussions are so important! 

Students willing to participate often and put a lot into the discussions should take this course. I absolutely would recommend this course, and I already have recommended it to several friends who are interested in AP Biology. 


A challenging class, but absolutely worth it! posted by Calvin Price on May 14 2015 at 09:46:45

Dr. Kanner's AP Biology class is quite difficult and challenging.  There is a lot of material covered in great detail and a lot of work to do, but the payoff from the class is incredible.  At the end of the course I felt as if I had learned a great deal and was very prepared for the AP exam.

In general, I put in around 10-12 hours of work per week, sometimes more, sometimes less.

The textbook used was quite good, but could occasionally get very dense.  The video resources Dr. Kanner provided were very helpful in understanding concepts and review of a subject.

I'm not much of a science person, but I really did enjoy studying the course material in class.  This course definitely piqued my further interest in biology.

Throughout the duration of the class there was pretty much constant communication with other students on the forum, through email and review groups, and on a google group.  It was really helpful as there was a network of others to work with through the materials.

Good communication skills and dedication to working hard are a must.  Biological expertise isn't as necessary as a drive to learn. 


AMAZING class I would highly recommend! posted by Elisabeth Fong on May 12 2015 at 23:54:54

When we started this class in Fall last year, Dr. Kanner promised a ton of hard work but also a lot of fun if we stay committed to the work load. She was absolutely right! This class pushed me to learn material quickly and well, and prepared me very well for the AP Biology exam I took just a few days ago. I actually enjoyed the entire process of studying and taking the exam, and fell in love with science even more. This course prepared me not only for the AP exam, but (as some of my classmates shared) also opened my eyes to the wonder and beauty of biology, the study of life.

Dr. Kanner has been such an AMAZING teacher throughout this school year, and what I appreicate about her the most is her encouragment and faith in us. From time to time, when sending back our graded homework, she would send personal emails telling me that I was doing great, or to work more on this area, etc. It didn't feel "online" in the sense that she was a very personal and relatable teacher!

On average, I put in about 2-2.5 hours in studying the lessons each day. Of course, when it came nearer to the exam day, I invested more time in studying and preparing for the exam. During the exam itself, there was no concept in the exam that we had not covered in the class. Seeing familiar topics helped me to relax and focus on answering the questions that were given. I completed Section I with 10 minutes to spare for checking my answers and workings, which was nice. I did feel a tad squeezed for time, during the FRQs in Section II, but I felt that was mainly because I spent too much time thinking about the first two long questions. Still, I was able to put something down for all the questions, which was great.

Throughout this course, I found the Assigned Questions to be especially valuable. We were assigned one question after each quiz to breakdown, dissect, and explain to our classmates why the correct answer was the right one. This really helped me to think deeply about what I had learnt and apply it. It also fostered a healthy and encouraging learning spirit among our classmates. It would have been a bore to be working with uninterested classmates, but I honestly have to say the people I had in my class were vibrant, eager to learn, helpful, and encouraging. They are truly a intellectual group of people that I know will go far in whatever they do because they love to learn.

Before I started this course, I was thinking very seriously about doing an undergraduate study in Medicine and this course has just heightened my interest in science and the study of life. I have applied to a few universities and so far I've gotten an interview (in two weeks time!) for one of them (PTL!). This course has definitely enhanced my interest in science, and bolstered my confidence in knowing what I want to study.

I want to thank Dr. Kanner and all of my amazing classmates for the enjoyable experience in learning Biology. This has been a journey that has challenged me intellectually, emotionally, and mentally and I will highly recommend this course to anyone interested in science who willing to work hard. I am proud to have worked with such stimulating and encouraging classmates and learn under Dr. K!


Absolute Best Class Ever! posted by Davis Cousar on May 12 2015 at 17:51:32

Dr. Kanner's AP Biology course was absolutely FANTASTIC! I have never taken a course that I enjoyed more than this one. While the course was extremely difficult at times, Dr. Kanner was always so encouraging, and she demonstrated that she truly cares for her students and will do all that she can to help them succeed. 

The course definitely did an excellent job of preparing me for the AP exam! I was able to finish within the alloted time, and I feel confident that I did well on the exam. The College Board required us to know SO much information for the AP exam, but Dr. Kanner provided many resources that helped us truly understand all of the course material. At the end of the year, these resources proved to be SO helpful as Dr. Kanner posted numerous presentations and websites for us to review. I found these review resources to be much more helpful than any AP study guide. 

Along with preparing me for the AP exam, this course taught me so much about the study of life and helped me to realize how important and interesting science can be. In this course, you will learn a lot about the science of cancer (which I found extremely interesting) as well as so many other important topics. Two of my favorite topics were immunology and genetics. By the end of this course, you will be able to truly understand the science of genome sequencing and Genetically Modified Organisms, both of which are extremely important in the world today! Also, this course will lead you to understand how all of your cells communicate, and you will also be stimulated to think critically about possible solutions to some of today's most prevalent health problems. I could go on and on about how much you will learn in this class, but most importantly, you will come to actually enjoy what you are learning if you are willing to work hard and if you remember how interesting and important the material in AP Biology can be!

Also, any student can succeed in this course as long as you are willing to work hard (and even if you don't consider yourself to be great at science). I thought that I would struggle in this course initially becasue I suffered from a case of "syllabus shock" after struggling to read through the first few chapters and complete the first few labs. However, Dr. Kanner provides numerous extra credit opportunities, and after about a month in the course, I found that I was getting faster at reading and was really beginning to enjoy the course material. So, in short, if you get discouraged at the beginning of the course like I did, do not lose heart and "just keep swimming" as Dr. K likes to say :). You will most certainly be glad that you took this course and will even be sad when it comes to an end. 

The course is very time-consuming, and I spent approximately 3-4 hours on AP biology per day. It should be noted, though, that I spent more time than was probably necessary on a lot of chapters. But when it came time to review for the AP exam, I was definetely glad that I spent extra time studying the textbook chapters. To say the least, the course requires great determination and commitment, but in the end, the time required in the course in most certainly worth it! Also, taking the extra time to interact with your classmates and discuss material with them on the WWW board and on Assigned Questions is extremely valuable! Discussing the material and breaking down test questions really helps to cement the course material in your brain. The daily study questions were also really helpful, as they proved to be a great review resource (as well as a great opportunity for extra credit!)

Before taking this class, I didn't like biology. Now I absolutely love it and even hope to at least minor in some sort of biologically-related subject! I highly recommend this course to anyone who desires to learn. You will be so glad that you took AP Biology!

 

 


Excellent class posted by Clare Cook on May 12 2015 at 05:29:10

I am very glad I decided to take Dr. Kanner's biology class this year.  I felt good taking the AP exam, and more importantly I learned a lot in the class and got a true understanding of the concepts.  It has made me question a little my desire to pursue engineering after college, because now I know I don't actually hate biology and I might enjoy a field in this area. 

I had some frustrations with the class especially early on as I was adjusting to the format.  I had some trouble figuring out where and how to turn in assignments, and I found the teacher could sound a little disgruntled when everything was not formatted correctly, but as I got more into the course I found that Dr. Kanner is actually very accomodating, you just need to be willing to communicate. 

Another aspect of this class that can be a blessing or a curse is that there are not daily assignments, things are due on a more weekly basis.  This was great for me so I could have a more flexible schedule, but also led to multiple very late nights on test day when I left too much for the last day.  But of course that was completely my fault.  

On test day, I did not feel quite as prepared going into the test as I have on some other AP exams, but I found that I actually knew everything I needed to know.  It was definitely a good idea to fully perform all of Dr. Kanner's instructions, and also to pursue the optional resources she provided (especially those on the college board).  I was a little concerned on the free response section when I realized I'd never actually written more than one biology essay in a row and I was suddendly faced with 8 and I was not sure if I could time it correctly.  I ended up having almost a minute to spare, so it was okay, but I would suggest pursuing extra practice from the college board or study books to make sure you understand not just the content but also the set-up of the exam.  

But seriously, this was such a great class and I'm so happy I took it.  I went in thinking I didn't like biology nearly as much as physics or chemistry, but I found that it can be just as interesting and challenging, and I really hope to study it a bit further later in my academic career.

 

 


An Incredible experience! posted by Sophia Kaiser on May 11 2015 at 24:11:52

Wow. looking back on the course I realise just how much I have learned! At the start of the year, I was overwhelmed by the work and tired and uninterested in making friends, but by the end of the year I'm so sad to say goodbye to my classmates and have come to love biology! Everyone was brilliant and kind and really interested in learning and it was really easy to communicate with each other on the WWWboard. I loved how we could help each other with any questions and share articles and videos with each other. Overall, I have learned a TON about Biology and grown better at managing my time. Plus the course prepared me really well for the exam and I was able to answer the questions (especially the free response essay questions) with confidance. The essays and assigned questions we did throughout the year were a huuuuuge help in preparing for the exam. 

It is certainly true though that the class is a ton of work. At times it will be overwhelming and I've put more time into this class each day than I'd care to admit. (For reference, I'm a fifteen year old sophomore, and this was my first AP class) I would not recommend taking this class if you have a super busy schedule or are taking lots of time consuming classes already - the course will definitley require a lot from you! Additionally, a student taking this class should have some self-discipline, because it is the student's responsibility to make sure they have the material down for quizzes and the exam. Most importantly though, I'd say the student should really want to learn. I was so impressed by my classmates love for learning and a student really won't be able to take a lot out of the class if they're uninterested in learning for the sake of learning.

That being said, I found that while I only had some interest in Biology at the start of the year, I have grown to be much more interested in the subject now! Additionally, Dr. Kanner is an amazing teacher who encourages her students and invests a ton of time in them. I have been amazed (and I know my classmates have too) at how she cares about her students and is always ready to help. She makes the course feel so much more manageable. 

Overall, this class has been an amazing experience and though it was very difficult and very stressful it has taught me so much and been an incredible little community to learn with. Dr. Kanner is the best! 


