The CLEP: Biology examination was developed by the College Board as a way for individuals to demonstrate undergraduate-level knowledge and skills in this subject. Almost three thousand American colleges give credit to students who pass a CLEP exam; for this reason, many college-bound students take a CLEP exam in order to skip over introductory courses.
The content of the exam is broken down as follows: molecular and cellular biology (33%); organismal biology (34%); and population biology (33%). The molecular and cellular biology subsection covers the following topics: the chemical composition of organisms; cells; enzymes; energy transformations; cell division; and the chemical nature of the gene. The organismal biology subsection covers the following topics: the structure and function of plants, with an emphasis on angiosperms; plant reproduction and development; the structure and function of animals, with an emphasis on vertebrates; animal reproduction and development; and the principles of heredity. The population biology subsection covers the following topics: the principles of ecology; the principles of evolution; the principles of behavior; and social biology. The Biology exam consists of 115 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 90 minutes.
After the exam is complete, an unofficial score report will be made available. This score report will include the total score on a scale of 20 to 80; the American Council on Education recommends that students get credit if they score 50 or above. The total score is the raw score (number of correct answers) adjusted according to the difficulty of the exam version. The College Board does not distinguish between unanswered questions and questions answered incorrectly, so test-takers are encouraged to respond to every question. Some of the questions on the exam are pre-test questions, which are used to develop future versions of the exam and do not contribute to the raw score. It is impossible for test-takers to determine which questions are pre-test questions. The CLEP exams are administered in both computer and paper formats at over a thousand locations throughout the world. To register for an exam, visit the College Board website.
CLEP Biology Practice Questions
1. Which organ is deficient when an organism suffers from dwarfism?
C: adrenal cortex
D: anterior pituitary
2. What segregates during anaphase of meiosis I?
B: sister chromatids
C: homologous chromosomes
D: allelic genes
E: non-allelic genes
3. What is the most important product of cell respiration?
E: NADH and FADH22
4. Which of the following pigments reflects green light but absorbs blue and red?
5. What is synthesized inside the ribosomes of a cell?
6. The preponderance of the sickle cell allele among African is an example of which genetic phenomenon?
A: directional selection
B: balanced polymorphism
C: repeated mutations
D: sexual selection
E: gene flow
7. What kind of solution transports water into a cell by means of osmosis?
8. Which of the following cells is a haploid?
A: sex cell
B: muscle cell
E: brain cell
9. Which of the following factors determines the degree of cohesiveness of water molecules?
A: hydrogenated bonds
B: hydrogen bonds
C: ionic bonds
D: covalent bonds
E: oxygen bonds
10. Which of the following digestive organs performs both segmentation movement and peristalsis?
C: small intestine
E: large intestine
CLEP Biology Answer Key
1. D. In dwarfism, the anterior pituitary gland fails to secrete an adequate amount of growth hormone.
2. C. Meiosis is the form of cell division that produces gametes.
3. A. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) gives cells the energy to perform biochemical processes.
4. B. The presence of chlorophyll gives most plants their green color.
5. E. The multitude of ribosomes in a cell convert genetic data into protein molecules.
6. B. Africans are more likely to develop sickle cell anemia, but are also less susceptible to skin cancer.
7. C. A hypotonic solution is more dilute than body fluids.
8. A. Sex cells, also known as gametes, have half the normal compliment of chromosomes.
9. B. A hydrogen bond is a chemical bond between a hydrogen atom and an electronegative atom (in the case of water, oxygen).
10. C. Segmentation is the periodic tightening of various parts of the intestine.