7 Cell Raps To Help Memorize The Functions Of Cells

If you’re studying for a science test, one of the best ways to help remember the material is by setting to music! That’s right; cell raps can help you remember the names of the organelles located in each cell, as well as their functions.

We’ve rounded up our top seven picks for cell raps that we think you’re going to love.



Best Cell Rap for Sixth-Graders: Cells Cells by Crappy Teacher

As YouTuber CrappyTeacher (Emily Crapnell) explains in her cell rap video, she created this video to help her sixth-grade science students learn the different parts of a cell. At over 5.7 million views, it seems that this cell rap has caught on with more than just Crapnell’s students! We can’t blame people for watching it; it’s catching and makes science–dare we say it?–fun!

“Today’s the day,” the rap begins; “let’s talk about the building blocks of life–cells that make us.”

The cell rap chorus covers some of the most vital parts of cellular biology. It explains that cells are made of organelles, and mentions cytoplasm, the nucleus (“controllin’ everything”), the membrane, the vacuole (“we can float around for hours”), and chloroplasts by name.

The next chorus explains that there are two different types of cells–animal and plant cells, while the final three stanzas are devoted to explaining in more details with each part of the cell does. “The cell membrane is the border patrol,” raps CrappyTeacher, and then later, “The mitochondria’s something every cell needs, breaking down the food and releasin’ energy.”

Over second thousand people have taken the time to comment on this cell rap. Many mention how they heard it years ago and still remember it, speaking to the catchy lyrics and the arresting beat. While designed for sixth-graders, the content is sophisticated enough that even college students report finding it helpful!

We also feel like it’s one of the best mixes of catchy lyrics and useful information, managing to find a good balance between repetition and new information. Plus, it provides a great video with very helpful images which will further solidify the information in your mind.

The rap can be viewed here or may be purchased.

Best Karaoke Option: The Cell Song by Glenn Wolkenfeld

The Cell Song, created and sung by Glenn Wolkenfeld, isn’t a cell rap–but it is a fantastic way to use the power of song to help commit the parts of a cell to memory! And with over two million views, we’re not the only people who think so.

The song is a folksy, bluesy tune where the singer asks what happens when he goes into a cell. “Who drives this bus,” sings Wolkenfeld, and then he “found myself talking to the boss, the nucleus.”

Unlike some of the other cell raps available, The Cell Song explains that chromosomes stores genetic information, the ribosomes make proteins, and the lysosome use enzymes to dissolve, and centrioles organize chromosomes into spindles.

Wolkenfeld also uses The Cell Song to explain how rigid cell walls allow plants to grow extremely tall, and the purpose of green in the plant cell. “I went into a plant cell, ‘why’s it so green?’” sings the artist. “‘Cause I make food from sunlight,’” answers a green chloroplast.

The video is filled with helpful drawings and diagrams to further illustrate each concept. Wolkenfeld, as we mentioned already, also offers a karaoke version, which is the same version, but instead of Wolkenfeld singing, the lyrics are on the screen.

The Cell Song, like Cells Cells by CrappyTeacher, has the ability to combine great video content with helpful, relevant information about cells.

You can find The Cell Song here, and the karaoke version here.

Best Song With Video: The Parts of a Cell Song by Jam Campus

The Parts of a Cell Song is a cell rap created by an organization called Jam Campus. It’s one of many Jam Campus creations; in fact, the YouTube channel creates educational videos on everything history to science to mathematics.

With over 54,000 views, The Parts of a Cell Song is catchy and well-loved. What we especially love, in addition to the self-made music, is the high quality illustrated video! Any time you can marry great visual images with catchy lyrics, you increase the likelihood of you remembering the information.

The Parts of a Cell Song gets right down to business, stating in its first line, “here’s what each cell contains, outer layer is the cell membrane.” The lyrics point out where cells get their energy (mitochondria), and what ribosomes do (help with protein synthesis).

We also appreciate this lyric, which helps to sum up the parts of a cell, something most cell raps don’t do:

Cell membrane, mitochondria, lysosomes and the ribosomesCytoplasm, nucleus, E.R. and Golgi body, and the nucleolus

​We especially appreciate how accurate the presented information is here (many cell raps mistakenly identify ribosomes as making proteins; however, they simply help in the assembly of polypeptides, chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein).

Best for Repetitive Learning: The Cell Rap with Mr. Simons’ Fifth Grade Class

Mr. Simons and his fifth grade have teamed up to create another great cell rap, available on YouTube. This cell rap has approximately 468,000 views, and we understand why–out of all the cell raps we’re sharing today, this one is probably the most likely to get stuck in your head!

​Every song has to decide how to balance repetition with new information; as you’ll see later, some of the cell rap songs we’ve rounded up choose to focus on including as much data as possible. This rap, however, from Jake Simons, focuses on repetition.

In fact, we feel it focuses a little too much on repetition, but it’s still a great rap that will help cement many of the things you’re learning about cell biology into your memory.

​This five-minute rap features the cytoplasm, the nucleus, the membrane, the vacuoles, and the mitochondria of the cell. Here’s an example of a lyric:

“Just like us, the cell has energy. The mitochondria takes the food and puts it where it needs to be.”

Here’s another line from the cell rap, this one memorably explaining how the cell membrane works:

“There’s a thing called a membrane that holds it all in place so none of us will ever complain.”

​Is this the cell rap to turn to if you need to memorize complicated material? Probably not; but it is a great option for younger students or people who need just the basic parts of a cell!

​Best Use of Additional Resources: The Cell Song by Keith Smolinski

​The Cell Song was written and recorded by Dr. Keith Smolinski as part of a doctoral study to research how music can help students learn complex science concepts. In addition to The Cell Song, which features the parts of a cell, there are another nine songs sold in an album called Biorhythms: The Music of Life Science.

Songs in Biorhythms cover everything from cellular division, to the digestive tract, to the ecosystem. The song we’re featuring, The Cell Song, isn’t a cell rap, but it is well-performed, catchy, and interesting to listen to!

While the accompanying video doesn’t include images, it does utilize the lyrics on screen. In just two minutes and nineteen seconds, Dr. Smolinski manages to cover everything from the nucleus to the cell membranes.

In The Cell Song, listeners learn that the nucleus contains the genetic code, the mitochondria are the power plants of the cell, and the vacuoles store food and water. We also learn that the ribosomes make proteins, the Golgi bodies pack and ship the proteins, and the endoplasmic reticulum carries them.

Plus, the song teaches that lysosomes are janitors, cytoplasm is gel-like, and cell membranes help regulate what comes in and out of the cell.

​In the notes section of this video, Dr. Smolinski also explains that additional teacher’s resources are available on his website, including a Teacher’s Guide for The Cell Song. All of Dr. Smolinski’s resources are based on the National and State of Connecticut Science Standards, so you can be sure you’re getting accurate and helpful information.

Best Rap Alternative: Organelles Song by ParrMr

​ParrMr, a YouTube creator, has garnered over one hundred thousand subscribers thanks to her (or his!) ability to put science lyrics to popular songs. If you cringe over cells raps or want music you’re already familiar with, you can find videos on everything from Pangaea to the atmosphere to the planets.

ParrMr’s songs are set to hits like Forget You by Cee Lo Green, Toothbrush by D’NCE, and Jealous by Nick Jonas. The one we’re featuring here is Organelles Song, set to Counting Stars by OneRepublic.

The music is easy to remember if you’re already familiar with the song–our one complaint, however, is that the lyrics have very little repetition. This has the upside of packing a ton of information into the four-plus minute song, but if you’re trying to make sure the material sticks, this might be a downside.

​“Look inside a cell,” sings ParrMr, who created this song for his or her sixth-grade students, “and you will see…organelles have jobs, yeah, organelles have…jobs.”

​The next lines focus on how plant cell walls and cell membranes protect the line like a fence, letting the right things in and out. ParrMr covers vacuoles, lysosomes, the nucleus, chromatin, DNA, and ribosomes.

The final stanza explains proteins and their relationships to the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, and cytoplasm. Mitochondria and chloroplasts are also mentioned.

​Organelles Song by ParrMr has racked up over 700,000 views, and for a good reason.

Runner-up Rap Alternative: Cells Song by ParrMr

Another much-loved option (four hundred thousand views!) by ParrMr, also for a sixth-grade classroom, this is another song about cells set to hit music. This one, called Cells Song, is set to Sail by AWOLNATION.

In it, ParrMr sings about cell membranes, cytoplasm, organelles, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, and Golgi bodies.

“Cells cells cells cells cells,” he sings, before starting another chorus about vacuoles, the nucleus, and lysosomes.

​Here is the final stanza:

Capturing Sun’s energyChloroplasts in plants and treesAnd cell walls giving box-like shape, rigid

If you’re a fan of pop or dance music or are simply looking for a non-rap alternative to cell raps, this is a great option. It’s short on useful information, but what is included is presented appealingly, and will be likely to stick!

Thanks to these seven awesome cell raps, we have a feeling you’re going to ace your next quiz or test. We’d say good luck, but we don’t think you’ll need it!

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

10  Questions To Study For A Mitosis Quiz In AP Biology

Image source: Pixabay

You should be able to determine the number of chromosomes in cells after division, be familiar with the phases of mitosis, and readily identify cellular structures. Handle a mitosis quiz without stress or anxiety, and read on to learn the questions you must study for a passing score.

10 Questions To Study For A Mitosis Quiz In AP Biology

mitosis process, genetic diseases or anomalies are created.

Image source: Pixabay

If you need to prep for a mitosis quiz in AP Biology, you are going to need to understand the difference between mitosis and meiosis thoroughly.

Many students fail to be able to identify the difference between the two biological processes accurately. So, you don’t want to get disappointing results on your mitosis quiz; there are a few key points you are going to want to study.

Remember to acquaint yourself with the following before you think you are prepared enough for a mitosis quiz.

  • There are six different stages of mitosis.
  • You want to be able to visualize and analyze diagrams displaying the stages of mitosis confidently.
  • It is good to be aware of any irregularities during mitosis and resulting genetic consequences

Give yourself ample time to take comprehensive notes when studying your AP Biology material. Don’t try to memorize everything, but seek to understand and make connections between the information. It may also be helpful to draw out the processes of mitosis, labeling each stage with a description that you can understand easily.

Ask yourself questions about what step comes next, and predict if something were to go wrong in the process what would be the result?

 Taking steps to interact with your material will help you make more sense of things. You don’t want to only memorize and regurgitate the material without having a clear visual understanding of the what and why of the process.

