Science Screening Test Guide


The science screening test is used to help students enroll in a course that is appropriate for their background and to help students succeed in the biology courses they take. The science screening test is about academic preparation and background knowledge for college level biology courses. It does not test your knowledge of anatomy and physiology. BIO 030, Introduction to Biology, will cover academic preparation for biology courses including study skills, scientific reading and mathematical skills. BIO 130, Introduction to Physiology, will cover factual background information that is needed in the anatomy and physiology courses BIO 131 and BIO 132.

The science screening test has forty questions arranged in two parts.

Achieve a score of 13 or below on the first part to place in BIO 030. If you place into BIO 030, you need a grade of C or better in BIO 030 to take BIO 130.

  • If you achieve a score of 14 or better the second part of the test will be evaluated.

  • If you achieve a score of 13 or below on the second part of the test you will place into BIO 130. If you place into BIO 130, you need a grade of C or better in BIO 130 to take BIO 131.

  • If you achieve a score of 14 or better you will place into BIO 131. Students who have not taken a science course in the last 5 years or more may find that they need to review material they have previously been exposed to. The following questions are similar to questions on the screening test.

1.  Some of the questions are mathematical, involving questions such as metric conversions, scientific notation and size estimates. You should know how to set up and solve a proportion problem to answer these questions. Example - You measured the length of an infant, and she is 19 inches long. When you go to record the length, the chart requires the length in centimeters. You do not have a centimeter tape to measure with. How long is the infant? 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
a.    0.31 cm
b.    7.5 cm
c.    21.54 cm
d.    48.3 cm
e.    none of these is correct

2.  Some of the questions are interpretive questions based on written and graphic material. These questions are not the kind you study for.

3.  Some of the questions are fact recall questions from the objectives below. Chapter two and parts of chapter three of most college level anatomy and physiology textbooks contain information that can help you review for this part of the placement test. Example - A positive ion is one that has
a.    Gained an electron
b.    Lost an electron
c.    Gained a proton
d.    Lost a proton
e.    Gained a neutron

4.  There are additional sample questions on the DCC website.
The following objectives are representative of the skills and knowledge level covered in BIO 030. If you have not taken these topics in school before, or it has been some time since you have taken them, you should register for BIO 030. It is better to take a course that will give you the background you need than to take a course that assumes you know material that you do not know.

The student entering BIO 030 should gain a basic understanding of:
1.    Study skills in the biological sciences.
2.    The basics of scientific vocabulary.
3.    The liter, meter, gram, and Celsius units and their conversions.
4.    The scientific domain and the quantitative hypothesis.
5.    Some physical and chemical properties of living matter.
6.    The proton, neutron and electron and their role in atomic structure.
7.    The ionic, nonpolar covalent, polar covalent, and hydrogen bonds.
8.    AMU and Avogadro’s number as they apply to molecules.
9.    The ionization of common physiological compounds.
10.    The role of hydrogen ions in physiology.
11.    Maintaining homeostasis in blood plasma.
12.    The basic structure and functions of organic macromolecules.
13.    The role of the cell in life processes.
14.    The use of common laboratory measuring tools.

The following objectives are representative of the skills and knowledge level covered in BIO 130. If you have not taken these topics in school before, or it has been some time since you have taken them, you should register for BIO 130. It is better to take a course that will give you the background you need than to take a course that assumes you know material that you do not know.

The student in BIO 130 should gain a basic understanding of:
1.    The structure of a Bohr atom and its relevance to physiology.
2.    The atomic structure and reactions of common physiological elements (C, H, O, N, Na, Cl, K, Ca, P, S).
3.    The formation and reactions of common ions in physiology (H+, Na+, K+, NH4+, Ca+2, O-2, Cl-, OH-, CO3-2, HCO3-, PO4-3, HPO4-2, H2PO4-).
4.    Some bonding characteristics (ionic, nonpolar covalent, polar covalent, hydrogen, peptide, disulfide bridges, high-energy phosphate bonds) of compounds common in biology.
5.    The role of some groups and compounds in physiology (alcohol, aldehyde, carboxyl, organic acid, ketone, amino, phosphate, methanol, ethanol, glycerol, formaldehyde, glyceraldehyde, formic acid, carboxylic acid, lactic acid, ketones, keto acids, ammonia, amino acids, urea, phosphoglyceraldehyde, adenosine diphosphate, adenosine triphosphate).
6.    Acids and bases and their interactions in the body.
7.    The action of buffers in cells, plasma and urine.
8.    The role of some organic groups and compounds in physiology.
9.    The structure and metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.
10.    The structure and function of the eukaryotic cell.
11.    The structures and functions of the cell organelles.
12.    Active and passive movement of materials in cellular systems.
13.    Transcription and translation in protein synthesis.
14.    Enzyme activity and cellular respiration.
15.    The role of mitosis in cellular activity.
16.    The proper use of a dissecting microscope and compound light microscope.
To Prepare for Science Placement Test:

The Allied Health and Biological Science Department suggests that before taking the test you review a college level biology textbook to make sure you are familiar with aspects of biochemistry. Textbooks by authors such as Marieb, Tortora, Seeley or Martini are good resources and are available in the DCC Library. Usually chapters found early in text, such as Ch. 1, 2, and 3, dealing with the following topics need be reviewed:

•    atomic structure
•    electron distribution
•    molecular structure
•    different types of bonds
•    kinds of energy
•    macro and micro molecules
•    pH
•    cell structures and their functions
•    diffusion and osmosis
•    ATP usage
•    DNA
•    cellular reproduction

You should be comfortable with skills such as exponential notation, measurement, metric conversions, scientific notation and geometry.