Great AP Biology Class!! posted by Anya Hong on May 11 2015 at 23:44:02

Absolutely! I was confident about almost every question. I did have a Barron's AP Biology book to structure my review, which I thought really helped, but the book was more of a supplement to guide my review; it DID NOT in any way help me with learning new info! Dr. Kanner gave us lots of practice questions (we had daily "quiz questions" we could do) and practice FRQs.

I put about 2 hours a day, but I could have spent a lot more time on biology if I'd had the time! There is so much to learn!

I really liked the daily quiz questions. They were a great review the entire year! I also really liked AQs - "Assigned Questions." Basically, once we finished a test, each of us was assigned one question from the test. We explained why the correct answer was correct and why the others weren't, giving necessary definitions and background information. I have to admit, I found it tedious when we had to read over everyone else's AQs, but it was worth it! The AQs really help pinpont problem areas and solidify concepts. 

Yes! I am not much of a science person, but we had some serious science geniuses in this class, and they really helped me understand the logic and even beauty of science. 

Definitely! Everyone was so friendly. :)

Definitely an independent student willing to put in the time. Dr. Kanner assigns different chapters from the textbook and gives ample resources, but the students themselves are responsible for figuring out how to effectively use the resources to master the material in each chapter. It involved quite a bit of independent study, and I think the self-study skills I learned will serve me well in college next year!


AWESOME Class!! posted by Kasia Ashwill on May 11 2015 at 19:14:01

First of all, as I'm certain all my classmates can attest to, this class was a LOT of hard work. If you want to do this course, make sure you are going to put in the effort. If you can't/won't, I wouldn't suggest this course for you. That being said, I highly, highly reccomend this course!! However much work we (students) put in, I know that Dr. Kanner put in even more in preparation for teaching us. Her daily messages, quick responses, critiques on essays, and grading of our labs (oh goodness, those labs... haha), were all glimpses of just how much work she put in for us. 

I just finished the AP exam, and I can say that this course DEFINITELY prepared me for the AP exam. I was most worried about the FRQs (free response questions) because they can ask you anything and you have to be able to respond with examples and understand what they're talking about, and I was rather surprised by how much I knew and could have written even more down if I had time. This course *will* prepare you for the exam, but most importantly, it'll help you to really appreciate what biology is (wwwboard for discussions was lovely for this), and who your classmates are too. :) 

My classmates were *awesome*. Very supportive, encouraging, and smart. I had several weekly study groups that were always lots of fun, and definitely helped me in preparing. And the after test "assigned questions" also helped in explaining each question of the test so that we'd be sure we knew what we got wrong, why we got it wrong, and how we could get it right next time. In conclusion, I highly recomend this class, if you're 1) a hard worker, 2) wanting an amazing teacher and interactive class, 3) want to be challenged. This is a college level course (my friend came back, took one look at my bio book, shuddered and said, "what are you doing with *that*?" haha:)), so prepared to be challenged. :) But you'll definitely come to love the science and to have a thoroughly deeper understanding of it. 


A Must-Take Class! posted by Clara Weybright on May 11 2015 at 18:09:28

I'm sitting down to write this, just a few hours after having taken the AP Biology exam.  So, with this experience fresh on my mind, I thought I would give my class review.  This was my absolute favorite course this year and I'm afraid that, all year, I've been boring my poor friends and family with Biology details.  I think of everything in terms of Biology now.  I'm getting a cold?  I instantly start thinking about cell-mediated versus humoral response.  Planting trees?  Let me tell you about the steps and products of photosynthesis and the structures and functions of xylem and phloem.  I love it!  

Just a reference, I took this course my junior year, after having taken regular Biology and Chemistry.

Most definitely!  As I went through each question, I was able to confidently answer almost every question.  Dr. Kanner spent an amazing amount of time preparing us for the exam.  She gave us many old FRQs to go over, extra credit study questions, challenging tests, and, one of the most beneficial parts, AQs (or assigned questions...I'll go into more detail later.)

I spent a lot of time on this course.  If you want to do well, then you are going to have to devote a significant amoung of time to biology.  I probably spent about 20 hours a week on biology.  On days when there were labs, I definitely had to spend at least 3-4 hours.

Even though the labs took lots of time, they were so fun to do.  It also ended up being a great way to connect with my classmates.  Dr. Kanner allowed us to team up for some of the trickier labs.  It was so fun to talk about biology and work together.  However, the most beneficial assignment was definitley the AQs (Assigned Questions).  Dr. Kanner stresssed the importance of AQs from the beginning.  And she was right-they were highly important.  Here's how an AQ works:  The day after the chapter test, each student was assigned a quiz question, which they had to address in essay form, going over terms and processes in as great detail as possible.  Then, other students read these AQs and provided additions/subtractions to the essays.  After writing my own AQ (and reading other people's responses), I always felt that I had become an expert in the little area I was writing about.  Such a satisfying feeling!  And great practice for the essays on the AP Biology exam.  

Yes!  To be honest, there was a period from about March to Mid-April where I was trudging through the work, just barely keeping on top of things and there were plenty of days where I would have been thrilled to have AP Biology go away for awhile.  But, in the broad scheme of things, this was an amazing class.  Dr. Kanner obviously cares deeply about biology and wants all of her students to know about Biology and love it as much as she does.  This enthusiasm really rubs off.  While I have always been interested in science, I am now truly fascinated by it, particularly Biology.  

The communication in this class was great.  Students posted interesting TedTalks, controversies in science, questions they didn't understnad, and all kinds of things.  There's even a designated page devoted to helpful websites we've found.  There was great connection and communication in this class.  

Being willing to work hard is an absolute must.  If you are not willing to devote a good part of every day to furthering your Biology studies, you will fall behind and have trouble succeeding.  I also think that a good, positive attitude is helpful.  Being able to stay positive makes it much easier to get through the hard parts of Biology.  And, finally, I would hope that it's obvious that you need to love science.  If you meet this qualifications, I think you should be able to succeed in this course!  If you have any interest in science, at all, please please please take this course.  You will not regret it!  It was my favorite junior year course and a top contender for all-time favorite course.  


Parent review of AP Biology posted by Dena W on May 31 2014 at 18:09:00

Dr. Kanner warned us the class would be difficult and she was correct.  The class was every bit the college level biology class she promised (and students were treated like college students).  Even with the warning, the amount of material covered and the level of detail shocked me.

Kat had the ability to take AP Biology at the local high school at no cost.  Instead, we chose to take it through PA Homeschoolers after reading the impressive recommendations for Dr. Kanner.  We're so glad we did.  From the beginning, Dr. Kanner set high expectations for her students.  It was clear they were taking a college level class and they were to study like college students.  She was firm but encouraging with her assignments.  She was quick with answers and sent several personal emails of encouragement when the material and coursework got particularly difficult.  All of the glowing recommendations are well deserved and even with those, Dr. Kanner exceeded our expectations.

Additionally, the format of the class was perfect for us.  It was nice not having a scheduled class time.  I wondered how that would work, but it was excellent.  Kat is a dancer and during the year we had a couple unexpected trips.  The format allowed her the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities as they arose while keeping up with class (including a late night test at a hotel and writing and posting essays and AQs from the road).  The interaction with other students through the message board and study groups was also a huge encouragement.  It was obvious from their answers, the other students were very serious about learning and that helped when the workload got difficult.  

This class has opened new opportunities for Kat for the upcoming school year.  A large part of that is due to Dr. Kanner's high expectations, enthusiasm and encouragement.  I recommend this class and Dr. Kanner without reservation.


Fascinating course! posted by Lillian Ji on May 29 2014 at 23:01:31

Yes! The textbook actually covered much more than what was tested on the exam. Preparation wasn't as easy as compared to other exams, and I wasn't as familiar with the exam format since the AP Biology exam changed recently; however, my classmates and I were equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to earn 5s. We wrote one or two essays a month and had three to four chapter tests a month as well. Coupled with the labs, assigned questions (in which the student analyzes a multiple choice question and explains why each choice is correct or incorrect), and discussion questions, the course is excellent preparation for the exam.

I generally spent 6-12 hours a week on this course. I would spend around 30-60 minutes a day if all we had to do was read a chapter (20-50 pages) from the textbook. On other days, when I was reviewing for a test or worked on a lab, I'd spend 1-3 hours. On actual test days I'd spend several hours reviewing and 30-60 minutes taking the test. It does vary for each individual, but I was pretty slow with reading and understanding the concepts (well, compared with my readings for other classes).

The AQs (assigned questions) were really helpful! They were a great tool for reviewing after a chapter test. I also enjoyed the sporadic discussion question assignments, which would involve solving chi-squared analysis or genetics problems. Haha, I had fun doing those. Also, I enjoyed the group labs since the interaction with my classmates was interesting and uplifting. The labs as a whole were interesting as well: I enjoyed applying the concepts we learned through growing plants, measuring respiration rates through online simulations, and the like. And the videos which Dr. Kanner posted were really neat! Oooooh, the TED talks! I LOVED those! They aren't always essential to doing well on the exam, but boy are they fascinating. They take a topic we're studying in class at the moment and show the real-world, groundbreaking impact surrounding some new discovery related to the topic. The TED talks are amazing, and I'd definitely recommend watching them if you have the time. We also had the Bozeman Science videos; I liked the slow pace of those. But if you're up for something bouncier, there's also the Crash Course biology videos (especially if you love the Greens' sarcasm). Anyways, it was wonderful to have multiple means of reviewing available to us. All of the assignments were valuable, and the vast majority of them were very enjoyable! Yes, I do realize that I've started to use this portion of my reviews to talk about any and every assignment which I liked. 