What Is Mitosis?

Mitosis is the name given for the process of a cell’s duplication. When there is one cell with a single set of chromosomes, it goes through a step-by-step process where you end up with two cells that have identical sets of chromosomes.

When there are breakdowns or problems with the mitosis process, genetic diseases or anomalies are created.

 Check Out These 10 Questions To Study For A Mitosis Quiz

six different stages of mitosis.

Image source: pixabay

Out of all the information covering mitosis and meiosis, you may want to consider the following questions to help prepare you for an upcoming mitosis quiz. Choose to break down the information as you see fit and in a language, you can understand. Again, drawing images to help you better conceptualize the process is helpful, as well as using correct terminology.


The centromere is a region of DNA that holds together the two chromatids of a duplicated chromosome. Centromeres are responsible for attaching microtubules and direct the movement of chromosomes in both the process of mitosis and meiosis.

First, the chromosomes move toward the center of a cell during metaphase, and then they proceed to opposite directions during anaphase.


Nondisjunction is when a pair of homologous chromosomes fail to separate. There are three forms of nondisjunction, and two happen during the process of meiosis I and meiosis II.

When the sister chromatids fail to separate during the process of mitosis, the number of chromosomes is abnormal, resulting in aneuploidy.

If a single chromosome is lost from a diploid genome, it is called monosomy. If a chromosome is gained, it is called a trisomy.

When chromosomes fail to separate correctly, it can lead to a genetic disorder such as Downs Syndrome or Turner Syndrome. In the most extreme cases, aneuploidy can be lethal. The risk of nondisjunction taking place increases exponentially with the rising age of parent cells.

Typically disjunction is found during the process of meiosis.


Before chromosomes become visible during the prophase stage, the chromosomes are long strands called chromatin. The chromatin is tightly wound up into chromosomes.

Chromosomes are made up of DNA which is coiled tightly around histones. Histones are proteins which support the structure of the thread-like structures. Chromosomes are not visible under a microscope if the cell is not dividing, and it is not visible in the nucleus of the cell.

The short arm of a chromosome is the ‘p arm,’ and the long arm is known as the ‘q arm.’


Cytokinesis is the process when cells physically divide. The cytoplasm of a parent cell splits into two daughter cells.

This process starts during anaphase and doesn’t stop until the telophase. Cytokinesis takes places during both mitosis and meiosis.


Cellular division during mitosis may be triggered because of the need to replace or repair dead or lost cells or to grow in size. As part of the cell cycle, a cell will prepare to divide at interphase and begins its division process during mitosis.

A single cell will divide and reproduce copies of its DNA into two identical cells. The number of chromosomes will be the same as in the parent cell.

What Is The Difference Between A Diploid And A Haploid?

Diploid cells have a set of chromosomes from two different parents, with two homologous copies of each chromosome of their parents. Diploid cells reproduce by mitosis, and somatic cells are examples of diploid cells.

Haploid cells are created because of the meiosis process. Gametes or sex cells are a common type of haploid cells. Haploid cells only have one complete set of chromosomes.

Define Polyploidy And Aneuploidy?

When there is a variation in the number of chromosomes, it is described as being either aneuploidy, monoploidy, or euploidy. Depending on whether one part of a chromosome is lost, an entire set of chromosomes is lost, or one or more than one complete set of chromosomes is gained the term changes.

With chromosomes, conditions can either be double monosomic or double tetrasomic.

What Is An Allele And The Law Of Independent Assortment?

A gene is a single unit of information that is hereditary. Except in the case of some viruses, genes are made up of DNA which transmits traits. An allele is a genetic sequence which is a variant of a gene. When there are differences among copies of a gene, they are called alleles. At the locus of a gene, there are only two alleles present.

Gregor Mendel has been credited with our enlightened understanding about genetics, heredity, and what happens when there are variants in genetic transmission. According to Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment, a pair of alleles will separate independently when gametes are forming. Traits are transmitted to offspring independently.

The Law of Independent Assortment was formed on principles uncovered when Gregor Mendel conducted experiments creating dihybrid crosses between plants which had two different traits. As a result of Mendel’s experiments, a ratio developed to reinforce this concept.

 What Type Of DNA Damage Occurs When Cytokinesis And Mitosis Fail?

If a cell fails to separate during cytokinesis, it may have multiple nuclei.


During the prometaphase and metaphase stage, if a cell fails, it enters the G1 phase of a cell cycle, or it results in cell death. The checkpoints within the cell cycle help to regulate the process of cell division and will signal to different pathways if there is a failure.


Steps are automatically taken to prevent any damaged DNA from being reproduced or transmitted to a new generation of cells, to protect integrity.


When mitosis fails to carry out is process an abnormal number of chromosomes is created. To prevent continuous cell division, abnormal cells may be removed. A failure in mitosis typically activates cell death and consequent DNA damage.

What Are The Cell Checkpoints And What Are Their Functions?

Depending on if certain conditions are met cellular division may be inhibited, such as in the instance that growth hormones are released. When there is cellular growth, cells have to divide to prevent cell crowding.


If there is a release of specific hormones or a lack thereof, cell checkpoints may not allow the progression of a cell to the next stage in the cell cycle until there are viable conditions.


At the G1 checkpoint, any damage to DNA and relevant external stimuli are evaluated before a cell can move forward to interphase.


The G2 checkpoint is needed to make sure that all chromosomes have been replicated without any damaged DNA. Until this is assured, a cell will not be able to enter mitosis.


The M checkpoint is responsible for making sure every chromosome is attached to the spindle, and will not allow the separation of duplicated chromosomes if there is a problem.


Cell checkpoints are part of the eukaryotic cell cycle.

Additional Helpful Pointers

Before your quiz make sure that you can break down any pertinent information in easy to understand terms. However, be aware of the correct terminology and the sharp differences between mitosis and meiosis to reduce any unwanted confusion. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and give yourself enough time to study the material before attempting to complete a quiz.

Don’t underestimate or disregard the power of drawing out your own diagrams to fully grasp the concept of each stage of mitosis. Visuals can have a stronger influence than reading words alone about the process.

Ten Famous Biologists Who Changed Their Field of Study Forever

Biology is one of the most interesting and diverse fields of science, and there have been many famous biologists. Biology is a natural science that focuses its study on life and living organisms, and biologists often specialize in a specific aspect of life, such as studying a particular organism or aspect of life such as hereditary or evolution.

There have been many luminaries in the biological sciences who have advanced our knowledge of the natural world and our place in it. It’s difficult to produce a list of the top 10 most famous biologists, but each person on the following made significant contributions to their field that are still being felt to this day.

Our List of 10 Famous Biologists

  • Aristotle
  • Rachel Carson
  • Gregor Mendel
  • Andreas Vesalius
  • Charles Darwin
  • Louis Pasteur
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
  • Alexander von Humboldt
  • Carl Linnaeus
  • Joseph Lister


Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and is best known as the father of Western Philosophy along with his teacher Plato, and as one of the earliest famous biologists of recorded history. His influence on the physical sciences is almost as great as his influence on philosophy and he pioneered the study of biology from a systematic perspective. He spent two years observing and writing about the zoology of the island of Lesbos and its surrounding seas.

Among his observations, Aristotle described the sea life captured by the islands fishermen including electric rays, frogfish and catfish. When it came to cephalopods, such as the paper nautilus and the octopus, he was the first to describe the use if the hectocotyli arm in sexual reproduction, a view that scientists discounted until the 19th century when it was observed again.

Aristotle noted that an animal’s structure matched its function. For example, he described how Herons, marsh-dwelling birds, have long necks and legs, perfect for walking and hunting in the mud, while ducks swim and have short legs with webbed feet. In his studies, he distinguished around 500 species of animals, arranging them in his History of Animals, and he called this system the ladder of life. The different classifications he placed animals in are the precursor of the scientific classification still used today that was created by another member of of our famous biologists list, Carl Linnaeus.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson is a famous biologist, specifically a marine biologist, and author who was a pioneer of the Environmentalist movement. In the 1950s she began research on the ecology and organisms of North America’s Atlantic Shore. While performing this research, she observed that synthetic pesticides that were being widely used at the time to eradicate insects such as the Gypsy Moth were having negative effects on the environment.

Carson used her findings on the environmental damage caused by synthetic pesticides such as DDT for her most famous book, Silent Spring. She gathered examples of the damage caused by the use of DDT despite the fact that her research was opposed by many powerful organizations from chemical companies to the United States government’s own researchers.

In Silent Springs, Carson labeled pesticides as biocides as their effects were not limited to the invasive or harmful species they targeted, and they instead caused widespread damage to the other organisms in the ecosystem. When the book was released, it sparked interest in protecting the environment and led to the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

Gregor Mendel

Considered the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel was in Augustine Friar and scientist in the 19th century. He performed studies on the pea plant that included experiments that established many of the rules of heredity and gave future generations better understanding of crossbreeding in animals and plants, allowing them to favor certain desirable traits and places him on our list of famous biologists.

Known today as the laws of Mendelian Inheritance, he determined that some traits were dominant and others regressive. Take, for example, seed color. When Mendel crossbred a true-breeding yellow pea with a true-breeding green pea, the offspring produced yellow peas because the yellow pea trait was dominant. In the next generation, one out of four of the green pea producing plants produced yellow peas, because of the recessive gene.

The true significance of Mendel’s discovery wasn’t appreciated until well into the 20th century because it was so controversial during his lifetime, so it was largely ignored at the time. Once it was re-discovered, it became a cornerstone of the study of genetics and evolution. On a more practical side, it enabled the understanding of crossbreeding and led to the development of heartier and healthier lines of vegetables and fruit that we see in our supermarkets today.

Andreas Vesalius

Andreas Vesalius was a Flemish physician and anatomist. His study of the human body led to his influential book on human anatomy: On the Fabric of the Human Body. This book became so influential that Vesalius is considered the father of modern human anatomy, which landed him a spot on our list of 10 of the world’s most famous biologists.

Vesalius had a prestigious medical career, and he traveled throughout Italy with priests to help those afflicted with Hanson’s Disease, more commonly known as leprosy. At the time, most of the knowledge of human anatomy came from animal observations as religious laws forbid the study and dissection of human corpses. However, Vesalius performed public dissections, notably on the body of a notorious criminal named Jacob Karrer von Gebweiler following his execution. Vesalius assembled the bones of the skeleton and it is still preserved and on display in the University of Basel.

