CLEP Biology: Exam Pattern, Syllabus and Books

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Biology
Three major areas: 
    i) Molecular and cellular biology ii)Organismal biology  iii) Population biology
No.of Questions: 115 questions 
Time: 90 minutes
CLEP Biology Syllabus
i) Molecular and Cellular Biology (33%)
a) Chemical composition of organisms
• Simple chemical reactions and bonds
• Properties of water
• Chemical structure of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids
• Origin of life Chemical composition of organisms
• Structure and function of cell organelles
• Properties of cell membranes
• Comparison of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
b) Enzymes
• Enzyme-substrate complex
• Roles of coenzymes
• Inorganic cofactors
• Inhibition and regulation
c) Energy transformations
• Glycolysis, respiration, anaerobic pathways
• Photosynthesis
d)Cell division
• Structure of chromosomes
• Mitosis, meiosis and cytokinesis in plants and animals
e) Chemical nature of the gene
• Watson-Crick model of nucleic acids
• DNA replication
• Mutations
• Control of protein synthesis: transcription, translation, post transcriptional processing
• Structural and regulatory genes
• Transformation
• Viruses
ii) Organismal Biology (34%)
a) Structure and function in plants with emphasis on angiosperms
• Root, stem, leaf, flower, seed, fruit
• Water and mineral absorption and transport
• Food translocation and storage
b) Plant reproduction and development
Alternation of generations in ferns, conifers and flowering plants
• Gamete formation and fertilization
• Growth and development: hormonal control
• Tropisms and photoperiodicity
c) Structure and function in animals with emphasis on vertebrates
• Major systems (e.g., digestive, gas exchange, skeletal, nervous, circulatory, excretory, immune)
• Homeostatic mechanisms
• Hormonal control in homeostasis and reproduction
d) Animal reproduction and development
• Gamete formation, fertilization
• Cleavage, gastrulation, germ layer formation, differentiation of organ systems
• Experimental analysis of vertebrate development
• Extraembryonic membranes of vertebrates
• Formation and function of the mammalian placenta
• Blood circulation in the human embryo
e) Principles of heredity
• Mendelian inheritance (dominance, segregation,independent assortment)
• Chromosomal basis of inheritance
• Linkage, including sex linked
• Polygenic inheritance (height, skin color)
• Multiple alleles (human blood groups)
iii) Population Biology (33%)
a) Principles of ecology
• Energy flow and productivity in ecosystems
• Biogeochemical cycles
• Population growth and regulation (natality, mortality, competition, migration, density, r- and K-selection)
• Community structure, growth, regulation (major biomes and succession)
• Habitat (biotic and abiotic factors)
• Concept of niche
• Island biogeography
• Evolutionary ecology (life history strategies, altruism,kin selection)
b) Principles of evolution
• History of evolutionary concepts
• Concepts of natural selection (differential reproduction, mutation, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, speciation, punctuated equilibrium)
• Adaptive radiation
• Major features of plant and animal evolution
• Concepts of homology and analogy
• Convergence, extinction, balanced polymorphism,genetic drift
• Classification of living organisms
• Evolutionary history of humans
c)Principles of behavior
• Stereotyped, learned social behavior
• Societies (insects, birds, primates)
d)Social biology
• Human population growth (age composition, birth and fertility rates, theory of demographic transition)
• Human intervention in the natural world (management of resources, environmental pollution)
• Biomedical progress (control of human reproduction,genetic engineering)

CLEP Biology Text Books

  • Audesirk, Audesirk, and Byers, Biology: Life on Earth (Benjamin Cummings)
  • Brooker, Widmaier, Graham, and Stiling, Biology (McGraw-Hill)
  • Cain, et. al., Discover Biology (W.W. Norton)
  • Campbell and Reece, Biology (Benjamin Cummings)
  • Campbell, Reece, Taylor, and Simon, Biology: Concepts and Connections (Benjamin Cummings)
  • Enger et al., Concepts in Biology (McGraw-Hill)
  • Freeman, Biological Science (Benjamin Cummings)
  • Lewis et al., Life (McGraw-Hill)
  • Mader, Essentials of Biology (McGraw-Hill)
  • Sadava, et al., Life: The Science of Biology (W.H. Freeman)
  • Solomon et al., Biology (Brooks/Cole)
  • Raven et al., Biology (McGraw-Hill)
  • Russell, Wolfe, Hertz, and Starr, Biology: The Dynamic Science (Brooks/Cole; Thomson Learning)
  • Starr, Biology: Concepts and Applications (Brooks/Cole)
  • Tobin and Dusheck, Asking About Life (Brooks/Cole)
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