Yes! Biology had been faintly interesting to me before, but I never realized how vast and complex and intriguing the subject is. Its intricacies are undoubtedly worth the time spent to discover and understand them. Biology is basically learning about ourselves--it's just so relevant to our lives. I loved learning the hows and whys of the mechanisms of the human body...like why blood type matters so much during blood transfusions, why fevers are dangerous, and why eating a secondary consumer which ate a primary consumer which ate a contaminated producer is more dangerous than just eating the producer. I loved how a lot of what I learned in biology correlated with my forensic league's debate topic. It's definitely possible to win a few rounds just due to biology knowledge(;. Anyways, biology is something that's part of our everyday lives (hehe, one time I made cinnamon rolls which looked a bit like cancer cells...but they did exhibit anchorage dependence!) and involves processes which are going on as I type this and as you read this. Which is rather mind-boggling to think about.

Generally, yes. The course wasn't as active as other classes in PAH which have been super interactive, but I did have a great time working on the group labs with my brilliant classmates and trading feedback on our AQs. The G+ group/community set up by one of my peers worked really well for asking each other questions, posting funny biology jokes, and the like.

The type of student who'd well in this class would have patience, perseverance, and time. Patience, because I'm generally a fast reader but had to slow down when reading the biology text in order to process and understand everything. Biology is a huge field of study, and the textbook has a broad depth and width, so it takes a significant amount of time (at least for me) to absorb and learn everything. Also, labs usually take time..you need to wait for the online simulation plant to "respirate." But the knowledge gained is highly rewarding(:. Perseverance would also be a valuable trait because there just might be times when you fall down and have to pick yourself up and make yourself keep on going. And time, of which no one ever has enough but of which everyone has an equal amount. I really wish I had put in more time into this class just because I could have gained so much more. Understanding the concepts was simple for me, but actually remembering all the details was difficult, and I felt like I'd love the class and subject so much more had I simply spent extra hours each week studying. However, I did enjoy this course, and I'd readily recommend it to my friends(:.


Another student's (unrequisitioned; you're welcome!) opinion and advice posted by Corrie Tung on May 29 2014 at 04:25:24

If you decided to read my post, welcome!  Just a little background: my name is Corrie, and I was a female high school senior when I took this course.

Definitely!  Last year (2012~2013), the AP biology exam went through a format change.  Whereas before there was a lot of rote memorization, now you needed to understand the concepts discussed.  Dr. Kanner's essays and quizzes helped in preparing me with that kind of mindset, which every student should have if he (or she) plans to succeed in college.

Hmm...on average, I would say that I spent about 2 hours a day, on average, in studying, performing labs, and writing.  This includes the weekends.  NOTE: If you are a student who absolutely MUST have your weekends completely free, don't take this course.  If you really want to put in the effort necessary to succeed in this course, you will need to sacrifice some of your weekend time.  The only way I can think of not doing that is if you 1) don't care about your grade (!) or 2) this is the only course you are taking in the entire school year (!?).  In other words...serious student = less free time.  Don't worry; you won't feel overwhelmed.

I would definitely say the group labs.  During the course of the year, Dr. Kanner had us perform two group labs.  It was great to be able to work with other students to come up with your own lab (it's not as hard as it sounds; it's actually kind of fun). Of course, this being an online course and all, we had to meet over the web to plan, discuss, and carry out the labs.  NOTE: This portion will be a lot easier if you have a Google+ account.  In my case, I created an account specifically for this course.  Communication is much smoother, since you can speak with others over a microphone.  It also allows for study groups.  I didn't use the Google+ study group that several students set up, but I hear that they had a lot of fun.

Well, I was already interested in biology (I already knew it would be my major), and this course just solidified my love for biology.  It even piqued my interest for ecology and environmental science, which before this course just...didn't fit with me (actually, I still don't like it all that much, but I don't detest it as much as I used to).  That says a lot about the course and the teacher, I think.

This was briefly touched on ini a previous question: YES.  Not only through the Google+ account, but also through the WWWBoard (sort of a social/scholastic board where you post any questions you have or just random cool biology stuff you found) and the feedback I received and gave on AQs (sorry, no more spoilers!), I learned a lot more than what I would have through just reading the material.  By answering questions, I had to make sure I understood the material--which goes back to the requirements for the AP exam: understanding over memorization.

Several requirements (okay, maybe not requirements, but they sure are helpful) if you want to do well in this course are:

-Flexibility of schedule: Some weeks you will need to log more hours, while others you won't.  Other times, you will need to be able to sit down for several hours on end to get a lab done, for example.  Your schedule--and your mindset--need to be flexible.

-Time management: Somewhat tied in to my previous point, you need to have good time management to get your work done and handed in on time so that you aren't scrambling around at 2 a.m. the day a lab is due trying to figure out just what in the world is 1% phenolphthalein solution.  NOTE: Read the syllabus at the beginning of class and plan what you will need to get done and when.  It will save you a lot of grief...and help prepare you for college, if you want to think that far.

-Wilingness to learn: Sounds cliche, but I don't mean the "Oh, goody, give me all the information you can, because I want to devour it all!" kind of mindset.  I'm referring to the willingness to admit that "Hey, I don't understand this, can someone help me?"  Be willing to go to Dr. Kanner if you have a question (or post it on the WWWBoard), and she will answer (trust me--I had a few situations like this before, and Dr. Kanner always responded within 24 hours).  If you receive red markings on your graded labs and essays, read them and learn from what Dr. Kanner had to say.  You will only improve.  Stubborn loners will NOT do well in this course, even if it is an online course.

-Watch the videos: This is not really a matter of personality, but really, watch the videos that Dr. Kanner posts the links for.  They will do a lot in helping you to nail down any loose ends you may have about the subject material.

Actually, yes.  (By now, you're thinking, "What more is she going to go on about?")  Do your best in this class!  It's hard at times (especially between January and March), but Dr. Kanner is always there to support you if you need her.  Just keep swimming, and you won't be disappointed.


posted by Jonathan Pang on May 26 2014 at 04:08:32

Although I doubt anyone would be able to be fully prepared for a tough exam like AP Biology, I am confident that Dr. Kanner's rigorous course prepared me extremely well so that I could compete at a much higher level than my peers. The essays and labs we were assigned proved to be huge on exam day, and although parts of the textbook reading may have been a tad deeper than the actually tested subjects on the exam, they will be undoubtedly beneficial in the future as they truly place you in an advanced position in college-level biology.

I usually put two to three hours per day into the coursework for this class; lab days (there are about three of these per month) are considerably longer. Note that as the year progresses, you will find that as your reading skills and studying habits improve, you will become more efficient.

The lab investigations were quite intriguing--these analysis-based assignments also trained analytical skills that were extremely significant on the exam.

I already had a considerable interest in biology beforehand and that was the major reason I elected to take this course. Nevertheless, as I dug deeper into the wonders of biology through this course, I found that my hunger for biology only increased. There is still so much to discover!!!

This was by no means an easy course. One reason that should be obvious is that this is a rigorous college-level course that prepares you for an exam which, if you score well on (which I trust you will have a very good chance of achieving if you take this course), you will be awarded considerable college credit for. Second, the AP exam has been modified to be less fact-based and more analytical, presenting a very different challenge. Nonetheless, if you have substantial interest in biology and determination, this is the class for you. Highly recommended.


Requires quite a bit of effort, but worth it posted by Nathan Leung on May 23 2014 at 17:52:23

This class was supremely well suited to the AP Exam and did an excellent job on teaching the tested material. Everything on the Exam had been covered here, and it was presented in comprehensive and intensive manner.  

This was not an easy class.  It required work and a lot of it.  I had dismally low scores on a few of my tests, which did get discouraging, but it also spurred me on to work harder.  In the end, I think this is a very good way to prepare for one of the most challenging AP Exams out there.


Take this class! posted by Grace R. on May 22 2014 at 16:50:50

 Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

  Absolutely! This course covered the material on the AP Biology exam in great detail. Dr. Kanner ensured that we looked at the material many different ways, such as through labs, reading our textbook, and watching YouTube videos on the topic. Nothing was unfamiliar to me on the exam, so I was able to finish within the time limit. I don't have my AP exam score back yet, but I did get an 800 on the SAT Subject Test in Biology E after taking this class.

 How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

   I put in an average of 3 hours per day on this class, although during review time, I put in about 5-6 hours. It should be noted that this was my first AP course, that I was a freshman while taking it, and that I am a very slow worker.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

  Yes one hundred times over! I think that communication with other students was essential to this course. It was remarkably helpful to hear their opinions on a topic when one of us was confused. One assignment on which communication was useful was a group lab that we did on Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, in which we had to figure out how to model change in allele frequencies in a population using an Excel spreadsheet. It was invaluable to have everybody's input and hard work on that lab! I also made some fantastic friends through working collaboratively with other students.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

   This course is quite challenging, but it is not a Herculean task to get an A if you are willing to give it the attention it requires. One thing that helped is that Dr. Kanner gave us numerous opportunities for extra credit. I would certainly recommend this course. If you are looking for a thorough and useful AP Biology class, take this one!


AP Biology 2014 posted by Natalie Hamada on May 21 2014 at 23:43:55

Overall, yes. However, the new AP Bio exam seems to emphasize critical thinking and data analysis much more than factual information, so studying a textbook will only do so much. A good review book will be your new best friend, though!

Anywhere from 4 to 1 hour(s) per day. Labs were pretty time consuming, and I found that each chapter took a lot of time to get through as well.

Dr. Kanner had us write multiple essays which were extremely helpful when it came to the written portion of the exam. There was also a lab that required the usage of the NCBI Genome Database, which I found pretty interesting.

Not really - I've always loved life science. However, it was awesome to learn explanations to so many things, such as why sweating cools us down and so forth.

Yep! Some students in the class used a Google+ group for group projects and occasional study groups, which was pretty nice. Sadly, there were a couple students that I never really communicated with, though. 

I would recommend this course. Obviously, it's going to be a lot of work. This class is pretty dense on textbook reading, so if it's hard for a student to sit still and read carefully (as in really, really carefully) for a long time, it might be difficult. Bottom line, you get out of it what you put into it. Since it's online, Dr. Kanner can't make you study - it's up to you to do that yourself. A self-motivated and disciplined student would probably do quite well.


