PRAXIS II Biology: Content Knowledge Exam (5235)

The PRAXIS II Biology: Content Knowledge Exam (5235) measures the adeptness of future high school biology teachers to teach the subject. The exam is administered in a two and a half hour period and consists of 150 multiple choice questions that address topics that are taught in beginning biology courses in college. There are six areas of content that the questions cover, and they are divided as follows:

21 questions covering History and Nature of Science
30 questions covering Genetics and Evolution
30 questions covering Molecular and Cellular Biology
30 questions covering Diversity of Life and Organismal Biology
24 questions covering Ecology
15 questions covering Science, Technology, and Society

In the category of the History and Nature of Science, questions will cover subjects such as the processes involved in scientific inquiry, and the differences among facts, hypotheses,
theories, and laws.

The area of questioning regarding Genetics and Evolution will include the mechanisms of evolution, non-Mendelian inheritance, and factors that lead to extinction of

The topics that are questioned in Molecular and Cellular Biology include structures and characteristics of cells and chemicals associated with life forms, and the subject of molecular genetics.

Diversity of Life and Organismal Biology is composed of topics such as the characteristics of living versus non-living things, the anatomy and physiology of major organ
systems in animals, and the organizational hierarchy of multicellular organisms.

The areas of questioning under the category of Ecology include energy flow, ecosystems, communities of species, niches, and factors associated with various aspects of populations.

Finally, questions concerning Science, Technology, and Society will concentrate on topics related to advances and ethics in science and technology, such as prenatal testing and cloning, and the use of energy and of products as the population of the human race grows.

PRAXIS II Biology: Content Knowledge Practice Questions

1. Scientific method provides guidelines to:

A. pose questions
B. analyze data
C. reach conclusions
D. All of the above

2. Statistics are used to:

A. infer relationships
B. measure interactions
C. predict outcomes
D. All of the above

3. Which of the following is not true about the probability theory?

A. Analysis of random events
B. Prediction of possible behavior
C. A number from zero to two
D. Must be a non-negative number

4. Which of the following is not a component of environmental science?

A. Plants and animals
B. Bridges and highway systems
C. Rocks
D. Air and water

5. Climate change is caused by:

A. natural factors
B. natural processes
C. human activities
D. All of the above

Answer Key For Biology Content Knowledge

1. Answer: D

SCIENTIFIC METHOD is a set of procedures used to study natural phenomena. It provides guidelines with which to pose questions, analyze data, and reach conclusions. It is used to investigate an event, gain knowledge, correct earlier conclusions, and integrate the new information with previously learned data. Researchers pose hypotheses and design experiments and studies to test them. The process must be objective, documented, and shared with other researchers so the results can be verified by replicating the study in similar situations under the same conditions.

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY is used to explore theories and develop explanations for natural phenomena. It provides a description of how something happens and explains why the process succeeds or fails.

DEDUCTIVE REASONING is a process in which a specific conclusion logically follows from a general premise. If the premise is true, the conclusion is true. It is used in mathematics.

INDUCTIVE REASONING is a process in which a universal conclusion is formed from considering an individual example. It is the methodology of the natural and social sciences.

2. Answer: D

Statistics is the collection, organization, and interpretation of data. The data can be facts or isolated bits of information, but it all relates in one way or another to a specific topic. This precise, analytical system is used to identify, study, and solve various problems in many industries. Statistics can help people interpret events and make decisions in uncertain and difficult situations. Statistics are used to infer relationships, measure interactions, and predict outcomes among variables.

Descriptive statistics is the foundation. It is used to define and explain the basic components in a study. Exploratory statistics tries to figure out what the collected data is saying. This method involves averages and percentages. Since by definition it relies on information from previous experiments, this data is sometimes called secondary research. Confirmatory statistics is the method that applies general ideas and concepts to an issue or a problem in an effort to answer specific questions.

3. Answer: C

The Probability Theory is the study and analysis of random events and whether those events can predict the behavior of a defined system. A probability is the numerical measure of the likelihood the event will happen. It is a number from zero (0) to one (1). Zero means it will definitely not happen, one means it definitely will happen, and point five (0.5) means it is a draw; i.e., just as likely to happen as not happen.

Probability is the likelihood of an event happening or something being true. It is used to explain events that do not happen with any certainty. Probabilities must meet these general rules:

All probabilities must be a non-negative number.
The collection of all possible outcomes is equal to one (1).
If there are two possible outcomes that cannot happen at the same time (non-overlapping), the possibility either will happen is the total of the individual outcomes.

4. Answer: B

Environmental science is the interdisciplinary study of the interactions of the physical, chemical, and biological parts of all living and nonliving things that occur naturally on earth. Sometimes referred to as the “natural environment,” components include plants, animals, microorganisms, rocks, air, water, climate, energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism-in other words, anything that is not man-made or created from or a by-product of human activity.

Environmental scientists study and monitor the quality of the natural environment. They try to interpret current and predict future impacts of human activity in order to develop sensible strategies and potential solutions to prevent and/or restore damaged ecosystems. They are concerned with climate change, conservation, biodiversity, groundwater and soil contamination, air and noise pollution, and waste management. Because they deal with man-made issues, they must also have knowledge of economics, the law, and the social sciences.

5. Answer: D

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), climate change refers to “any significant change in measures of climate such as temperature, precipitation, or wind lasting for an extended period (decades or longer).” It can be caused by natural factors (a shift in the sun’s intensity or the earth’s orbit), natural processes (variation in ocean circulation), and human activities (burning fossil fuels, deforestation, urbanization, etc.).

Global warming is an average increase in the temperature near the earth’s surface and the troposphere (lowest part of the atmosphere) that “contributes to changes in global climate patterns.” The climate has changed many times since the earth was formed, from ice ages to sustained periods of heat. Natural causes include volcanic eruptions, shifts in the earth’s orbit, and varying energy levels released from the sun. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, human-induced activities have probably influenced the climate in a number of ways.