As with many people on this list of famous biologists, his impact wasn’t fully known at the time of his death. His findings bucked the traditional views of anatomy that had existed for centuries and those views persisted during his lifetime and afterward. Centuries later, when the study of anatomy became more established and easier to perform, his views, based on his own experimentation and observation became the foundation for modern anatomy.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin, one of the most famous biologists to hail from Britain, is known as the father of evolution for his 1859 book On the Origin of Species. Darwin performed the research for this book while working as a naturalist on the HMS Beagle on its round the world voyage from 1831 to 1836. Most of Darwin’s observations on the journey were surveying and charting the coastlines, but it was at the Galapagos Islands where he made his biggest contribution to biology and solidifying his place among the world’s most famous biologists.

The Galapagos Islands are a small chain of islands off the coast of South America, and when the HMS Beagle arrived, Darwin noticed that several similar species had different characteristics depending on which island they lived on. He’s known for his work observing 15 different species of finches, small birds that had different sized and shaped beaks that evolved to fit their environment. This helped Darwin come up with his theory of natural selection.

Natural selection is the cornerstone of modern biology, and Darwin postulated that random mutations arise in the genome of individual organisms. The offspring of these organisms inherit these and when these traits enable the offspring to better survive and pass on its genes the mutated organism survives and differentiates itself from the original. However, Darwin’s theory of evolution is still controversial to this day among certain religious groups, but the scientific community generally accepted it during his lifetime.

Louis Pasteur

The French biologist and chemist Louis Pasteur is best known for his breakthrough discovering the causes of diseases and preventing their spread. Besides that, he invented pasteurization, the technique for treating milk and other liquids to prevent bacterial contamination. He is known as a father of microbiology, and because of the prevalence of pasteurization in today’s world, of all the famous biologists on the list, Pasteur is one of the most impactful scientists of the modern era.

While germ theory is an accepted part of modern science, in Pasteur’s time, it was believed that diseases came from a miasma, or bad air, and spontaneous generation. While other scientists had theorized about germs prior to Pasteur, his revolutionary work showed the first proof that many diseases resulted from bacteria or viruses and not spontaneous generation.

Pasteur showed this by doing fermentation experiments. The skin of grapes contains natural yeasts that enable the grape juice to be turned into wine, so Pasteur sterilized grapes and grape juice and showed that it would not ferment because of the lack of yeasts. Many of these experiments used heat to sterilize the grape juice, and this became the basis of pasteurization. Because of pasteurization, the shelf life of many foods has been greatly extended. This has vastly improved the safety of the food supply and cut down on the spread of many diseases, saving thousands of lives in the process.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

A Dutch scientist and businessman, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek lived during the Golden age of Dutch science and technology. He is known as the father of microbiology for his pioneering microscopes and discovery of microbes, even though he was a self-taught scientist. While working in a drapery shop, van Leeuwenhoek became interested in the possibility of using magnifying glasses to better judge the quality of the threads in his drapes. This led to an interest in developing his own microscope. By the time his death, he had created at least 25 single lens microscopes.

The discovery of microbes came with his examination of pond water with one of his microscopes. He discovered the large amounts of tiny organisms that inhabit even a drop of water. He referred to these as Animalculum, or tiny animals, in Latin. With further experiments, he became the first person to observe and document the microscopic view of bacteria, crystals, red blood cells, muscle fibers, and more.

As opposed to most scientists in their discoveries, he did not publish his own papers. The information known about his work came from letters he sent to the Royal Society in London. This gave him fame, and since he used his own designs for microscopes, he had a veritable monopoly on microbiology during his lifetime. Ever the businessman, he worried that if others understood the ease in which he made his microscopes, they would forget about his discovery, but today, microscopes are ubiquitous to the scientific community.

Alexander von Humboldt

Alexander von Humboldt was a German explorer and naturalist who laid the foundation for the field of biogeography, the study of how species in ecosystems are distributed worldwide and through time. Through his studies, he became the first person to describe the effects of human-induced climate change. His background in biogeography came from his desire to find a unified theory of nature that combined biology, geology, and meteorology.

Building upon this work, scientists have been able to trace the movement of different species and use that information to learn much more about our world. An example of this is continental drift. The earth’s surface is made up of several tectonic plates, and many theorized that the continents had, in the distant past, been one giant continent known as Pangaea. The study of biogeography has shown the distribution of fossil records of the same species in far-flung continents to support this theory.

Another important contribution to biology and to science that came from Alexander von Humboldt’s work is the 19th-century movement called Humboldtian science. Using Humboldt’s methods and following his general ethics for scientific exploration, several of the most important 19th-century scientific luminaries including Charles Darwin, Sir Edward Sabine, and Charles Lyell made huge leaps in human knowledge. Because of this, almost all scientific discovery after Humboldt is due in part to his influence, and he earned a place on our list of famous biologists

Carl Linnaeus

A botanist and zoologist from Sweden, Carl Linnaeus developed the system for naming and organizing living organisms that we still use today. Because of this and his other scientific discoveries, he is known as the father of modern taxonomy and the father of modern ecology. It was not until Linnaeus developed his taxonomy that there was a universally accepted way to classify living organisms. Linnaean taxonomy classifies animals and plants into kingdoms, classes, orders, genus and finally species, which shows how different organisms are related to one another.

These concepts allowed later scientists to build upon Linnaeus’s work and look at the taxonomy of evolution. Later scientists had modified and added to Linnaeus’s classifications to include new kingdoms of organisms such as fungi, Monera, and protozoa. Even today, when new species are discovered, Linnaean taxonomy is used to classify them.

Linnaean taxonomy has also been applied to the evolution of human beings. Linnaeus classified humans under primates in his first version of his taxonomy. This was controversial at the time because of the belief that human beings were separate from the animal kingdom, but it led to other scientific discoveries of the origin of the human species.

Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister was a British surgeon who was a pioneer of antiseptic surgery. Prior to the acceptance of germ theory, many physicians did not know the link between microorganisms and disease. Because of this, there was little attempt to clean their hands or instruments before they performed surgery. This resulted in many infections after surgeries that led to the death of many patients. Lister introduced the use of carbolic acid for the cleaning of wounds and the sterilization of surgical instruments, which led to a reduction in post-operative infections and earned Lister the moniker of the father of modern surgery.

Prior to Lister’s discoveries, most surgeries were performed under very unsanitary conditions. Surgeons would often leave their operating gowns unwashed, displaying the stains as a display of experience. Hospitals didn’t even have facilities for washing hands or patients wounds before Lister’s insistence that it would make a difference in the number of patients who contract a deadly infection.

Lister developed his antiseptic carbolic acid solution by testing Pasteur’s findings. He performed human testing on a seven-year-old boy who suffered a compound fracture from a cart accident. By covering the boy’s wounds with lint dipped in his carbolic acid solution, the boy remained infection free. From his research, he instructed surgeons to wear clean gloves and wash their hands before and after each surgery.


Looking over our list of 10 of the most famous biologists, we hope you can see the great advancements to science these people brought about. The interconnection between their work is another aspect that should be apparent as all great scientists build on the work of great scientists who came before them. None of the people on this list of famous biologists could have made the discoveries and theories they are most famous for without the work of others, so keep that in mind as you look to a potential career in biology. Remember the great minds of the past and use their work to work on the next big discovery!

How To Study For Biology: 5 Easy Tips

Some of us thrive in certain types of classes, while others may need to work a little harder. Biology is something you may or may not have a passion for, but if you want to do well in school, you’ll need to do well in the class! As you may soon discover (if you haven’t already,) Biology class may feature different concepts from anything else you’ve heard before. That’s why you must understand how to study for it. There’s no magic trick to doing well in biology. You need to just follow these five easy tips to help you ace your next exam.

How To Study For Biology In 5 Easy Ways:

1. Come To Class Prepared And Take Notes

Sometimes taking notes can seem a bit over the top. After all, most of what you’ll be taking notes on will be in the book right? And if it’s not in the book, then you’ll surely be able to find it online. While all of that is true, coming to class to take notes will help you discover how to study for biology. Taking notes will:

person holding books

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Keep You Engaged

Let’s face it, there are times when class is boring and your mind may wander. Every once in a while, you’ll have a lecture that completely puts you to sleep. You’d rather put your head down, look on your computer, text with a friend or do anything else than be attentive in class. Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

However, if you want to up your grade on your next biology exam, then you’ll want to take notes primarily because the activity itself forces you to keep your mind engaged with the material. You’ll be more likely to remain focused on the task at hand, and that is key to encoding the test material into your long-term memory.

More Likely to Retain Information

No matter how good you are, you simply will not retain everything you hear. In fact, studies show that we actually retain little of what we hear. If your professor provides visual aids with what they talk about it helps, but still there is a limit to what you’ll remember. When you combine taking notes with what you hear in a lecture (and see in visual aids), it’s proven that you’ll remember more of the material. That is because you’re forcing yourself to be physically engaged with the material. If you want to know how to study for biology, then you must be active in your studying — and that starts with taking notes!

​It’s on the Test!

​Above all else, the information your professor takes the time to talk about will be on the test. By taking notes in class, you’ll have your very own blueprint for which highlights to study because they will be on the test. So, head into class ready to take notes. You want to know how to study for biology? This is absolutely one of the best ways to prepare yourself.

2. Learn The Important Terminology And Drawings

​In every class you take, there will be certain lingo you will encounter — probably words you’ve never heard before. These words are specific to biology and key in your studies. You’ll want to learn them. The same can be said of any drawings that are presented by the teacher in class. You’ll get a better handle on how your professor gives tests after the first one.

lady holding a pen

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But if you haven’t taken your first test yet, then it’s important to study all terms and drawings. Then, after you see what was chosen for the exam, you’ll be able to fine tune how to study for biology ahead of future exams.

​Flash Cards

​One of the best ways to learn new and sometimes technical terminology is with the aid of flash cards. Write the new word on the blank side of the card, then flip the card to its ruled side and write the term’s definition, including any examples that make it clearer.

And, here’s the kicker: each time you add new words to the deck, take a couple minutes to go over the previous cards you’ve written. This way, you won’t feel like you’re cramming 100 words at once, but you’ll just be adding a few new definitions to your vernacular at a time.

Although most textbook softwares allow us to make electronic flash cards now, it is more effective for most students if they write the cards themselves. The process of doing so takes time, we realize, but doing so helps encode the information into our brains. It’s been proven that, the way our brains and memory work, anatomically, it is easier to build our learning and understanding of new words a few at a time during multiple visits to those words and their meanings.