AP Biology 2014 posted by Lisa on May 19 2014 at 23:14:42


AP Biology Review posted by Charlotte on May 19 2014 at 22:40:34

-I felt prepared for the AP exam, but did find a review book helpful.

-I spent about 10 hours a week on the course (2 per day), but the time varied with the amount of work. In weeks that had labs the work generally took longer to complete.

-The Hardy-Weinberg problems were great practice for the exam, as was the Chi Square Analysis we did.

-I was already very interested in biology, but studied the subject much more in depth, which was interesting.

-The communications were interesting, but not necessarily valuable. The communication board was not the most practicle option, but we ended up using a Google+ group that was helpful.

-A student who is interested in science and willing to put the time into studying for the subject would do well. 


AP Bio Class posted by Emma on May 13 2014 at 14:57:19

This class was awesome!

1.  I feel that it prepared me for the exam.

2. Probably about 2 hours a day

3. I really loved the essays and AQs.  Looking back on my old AQs I can really see how much I've improved over such a short time. 

4.  Well, I was already intrested in the subject, so I can't really say much here.  It was an awesome class!!

5.Yes!  I loved the study groups, they really helped.

6. Anyone who works hard.  It was REALLY REALLY HARD.  But yes, I would reccommend this to ANYONE!!!


An excellent class that will prepare you for both college and the exam posted by Daniel Thomas on June 28 2013 at 21:06:21

I'm not going to make this very long. My classmates have written some excellent reviews detailing what we did in the class. I'm just going to give my thoughts about the teacher, the workload, and how I felt about the exam.

Dr. Kanner is a detail-oriented teacher who makes sure to be on top of everything. While some students found her to be a bit disorganized, I personally thought any disorganization was a product of a crazy year where no one really knew what the AP exam would have/not have. Dr. Kanner did her best to create a solid syllabus on the fly. I am sure that next year, this class will be extremely organized and set in stone. Dr. Kanner is the type of teacher who actively seeks to create the best class possible.

The class itself was tough but not impossible. I studied well for the exams and homework but never felt like anything was impossible or unattainable. Is it a tough course? Yes. Is is doable? Yes. Dr. Kanner does a great job making us take very tough quizzes, study questions every day, almost weekly essays, and group labs. I personally didn't like the labs (they were redundant and didn't really teach me much) but they are very much in line with what College Board expects and the kind of lab-based questions the exam contains. The quizzes are a bit too fact-based - I learned so much that I realized wasn't actually necessary when I took actual practice tests and the real exam. I think though this is a product of a new exam year and Dr. Kanner will adapt the quizzes to mirror AP questions very soon.

Now for the exam: The Barron's prep book and others I used were utterly useless - they didn't give me any idea of what to expect. The exam was sort of like the science section on the ACT - they give you a scenario, a lab experiment, some background information and then ask you to analyze and extrapolate. No more memorize and spit out type of questions. Dr. Kanner had prepared us so well with facts, that I found the background information almost redundant. In other words, this course prepared us very well for the exam content and I bet Dr. Kanner will devise a strategy for preparing her future students for the exam format very soon.

All in all, this is probably the best course on the market. If you get an A in this class, I think Dr. Kanner could even guarantee that you'll make a 5 on the exam. I strongly recommend it for anyone.


AP Bio (for the new exam) posted by Georgia Murray on May 24 2013 at 11:30:28

Short answer: Yes.  Long answer: Since the test was brand new this year, I was pretty nervous going in.  I usually like to take past tests from the CB before taking my exam because I feel that these old tests most closely mimic what I'll be taking.  In this case, however, there were no old tests from the CB, and the review books for the new test didn't come out until late in the year.  I'm a fairly "connectively thinking" person, so I felt that if the CB stuck to their promise of a test based more on deduction and connections instead of memorization, I should be fine, but let's just say I didn't completely trust the CB.  However, they did stick to that promise, and about 5 questions into the MC portion of the test I realized just how well Dr. Kanner had prepared us.

A lot.  This is probably the most time consuming AP that I have taken simply because the volume of reading.  I am fairly accustomed to dense texts, but I found this text to be a little verbose.  I think it's a good text, but it takes a while.  I also did the Guided Reading worksheets and read the Lecture Outlines for (almost) every chapter, and I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to do both of those.

The Guided Reading worksheets were helpful, even if I didn't like them. =D  The Lecture Outlines are also good because (a) they help you retain materiel through a second hearing, (b) they are sometimes clearer than the text, and (c) they occasionally give different examples than the text, which can be useful for understanding and essays.

Biology is not my subject of choice, but that is not the fault of this class.  That said, I actually semi-enjoyed the exam because I enjoy deductive thinking, and the new exam lets you do that.

Participation on the WWWBoard was pretty active, and it was fun answering other students’ questions as well as getting mine answered in a timely fashion.  We did have study groups, but the members of mine were all very busy people, and so we didn't meet often.  I did not feel that this hurt my experience in any way, and I honestly didn't have time to meet and discuss on a weekly basis.

This is hard to answer because of the newness of the exam.  Generally speaking, I think this class requires a truly committed student -- one who will not do only what is required (which is pretty much just the reading and the tests) but also force themselves to do other things that will benefit them.  Dr. Kanner posts a lot of optional material for review, and I’m not sure that it’s possible to do all of it – I found the outlines and the Guided Reading sufficient, but you just have to find what works for you.


Dr. Kanner's AP Biology class was excellent preparation for the exam... posted by Aleena Vargas on May 21 2013 at 01:09:58

I felt that this course was excellent preparation for the revised AP exam. I spent at least ten hours a week studying both alone and with other students via Skype study groups. Reviewing with the Guided Reading pages really helped me to cement in my mind what I had read in the textbook, and doing the study questions that Dr. Kanner posted helped me prepare both for her tests and for the AP exam. In my opinion, Dr. Kanner’s tests were actually slightly more difficult than the actual exam. After each test, we were assigned questions and asked to explain how we thought out the answers. This was a great study tool since it helped me to sharpen my deductive skills and learn why I had missed certain questions on the tests. The class communication board was also very helpful since it provided an opportunity for all of us students to ask, consider, and answer each other’s questions regarding topics we were currently studying. Dr. Kanner tracked our discussions and helped us when we had difficulty finding answers.

This AP Biology course is very detailed and rigorous and requires a large amount of reading each week. Although the course is challenging, a dedicated student will be able to perform well in it. 


Lots of work but great class posted by Hannah Huynh on May 17 2013 at 24:32:54

Considering this year the AP biology test was completely changed by Collegeboard, everyone in the class was slightly scared for the new format.  Practice books didn't come out until late in the year, but Dr. Kanner did a good job in making sure she covered the topics on the new test.  I put about 7-9 hours a week on this class.  I liked how we formed study groups and my group actively met once a week so I got lots of review.  I do have to say though, that I did feel a bunch of pressure before the AP exam.  But Dr. Kanner prepared us well with the material.  During the review time before the AP exam, she provided us with an abundance of links, powerpoints, and videos to help us review for the exam.  Going into the exam I felt more nevous than I should have been, but now afterwards, I am just thankful I had taken this class from Dr. Kanner.  This class is great for anyone who is willing to work hard!  Even if you don't have a real interest in biology, you'll learn many interest things and find the class so worth it!


Awesome course posted by Khai-Hoan Ho on July 10 2012 at 16:17:52

This was my first AP class. The course prepared me completely for the test; I had to work at least an hour reading and reviewing the assigned chapters, another hour looking over the chapter questions, and about 30 minutes to an hour using extra study resources. Lab days generally required at least 4-5 hours. The labs themselves were extremely helpful, along with the information that Dr. Kanner provided. I would also recommend setting up a study group with other students; ours was extremely fruitful. I think that anyone who is willing to spend a lot of time on study and who can communicate well will succeed in the class. 


Wonderful class!!! posted by Katie Dunphy on June 29 2012 at 20:40:41

I certainly did!!  It would be hard to find another course, either in public school or online, that prepares you as well as this one did.  Although I don’t have my AP exam results yet, I feel certain that I did well.

Boy, that’s a tough question.  It really varied.  I put in between 3 and 6 hours per day, more toward the end of the review period.  Unlike many other students I actually found that lab days took less time than other days.  Review days were the most time-consuming.

The AQ’s helped a TON.  I also liked the FlyLab and the CardioLab a lot.  My favorite units were numbers 3, 4, and 8.  The most difficult, in my opinion, were Unit 3 (lots of new, intricate concepts) and Unit 5 (lots of memorization)

It definitely did!  Like one of the other reviewers, I thought biology was merely memorizing the components of the digestive system, or learning about the purpose of photosynthesis.  In reality, biology is an amazing science involving almost everything around you.  Now I can open up the Washington Post and actually understand an article on the science behind new cancer treatments, or estimate how much of a seed’s energy eventually reaches a hawk. 

Yes!  Toward the end Dr. Kanner placed us in study groups which met through Skype.  Those allowed us to ask questions and give answers, important aspects of the review portion of the course. 

To thrive in this class, you need to be truly interested in biology, have a high level of reading comprehension, be efficient with your time, know how and when to ask for help, and, most of all, be willing to work EXTREMELY hard. 

The last attribute is the most important—if you just want an easy AP to add to your transcript, this class is NOT for you.  Your pursuit of biology will be frustrating, exhausting and difficult, but it has rewards greater than I could have imagined.  I can’t wait to take another, similar, class—genetics, perhaps?  Dr. Kanner is a fabulous teacher.  She’s understanding and encouraging when the work gets difficult, and you can tell that she truly cares about her students. 

Good luck!  


One. Amazing. Class. Period. posted by Loren Chue on June 04 2012 at 05:12:16

Hi Prospective AP Bio Student:

Having just taken my SAT II Bio test yesterday, I feel my remaining school days have been drained of much activity that originally sprouted from my time spent in delving into the deeper reaches of biology. In other words, I miss studying biology!

