Policy on the Biology Comprehensive Examination
1. To complete your
major in the Department of Biology, you will take two standardized tests,
one in the spring of your junior year and one in your senior year prior to
graduation. Completion of these
tests is required for graduation, and students are expected to perform to the
best of their ability, but there is no minimum performance criterion, nor
punitive consequence for poor performance, for either exam.
2. Early in the Spring semester of junior year, you will take an
exam that is made up of questions in all areas of biology taken from GREs,
MCATs, DATs, along with some custom questions. This test will consist of 200 multiple-choice questions, and
each student will have three hours to answer the questions.
We will score your test and inform you of your overall percent
score, a breakdown of your score by content area, and your ranking relative to
your peers. For more information
about this type of test and suggestions for test preparation, click the Biology
link at http://www.ets.org/gre/subject/about.
3. In mid Spring (typically late March or early April) of your
senior year, you will take the Biology Major Field Test (MFT). This test contains approximately 150
questions (to be completed in a 2 hour block) and is taken by thousands of
students around the country. Each student’s performance is compared to all
students who take the Biology MFT test nationally. You will receive an overall performance score, as well as a
breakdown showing the areas of content in which you are particular strong or
weak. For more information about
the Biology MFT, see Biology at http://www.ets.org/mft/about.
4. Your individual performance on these tests will be kept strictly
confidential, and may be used in the following ways:
to identify your strengths as well as any serious gaps in your knowledge in
order to recommend specific courses
for your senior year, as appropriate.
b. to rank your performance among your
peers. Such rankings, if favorable, may be used in
recommendation letters, etc. Lower
rankings (in the lower ¾) will be kept strictly confidential.
c. to enlighten you as to how you might
expect to perform on similar standardized exams (GRE, MCAT, DAT, etc.). It is our hope that practice in taking
such exams and knowledge about your performance will help guide future
preparation to improve
performance when you sit for “high stakes” exams.
to provide evidence to guide the Biology Department’s efforts to continuously
improve our program so as to provide the best possible education for our