3. Go From General To The Specifics

​When it comes to the best way of how to study for biology, one thing you want to avoid is trying to get too specific at the start. You need to understand the basic concepts before zeroing in on something specific. It would be like trying to do calculus without understanding addition and subtraction. So, start with the basic, early stuff, and then ease your way in. Want to know how to study for biology in this way?

​Look Back at Previous Information

If you’re trying to study something specific and it’s not making any sense, then it means you probably don’t remember the general concepts behind it. That’s okay. Everyone goes through it. It just means you need to go back and brush up on some information so you have some context for the new material. It’s better to cover some information again rather than to force yourself to memorize specifics of which you have no real understanding.

​In learning how to study for biology, you’re not trying to just do well on your exams. Your overall objective should be to learn and retain the material for use in your career later on. Attempting to remember something specific without knowing the general concepts is a bad idea, because you’ll confuse yourself and be much more likely to scramble it up on exams and, worse, in real life. So never feel bad or ashamed that you need to go back and brush up.

4. Take Advantage Of Lab Time

​Undoubtedly, there will be open “lab” times throughout the semester. These are times beyond the class period that are great for those who know how to study for biology. Chances are, the lab time is not even required, but we highly recommend you take advantage of it. Open labs are the best way to process information you’ve learned, retain that information (encode it into your long-term memory) and to understand the concept fully.

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​Go with Someone

​One of the best ways to take advantage of lab time and to improve how to study for biology is to go with someone else who is interested in doing well in the class, too. By going to lab with a classmate, you will feel accountable to someone else and more than likely you will go if you feel it is an obligation to someone other than yourself. There’s the added benefit of you both being able to keep each other on track.

5. Strategize Using Past Exam Questions

​Every professor is a little different in how they put together their exams. It will take a test or two before you can catch on to how an individual professor prefers to test, how he/she phrases their questions and how specific they will get in quiz material. To do your best on your exam, you’ll want to look at past exams and the questions on those. These exams will offer your insights into how to perform well and is one of the best ways we know how to study for biology.

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Keep Your Old Tests Handy

Look over your previous tests. You’ll begin to see your professor’s patterns. If you have been taking better notes, then you’ll also discover how they focused on certain topics in class and then used this information on tests. Armed with the combination of your old tests to study and your current notes, we bet you’ll be able to perform exceptionally well on your next exam. This is particularly true and important if your final exam is cumulative.

​​​No Exams? Study Everything

Now, if you haven’t taken an exam yet, then you won’t be able to gauge your professor’s testing techniques and likely material. If you know someone who has taken the class from the same professor before you, it doesn’t hurt to ask them about the tests and what they focused on. You can even ask them if they have an old test. While the test questions will probably change (so it’s no use trying to study the order of answers or anything like that,) you can at least see how a professor asks questions, what they focus on and might be critical to study.

BONUS TIP: Buddy Up!

With the five tips we’ve given you, we are certain you know how to study for biology better. But we will give you one more piece of advice: buddy up!

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If you make a friend in class with someone who is interested as much as you are in making a good grade, you’ll undoubtedly do better. You’ll have a backup for note taking if you have to miss class due to illness, you’ll have someone who can quiz you with flash cards, you’ll have someone who can refresh your memory (and vice versa) over general concepts so you can better understand specifics, you’ll have a buddy that encourages you to attend labs and you will have someone to help you analyze previous tests.

​Go Get That A!

​If you’re looking to improve your performance on your next bio exam, you’ll need to study. If you put forth the effort in studying the correct way, then you’ll do just fine. And, the best part is, these tools we’ve given you will help you do well in all your other classes, too!

Your Guide To Your First Earthworm Dissection

META: follow our handy guide to dissecting your first earthworm and learn some interesting things about them too.

Earthworms play essential roles in many ecosystems. They help introduce oxygen to the soil and mix it up. As they tunnel through the ground, they enrich the soil and push it toward the surface where it’s easier for plants to get to the nutrients. You can see the organs that help these worms do their jobs by dissecting an earthworm.

Safety First

Safety is critical in all aspects of our lives. It may seem trivial in a controlled environment like a school biology lab, but it’s not, and all safety rules should be followed. They are in place to protect you and your classmates, so don’t skip any regulations just because you think it will be ok or those rules don’t seem to apply to your circumstances. The basic common-sense rules are:

  • Wear safety gear when necessary like goggles, gloves, and aprons.
  • Most preserved specimens contain formaldehyde, so wash them first.
  • Do not play with lab equipment or instruments such as scalpels and scissors.
  • Do not eat any parts of your specimen. Yes, there is an apparent reason for this rule.

laboratory safety measure

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Your lab should have the rules and safety measures available plus your instructor will go over them with you. Don’t assume the only rules are the ones we list here. The type of lab and type of specimen determine the rules. Ask for a copy of the rules if you don’t see one posted in the lab. Your teacher should be close by most of the time to help you guide you as well.

Always wear safety goggles and gloves. If you have to carry a sharp instrument, hold it with the pointed end pointing down and away from your body. Don’t rush or run while holding a scalpel or scissors. Never carry a knife or scissors by any part other than the handle. Scalpels are razor sharp, and it only takes a split second for them to cut you open.

Keep your station clean and tend to any spills immediately unless they pose a breathing hazard. Dispose of any blades, gloves, aprons, and specimens according to the established rules in your lab. Your teacher will probably explain all the rules to you, but don’t wait to ask if you aren’t sure what to do. Teachers are there to help educate you and keep you safe.

Earthworm Dissection Guide

Earthworms are great for helping you understand simple organisms and basic anatomy. They’ll help you get a grasp on lab safety before you progress to larger specimens like pigs or frogs. As a bonus, they’re small and soft, so handling them is much more comfortable as well.

The first step is to examine the exterior of the earthworm. Earthworms are segmented works, so they look like a long stack of small rings. They don’t have a head or any limbs, but they do have a fascinating exterior anatomy to study. The anterior end of the earthworm is a little fatter than the posterior. When you locate the anterior end of the work, pin it to the dissecting pan or tray.

earthworm in laboratory

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Earthworms are annelids which means their bodies are composed of multiple ring-like sections or segments. This part may not be on your teacher’s list, but it’s always interesting to count the segments while you study the exterior anatomy of the earthworm. While you count, notice the small setae on the ventral surface. These little bristles help the worms move through the dirt with ease.

Each segment along the worm’s exterior has small pores. These pores excrete the sticky film you find when you run your finger along a live worm. You may need a magnifying glass or small microscope to see them. It depends on the size of your earthworm specimen and your eyesight as well.

From the anterior end of the worm, count your way down to segment fourteen. Typically, this is where the oviducts are located. The oviducts release the eggs when the worm reproduces. The exciting part is the next segment after the oviducts; it contains the sperm ducts. Earthworms have both male and female reproductive organs.

Further down the worm at segment 31 is the clitellum. It secretes a sticky mucus that binds two earthworms together while the mate. It develops a cocoon to hold the eggs and sperm after mating is finished. Earthworms are simple worms, but fantastic at the same time. Their exterior anatomy is fascinating to study.

person holding earthwork in hand with soil

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Earthworms are hermaphroditic which means they have both female and male reproductive organs. Eggs come from the ovaries inside segment fourteen, sometimes thirteen. It can be hard to count the segments on small worms. Worms have testes which can form in segments near the oviducts. Study these segments and see if you can find the reproductive organs on your specimen.

When worms mate, they get stuck together briefly to help keep the reproductive organs aligned. Sperm from both worms travels into the other worms seminal receptacle. The clitellum creates the cocoon which moves along the outside of the worm to collect the semen and the eggs. The eggs are fertilized outside the worm in the cocoon.

By now, you should have a good understanding of the exterior anatomy of your earthworm specimen. Remove the pin from the anterior end of the earthworm and place it on its ventral side, then put the pin back in the anterior end of the worm. The ventral side of the worm is a little flatter than the dorsal side, and it may be a lighter color.

Carefully and slowly make a shallow incision using your scalpel from the anterior end of the work to the clitellum. Never cut toward your body or fingers. Be extra careful and keep the incision shallow, so you don’t cut into the worm’s digestive system and internal organs. Use your forceps to spread the worm open and pin the sides of its body to your dissection pan or tray.

close up photo of earthworm dissection

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The inside of the worm should be exposed now. You may want to lightly sprinkle water over the worm to keep it from drying out while you study the inside of it. The interior part of the walls is called the septa. See if you can tell the difference. If possible, ask your teacher to point them out and help you see the different layers.

Now, the internal digestive organs should be exposed and available for study. Starting with the mount on the anterior end of the worm, locate the organs. The first organ you see is the pharynx. The worm’s esophagus protrudes from the pharynx. About halfway down your incision are the crop and gizzard. Skip the other organs for now and find those two.

The crop is essentially a stomach. It stores food until the food is moved to the gizzard which grinds it up. The food leaves the gizzard and goes into the intestine, much like it does in humans, and travels to the anus. Along the way, the worm’s intestines absorb nutrients from the food the gizzard crushed and ground up. Earthworms don’t eat dirt. The consume organic materials found in the soil.

Make your way back up to the crop. If you look above the crop on the anterior side, you’ll find five pairs of aortic arches. This is the worm’s version of a heart. The hearts are located around the esophagus, and they connect to the dorsal blood vessel. That’s the worm’s version of an artery. Most earthworms can take direct damage to half their aortic arches and live.

Move your attention back to the pharynx at the anterior end of the worm. Locate the cerebral ganglia beneath the pharynx on the dorsal side. You may need to use your forceps to move some organs around to get a good look at it. The ventral nerve starts at the cerebral ganglia and runs the length of the worm. It may be hard to see if it is too small.

They are simple creatures speaking purely on their anatomy, but how their bodies and mating works are truly amazing. If you have time, go back over this tutorial again and study the worm longer. When you finish exploring, make sure you clean your workstation and dispose of your specimen correctly. Dispose of your lab gear according to the lab rules. Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water.

Some Final Notes

Earthworms are vital to the health of our soil. The improve drainage, help stabilize the land, and add nutrients to the ground. Worms feed on organic materials they find in the dirt. Their bodies use the nutrients they need and deposit what’s left back into the soil as waste. Fortunately for plants, that waste is usually nitrogen-rich along with other nutrients plants need to grow.

Their worm tunnels help loosen the soil which aids plants in root development. We could go on and on about the benefits of earthworms. If you follow our guide to dissecting earthworms and read our interesting facts along the way, we’re sure you’ll be able to dissect an earthworm specimen safely. You may even appreciate these simple creatures a little more when you are done.