This course definitely primed me for the AP exam for several reasons as follows:

1. Dr. Kanner is a very encouraging, organized, and helpful teacher. Her daily messages and WWWBoard notes condensed the vast amount of material into concept-coralling bullet points. She answered the often numerous questions thrown at her (either by email or on the WWWBoard) quite expeditiously and cheerfully. 

2. The SQs (Study Questions, done every day) pointed out "holes" I needed to work on, made me think outside of the box to answer critical, multiple-concept-tying questions, helped me learn the choices that were true/false (for EXCEPT questions), and solidified concepts I already knew.

Up to 20 questions (especially as test day leaps closer) can be done each day, but usually Dr. Kanner puts 8 on normal days. This acquires 4-10 points, so each questions is worth 1/2 point. 

3. The Assigned Questions (from Dr. K's chapter tests) and practice FRQs (from old AP tests) helped me explain concepts and definitions in the right terminology and made me elucidate them so others would readily understand what I was explaining. Furthermore, they solidified concepts and sometimes even allowed me to view the concepts I knew in a whole different angle. The FRQs pushed me to write a concise, yet well-written essay in less than 25 minutes. 

4. Now for the Chapter Tests. Each week, I spent about 2-3 hours a day studying bio, and on test days, even more. Since this rigorous class covers ALL of the 56 chapters (yes, 56!), one MUST pace oneself and stay ahead of the schedule to grasp the multifarious concepts presented in each chapter or set of chapters. Each week presents two to three new, sometimes almost exhaustingly-long, chapters (especially when one gets down to cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and animal form and function). However, the amount of knowledge gained is indispensible and extremely rewarding, especially after the AP exam. Dr. Kanner's chapter tests are thought-provoking and often combine different concepts together to answer thinking questions. Others are extremely-detailed factual questions, say for instance, "Which MHC molecule (class I or II) binds with the helper T cell?"

5. As the AP exam inches closer and closer, Dr. Kanner will provide past AP Bio exams for students to do. If one is prepared well and has studied hard, he or she will excitedly try these exams.

6. Dr. Kanner emphasized class interaction on the WWWBoard and in study groups. These allowed each one of us to ask and answer questions. If fellow students could not answer a classmate's questions, Dr. Kanner would readily step in to answer. Many times, I woke up excited to answer my classmate's questions, for I knew this would strengthen my knowledge and teach me new things as well. As one of my former teachers mentioned, to teach others is to learn as well. In study groups, each student (we discussed on Skype) was given opportunity to voice out his or her questions and take turns answering fellow student's questions. By explaining questions and concepts orally, I found they stuck in my cerebral cortex more strongly than when I typed or wrote explanations down. 

Every day, I found my fingers itching to flip open my tome of a biology textbook and begin reviewing or reading new material. This excellent course greatly enhanced my interest in biology and strengthens my aspiration to become a medical physician. I pretty much enjoyed everything this course had to offer. 

However, although it does require extensive memorization, biology is not just a subject filled with rote memorization. Memorization coupled with a grounded understanding of concepts will help one excel in this course. Understanding of the material is sometimes even more important than rote memorization because the AP exam will throw questions at you that require you to tie a myriad of concepts together and choose relevant ones to answer cumulative questions. Besides, understanding concepts will ground the basics and allow for a steady buildup of harder material in subsequent chapters. 

In general, a student who is willing to stay two bounds ahead of the schedule and will put his or her heart into mastering the vast amount of material in AP Bio will sail pretty smoothly through this course. Being an active participant in this class definitely garners extra credit points to boost grades and consolidate the learning process.

After this course, I view the world around me with new eyes. I see a plant and try to figure out its composition, structure, or type; or I scrutinize an animal and try to classify it; or start naming zones as soon as I see a lake; the list goes on and on. Some days I wake up ready to do SQs, but then sink back into the warm recesses of my comforter dejectedly reminding myself the course is over. 

 

So, my fellow students, what are you waiting for?

Sign up for a whirlwind of learning and an exhilarating adventure that perlustrates the very crooks and crannies of AP Biology. :)


posted by Loren on June 04 2012 at 03:50:41


Fantastic but challenging posted by Riley Price on May 23 2012 at 16:58:24

I would highly recommend this course to any student who has an interest in the subject, and is willing to invest a substantial amount of time in learning and reviewing the material. There are a few things that any student who wants to take this excellent class should know.

 

1- This class is rigorous. I felt very well prepared for the exam by the end of this course, and really learned a lot throughout the year. We covered many aspects of biology, from the very small (cells, genomes) to the not-so-small (ecosystems). The weekly chapter tests were more challenging than many of the questions on the AP exam. The extensive preparation for the labs, Dr. Kanner's study guides, and the discussions on the message board all allowed for in-depth study of the course material. This was definitely time consuming. I put, on average, more than 12 hours per week into this course. This class also requires participants to keep up with the schedule. Falling behind – at all – makes it very hard to catch up. Being able to effectively manage time is a must for any student in this class.

 

2- This class requires interaction with the other students and with the teacher. This class requires a daily investment of around 2 hours, counting the reading assignments and the tasks on the website. Dr. Kanner is very knowledgeable, helpful, and quick to respond to questions. There are several assignments that involve working with other students. Participation in the forum and on the website is required. Promptly responding to emails is also a necessity.

 

3- This class is great! Assuming you're able to manage your time and communicate effectively, this is a really great course. The subject is really interesting, and this was a marvelous way to cover it. I really learned a lot in preparation for the exam. The labs (which I was initially worried about, since this is an online class) were both fun and engaging. This was certainly the most enjoyable course that I took this year.

 

This class is categorically intended for a dedicated student. That said, if you have any interest in biology at all, you should find this class to be a really enjoyable opportunity to learn a lot about the subject. Dr. Kanner is an absolutely stupendous teacher who really prepared me (and, I think, the rest of the class) for the AP Biology exam.   


Four reasons this AP Biology class is outstanding posted by Emma Fowler on May 17 2012 at 02:55:40

I heartily recommend this course to anyone willing to put their back to the wheel and work HARD!  Here is why...

1) This course will win you over to Biology

It is often said that science is rooted in conversation. Dr. Kanner is a supportive, enthusiastic, and organized teacher. She emphasized communication throughout the year, and this made all the difference. Through Dr. K and my classmates' communication, it became a joy to open my textbook every morning.   I have been thrilled on countless occasions to realize how much I internalized from this course.  The logic of the scientific method, discovery of biological principles, and the visualization of life's intricate clockwork have all deepened my interest in biology.

2)…teach you to ask questions and give answers,

In this class, you will set sail as an explorer on a boundless sea of knowledge, but, you will not be alone.  Despite the time-demands of the course, there was continuous interaction between fellow students, on the class message board, and during weekly study groups.  Together, we challenged our understanding of complex concepts, asked questions, and shared our answers.  This was one of the most stimulating elements of the course; our chance to transcend geographical boundaries and meet and think on common ground.  Outside the book, many of us gained an understanding of genetics, evolution and climate change from new and different perspectives.

3)…manage your time effectively,

This course requires personal discipline and organization. Even if you are a perfectionist with time-consuming propensities, you will learn to balance your available time between your personal study goals, weekly class assignments, laboratory exercises, and engagements with study groups.  All work is assigned on a rotating schedule. This provides flexibility, but all the same, punctual work habits and strong study skills are essential for success in this course - as they are in college. 

4) and, it will prepare you excellently for the AP exam.

No matter how daunted you feel by the breadth and depth of AP biology, you will have mastered it by May.  This course was well balanced, perfectly scheduled and a notch above the actual AP exam.  We were constantly putting our knowledge to use with weekly quizzes, assigned question exercises and virtual labs.  In the second semester, we learned to integrate our knowledge of biological principles and our skills in a timed essay setting.  These essays were invaluable skill-building opportunities that desensitized us to the conditions we encountered on the actual AP.  As well as gifting you with enough confidence to succeed on the AP exam, this course will introduce you to an invaluable understanding of and curiosity about the biology in the world around you.


Excellent Preparation for the AP Exam and Exposure the College-Level Biology posted by Jonathan Williams on May 16 2012 at 23:26:36

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

After all the preparation through the school year, I felt very prepared for my AP exams.  The frequent multiple choice quizzes we took in class throughout the year were often harder than those on the actual AP exam, so I could answer the questions on the exam much more easily and quickly.  Also, the frequent practice of timed essays in the second semester taught us how to bring information to mind and communicate it effectively within time limits.  The final review we did of all chapters and labs in the last month of class was very helpful in bringing all key concepts back to the front of my mind, making the multiple choice portion very straightforward and the free response questions very manageable. 

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

Required time investment varied from week to week depending on how many chapters we were assigned or whether we were working on a lab.  I would generally invest between 14-18 hours a week on biology.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

I took high school biology in my freshman year and I began this year (my junior year) with some interest in biology based on my previous experience with it.  However, since I had just taken chemistry in my sophomore year, I favored chemistry over biology at the beginning of this year.  As this year progressed, though, I began to really enjoy learning biology on a much more in depth, fascinating way than ever before.  Instead of my interest in biology decreasing due to the increased challenge of the course, my interest grew as I began to see biology from a new perspective. 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Interaction with other students become particularly important during the second semester.  We began using the course message board to ask and answer each other's questions about the chapters and labs, which cleared up confusion when you asked a question and helped reinforce concepts in your mind if you answered one.

In the last month before the exam, Dr. Kanner had us form study groups for the final review for the exam.  This enabled us to discuss questions, key concepts, and essay prompts from past exams as a group, which helped answer some of my questions and review tougher concepts in preparation for the test. 

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students?

