How Your Knowledge of Biology Will Be
The SAT II Biology tests your knowledge of biology
in three different ways. Knowing how your knowledge may be tested
should help you better prepare yourself for the exam.
These questions test your basic knowledge of the fundamental
facts and terminology of biology. A typical recall question might
ask you to pick out the function of ribosomes or to name the nitrogenous
base that DNA and RNA do not have in common. These questions are
straightforward—they’re simply a matter of knowing your stuff. Some
recall questions might be organized in sets around a figure, as
in the example of the questions about the structure of the heart
we described earlier.
Interpretation and Application Questions.
These questions test your ability to digest data or biological
scenarios and to extrapolate answers from that understanding. These
questions often necessitate that you are able to use, in tandem,
your knowledge of different topics in biology. An interpretation
and application question might present a scenario in which the temperature
drops and then ask you to predict how this change will affect the
metabolism of a lizard and a dog. To answer this question you have
to realize, first, that a question about the change in metabolism
due to temperature is asking about warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals.
To get the question right, you must first recall that a dog is warm-blooded
and a lizard cold-blooded. Then you have to understand how a lowered
temperature will affect each type of animal (as temperatures decrease,
the metabolism of a cold-blooded animal will slow down, while the
metabolism of the warm-blooded animal will remain constant).
Laboratory questions describe a situation in a laboratory
and often provide you with data. To answer these questions, you
must be able to read and understand the data, to form hypotheses
and conclusions based on the data, and to be able to identify the
goals and assumptions underlying the experiment.