What Can You Do with a Biology Degree: Ultimate Guide

​Biology is one of the most diverse areas of scientific study, and it is also a specialty that’s in high demand in a variety of fields, from education to opportunities to help to create innovative pharmaceuticals and other products. If you are considering specializing in biology or you are already working your biology degree, you have likely asked “What can you do with a biology degree?” This article highlights 10 cool careers that can put your biology skills to the test.

What Can You Do with a Biology Degree?

Biology is the science of life, and the skills you learn earning a biology degree are fundamental in many potential career paths, including professions in the healthcare field, environmental projects, food science, and academic prospects such as teaching or writing. When considering the careers on this list, think about what aspect of biology you enjoy the most and let that help guide you as you search for the job that would fit you best.

​Ten Cool Careers That Will Put Your Skills to the Test

Physician or Surgeon

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So what can you do with a biology degree? A go-to answer is become a physician or surgeon. This is understandable as physicians and surgeons are respected and well paid. They play a vital role in improving the overall health of the populace and the need for physicians and surgeons is always high.

However, to become a physician or surgeon requires a lot more than just a bachelors degree. Years of medical school and then residency is needed, and the work itself can be difficult and present situations that might make some uncomfortable. Physicians and surgeons are also among the most highly stressful jobs, so they are not for everyone.

That being said, a biology degree is a great place to start when considering a career as a physician or surgeon. There are other careers in the healthcare and medical fields such as physician assistants, laboratory technicians, and pharmacist that are not as lucrative as being a physician or surgeon, but they aren’t as stressful and they still require the skills one learns earning a biology degree.


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Microbiologists are scientists that study microscopic organisms such as algae, bacteria, and fungi. Most careers in microbiology only require a bachelors degree and there are several fields where microbiology is important. Most microbiologists work in the medical industry, conducting research in a lab setting on different diseases or looking to microscopic organisms to find potential treatments.

This is not the only area of research for microbiologists, however as there are several industries that use microscopic organisms. A microbiologist can find lucrative work in food science or even manufacturing.

If you are considering a career as a microbiologist, focusing on research and writing is important. Research takes up of a microbiologist’s time, but writing is of equal importance. A microbiologist must be able to write about his or her research and also write grant proposals to help fund research projects.

​​Environmental Scientist

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Environmental science is an important interdisciplinary field, and biology plays an important part in it. Other aspects of environmental science include: atmospheric science, environmental chemistry, geosciences, and ecology. A degree in biology would be most helpful in ecology, but those considering a career as an environmental scientist would be well served by studying some related fields such as geology, chemistry and meteorology.

Environmental scientists study the environment and work towards producing solutions to environmental problems such as pollution and global warming. As with microbiology, to become an environmental scientist requires only a bachelors degree.

This is a growing industry as concern for the environment and the potential damage mankind has caused, and is continuing to cause, to it continues to grow. An environmental scientist performs a variety of research focused on protecting the environment and enhancing the health of the biosphere.

​​Food Science and Technology

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When one asks “What can you do with a biology degree?” a career in food science is not often expected as a first response, but a profession in food science and technology can be lucrative as the field is growing. This is a good field to consider if you want to make a real difference in the lives of both people and animals. A food scientist with a biology degree can work to develop new products or sources of food, preserve food, solve agricultural problems, and more.

Many technological breakthroughs in the world’s food supply over the last 200 years have made our food safer and healthier, increasing the shelf life and preventing contamination with microorganisms. Modern food scientists continue this work today, and with advancements in microbiology, scientists are working to create new sources of food that are more environmentally sustainable. A career in agricultural or food science requires only a bachelor’s degree and offers some of the highest entry-level salaries for any career that requires a biology degree.

​​Marine Biologist

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Marine biology is often one of the first areas of biological study that most people think about when they consider the question, “what can you do with a biology degree?” This is more than understandable as it combines the allure of the sea with a love of sea creatures. Given the environmental importance of the oceans, marine biology is not only an interesting career but can be an important one in preserving our environment.

Marine biology offers a multitude of different aspects of specialization depending on the organisms studied and even where those organisms live. Marine biologists play a part in the fishery industry as consultants in the energy industry and in environmental protection. A strong background in research, both in the lab and in the field, will help those with a biology degree get a job in marine biology. Volunteer work, research experience, and past work with animals can also be key in finding a career as there is a lot of competition in the field of marine biology.


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It might surprise you that “attorney” is an answer the question “what can you do with a biology degree?” but there is a great need for attorneys with a scientific background. The greatest need in the legal profession for attorneys with biology degrees is in intellectual property, specifically regarding patents. Securing a patent on a new drug, biotechnological product or medical instrument is one of the most important aspects in their creation. An attorney with a background in biology will better understand the underlying science of the patents and better to secure it for the researcher who invented it.

Other areas in which a biology degree might come in handy as an attorney is in medical and environmental litigation. Litigation focused on pharmaceuticals and environmental damage can sometimes require expert testimony. An attorney with a biology degree is in a better position to understand, question, or refute the testimony and evidence needed in these types of trials.

That said, as with physicians and surgeons, a career as an attorney requires an advanced degree. While it is a lucrative career path, it might not have as great a growth prospect as other careers. There are a lot of lawyers already, and law schools are reporting record attendances, but a background in biology might make you stand out from the crowd.

​​Science and Health Educator

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Teaching might not be the most lucrative of careers, but it is a rewarding occupation for someone with a biology degree. As a teacher, you’ll help shape the minds of the next generation. This is an excellent career path for those that love teaching or spending time around children. As with many other career choices, there are many specialties in education. You can find a teaching job at the secondary or high school level, become a professor and teach at a college or university, or become a health educator in a non-academic field.

To teach K-12, you will need to complete an education degree in addition to your biology degree. The exact requirements will differ from state to state, but the university where you study biology will have resources available to find the exact requirements for the state where you want to look for a job. Becoming a professor requires higher degrees, but also offers the opportunity for more research and writing than teaching K-12.

​Pharmaceutical and Medical Sales Representative

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​This is another often overlooked answer to the question “what can you do with a biology degree?” Pharmaceutical medical sales representatives sell medicine and medical supplies to physicians, clinics, hospitals and care homes, and a strong knowledge of biology and chemistry is important to help a sales representative communicate the benefits and risks of the products. A bachelors degree is generally required to become a pharmaceutical and medical sales representative. This is a good job for an outgoing person, especially one with a charismatic attitude and the ability to persuade others.

​​Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant

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​​​Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are two of the most in-demand jobs in the medical field. They are often at the front line of healthcare service providers. These jobs require some advanced training though not as much as a physician or surgeon. A degree in biology will provide an excellent springboard for that advanced study. Besides a degree in biology, a strong understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and the biological systems will help in both the advanced study required and on the job.As with a physician and surgeon, these jobs can be high stress and deal with situations that might not be comfortable for everyone. That said, they are both lucrative positions and are expected to only increase in demand. These are excellent options for people who want to get into the medical field but do not want to commit to the extensive educational and residential requirements of becoming a physician or surgeon.


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​​Writing is one of the other unexpected answers to the question, “what can you do with the biology degree?” but there are several types of writing where a biology degree will aid the writer. The most obvious of these is scientific writing. There are several publications that have a focus on science, and a degree in biology might help you write science fiction as well.If you are considering using your biology degree to pursue a career as a writer, a solid understanding of the English language is important. For more scientific writing, a background in research will give you experience in writing reports and make you a more attractive candidate. For those that might consider a writing career in fiction, creative writing courses will help.


​Whether you are considering studying biology, are currently working toward your biology degree, or you already have one, we hope our list of 10 cool careers that will put your biology skills to the test is answered the question, “what can you do with a biology degree?” and gave you some inspiration for a future career path.


Questions To Study For A Brain Anatomy Quiz In AP Biology

Questions To Study For A Brain Anatomy Quiz In AP Biology

human brain

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Taking AP Biology? Have a brain anatomy quiz coming soon? We’ve got 17 questions to help you study for it, plus some clever tricks and tips for studying smarter, not harder!

Parts Of The Brain

parts of human brain

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One of the first things you should have to ace a brain anatomy quiz is a thorough grasp of the parts of the brain and each part’s function. Here are some of the questions you might expect:

1. Where Is The Cerebellum Located And What Does It Do?

human intelligence

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The cerebellum is the part of the brain situated at the back of the head. It receives sensory information and regulates your motor movements. The cerebellum also controls balance and coordination, helping you to enjoy smooth movements.  

2. Which Part Of The Brain Processes Visual Information?

The occipital lobe lies underneath the occipital bone. It is part of the forebrain (you have two, technically; one at the back of each cortex) and is responsible for processing visual information. Here’s a helpful memory device: the “o” in occipital can remind you of the “o” in optometrist or ophthalmologist.

3. If A Person’s Frontal Lobe Is Injured, What Functions Might He Or She Lose?

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The frontal lobe can be found in the front of the brain, in each cerebral hemisphere. A deep groove called the central sulcus separates it from the parietal lobe, and another groove called the lateral sulcus separates it from the temporal lobe. A part of the frontal lobe known as the precentral gyrus contains the primary motor cortex, which controls specific body parts’ voluntary movements.


The frontal lobe is responsible for reasoning, higher order thinking, and creativity, so if somebody’s frontal lobe is damaged, he or she could have difficulty making decisions and reasoning.

4. What Are The Gyrus And Sulcus And How Do They Help The Brain?

Gyrus are the ridges on the brain and sulcus are the grooves (also seen as furrows or depressions). Together, their up and down “motion” are responsible for the folded, “spaghetti” appearance of the brain.


They are, in fact, an extremely clever way of making the most of very limited space. The brain is limited to the area inside your cranium, but the folding of the brain tissue allows a much greater surface area for cortical tissue, allowing additional cognitive function even in a relatively small space.


The human brain begins as a smooth surface, but as the embryo develops, the brain begins to form the deep indentations and ridges we see in the adult brain.

5. What Part Of The Brain Controls The Primitive Parts Of Our Body?

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Pons is the Latin word for bridge, and that’s exactly what the pons appears to do in the brain, as its physically connected to the brainstem. Like any good bridge, the pons contains neural pathways to move signals to the medulla, cerebellum, and thalamus.


Many of the nuclei contained inside the pons are responsible for relaying signals, as we’ve already described, but other nuclei play roles in primitive functions that we don’t normally consider being within our control, such as respiration, sleep, bladder control, and others.