I think the more you enjoy biology already, the more manageable you will find this course.  I began this course with a serious question as to whether I would be able to handle the rigors of the class schedule and hours of study required to succeed.  Ultimately, though, the course compelled me to step up in my commitment, responsibility, and organization to tackle the challenges that came with it.  If you begin with the understanding that you will be challenged this year but still remember that you can face these challenges with good organization and commitment to studying concepts until you master them, you will no doubt succeed in this course and on the AP exam.  


The Best Online Biology Course posted by Richard Easterling on May 16 2012 at 15:34:30

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

I did, very much so. This course did an excellent job of preparing me for the exam. Dr. Kanner is an outstanding teacher and I found her methods highly successful.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I spent about two hours a day working on Biology. In a five day work week that translates to ten hours a week. This was a class that required DAILY work. It would have been impossible to cram this subject at the last minute.

 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

 

I found the Animal Behavior lab to be especially enjoyable. It was fascinating to see how the Pill Bugs reacted to different environments.

 

 Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

 

I was already highly interested in the subject before I took it online. However, the course did serve to enhance it and now I am seriously considering a career in medicine.

 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

I found the study group I attended to be most helpful. Without it I doubt I could have done as well on the exam.

 

I would recommend this class to any student who has an interest in biology, provided they are more than willing to work very hard. This class is only for those who will put in the time, effort, and willpower necessary to achieve good grades. A note of encouragement; good grades in this class earned honestly will almost certainly mean a five on the AP Exam.


Definitely a Challenge! posted by Madison Dressler on May 16 2012 at 14:03:15

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Without a doubt, yes! I was confident when I took the exam knowing that I learned the material and tried my best. The exam was actually much, much easier than Dr. K's chapter tests and even fun because I was able to see how much I had learned over the course of the year. 

How many hours of work per day did you generally put into the course?

When I sent in my Biology application at the beginning of the year, Dr. K emailed me back saying how much of a challenge this course would be. From the time requirements to the difficulty of the material that we would cover, it would not be comparable to any other science course I had previously taken. I could not be more thankful for that email! I still signed up for the class  but began it knowing how hard it would be. I put between 3 and 4 hours a day into Biology, and around 6 hours total each week-end. We would cover between 2 and 3 chapters a week (the chapters are generally 20 pages long, but some are shorter and some are longer) along with labs. The course does get easier after the first semester though! 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

I absolutely loved the labs. It took getting used to doing them online, but I enjoyed wrestling witht he material to answer the questions she asked. The Fly genetics lab was probably my favorite! 

Did this course enhance you interest in the subject?

YES!! I absolutely loved this course. Although it was the hardest course that I had taken, it was also the most rewarding. I want to become a doctor and this course showed me how much I loved to learn. I saw so much evidence of God's hand in creation as I studied the textbook :-) 

What sort of student would do well in this course? 

This course is definitely not for a student looking for an easy year of highschool. It takes dedication, discipline, and a whole lot of perseverance. My test scores were low ( a lot of B's and even a D or two). It seemed discouraging at times, but Dr. K is so, so good about sending encouraging emails right when you need it, reminding you that you CAN do it. It takes discipline because if you fall behind there is no catching up. Because of the sheer amount of material covered each day, you have to stay on track! And, although Dr. K has assignments, you are responsible for making sure that you learn the material! You must learn it well the first time through as well, because there is no way you can relearn that whole book during the month review before the exam. Think hard before you sign up for this class... it is a challenge, but I recommned it to anyone who wants to spend a year immersed in Biology. I LOVED it (and am even a little sad now that it is over). 

A sidenote about the teacher.... she is WONDERFUL! She always emailed back promptly (oftentimes within the hour) with detailed answers to all of my questions (regardless of how silly they were) You must communicate with her though! Follow her lead, study hard, and you will be completely prepared for the exam! 


Think before you sign up! posted by Sarah Hempton on May 15 2012 at 15:52:07

Before I begin answering the questions, I would like to preface this and note that Dr. K is a wonderful wonderful teacher.  She has really been pushing me along all this year, and I am so grateful!  

 

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

 

Absolutely!  I actually found the exam EASY after Dr. K's tests!  The essay questions were a little more difficult, but the class went over everything.

Keep in mind that the exam will be changing next year, so if you do decide to take this class, be prepared to learn EVERYTHING in biology.  We did the same this year, but it is a TON of work.

 

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

 

Most of the students probably put in 3-4 hours per day.  If you have a background in biology and you pick up science easily, you can probably put that much into it and still come out well.  However, I put about 6+ hours per day into this class.  As you can probably imagine, my other subjects fell a bit, and I will be doing math all through the summer.  This particular learning type didn't work as well for me as it did for most, and even with all that work, I am expecting to get a 4, or possibly scrape into a 5.  The entire class is based to visual learners, hands down.  If you were to take this class, you MUST like reading, because we read over 1,000 pages in our textbook!  

 

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found valuable?

 

I have always, and will always, like the labs.  I would say that maybe 20% of the AP Exam this year was based on knowledge from the labs, but I think they are fun and much more interesting than reading in a textbook!  We did most of the labs online, and then Dr. K provided a question form that was graded.  While the labs themselves were fun, the questions definitely helped me to actually think about what processes were going on.

 

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

 

This may be the wrong time to ask this question, as I JUST finished the class (and I still have the SAT II exam to go!).  From October until April, I HATED biology.  I had liked it before, and this class actually turned my interest.  I hated the reading, I hated the tests, everything.  Truthfully now though, I think I was only just stressing out.  I am now looking back and moving forwards and finding biology an interesting subject - just one I will not be pursuing.  

 

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

 

At the beginning of the year, Madison and I had a small arrangement where we would type our notes to eachother, and then ask questions if we had any.  Needless to say, this didn't work out very well, and we stopped doing it after a few weeks.

Around January, I did a project with Richard that was I really enjoyed.  We worked together on it, and while I can't say I learned more from working with him, it was a nice change of pace from the monotonous reading.  

After we finished reading the book, Dr. K organized us into study groups.  I was put in a study group with Khai, Loren, Janna, and Mariam, and Emma sometimes joined us.  This study group helped me more than anything else in the class!  We had active discussions about the concepts, and Khai was extremely good at getting others to participate.  I wish we had done this earlier in the year, as I need discussion to help me retain the knowledge.  If you can, I would recommend that you meet with a group of 3 or more people once a week throughout the class, it will really help.

 

What sort of student would do well in this course?  Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

 

You must be able to read complicated biology chapters at a very quick rate - and retain the information.  If you are a visual learner, this class will work well for you!  If you are an audio learner, but would still like to take this class, I found that reading the material out loud as well as working with a study group helped.  It is a very challenging class, do not underestimate it!  However, you learn so much.  Dr. K is really so wonderful in accomodating any student!  If you have hours per day to put into this class, it is an incredible experience that you will never forget.  If you don't like biology in the first place, or if you have any doubts about not being prepared enough, I would recommend you talk to Dr. K and express your concerns.  She will be able to determine if you are ready.  Just be prepared to work HARD!

 

One extra thing to note for students next year:  DO NOT worry about your grades and/or test scores!  I was freaking out about 70%'s and 80%'s on my exams, but honestly, the class is VERY hard.  Learn from the questions you get wrong, but don't worry about them.  The only score that truly matters is your AP exam score, so work more on learning the material than on getting good test scores.

 

Overall, I do not regret taking AP biology.  I learned so much, met some incredible people, and I hope my scores will reflect my hard work!  Thank you Dr. K for all the help, and thank you to everyone I worked with over the year (Richard, Madison, Khai, Mariam, Loren, and Janna!)!  I wish the students next year luck, and good exam scores!

 

Thank you,

Sarah Hempton


PA Homeschoolers AP Bio Class--Terrific Experience posted by Jesse McNicoll on May 15 2012 at 14:02:37

If you are hoping to learn and understand Biology, to do well on a standardized AP test, and just have a great, organized class experience, this course is for you.  The course prepares you for the exam incredibly well--compared to the complete thoroughness of Dr. Kanner's teaching plan, the AP exam will almost seem easy.  But, understanding that it is a lot of information, Dr. Kanner does an excellent job in helping you understand and process all of it. Any student who is willing to work hard (getting the full benefit out of this course probably requires at least 2 and 1/2 hours of concentrated study per school day, and additional hours on a lab day) and communicate frequently with the teacher will do very well in this class and likely get a 5 on the AP exam. 


Wow. posted by Matthew Kilgore on June 01 2011 at 23:27:39

Prospective Student,

Because you are reading this, you must be considering Dr. Kanner's AP Bio class.  Let me summarize in one sentence:

THIS CLASS IS AMAZING!!!

Excellent--I've got your attention!  Now I can elaborate:

Are you still reading?  Great!  I must now give one final note about AP Bio: it is VERY time consuming.  To make this clear, we read over 1200 pages of textbook.  As you can guess, I thought it was worth it!
I wish you luck, student!


Excellent class! posted by Aimee Owens on May 24 2011 at 18:54:27

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

By the end of this class, I felt thoroughly prepared and (almost) eager to take the exam. The practice tests and essays, and Dr. Kanner’s help and feedback throughout the year prepared me for and gave me confidence on the day of the exam.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I spent at least 3-4 hours a day reading and studying the chapters. Lab days took around 5 hours. I spent around 4 hours a day reviewing and studying during the month before the exam.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Yes! I have realized that biology is an incredibly accessible subject. Like Theresa, I automatically use biology that I leaned this year to classify, examine animals, and understand how things work every day. I’ve also learned that biology can be used in many diverse fields: it can be used to save ecosystems or eradicate a disease, to look for life on other planets or to save someone’s life here on Earth.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

To do well in this course, you need to be dedicated and responsible. It takes hours every day to read, understand and memorize the definitions, processes, etc. However, if you are willing to devote your time and energy to learning the material, this course is wonderful! It is extremely well set-up and run, and Dr. Kanner was an excellent teacher. She was very kind and very dedicated to helping us prepare to the best of our abilities. Our questions were always answered quickly, clearly, and helpfully. I would recommend this course with the highest praises.

