Read an Excerpt
ABOUT THIS BOOK AND TESTWARE®
If you’re looking to secure certification as a biology teacher, you’ll find that many
states require you to pass the Praxis II: Biology Core Content Knowledge (0235) test.
Think of this book as your toolkit to pass the test. It will take the mystery and anxiety out
of the testing process by equipping you with the best information, and ultimately, with the
confidence to succeed alongside your peers across the United States.
Our test prep pulls together all the critical information you need to know to pass
the test. We will provide you with the touchstones that will allow you to do your very
best come test day and beyond. In this test prep, we offer in-depth, up-to-date, objective
coverage, with test-specific modules devoted to targeted review and realistic practice
exams. We also include a quick-view answer key, detailed answer explanations, and a
competency-categorized progress chart to enable you to pinpoint your strengths and
However, this test preparation guide is not intended as an all-inclusive source
of biology knowledge, and it is not a substitute for college coursework in the subject area.
The reference list, while helpful, is not exhaustive, and the sample items are not intended
to be exact representations of actual exam items. Instead, the guide is intended to help
test-takers prepare for the Praxis II Biology exam by providing a content overview and
sample questions in similar format and likeness to the Praxis exam questions.
Our TestWare CD contains the practice tests from this book with automatic scoring
and timed testing conditions to help you to become comfortable as you prepare for the
actual exam. We strongly suggest that you begin your preparation with the TestWare tests,
to get a good understanding of the material tested on the Praxis II Biology exam.
ABOUT THE PRAXIS SERIES
Praxis is Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) shorthand for Professional Assessments
for Beginning Teachers. The series is a group of teacher licensing and certification tests
that ETS developed in concert with states across the nation. There are three categories
of tests in the series: Praxis I, Praxis II and Praxis III. Praxis I includes the paper-based
Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) and the Praxis I Computer-Based Tests (CBT).
Both versions cover essentially the same subject matter. These exams measure reading,
mathematics, and writing skills and are often a requirement for admission to a teacher
Praxis II embraces Subject Assessment/Specialty Area Tests, of which the Praxis II:
Biology Core Content Knowledge (0235) is a part. Most Praxis II examinations cover the
subject matter that teacher certification candidates typically study in teacher education
courses such as language acquisition, school curriculum, methods of teaching, and other
professional development courses. In most teacher-training programs, teacher candidates
take these tests after having completed their classroom training, the coursework, and
Praxis III is different from the multiple-choice and essay tests typically used for
assessment purposes. With this assessment, ETS-trained observers evaluate an instructor’s
performance in the classroom, using nationally validated criteria. The observers may
videotape the lesson, and other teaching experts may critique the resulting tapes.
Who Takes the Test?
Thirty states require teacher certification candidates to pass the Praxis II: Biology
Core Content Knowledge (0235) for certification as a beginning teacher of biology in a
secondary school. Check with your state’s education agency to determine which Praxis
examination(s) you should take; the ETS Praxis website (www.ets.org/Praxis/) and
registration bulletin may help you determine the test(s) you need to take for certification.
You should also consult your education program for its own test requirements. Colleges
and universities often require Praxis examinations for entry into programs, for graduation,
and for the completion of a teacher certification program. These requirements may differ
from the baseline requirements the state has for teacher certification.
When and Where Can I Take the Test?
ETS offers the Praxis II: Biology Core Content Knowledge test seven times a year at
a number of locations across the nation. The usual testing day is Saturday, but examinees
may request an administration on an alternate day if a conflictsuch as a religious
How Do I Get More Information on the ETS Praxis Exams?
To receive information on upcoming administrations of the Praxis II: Biology Core
Content Knowledge test, or any other test, consult the ETS registration bulletin or
website, or contact ETS at:
Educational Testing Service
Teaching and Learning Division
P.O. Box 6051
Princeton, NJ 08541-6051
Phone: (609) 771-7395
Special accommodations are available for candidates who are visually impaired,
hearing impaired, physically disabled, or specific learning disabled. For questions
concerning disability services, contact:
ETS Disability Services: (609) 771-7780
TTY only: (609) 771-7714
Provisions are also available for examinees whose primary language is not English.
The ETS registration bulletin and website include directions for those requesting such
accommodations. You can also consult ETS with regard to available test sites; reporting
test scores; requesting changes in tests, centers, and dates of test; purchasing additional
score reports; retaking tests; and other important test information.
Is There a Registration Fee?
To take a Praxis examination, you must pay a registration fee, which is payable by
check, money order, or with American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit
cards. In certain cases, ETS offers fee waivers. The registration bulletin and website give
qualifi cations for receiving this benefit and describe the application process. Cash is not
accepted for payment.
Can I Retake the Test?
Some states, institutions, and associations limit the number of times you can retest.
Contact your state or licensing authority to confirm their retest policies.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK AND TESTWARE®
What Do I Study First?
Read our subject reviews and suggestions for test taking. Studying the review chapters
thoroughly will reinforce the skills you need to do well on the exam. Take Practice Test 1
on CD to determine your strengths and weaknesses, and then restudy the material, focusing
on your specific problem areas. Do the practice questions in this book so that you will be
familiar with the format and procedures involved with taking the actual test.
When Should I Start Studying?
It is never too early to start studying; the earlier you begin, the more time you will
have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to
study because it does not allow you the time needed to learn the test material.
