Read an Excerpt
About Research & Education Association
Research & Education Association (REA) is an organization of educators, scientists, and engineers specializing in various academic fields. Founded in 1959 with the purpose of disseminating the most recently developed scientific information to groups in industry, government, high schools, and universities, REA has since become a successful and highly respected publisher of study aids, test preps, handbooks, and reference works.
REA's Test Preparation series includes study guides for all academic levels in almost all disciplines. Research & Education Association publishes test preps for students who have not yet completed high school, as well as high school students preparing to enter college. Students from countries around the world seeking to attend college in the United States will find the assistance they need in REA's publications. For college students seeking advanced degrees, REA publishes test preps for many major graduate school admission examinations in a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, law, and medicine. Students at every level, in every field, with every ambition can find what they are looking for among REA's publications.
While most test preparation books present practice tests that bear little resemblance to the actual exams, REA's series presents tests that accurately depict the official exams in both degree of difficulty and types of questions. REA's practice tests are always based upon the most recently administered exams, and include every type of question that can be expected on the actual exams.
REA's publications and educational materials are highly regarded and continually receive an unprecedented amount of praise from professionals, instructors, librarians, parents, and students. Our authors are as diverse as the fields represented in the books we publish. They are well-known in their respective disciplines and serve on the faculties of prestigious high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States and Canada.
Chapter 1: PASSING THE CLEP BIOLOGY CBT
ABOUT THIS BOOK AND TESTware
This book will provide you with an accurate and complete representation of the CLEP Biology computer-based test, or CBT. Inside you will find a complete review of biology as well as tips and strategies for test taking. We give you three full-length practice tests, all based on the official CLEP Biology subject test. Our practice tests contain every type of question you can expect to encounter on the actual exam. Following each practice test you will find an answer key with detailed explanations designed to help you master the test material.
Practice Tests 1 and 2 in this book and software package are included in two formats. They are in printed form in this book, and in TESTware format on the enclosed CD. We recommend that you begin your preparation by first taking the practice exams on your computer. The software provides timed conditions, automatic scoring, and scoring information, all of which makes it easier to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses.
ABOUT THE EXAM
Who takes the CLEP Biology CBT and what is it used for?
College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, tests are usually taken by people who have acquired knowledge outside the regular classroom and wish to bypass certain college courses and earn college credit. The CLEP program is designed to reward students for learning - no matter where or how that knowledge was acquired. The CLEP is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program in the United States.
Although most CLEP candidates are adults returning to college, many graduating high school seniors, enrolled college students, international students, military personnel, and home-educated students also take the exams to earn college credit or to demonstrate their ability to perform at the college level.
There are no prerequisites, such as age or educational status, for taking CLEP examinations. However, you must meet any specific requirements of the particular institution from which you wish to receive CLEP credit.
Most CLEP examinations include material usually covered in an undergraduate course with a similar title to that of the exam. However, five of the exams do not deal with subject matter covered in any particular course but rather with material taken as general requirements during the first two years of college. These general exams are English Composition (with or without essay), Humanities, College Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences and History.
Who administers the exam?
The CLEP is developed by the College Board and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test development process is designed and implemented to ensure that the content and difficulty level of the test are appropriate.
When and where is the exam given?
The CLEP Biology Examination is administered each month throughout the year at more than 1,200 test centers in the United States, and can be arranged for candidates abroad on request. To find the test center nearest you and to register for the exam, you should obtain a copy of the free booklets, CLEP Colleges and CLEP Information for Candidates (with registration form), which are available from most colleges where CLEP credit is granted. They are also available for downloading from www.collegeboard.com/clep or by contacting:
College-Level Examination Program
P.O. Box 6600
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600
Phone: (609) 771-7865
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
What do I study first?
Before plunging into the topical review, take Practice Test 1 to pinpoint your areas of strength and weakness. With this run-through under your belt, you'll get more of what you need out of our topical review and thus make more efficient use of your valuable study time. In the meantime, be sure to familiarize yourself with the format and procedures involved with taking the actual exam.
A full six-week study schedule, which, if necessary, can be compressed into a three-week plan, is outlined in the front of this book.
When should I start studying?
It is never too early to start studying for the CLEP Biology Examination. 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, since it does not allow you the time needed to learn the test material. The sooner you learn the format of the exam, the more time you will have to familiarize yourself with it.
FORMAT OF THE CLEP BIOLOGY CBT
The CLEP Biology CBT covers the material one would find in a one-year college-level biology class. The exam stresses basic facts and principles, as well as general theoretical approaches used by biologists.
There are approximately 110 multiple-choice questions, each with five possible answer choices, to be answered in 90 minutes. The exam is administered on a computer. For more practice with the computerized format, visit the CLEP Web site at www.collegeboard.com/clep.
The approximate breakdown of topics is as follows:
33% Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Chemical composition of organisms
- Energy transformations
- Cell division
- Chemical nature of the gene
34% Organismal Biology
- Structure and function of plants with emphasis on angiosperms
- Plant reproduction and development
- Structure and function in animals with emphasis on vertebrates
- Animal reproduction and development
- Principles of heredity
33% Population Biology
- Principles of ecology
- Principles of evolution
- Principles of behavior
- Social biology
ABOUT OUR COURSE REVIEW
The topical review in this book covers all the pertinent principles and concepts of biology. It will help reinforce the facts you have already learned while better shaping your understanding of the discipline as a whole. By using the review in conjunction with the practice tests, you will optimize your chance for success on the CLEP Biology CBT.