6. What Is The Corpus Callosum?

The corpus callosum sits underneath the cerebral cortex. It’s about 10cm long and is a thick, tough bundle of fibers that connects the cerebral hemispheres (right and left), enabling them to communicate with each other.


It has over 200 million axonal projections, making it the largest white matter structure.

7. Which Part Of The Brain Is The Newest From An Evolutionary Perspective?

orange and black question marks on a black ground

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The cerebrum is the part of the brain that is outermost. In it, the brain can store memories, call upon senses, and establish self-awareness. High order functioning can also take place here and its known for being larger in musicians and left-handed individuals. It is also considered to be the most recent brain development.

8. How Many Lobes Is The Brain Comprised Of, And What Are Their Names And Functions? 

Inside the brain is found the occipital lobe (see question #2), the frontal lobe (see question #3), the parietal lobe, and the temporal lobe. The parietal lobe sits behind the frontal lobe and above the temporal lobe. It is where the body becomes self-aware and plays an important role in language processing.


The temporal lobe plays a role in the processing of sensory input, helping the brain to translate these inputs into meaning. If, for example, you smell apple pie and think of your grandmother, you have your temporal lobe to thank!

9. Which Part Of Your Brain Acts Like A Supercomputer?

human brain as supercomputer

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The thalamus is the small organ at the very center of your brain that acts as a supercomputer or switchboard, relaying signals throughout the brain. It is one of the most important parts of the brain and regulates motor signals, sleep, and consciousness.


Closely related to the thalamus is the hypothalamus, which sits just underneath the thalamus and regulates the pituitary gland and homeostasis.

10. Which Part Of The Brain Helps You Sneeze? 

The medulla oblongata (medulla is Latin for “middle”), and the medulla oblongata is located on the brainstem close to the cerebellum. It is responsible for involuntary or autonomic processes, which include vomiting and sneezing. It also helps with breathing, cardiac functions such as heart rate, and blood pressure.

 The Central Nervous System

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The central nervous system is another important subject likely to show up on a brain anatomy quiz. The questions below will help you better prepare.

11. What Is The Central Nervous System (CNS) Comprised Of? 

The brain and the spinal cord make up the CNS, which is protected by the skull and the spine’s vertebral canal. It is the command center of the entire body, regulating all activity and processing all sensory inputs.

 12. What Role Does The Midbrain Play In The CNS? 

smiling woman

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The midbrain controls visual reflexes (including automatic eye movements, such as blinking and focusing). It also contains nuclei that link parts of the body’s motor system, including both cerebral hemispheres.

13. What Is A Neurotransmitter? 

A neurotransmitter is a chemical that a nerve fiber releases when a nerve impulse arrives. It diffuses across the junction or synapse so that the impulse may pass to the next nerve fiber, muscle fiber, or other structure. Both neurotransmitters and inhibitory neurotransmitters are found in the brain.

14. What Is The Difference Between Dopamine And Serotonin?

person head with white question mark

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Dopamine and serotonin are both powerful neurotransmitters. Serotonin impacts your sleep, arousal, hunger, and mood, while dopamine impacts your brain’s pleasure and reward system, your learning and attention, and movement.

15. What Is Glutamate And Why Is It Important? 

Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter found in the CNS; in fact, it accounts for more than 90% off all the synaptic connections in your brain! Some parts of the brain, including granule cells found in the cerebellum, rely on glutamate almost exclusively. Glutamate also plays a vital role in memory and learning.

16. Can You Name The Most Common Inhibitory Neurotransmitter In The Brain?

boy with different books

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GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the brain. It is considered inhibitory because it helps to calm or reduce neuron excitability. This means it plays an important role in calming anxiety. It also is responsible for the regulation of muscle tone.

17. What Is The Neurotransmitter That Triggers Our Fight Or Flight Response?

The fight or flight response is also called the acute stress response or hyperarousal; it is a physiological reaction that occurs when the brain perceives an imminent threat. Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) is the neurotransmitter most responsible for this response. It can signal an increase in blood flow to muscles and greater blood flow through the heart, among other things (this is why your heart starts to beat quickly when you’re afraid).  

The Quick Guide To Studying Smarter

man imaginations

image via: maxpixel.net

If you’re reading this article, you’re already well on your way to preparing for your brain anatomy quiz, but here are a few more tips to help you get the most out of your time studying:

Get Lots of Rest

Sleeping instead of studying sounds counterintuitive, but without sleep, your brain will have a hard time committing what you’ve learned to memory. In fact, one of the best things you can do to prepare for a test or quiz is to get a good night’s sleep the night before!

Use Memory Devices

We’ve already hinted at a few tricks for helping your brain remember facts (did you notice them in the questions above?), but mnemonic devices and facts set to music help those boring facts stick much better than just rote memorization.

Setting the major parts of the brain to your favorite song, for example, can help pique your brain’s interest and increase emotional arousal, increasing your odds of remembering the information!

Finally, make it real. Drawing the brain, using models of the brain, or reading stories about people who have injured certain parts of the brain are all ways to make abstract concepts seem real–and make you more likely to remember them. Good luck!


10 Best Colleges for Biology Majors Looking to Leave Their Mark on the World

An education in biology is one of the most flexible degrees for undergraduate students. When you attend one of the best colleges for biology, your career possibilities are endless; if you aren’t interested in becoming a teacher, researcher, or conservationist, you can pursue a graduate degree, attend medical school, or even start your own biotech company.

FAQs About the Best Colleges for Biology

biology class

Image from Pixabay

An undergraduate degree in biology is a good choice if you want a career in a scientific field. A bachelor’s degree in biology can lead to future graduate studies, but even without an advanced degree, you might get a job as a science writer or research assistant, or in sales and marketing for a scientific company. The specific major you choose will play a role in what doors are open to you after college.

1. Why a Degree in Biology?​

Undergraduates that enroll at one of the best colleges for biology will master the principles that govern life processes at all levels—from molecular and cellular to organismal and ecological. Modern biology is a vast field and has many specialized disciplines, such as ecology, zoology, and astrobiology (to name a few).

college degree in biology

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Students that want to contribute to the next wave of life-changing STEM innovations should strive to attend one of the best colleges for biology. In addition to the world-class education you will receive, the best colleges for biology have the faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and alumni that new graduates can leverage to launch themselves into the next phase of their biology career.

2. Types of Undergraduate Biology Degrees

For students at the best colleges for biology, there are many specializations and degree combinations available, including: anatomy, biophysics, cell and molecular biology, computational biology, ecology and evolution, environmental biology, forensic biology, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biosciences, natural science, neurobiology, physiology, zoology, and many others.Before you get overwhelmed and panic about picking the best combination of courses for your career, rest assured that the best colleges for biology will provide you with the core principles of the science before asking you to choose a specialization area.

3. Career Options for Biology Degree Holders


Image from Pixabay

Like many other STEM fields, the career options for biology graduates depends on the level of qualification attained. For example, the basic skills developed in an undergraduate program at one of the best colleges for biology are transferrable to many industries, while the most sought-after biology careers will require higher levels of academic study and research.

That being said, careers options for biology degree holders go far beyond the science and health industries. In fact, many students focus on research at academic or private companies, become investigative science journalists, or even join law firms that protect endangered wildlife and the environment. Regardless of your individual career aspirations, a degree from one of the best colleges for biology will provide a solid foundation that will ensure you land in a professional environment that is challenging and rewarding.

How We Reviewed

To help you learn more about pursuing a degree in biology, we picked 10 of the best colleges for biology based on information such as program features, pros and cons, the cost to attend, and the school’s website where you can learn more.

Overall Price Range

price range of colleges for biology

Image from Pixabay

The cost of an education at the best colleges for biology isn’t cheap, but the long-term payoff for your career will be well worth it. On paper, the best colleges for biology we reviewed range from $8,500 to $80,000 a year. However, all the colleges we reviewed actively work with students and families to provide financial aid so that no student turns down the opportunity to enroll because it is too expensive.

10 of the Best Colleges for Biology We Reviewed

  • Harvard University
  • Berea College
  • The University of Arkansas
  • Stanford University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Brown University
  • Rice University
  • Princeton University
  • Duke University
  • Vanderbilt University

Harvard University

harverd university logo

Image source: harvard


As one of the most famous education institutions in the world, Harvard University’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology is also one of the best colleges for biology. Undergraduate students at Harvard can choose from three biology concentrations — Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neuroscience, or Chemical and Physical Biology — that combine coursework with hands-on research. In addition to Harvard’s research facilities, the school’s biology undergraduates are right across the river from Boston’s biotech startup scene, world-renowned medical centers, and industry-leading science organizations.


  • One of the “Big Three” Ivy League schools
  • The Coalition, Common, and Universal College Applications are all accepted
  • Famous classmates and well-connected alumni
  • Joint concentrations available
  • Masters and doctoral degree programs also available


  • Extremely competitive admissions (acceptance rate is only 5%)
  • High tuition costs if you don’t qualify for aid

Berea College

berea college

Image Source: Berea


Proudly called the college that delivers “the best education that money can’t buy,” Berea College is a small private institution that makes a no-tuition promise to every student enrolled at the school. Located in Berea, KY, Berea College’s Biology Department enables biology majors and minors to understand scientific inquiry and introduces them to the major areas of biological science.Qualified students often serve as departmental laboratory and teaching assistants, while others engage in faculty-directed research and independent studies. The core courses for graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in biology are Modern Biology, Experimental Zoology, Botany, Genetics, and Evolution.


  • No application fee
  • Students are encouraged to study overseas through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
  • Admissions are fairly competitive
  • Named one of the “Best Liberal Arts Schools” by Times Higher Education


  • Does not accept the Coalition, Common, or Universal Applications
  • No graduate or doctoral programs
  • Lower than average graduation rates

The U​​niversity of Arkansas

university of arkansas

Image Source: fulbright


The University of Arkansas (often called U of A, UARK, or UA) is a large public research institution in Fayetteville, AR. Besides being the flagship location of the University of Arkansas higher education system, the Fayetteville campus is also home to the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Biological Sciences. In addition to their coursework, biology majors also take part in many types of research projects—from molecular and cellular biology to evolutionary biology and population ecology.