 


Good class! posted by Theresa Marlin on May 18 2011 at 01:34:41

I will say first off that math has always been my strongest subject. When my mom and I decided I should take AP Bio, the prospect of a science not entirely math oriented was not a good one to me. Regardless of the fact, of the AP sciences, it seemed the best choice, so off I went.

 

The class was awesome.

 

It was a lot of work. Like a LOT A LOT. You spend hours a day reading text, studying for tests, doing simulated labs, etc. However the course was completely worth it, it definitely prepared me for the test.


If you're wondering what Dr. Kanner is like as a teacher (since I think this is the first review from one of her students) she's really great. She writes back to your desperate pleas for help emails very quickly and if she is not around, she will always say so ahead of time.


The class is not overly interactive (compared to some) but you are still interacting with your peers on study material.

You definitely want to buy study/prep books to supplement the course- the text is very comprehensive and you will not be able to review the entire thing in the small time you have to review. Getting prep books enables you to go over the basics again that are most likely to be on the test.

 

I guess in ending this review, I want to say something about biology itself. It's one of the few AP's that can actually be instantly applied. The only other AP's I had taken were CS and USH, and while both of those were highly valuable, they don't apply directly to the world around you. Literally, as you read your text, you can look out your window and see a living example of it. As soon as you study material enough, you will see it/be looking everywhere for it. On long days of studying, I would take a break and walk outside, and find myself identifying leaves as monocots and dicots- or watching my dog and realizing that we had inadvertently classically conditioned her. The night before the AP exam (mother's day) we went to a chinese buffet, and I found myself dissecting a shrimp and looking at its different parts. Literally everything around you can relate to biology.

 

 


Review of AP Bio posted by Julia Wenger on May 14 2010 at 10:24:45


My Experience with AP Biology posted by Dane Keil on May 12 2010 at 14:42:53

Yes, though the exam was by far the hardest one that I've ever taken.

I put at least ten, but probably more, hours into the course.

I liked the chapters about animal behavior and genetics best.

It did teach me a lot of interesting things about biology that I didn't know before.

I thought that our study nights helped to cement the material in my head.

Someone who has a a passion for the subject and a willingness to work hard would enjoy this course immensely.


A note to prospective students: This course is amazing! posted by Elizabeth Deatrick on June 10 2007 at 16:13:18

What can I say? This was the best course I took all year. In fact, this may be one of the best courses Iíve taken in my entire LIFE. Dr. Gross is very helpful, understanding, and responsive to her studentsí needs. I felt very prepared for the exam when that fateful day came, and I feel that I did pretty well. While I donít yet have my score on the AP test, I took the SAT II Biology E before AP Bio was even over, and I got an 800. Thatís a pretty good indication of how great this course is.

This course is a lot of work. I cannot stress it enough: I was regularly spending three to four hours a day on Bioómuch more on Lab days and less on testing days. Good organizing skills are essential: at the beginning of the course, I spent 15 to 20 hours a week, which gradually fell as I got organized and learned better study skills, which Dr. Gross helped me do.

As I stated before, the labs are very fun, even if they are virtual. I especially enjoyed the fruit fly lab, in which you cross various strains of Drosophila. I wanted to do this lab in the real world, with real flies, and Dr. Gross actually walked me through it, even though sheís halfway across the U.S. from me, sending me e-mails with instructions advice, and asking for progress reports. Thatís how responsive and encouraging she is: she listens to what students want to do, then helps them with it. Sheís amazing. Another example: Dr. Gross, in response to a number of students asking for a regular ďclass time,Ē has set up a virtual IM classroom. Itís purely voluntary to attend, and itís on review days. Dr. Gross answers questions and goes over difficult concepts. Even if you donít have any questions, itís nice to see what others are having trouble with, so that you can watch out for it yourself.

Iíve loved biology since infancy, but this course helped me to focus in on what I really liked. I discovered the field of behavioral ecology, and found that I wasnít interested in organic chemistry or molecular biology very much. It helped me to find out cool stuff about things I didnít know existed (ever heard of the Krebs cycle?) and sink me even more deeply into a field that I love.

Students who love biology will revel in this course, as will those who have a good background in biological concepts. This does not mean it is easy: it is very difficult. You will spend hours learning stuff that may not even appear on the AP exam, and days memorizing cycles and processes that your science-inclined parents have never even heard of. The bottom line is this: you must be self-motivated, diligent, undaunted, and stubborn. If you donít get something, you must work until you get it. A love of biology helps too, as does parents who have experience in the sciences who can take a moment to help you understand something. If you have taken Chemistry before, that will help you a lot, although I managed to squeeze through with only a middle-school Chemistry course. Good math skills will help you too. Itís all worth it, however, and I highly recommend this course. Hooray for Dr. Gross!


From a Former Student posted by Melissa Ciandella on June 01 2007 at 24:05:35

Dear Prospective Biology Student,

So you're considering registering, or possibly have already registered, for Dr. Gross's biology class. Good choice! This class has been really worth my while this past year, and I'm sure that you'll think the same if you take it. Dr. Gross really prepares her students for every aspect of the AP exam. Her organized schedule gets you through the (sometimes very tough) textbook, with several weeks to spare for review. She also assigns timed essays (usually once a week) so that you can practice on the type of assignment that will be on the actual test. These really helped me, as that's the section that I had the most trouble with at the beginning of the year. Her tests also, really test your knowledge on every detail of whatever chapter you've just read. The class as a whole prepares you so well that if you do well in her class, that pretty much guarantees you a five on the exam (the highest score)!

A note of advice though, don't fall behind in the schedule! The assignments are very manageable, as long as you stay on top of them. You absolutely need to set aside enough time each day to adequately read each chapter, go over the review material, or whatever else is assigned for that day. The work usually took me about 2-3 hours; sometimes less, sometimes more. If you put it off, it just gets added on to the next days' workload, making it even harder to catch up. Also, many of the assignments (such as the tests) are due on the same day that they are assigned. If you're not caught up by that point, you've got a big problem on your hands! On the brighter side, if you avoid this (sadly inadequate) habit, you'll have no problem getting it all done.

Also, a word about the tests. Don't get discouraged if your scores on them are lower than you're used to receiving in your other classes. The tests ARE hard, but they prepare you really well for the AP exam. Once you've been taking Dr. Gross's tests all year, the multiple choice section on the exam will be a piece of cake. You may be frustrated as you're taking them in class, but believe me, it will pay off later on.

With that said, I heartily recommend this class to anyone with a deep interest in biology, and a willingness to work hard. I'm sure that you'll find it very rewarding; and when May rolls around, you'll be prepared and ready for the big exam!

Best wishes!

Melissa


Got Dr. Gross? posted by Peter Cahill on May 21 2007 at 13:10:09

Dear Prospective Student of AP Biology with Dr. Lauren Gross,

The following article is an excerpt of mine from the high-school publication The Excelsior: ďDr. Gross is an absolutely excellent teacher. Every weekday she posts a daily message on the class website to remind her students of what our assignments are. These messages also include pertinent information to make her studentsí grasp of biology easier and more complete. She also hosts a study session before each test where she helps her students understand the subject material better by communicating with them in ďlive time.Ē The course material is also very thorough. This course requires about 1-2 hours per day of work, depending on oneís ability to work quickly and well. Laboratory days (only 12 the entire year) do take 2-3 hours and must be completed carefully. Student interaction on the WWW Board is relatively infrequent, but the assigned questions and study sessions allow students to greatly benefit from the knowledge and research of their classmates. One problem with this class is the amount of not-very-useful material about evolution (whether one agrees with it or not) that must be covered for the AP exam. Notwithstanding, this is a truly excellent class!Ē I do feel that this class is a truly excellent selection for your future studies and I hope you will consider taking this stellar course.



Sincerely,

~Peter Cahill


AP Bio posted by Angelia Lia Campbell on May 18 2007 at 14:13:17

I find it hard to envision a class that could better prepare me for the AP Biology exam, and yet remain so fascinating and engaging. Dr. Gross is an amazingly dedicated teacher, and the detail and depth of her advice and answers make up for the (oftentimes quite difficult) detail and depth of the material to be learned. Cautionary note: to do well, dedication and hard work is clearly necessary from the student as well. Myself, I found that I averaged 2-3 hours per day working on Biology.

Regardless of how I actually did on the AP Biology exam, I feel that I gained a great deal of enthusiasm as well as knowledge about Biology through this class.


Colin's Review posted by Colin Price on May 16 2007 at 22:16:06

Yes this course prepared me very well for the AP exam.

I spent an average of 3-4 hours a day and over 25 hours a week.

I think the essays really helped me master the material. It made the transition from fact learning to concept learning. Although tough, they helped me the most, I believe.

I have to say, this course was not as much fun because I am a very big fan of dissections. It did enhance my interest in the subject however.

Communication with the other students was very valuable. I especially liked the IM study group and the minutes that were posted each week. These helped me study for tests.

I think any student who is willing to work extremely hard would do well in this course. Success in this course will take sacrifice of time and a tremendous amount of effort. I've never studied harder for a test and received such a low score. A student for this class needs a "never give up" attitude! This class also taught me perseverance.

I would recommend this class only to someone who is (of course willing to work hard) extremely interested in Biology. In order to succeed in this class, one has to devote many many hours to study and memorization and reading. If you are not interested in the subject material, you will have a harder time succeeding.


To all prospective AP Bio students, take this course! posted by Phoebe Young on May 15 2007 at 22:54:52

Dear future AP Bio student,

This is an excellent course with a wonderful and enthusiastic teacher. There's a lot of work, but you will enjoy it! Our teacher, Dr. Gross, puts a good amount of effort into the course, answers questions immediately, and generally does everything she can to help you.