SCORING THE CLEP BIOLOGY CBT
How do I score my practice tests?
The CLEP Biology CBT is scored on a scale of 20 to 80. To score your practice tests, count up the number of correct answers and enter the result on the scoring worksheet below. This is your total raw score. Convert your raw score to a scaled score using the conversion table on page 8. (Note: The conversions in this book will give only an estimation of your scaled score. Since scaled scores vary from one form of a test to another, your score on the actual exam may be higher or lower than what appears on the chart.)
ETS, which uses a rights-only scoring system to grade CLEP exams, does not subtract any credit for incorrect answers, so there is no penalty for guessing.
When will I know my score?
Since the CLEP is computerized (except for some tests at some U.S. military locations), scores are available immediately upon completion. If you believe you did not do well on the exam, you may request that the test be deleted and not scored - but you may do so only before you have received your score. If you choose this route, your score will consequently not appear on your CLEP transcript. You will not be refunded the fees paid for a deleted test.
Unless you ask to have them sent elsewhere, your scores are reported only to you. If you want your scores reported to a college or other institution, you must indicate this when prompted by the computer. Your scores are kept on file for 20 years, so you may also request transcripts from ETS at a later date.
Although you may not be familiar with computer-based standardized tests such as the CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam, there are many ways to acquaint yourself with this type of examination and help alleviate your test-taking anxieties. Listed below are ways to help you become accustomed to the CLEP, some of which may be applied to other standardized tests as well.
Become comfortable with the format of the exam. CLEP CBTs are not adaptive but rather fixed-length tests. In a sense, this makes them kin to the familiar paper-and-pencil exam in that you have the same flexibility to go back and review your work in each section. Moreover, the format hasn't changed a great deal from the paper-and-pencil CLEP. When you are practicing, simulate the conditions under which you will be taking the actual test. Stay calm and pace yourself. After simulating the test only a couple of times, you will boost your chances of doing well, and you will be able to sit down for the actual exam with greater confidence. One more thing: you're likely to see some so-called pretest questions on the CBT, but you won't know which they are and they won't be scored.
Read all of the possible answers. Just because you think you have found the correct response, do not automatically assume that it is the best answer. Read through each choice to be sure that you are not making a mistake by jumping to conclusions.
Use the process of elimination. Go through each answer to a question and eliminate as many of the answer choices as possible. By eliminating just two answer choices, you give yourself a better chance of getting the item correct, since there will only be three choices left from which to make your guess.
Work quickly and steadily. You will have only 90 minutes to work on 80 questions, so work quickly and steadily to avoid focusing on any one question too long. Taking the practice tests in this book will help you learn to budget your time.
Learn the directions and format for each section of the test. Familiarizing yourself with the directions and format of the exam will save you valuable time on the day of the actual test. Familiarize yourself with the CLEP CBT screen beforehand by logging on to the College Board Website. Waiting until test day to see what it looks like in the pretest tutorial risks injecting needless anxiety into your testing experience.
Be sure that your answer registers before you go to the next item. Look at the screen to see that your mouse-click causes the pointer to darken the proper oval. This takes far less effort than darkening an oval on paper, but don't lull yourself into taking less care!
THE DAY OF THE EXAM
On the day of the test, you should wake up early (after a decent night's rest, one would hope) and have a good breakfast. Make sure to dress comfortably, so that you are not distracted by being too hot or too cold while taking the test. Also plan to arrive at the test center early. This will allow you to collect your thoughts and relax before the test, and will also spare you the anxiety that comes with being late. As an added incentive to make sure you arrive early, keep in mind that no one will be allowed into the test session after the test has begun.
Before you leave for the test center, make sure that you have your admission form and another form of identification, which must contain a recent photograph, your name, and signature (i.e., driver's license, student identification card, or current alien registration card). You will not be admitted to the test center if you do not have proper identification. Consult College Board publications (including the Collegeboard.com Website) for details.
During the Exam
Once you enter the test center, follow all of the rules and instructions given by the test supervisor. If you do not, you risk being dismissed from the test and having your scores canceled.
Finally, the exam will be upon you. Here's what to expect:
- Scrap paper will be provided to you for all CLEP CBT examinations.
- At times your computer may seem to slow down. Don't worry: the built-in timer will not advance until your next question is fully loaded and visible on screen.
- Just as you can on a paper-and-pencil test, you'll be able to move freely between questions within a section.
- You'll have the option to mark questions and review them.
- You may wear a wristwatch to the test center, but it cannot make any noise, which could disturb your fellow test-takers.
- No computers, dictionaries, textbooks, notebooks, scrap paper, briefcases, or packages will be permitted into the test center; drinking, smoking, and eating are prohibited.
After the Exam
Once you have informed the test center administrator that you've finished, you will end your session on the computer, which in turn will generate he printout of a score report. Then, go home and relax - you deserve it!