  • In-state residents enjoy tuition breaks
  • Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees available
  • Masters and doctoral degree programs also available


  • Out-of-state students pay more in tuition
  • Does not accept the Coalition, Common, or Universal Applications

Stanford University

standford university

Image Source: biology


Located in the town of Palo Alto in California’s Silicon Valley, Stanford University is one of the best colleges for biology. Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences offers bachelor’s, coterminal master’s, and doctoral degrees and all students take part in groundbreaking research and innovations.Biology majors can choose from many tracks, including Biochemistry and Biophysics; Computational Biology; Ecology and Evolution; Marine Biology; Microbes and Immunity; Molecular and Cellular Development; and Neurobiology. Stanford’s honors program allows students to complete a substantial piece of independent Biological research and pursue a specialized field of study within the major.


  • Access to Silicon Valley and biotech companies
  • An “Ivy Plus” school
  • The Coalition and Common
  • Applications are acceptedBiology minors are available


  • Tuition and expenses are high if you do not qualify for aid
  • Admissions are highly competitive
  • Palo Alto and the San Francisco Bay Area have one of the highest costs of living in the world

Johns Hopkins Un​​iversity

johns hopkins university

Image Source: Bio


The Department of Biology within the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences was one of the first biology departments established in the United States and is home to 27 research laboratories that investigate a wide range of biological problems. In addition to coursework, undergraduates studying biology can earn academic credits by participating in research studies — an opportunity to get hands-on learning experience under the guidance of professors, postdoctoral fellows, and research scientists.Graduates of Johns Hopkins bring their detailed and nuanced view of biology with them to their professional lives, showing superior knowledge at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels.Johns Hopkins also has a 10-week summer program called BioREU that provides intensive, mentored research experiences for undergrads — especially those attending institutions with limited research opportunities. BioREU is a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site funded by the National Science Foundation.


  • A five-year program for a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s degree is available
  • Academic credit is given for research participation
  • The Coalition, Common, and Universal College Applications are all accepted
  • Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in biology are available


  • Tuition and expenses are high if you don’t qualify for financial aid
  • Admissions are competitive

Brown University

brown university

Image Source: Brown


The Department of Biology within the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences was one of the first biology departments established in the United States and is home to 27 research laboratories that investigate a wide range of biological problems. In addition to coursework, undergraduates studying biology can earn academic credits by participating in research studies — an opportunity to get hands-on learning experience under the guidance of professors, postdoctoral fellows, and research scientists.Graduates of Johns Hopkins bring their detailed and nuanced view of biology with them to their professional lives, showing superior knowledge at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels.Johns Hopkins also has a 10-week summer program called BioREU that provides intensive, mentored research experiences for undergrads — especially those attending institutions with limited research opportunities. BioREU is a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site funded by the National Science Foundation.


  • A five-year program for a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s degree is available
  • Academic credit is given for research participation
  • The Coalition, Common, and Universal College Applications are all accepted
  • Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in biology are available


  • Tuition and expenses are high if you don’t qualify for financial aid
  • Admissions are competitive

Ric​​e University

rice university

Image Source: Rice


Located in Houston, TX, Rice University is a private institution and one of the best colleges for biology in the country. Biology majors at Rice concentrate in either Biochemistry and Cell Biology or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and participate in multidisciplinary degree programs in Biological Science, Environmental Science, and Neuroscience.Research is a large part of a biology major’s life at Rice and areas of focus include animal behavior, biochemistry, biophysics, cancer biology, cell biology, computational biology, conservation biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, plant biology, signal transduction, structural biology, synthetic biology, and systems biology.The faculty at Rice University are prominent members of diverse scientific organizations and are routinely recognized nationally and internationally for their groundbreaking research and teaching accomplishments.


  • Rice accepts the Common Application
  • The Rice Initiative offers free tuition for families that make $130,000 or less
  • Graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral opportunities
  • An accelerated B.A./M.A./Ph.D. program is available
  • Students can choose from two minors in biology


  • Expensive tuition if you don’t qualify for financial aid
  • Competitive admissions

Princeton University

princeton university

Image Source: Princeton


Princeton University is a private institution in Princeton, NJ and the school organizes its Department of Molecular Biology into five research areas: Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology; Cell Biology, Development, and Cancer; Genetics and Genomics; Microbiology and Biology; and Neuroscience.Princeton’s collegial and interactive environment also makes it easy for Biology students to pursue interdisciplinary interests, take courses, and work with faculty in chemistry, computer science, EEB, engineering, neuroscience, physics, and the Woodrow Wilson School. Upon graduation, Biology majors from Princeton pursue a wide range of careers, including biomedical research, medicine, global health and policy, industry, education, and science writing.Biology students at Princeton can also take advantage of the school’s summer research program in Molecular and Quantitative and Computation Biology (SURP). A collaboration between Princeton’s Department of Molecular Biology, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, and the Genentech Foundation, SURP provides intensive laboratory research experiences to a select group of undergraduates chosen from a nationwide pool.


  • One of the “Big Three” Ivy League schools
  • The Coalition, Common, and Universal College Applications are all accepted
  • A generous financial aid program allows over 80 percent of undergraduates to graduate debt free
  • World-renowned facilities and instruments


  • Admissions are extremely competitive
  • Princeton has a high cost of attendance if you do not qualify for financial aid
  • Students not covered by a family health insurance policy must purchase one

Duke University

duke university

Image Source: Duke


Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University has long been one of the best colleges for biology in the country. Located in Durham, NC, Duke is an elite private institution where biology students combine traditional classroom experiences with hands-on experience in the field and the laboratory — often at innovative companies and organizations right next door in North Carolina’s world-famous Research Triangle.Biology majors at Duke can concentrate in one of 12 sub-fields, including Anatomy, Physiology and Biomechanics; Animal Behavior; Biochemistry; Cell and Molecular Biology; Ecology; Evolutionary Biology; Genetics; Genomics; Marine Biology; Neurobiology; Pharmacology; and Plant Biology.


  • Duke is often called an “Ivy Plus” school
  • Students are encouraged to study abroad as undergraduates
  • The Coalition and Common Applications are accepted at Duke


  • Extremely competitive admissions
  • Duke is an expensive school to attend if you don’t qualify for financial aid

Vanderbilt University

vanderbilt university

Image Source: Vanderbil


Located in Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt University is a private institution that offers undergraduates three different majors within biology: molecular and cell biology, ecology, evolution, and organismal biology. Regardless of a student’s field choice, Vanderbilt places heavy emphasis on independent research that is completed alongside course work.Focused areas of research include biological clocks, genome maintenance, small RNAs, protein trafficking, vector biology, symbiosis, social evolution, microbiomes, speciation, brain asymmetry, synapse formation and plasticity, cell migration, and touch, visual, and olfactory sensory systems.Since the Biological Sciences Department shares resources, facilities, and core institutional programs with the Medical School, Vanderbilt biology students often collaborate across different research areas when synergies exist.


  • Vanderbilt accepts the Common Application
  • Biology is one of the most popular majors at Vanderbilt
  • Students can double major or minor in biology at Vanderbilt


  • Competitive admissions
  • Tuition is expensive if you don’t qualify for financial aid

The Verdict

While each of the schools on our list has competitive admissions and world-renowned science departments, biology majors will quickly realize that research is a big part of being successful. Schools with large research facilities, like Johns Hopkins and Rice Universities, make it easier for students to pursue advanced projects that would not be possible at colleges with smaller labs. And, like many other majors, proximity to other innovative research organizations (such as Duke and Research Triangle or Stanford and Silicon Valley) can also be the difference between an undergraduate biology student leaving college with valuable experience and landing a job — or not.

When it comes time to make a final decision about which of the best colleges for biology you will enroll at, it is important to consider your own unique values, skills, personality traits, and interests. A school that is a perfect fit for one biology major might not be a good choice for someone else. Remember, education is an investment and you always want to maximize your return; choosing one of the best colleges for biology will open many opportunities after you graduate and embark on your career.

8 Websites with the Best AP Practice Exams

 High school is a challenging time in everyone’s life. And for students enrolled in AP courses, the end of the year is particularly challenging. As high-achieving students gear up for long exams that offer the potential for early college credit, many students are searching high and low for reliable study materials.

One favorite way to practice for an important exam is by taking practice exams. But finding high-quality AP practice exams is challenging. That’s why we curated this list of websites for you. Whether you’re looking for AP Biology practice exams or one for AP Art History, these websites will help you in your quest for a good score.

Why You Should Take a Practice Exam

The best way to gauge how ready you are for an exam is by taking a practice test. While its best to drill yourself with a wide variety of study materials throughout the year, use of a full-length practice test will help you to prepare for the exam in a whole new way. In addition to helping you study, taking a practice exam can offer the following benefits:

  • Enables you to acclimate to the test format.
  • Relieves unwanted test anxiety.
  • Familiarizes you with test content.
  • Offers an opportunity to customize your study plan.
  • Gives testers a sense of readiness.

Practice exams are a helpful tool for getting yourself in tip-top test shape. But don’t forget to apply the knowledge you gain from taking practice tests. For example, if you come across the material in the practice test that you don’t understand, bring it up with your teacher as soon as possible.

girl studying

Source: Pexels.com

Below you’ll find a list of websites that offer AP practice exams in one format or another. Not all of them provide full-length tests, but all of them will help you get ready for your AP exams. Keep in mind, that AP tests are different each year and the practice questions you find online won’t necessarily be the ones you encounter on your exam.

8 Websites with the Best AP Practice Exams

College Board

image by: College Board

If you’re looking for a good starting place when it comes to mastering an AP exam, start with the official College Board website. There are many useful resources available on this website for students who are preparing for any of the AP Exams. In addition to study materials, the College Board website provides all of the information students need about the AP exams.

In addition to general information about each of the AP exams, the College Board website also offers sample questions for curious students. While a limited number of multiple choice sample questions are provided, a wide array of free response questions are typically available. Also, you’ll find a handful of student responses for comparison.

While this website doesn’t provide full-length practice exams, it is a great starting place. College Board is the official company behind all of the AP exams, and therefore the study materials they provide will be most like the AP tests.


image by: appracticeexams

This website is an all-purpose study site from students preparing for AP exams. From AP Biology practice exams to class notes on Statistics, this website has a little something for everyone. It’s also worth noting that all of the resources on this web page are provided free of charge.

Unlike some websites that maintain their database of practice materials, AP Practice Exams provides links to the best free AP practice exams online. Students love using this site because it is easy to navigate and understand. Parents like this website because all of the materials are free.

While you can find a lot of resources through this web page, it does have its limitations. More specifically, the site is not backed by any testing or tutoring service. This drawback means that you’re on your own with the resources provided. However, for those who are self-driven, this site can be a treasure trove of information.