FORMAT OF THE TEST
The Praxis II: Biology Core Content Knowledge test runs for two hours and consists
of 150 multiple-choice questions that address your knowledge of the biological sciences,
the basic principles of science, and the issues and applications concerning science,
technology, and society.
The questions are derived from topics typically covered in an introductory college level
biology course. The test questions address a variety of abilities and knowledge,
and include definition of terms and comprehension of critical concepts. You will also be
expected to use application and analysis to address and solve problems. It is possible that
some of the questions on the test are being assessed for use in future tests and may not
count toward your score.
You should spend less than one minute on each multiple-choice question on each of
the practice testsand on the real exam, of course. The review chapters in this book will
help you sharpen the basic skills needed to approach the exam and offer strategies for
answering the questions. By using the reviews in conjunction with the practice tests, you
will better prepare yourself for the actual test.
You have learned through your course work and your practical experience in schools
most of what you need to know to answer the questions on the test. In your education
classes, you gained the expertise to make important decisions about situations you will
face as a teacher. You should have acquired the knowledge you will need to teach this
specific content in your content courses.
The review chapters in this book will help you fit the information you have acquired
into its specific testable category. Reviewing your class notes and textbooks along with
systematic use of this book will give you an excellent springboard for passing the Praxis
II: Biology Core Content Knowledge exam.
SCORING THE TEST
The number of raw points awarded on the Praxis II: Biology Core Content Knowledge
test is based on the number of correct answers given. Most Praxis examinations vary by
edition, which means that each test has several variations that contain different questions.
The different questions are intended to measure the same general types of knowledge or
skills. However, there is no way to guarantee that the questions on all editions of the test
will have the same degree of difficulty.
To avoid penalizing test takers who answer questions that are more difficult, the initial
scores are adjusted for difficulty by using a statistical process known as equating. To avoid
confusion between the adjusted and unadjusted scores, ETS reports the adjusted scores on
a score scale that makes them clearly different from the unadjusted scores. Unadjusted
scores or “raw scores” are simply the number of questions answered correctly. Adjusted
scores, which are equated to the scale ETS uses for reporting the scores are called “scaled
scores.” For each edition of a Praxis test, a “raw-to-scale conversion table” is used to
translate raw to scaled scores.
The easier the questions are on a test edition, the more questions must be answered
correctly to earn a given scaled score. The college or university in which you are enrolled
may set passing scores for the completion of your teacher education program and for
graduation. Be sure to check the requirements in the catalogues or bulletins. You will also
want to talk with your advisor. The passing scores for the Praxis II tests vary from state to
state. To find out which of the Praxis II tests your state requires and what your state’s set
passing score is, contact your state’s education department directly.
When Will I Receive My Examinee Score Report and in What Form Will It Be?
ETS mails test-score reports six weeks after the test date. There is an exception
for computer-based tests and for the Praxis I examinations. Score reports will list your
current score and the highest score you have earned on each test you have taken over
the last 10 years. Along with your score report, ETS will provide you with a booklet that
off ers details on your scores. For each test date, you may request that ETS send a copy of
your scores to as many as three score recipients, provided that each institution or agency
is eligible to receive the scores.
STUDYING FOR THE TEST
It is critical to your success that you study effectively. Throughout this test prep, you
will find Praxis Pointers that will give you tips for successful test taking. Here are a few
tips to help get you going:
Choose a time and a place for studying that works best for you. Some
people set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study;
others may choose to study at night before going to sleep. Only you
know what is most eff ective for you.
Use your time wisely and be consistent. Work out a study routine and
stick to it; don’t let your personal schedule interfere. Remember, seven
weeks of studying is a modest investment to put you on your chosen
Don’t cram the night before the test. You may have heard many amazing
tales about effective cramming, but don’t kid yourself: most of them
are false. Cramming is not an effective way to study because it does
not allow you ample time to learn and absorb the material tested on the
exam. Trying to cram the night before the test may actually increase
When you take the practice tests in this book, try to make your testing
conditions as much like the actual test as possible. Turn off your
television, radio, and phone. Sit down at a quiet table free from
As you complete each practice test, score your test and thoroughly
review the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly.
Take notes on material you will want to go over again or research
Keep track of your scores. By doing so, you will be able to gauge
your progress and discover your strengths and weaknesses. You should
carefully study the material relevant to your areas of difficulty. This will
build your test-taking skills and your confidence!
During the Test
Pace yourself. ETS administers the Praxis II: Biology Core Content
Knowledge (0235) test in one two-hour sitting with no breaks. Follow
all of the rules and instructions that the test proctor gives you. Proctors
will enforce these procedures to maintain test security. If you do not
abide by the regulations, the proctor may dismiss you from the test and
notify ETS to cancel your score.
Listen closely as the test instructor provides the directions for
completing the test. Follow the directions carefully. Be sure to mark
only one answer per multple-choice question, erase all unwanted
answers and marks completely, and fill in the answers darkly and neatly.
There is no penalty for guessing at an answer, do not leave any answer
ovals blank. Remember: a blank oval is scored as wrong, but a guessed
answer has a chance of being right!
Take the test and do your best! Afterward, make notes about the
multiple-choice questions you remember. You may not share this
information with others, but you may find that the information proves
useful on other exams that you take. Go home and relaxyou deserve
it!and wait for that passing score to arrive.