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BIOL 1710: Biology for Science Majors I

Resources to prepare you for a college-level biology course and to supplement the topics covered in your course.

Tips for Taking Tests

Need help improving your test-taking skills? The resources below can help.

Erin's Tips for Biology Tests

When answering a biology multiple choice question, try these strategies to focus in on the correct answer.

  1. Look for words that you will tell you which biological system the question is about. For example, a question that states "a poison paralyzes animals" tells you the question is about the nervous system because a paralyzed animal has impaired nerve function.
  2. Look for words that indicate where a process takes place because this will tell you a lot about the cells, molecules, and mechanisms involved. For example, is a chemical reaction intracellular or extracellular? Is a ligand's target proximal (nearby) or distant?
  3. Look for word prefixes and suffixes to help you understand the functions and properties of molecules. For example, enzymes always have the suffix -ase, e.g., lipase. The root hydro- refers to water and the suffix -philic means attracted to, so hydrophilic molecules are attracted to, or interact, with water. You can learn the meanings of prefixes and suffixes with the Suffix/Prefix Biology Dictionary at

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