Also, it’s worth noting that the website is very low-key and doesn’t feature many stunning visual features or modern conventions. However, because the resources are all free, it’s a good option for many.


image by: albert

Albert is a study and test-prep website designed to help students get the most out of the learning experience. Unlike the sites already mentioned above, the resources available through this website are not free of charge. However, they do offer a comprehensive program for preparing for many of the AP exams.

Pricing for the materials on this website varies by subject area, but for the most part, you can expect it to be relatively affordable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that there are any concessions made for students who can’t afford the costs associated with using Albert.

Albert provides a variety of study materials including practice multiple choice questions, practice free response questions, and at least one full-length practice exam. Additionally, there are numerous study tips and testing tricks to help students make the most of test day. Albert also offers an overview of the core concepts that are tested in each subject.

This website features an attractive and easy-to-use interface that simplifies the study process. However, the fact that you must pay to use these study materials means that many students won’t be able to take advantage of this program. All in all, this is a good website for students whose parents have a little extra cash to spare.

Get A Five

image by: getafive

Get A Five is a web-based tutoring program that is available to students and teachers free of charge. However, unlike some other websites, this one is somewhat limited in scope. But, if your AP class is available, we highly recommend taking advantage of this valuable resource.

Unlike other programs, Get A Five offers a virtual study room, a diagnostic test, practice tests, and video-based lessons. Each program available in this online resource is customized to provide users with the ultimate learning experience.

Despite being limited to the few materials available, this website is an excellent resource for AP students in the classes offered. And, for a small fee, you can have your practice free response questions hand graded. We love that this resource doesn’t cost anything to use, but provides excellent value nonetheless.

Get A Five currently offers four courses for students preparing for the AP exam period. The subjects offered include AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, AP US History, and AP World History. While this selection is limited, it’s worth checking back from time to time to see if new courses become available later on.

High School Test Prep


image by: highschooltestprep

High School Test Prep is another free resource available for students preparing to take an AP exam. The materials available on this website are relatively limited but can prepare you for the general idea of how the test will be. However, it’s worth noting that this resource does not provide full-length exams. Also, it only covers multiple choice questions.

To help students understand the subject area they are testing over, each multiple choice question on this website gives a brief explanation of the correct answer. And while we wouldn’t recommend relying on this website alone, it serves as an excellent way to see where you stand.

After reviewing the materials on this website, you’ll be better prepared to formulate a study plan that will adequately prepare you for your upcoming test. Once you’ve studied the areas that are more difficult for you, use one or more of the other resources listed here to prepare yourself even more.



image by: study.com

Study.com offers students a variety of materials for preparing for several different AP exams. They even provide several short practice exams to help you evaluate where you stand concerning the test you’ll be taking later in the school year.

In addition to the short practice tests they offer, study.com also offers test prep services. However, it’s worth noting that these services are not free of charge. Information on pricing is not disclosed without starting a “free trial” so explore these options carefully.

We like that there are several free practice tests available, but the lack of clarity when it comes to plans and pricing seems a bit dubious. Still, if you’re willing to spend a little money, it may be worth it to explore this option.

If you feel that you still need extra practice after thoroughly searching through these websites, consider visiting your local library. There, you may find practice books that contain additional practice questions or exams.

Keep in mind, not all study resources are free, and you should be extremely cautious when choosing how to spend your extra money. Also, always use caution when you have to input a credit card number online. And never purchase online materials without your parent’s permission.

With the resources listed above, you should be well on your way to finding the practice exam that’s right for you. Also, don’t forget that practice exams are only part of the study equation. Remember to brush up on necessary vocabulary and time management strategies as well.

Six Resources with the Best AP Textbook Prices

Advanced Placement classes were once limited to select groups of students, but today, these classes dominate the high school experience. During the 2016-2017 school year, 111,000 students in American schools took the computer science course with a growth of more than 54,000 students from the previous year. We’ve put together a list of excellent resources for finding the best AP Biology textbook prices including some brand-new publishers that focus on cutting the costs of AP courses.

Biology and other sciences are also on the rise. A total of 2.7 million students took five million AP exams according to College Board, the test designer and proctor.

Unfortunately, growth in enrolment hasn’t meant a decline in costs. While some low income students see their test fees covered, recent cuts from the Every StudentSucceedsAct mean that some students need additional dollars.

Finding financially accessible textbooks has never been more critical as more students prepare for more AP tests. Fortunately, these textbooks don’t have to break the bank and with greater student enrolment comes more options for new books.

Six Places to Find the Best AP Textbook Prices

Searching for your AP biology book and think you might get a better price? Check out these resources before placing your order.

[amazon box=”1524757950,1524757969,0133458148,1438079206,0544784685,194755610X” grid=”2″]



image by: Amazon

Buying AP biology test books from Amazon means you have access to almost every brand and publisher imaginable including off-the-beaten-path books. You’re not only offered the most up-to-date editions of each book, but they come in various formats. Both comprehensive reviews and Cliff’s Notes versions of each book are available online.

Why buy Amazon?

Amazon offers excellent back-to-school prices and a simple returns policy. If you’re a Prime member, you’ll also benefit from free, fast shipping.

Additionally, Amazon hosts customer reviews that give you insight into the book. If you’re looking for complete coverage in specific areas or a particular learning style, the reviews section provides excellent coverage of what it’s like to use the book.

Finally, some books come in both used and new varieties as well as Kindle editions, so there are plenty of ways to save extra cash or even get more books.

Google Books


image by: Google books

Buying the digital version of AP books is a great way to save money and make test prep more accessible wherever you are.

Google Books offers a range of AP test prep e-books including AP Biology. Google’s library hosts most of the major test prep brands including:

  • Kaplan
  • Barron’s
  • CliffsNotes
  • The Princeton Review
  • McGraw Hill

There are also plenty of unknown authors that offer a different or cheaper way to study.

You can access Google Books on any device as long as you log into your Google account. You can even use them on your computer if you prefer a bigger screen. Visit the desktop version of the Google Play store for access.

Google Books also offers refunds on unread books. If you find digital versions don’t work for you or you’re one chapter into a book unsuited to your learning style, it’s possible to return it. Visit the My Account section the Google Play store and click the item you want to return.

You may return any e-book up to seven days after buying it. E-book rentals are final sales. If the e-book malfunctions, you may receive a refund within 65 days of the purchase date.



image by: textbook

Looking for an AP Biology textbook rather than test prep?

Visit Textbooks.com to search through the vast marketplace of competitively priced books. You’ll find new, used, and e-book versions of most of the primary textbooks all from different sellers.

Type “AP biology” into the search bar to find precisely what you need. When we last looked, 274 results were available and included:

  • Biology (AP 11thEdition) (Mader)
  • Cliff’s AP: Biology (2ndEdition)
  • SparkNotes Guide to AP Biology
  • Barron’s AP Biology
  • Campbell Biology, AP Edition
  • Cracking the AP Biology Exam 2017

Textbooks.com offers the best prices we’ve seen with some books.

While the prices can’t be beaten, it’s good to be wary of buying used books. While used books are ideal, an older book might miss something covered on the test. New books tend to include the latest edition of the test more precisely as well, which helps give you an edge.



image by: ebay

If one internet giant comes to mind for textbook purchases, it’s Amazon. But eBay is also an excellent resource for AP biology books. Much of what you’ll find on eBay falls under the category of gently used, but our searches showed that you’re more likely to get the very latest version of the book on eBay compared to other sites.

eBay was partly eclipsed by Amazon because it relied so heavily on seller’s ability to ship things in good time. Shipping was also previously based on zip codes. It quickly made up the bulk of the price on cheaper items.

Today, free shipping is standard on eBay items including on AP history books.

Why choose eBay over Amazon or another used book marketplace?

eBay demands more of a description of the book before posting. Amazon and other sellers tend to note whether the book is in excellent, good, or poor condition. On eBay, sellers indicate the state of the book, but many also describe any damage to the book such as any writing included in the book or if the cover is frayed.

Buying a New Book and Worried About the Price?

If the price of a textbook seems to good to be true, it often isn’t. Bookstores tend to sell U.S. versions of textbooks featuring hardcovers and quality materials. The international version, which is what is usually found significantly cheaper on eBay, is a softcover with cheaper paper. In most cases, the international version is a carbon copy of the same book. Some anomalies arise, but you are likely to see those in the seller reviews.

Regardless of where you buy, double check the edition to make sure it’s not a reprint. Fortunately, most AP course books include the date or version on the cover, so it’s easy to spot in the photos.



image by: openstax

Have you already looked at Barron’s, the Princeton Review, Cliff Notes, and others without finding much success?

AP biology students now have a new option: OpenStax.

OpenStax is a non-profit textbook developer from Rice University. Their goal is to improve access to AP tests, college, and education generally by providing open-licensed college textbooks. Because these books are open-license and OpenStax isn’t out to make money, you’ll receive a high quality, current book for far less money than traditional textbooks.

OpenStax started out providing STEM subjects including biology. Today, they are available for many AP topics including:

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Macroeconomics
  • SparkNotes Guide to AP Biology

These books aren’t just test prep books. They’re suitable for students taking AP or college courses to prepare for the tests.

The OpenStax Biology for AP® Courses book covers all the requirements of the standard two-semester AP course. It meets core concepts and foundational research and uses the evolutionary lens mandated by AP. The company designed its book not just to meet but exceed the requirements set by College Board, which makes it an essential learning book and an excellent companion to AP study books for those working independently.


Students are expected to pay nothing. These books are free and licensed under Creative Commons, which means everyone has access to them.

Before you worry about quality, don’t. Each book is written by experts in their field. The content is sourced and vetted by peer reviewers, just like the traditional course books you’d otherwise buy.

In 2016 alone, 392,000 students used these books to save a good amount of money. So, head over to OpenStax, and give them a try.



Pearson is an industry-leading education company that publishes books known for their academic rigor. Their AP® Honors & Electives series is no different.Each Pearson book comes with a both an AP Exam Preparation Guide and Test Prep Workbook written according to the College Board course outline. Inside the books, you’ll find:

  • Overview of the program
  • Test-taking tips
  • Strategies for achieving the best score
  • Practice tests

Pearson’s test prep series is competitively priced and maybe even cheaper if you find yourself a promo code.

Are You Ready for Your AP Exam?

[amazon fields=”1438008686″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large”]

AP classes aim to prepare you for the exam, but the help of test prep books and a good textbook are invaluable to the process. While exam prices continue to climb, test prep books remain competitive, and some quality materials are now free to all student.

What books would you recommend for scoring a 5 on an AP Biology exam? Share your favorite study materials and tricks in the comments below.