As a homeschooler, I can have a hard time keeping a schedule and finishing the material in time for an exam like the AP. You won't have that problem with this class. Dr. Gross covers the whole book with a strict (but do-able) schedule that will get you ready for the AP. If you're like me, you'll be wondering what assignments you'll be getting. Well, typically in each 5-7 day cycle, we had 2-3 reading days (one chapter a day), 1-2 review days, 1 test day, and 1 day with a writing assignment (either on a test question or free response prompt.) I usually read the chapters over the reading and review days, taking about 5 hours a chapter.

I found the writing assigments to be particularly valuable. On the first half of the course, our writing assignment was to explain the answers to 1-2 questions from the test. This excercise really helped me understand the material and be able to think through multiple choice questions. In the second half of the course, we switched to writing essays. This was good practice, and Dr. Gross' grading was clear and helpful. I also reviewed old material with a classmate weekly.

In order to do well in this course, it's important to keep with the schedule. Don't fall behind! The schedule is tough, but if you do all the assignments, and work hard, this course has you set up to succeed. Your teacher will also give you plenty of help and encouragement. At the end of the year, Dr. Gross gives you a review period before the AP exam in May, and she helps you plan out your review so this doesn't go to waste. Having followed her organized schedule and your personalized, neat review plan, you'll be set! You'll be both confident and ready for the AP.

In short, this is a great class with a great teacher! And don't forget--as you read the material and try to keep your brain up to the pace, enjoy as you learn!

Have fun, Phoebe


Changed my life posted by Naomi Weston on May 15 2007 at 15:46:45

Biology has been amazing for me this year. I havenít ever had much of an interest in itÖ Iím more of a chemistry personÖ but this class has enhanced my interest in it- in fact, I did my research paper on the Human Genome Project, just because it was so interesting reading about it this year!

This class has changed my view of school. Iíve learned so much not just about Biology, but also about managing my time and learning effectively. Iíd never had to read an entire chapter in a day before, and at first it was really hard, but I found that writing out a schedule every night for the next day really helped me to get things done. I also learned how to really take in and remember everything as I read. I spent about hmmmÖ. 12-18 hours per week on this course. Yeah.

Dr Gross is the best teacher Iíve ever had. Sheís very involved with all her students- answering our questions quickly by email, giving us overviews of chapters before we read them, encouraging us to ask more questions, and even studying with us before tests. I really enjoyed the IM study groups that we would have before tests- everyone communicating together was just great for getting all sorts of questions out, and Dr Gross answered all of them right there (and if she couldnít, she would at least give us a link to where we could read up on it later). I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in the field of Biology!

oh and PS: I am really glad that I took this course BEFORE I went to college, so I could learn how to manage my time. I feel confident about going to university now-thanks a lot to this course, which pressured and forced me into working out schedules to get everything done.


One more thing ... posted by Leah Loke on July 29 2006 at 14:29:15

As this is an AP course, some of you may be thinking: okay, so Dr. Gross is a really wonderful teacher and all, but can an on-line course really prepare students adequately for the AP exam? In addition to their year-long study of the material, in the days before the exam, Dr. Gross sends the students all kinds of reminders, helps, tips, plans of attack, etc. including: "You MUST NOT study the day before the test. Instead, you need to do something fun. Preferably something mindless and physical. You already have absorbed all that can possibly help you. Now you need to give your mind a rest". She talks them through each section of the exam, with hints of what to do first, how to pace themselves, and how to make the best use of their time. When the day came, my daughter felt totally ready to take on the exam. We know students who have taken AP Bio at their schools, and I would even venture to say that my daughter was better prepared than most (if not all) regularly-schooled students.


An Amazing Teacher, and An Outstanding Class! posted by Leah Loke on July 28 2006 at 23:06:15

Our daughter took Dr. Gross's class as a junior, and we cannot say enough excellent things about Dr. Gross and her class. Yes, the workload is brutal (sorry!) because of the amount of information the students have to plow through and understand. But Dr. Gross makes it very enjoyable for the students, and she responds quickly to students' questions. Her copious comments to each student's work let the students know that she reads every word that they took the time to write. Her comments give her students a huge pat on the back when they have made a particularly salient point, and she also offers thoughtful suggestions for improvement where that is needed. One more thing about Dr. Gross -- while the rest of the world is sleeping sounding, she is up grading her students' work or writing her Daily Message to them. My daughter really appreciated the DMs, which are a sort of lecture, to help the students through that day's assignment. And because Dr. Gross works in the dark of the night, the DM is always ready on the class website when it is time for AP Bio at your house.


posted by Natalie Webb on May 31 2006 at 14:28:29

I heartily recommend this course to anyone and everyone who loves learning and is ready to work hard. I am a musician and love the liberal arts, but after taking Dr. Grossí AP Biology class, I do believe Iím bound for a major in the sciences! Dr. Gross makes the class fun and understandable, yet challenging. She is quick to respond to any questions and her explanations are always very helpful. I spent hours every day on AP Biology and loved every minute of it! Aside from the fascinating information, this class also teaches excellent study skills as one plows through the very detailed text. My older brother, who is attending one of the worldís top science schools, says that Dr. Grossí class was the one that prepared him for college. I personally feel well prepared for anything after Dr. Grossí AP Biology! Going into the AP test, I felt confident with the knowledge base I had acquired, and Dr. Grossí tests and essays throughout the year made me very comfortable with the structure, timing, and difficulty of the test (the test was much easier than anything in the course). At the end of the multiple choice section, I had time to recheck my answers three times. Whether you like biology or not, this course teaches essential study and test-taking skills, and, in all likelihood, youíll fall in love with biology along the way!


Biology class review, Kirstin Rissing May 18 2004 at 19:12:05

Hi! I just finished this year of AP biology and took the AP Exam last week...I've got to say that there is a lot of regret about having finished the course!!! It was absolutely fabulous. Grant it, I had to work a ton more than any of my friends did in any of their classes, at least here, but that was my choice and I couldn't be happier with it! Perhaps there is over-testing, but that helped me finish the AP exam with a little time to check over questions. The essays during the year were generally hard for me, but I felt pretty confident on the test as Dr. Gross gave very helpful comments on my essays. She also commented on everybodyís essays, which meant I could look over those who had done better and learn from them! :-) Personally, I loved the genetic labs and they helped explain what we had been reading. I wouldn't say the course "enhanced" my interest, but it makes me want to take a lot more biology classes!!! I'm thrilled about the entire subject now so, ah well, I guess you could say enhanced.... I had a few study groups before the exam. I also got to learn some about the other students. I think any student who is dedicated to the course and tries to have some fun with biology would do great! Depending on the week and especially with labs or essays, I probably put in 12 hours. For any students taking this class, I have one HUGE warning: You might get on your friendsí nerves asking them questions about glycolysis or Krebs cycle or what temperature a wolf's foot is if the temperature is minus thirty degrees centigrade. Well, if you do take this course, you will most probably enjoy it. It is definitely fun. I also know a ton more than I ever thought I would in all areas of biology. Dr. Gross, especially, was very enthusiastic about the subject and did a great job! :-)


I would highly recommend this course!!! by Sarah Arvaneh, May 16 2005 at 20:02:01


I would highly recommend this course!!! by Sarah Arvaneh, May 16 2005 at 20:11:04

I would highly recommend this course for any student who is willing to work hard. I felt that in the end, it was well worth all the time and effort into it. I have a brain filled with the knowledge of animals, plants, and many other beautiful creations and I can possibly get college credit for it if I did well on the exam! Two benefits for the price of one! Personally, I spent between 2-6 hours a day on the class depending on what we had to do; although, sometimes I think I spent even more time. I felt that I was well-prepared for the AP exam and think that Dr. Gross did an excellent job teaching us and answering any questions we had, quite promptly too. When I took the exam, the kids I took it with were shocked at how much work I did and even that I finished the whole textbook! (They only finished the first 25 chapters.) I greatly enjoyed the course and would highly recommend it to any student that has a passion for Biology! Personally, I was actually kind of sad to finish the course, because I had found it so interesting!!!


Great Class by Joann Boston, May 30 2005 at 08:00:47

This course was probably my favorite all year. While I had to work really hard (about 2-3 hours per day, sometimes more), I'd say it was well worth it. The material was really interesting, and I feel that I learned a lot. When it came time for the AP exam, I found that almost all the information I needed was right there. It definitely prepared me well.

In addition to teaching me so much, this class completely enhanced my interest. Even chapters which I didn't like so much offered some pretty cool facts. I was able to understand more in certain magazine articles about health, or figure out why the tree outside my window was releasing the type of seed pods that it did (light, floating things - must be dispersed by air currents, right? :-)).

It was very hard work, and you do need some discipline to get everything done each day. In fact, I almost learned more about my study habits than the biology! But the payback is great, and I highly recommend this course.


Excellent Bio Class! by Eric Hanson, June 01 2005 at 08:33:19

Really great course! Not only did I feel well prepared for the AP exam by the time I was done, but I also had fun along the way. Dr. Gross is an excellent teacher who makes taking what might be a overwhelming course a fun experience. I really did learn a lot; I never thought the scope of biology was this large before this course. Definitely worth taking if you're a student who wants to do well on the exam or if you have a passion for understanding the natural world from the most basic levels to the most complex.


AP Biology is an awesome class!!! by Debbie Beihl, July 18 2005 at 14:18:11

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes, the course did an excellent job preparing me for the AP exam.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

Of course, this varied quite a bit. But, on the average, I probably spent about 3-6 hours a day on the class (sometimes it was more and sometimes it was less). I am the type of student that does all the extra credit work....so, that takes longer! ;-)

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

I found reviewing to be very valuable.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Definitely. I am considering a career in medicine now (before I wasn't really). It especially increased my interest in medical research.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Yes, it was interesting.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

A student that has at least 2-4 hours a day to spend on AP Biology would likely do well in this course. They also must have an interest in biology and in learning. I would highly recommend this course to other students if they are willing to work very hard. It is a rewarding class and Dr. Gross is an excellent teacher! She always answered my questions quickly.


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