Barron’s AP Biology Review

Barron's AP Biology ReviewRating: ★★★★★

Barron’s AP Biology book is a review guide for students preparing for the AP Biology exam. However, this review guide is an excellent prep material for the Biology section of the DAT. It is similar to CliffsNotes AP Biology and is not intended to replace a more thorough Biology source such as a textbook like Campbell Biology. It is condensed and succinct so that you only read and study what you need to know.


This is a review book for the AP Biology Exam, therefore not all the information in it is pertinent to the DAT. It is fairly detailed for a review guide, but still is not as thorough as a textbook so don’t expect to find everything about Biology within its pages. You may need supplemental materials for certain subjects, but this review guide does cover all the necessary topics in Biology for the DAT.

Here is an overview of the review guide:

Table of Contents
  • Barron’s Essential 5
Subject Area Review
  • Biochemistry
  • The Cell
  • Cell Respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Cell Division
  • Heredity
  • The Molecular Basis of Inheritance
  • Biological Diversity
  • Evolution
  • Plants
  • Human Physiology
  • The Human Immune System
  • Animal Reproduction and Development
  • Ecology
  • Animal Behavior

Five Themes to Help You Write a Great Essay
Learn How to Grade an Essay

Model Tests
  • Model Test 1
  • Model Test 2

Appendix A–Bibliography
Appendix B–Measurements Used in Biology
Appendix C–Reference Tables

This study guide contains two practice tests as well as the option to purchase a CD-ROM for an additional two more computer based practice tests. The CD-ROM includes automatic scoring for the practice tests and both the book and the CD-ROM contain answer explanations for each question. They also offer an additional online bonus practice test for purchasing the book alone or with the CD-ROM. If you purchase the CD-ROM as well then you will have a total of 5 practice tests. There are also additional multiple-choice and free-response practice questions with answer explanations throughout the book at the end of each chapter.

My Suggestion

Barron’s AP Biology is a great review guide to help you prepare for the Biology section of the DAT. It is cheap, affordable, but also well-written so I would suggest it as a material to use for studying Biology. There are a few errors including grammatical and informative errors which seems to be a common trend in all Barron’s review books, but it is not nearly as error-littered as the Barron’s DAT review guide.

There is quite a bit of material about Biology for a review guide. It contains more content, illustrations, and practice questions than CliffsNotes AP Biology. It is easier to read and study from than CliffsNotes as well. It seems more like a children’s book with all the illustrations, whereas CliffsNotes is more like an encyclopedia that just states the facts. Some answer explanations are slightly vague and it may be difficult to understand why an answer is correct, therefore, a supplemental review source could be helpful to explain more when Barron’s does not.

The strengths of Barron’s that most students find helpful for the DAT is that it is easier to read, more in-depth, and has better review material on Plants and Taxonomy than CliffsNotes. Most students prefer CliffsNotes over Barron’s if you have to pick between the two, but I would suggest using them both together. I would study mainly from CliffsNotes, but would also do all of the practice tests and questions in Barron’s as well along the way and study from Barron’s when you need a more in-depth look at something.

Also, you should use Barron’s for the Plants and Taxonomy sections instead of CliffsNotes as these sections are better explained in Barron’s. That way you will fill in all the gaps of information that you need to know for the DAT Biology section. They are both affordable review guides to purchase and both complement each other to adequately prepare you for the test.

If you have a weak Biology background then you might want to consider purchasing a more thorough review source like Campbell Biology to use in addition to the AP review guides. This way when you encounter material that you cannot understand from the review guides alone you will have a more thorough source to look to for understanding.

Another study tool to use in conjunction with the Barron’s AP Biology review guide is the Barron’s AP Biology Flash Cards. They are a great study aid when used in tandem with the AP review guide and they are just as affordable. They are very detailed for flash cards and very succinct and to the point. The flash cards come in a set of 500 cards covering 20 general categories:

  • Biochemistry
  • The Cell
  • Cell Respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Cell Division
  • Heredity
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Classification
  • Evolution
  • Plants
  • Nutrition
  • Transport
  • Excretion
  • Hormones
  • Immunology
  • Nerves & Muscles
  • Reproduction & Development
  • Ecology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Lab

The flash cards come with a sorting ring enclosed to make it easier to carry and study-on-the-go. It is also easier to organize them to meet your study needs.


Barron’s AP Biology Course Information

Barron’s AP Biology Review
1. Excellent Material For DAT Biology Prep
2. Well Written
3. Cheap & Affordable
4. Easy To Read & Study


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