Entering students interested in receiving academic credit and/or advanced placement for college level work undertaken before entering William and Mary should take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. Credit received through the advanced placement program may be applied toward degree requirements. A score of 5 on the biology examination is awarded 4 Biology major credits and exemption from Biology 220/221 and 225/265. If, however, the student chooses to enroll in Biology 220-221 and/or 225-226, the 4 credits will be converted to Biology 'elective' credits that apply toward graduation, but not applicable toward the minimum requirements for a major or minor in Biology.
Students who choose to use their exemption to move directly to sophomore-level courses do so because they are interested in moving more quickly into specialized topics. We caution that our experience is that significant numbers of these students are not as well prepared in upper level courses as students who have completed Biology 220/221 and 225/226. Students who choose NOT to use their exemption, and therefore take Biology 220/221 and 225/226, do so because they want to ensure a strong basic background at the level we expect in later courses. We encourage this second option for many or most students with a score of 5 on the Biology Advanced Placement Exam. However, our experience is that when students are well informed about the advantages and disadvantages of both options they choose wisely for themselves.