Bio 1 Lecture Exam Study Pack
Riverside City College
Welcome to General Biology. This study packet is here to help you focus in your studies, and
prepare for your lecture exams. For each subject covered this semester, this packet will give you
questions to consider, homework for you to complete (but not turn in) during your studies, and a
study guide to help you focus your time during your studies. I hope this helps – if you have any
suggestions, please let me know.
General information regarding your lecture exams:
• Your lecture exams are a combination of multiple choice, true-false, fill-in, and short
answer questions. You will be required to answer all questions – any questions not
answered will count against your grade.
• You must bring the following with you for each exam:
o Photographic identification, in order to receive your exam.
o A scantron form (882E), with 50 questions on each side. These are found in the
bookstore and in the cafeteria. Do not bend or crease the form (keep it flat), and
please remember that this form must pass through a grading machine.
o Pencils and erasers.
• Expected behavior during your exam:
o Cheating on exams is a serious matter, and will not be tolerated. You will receive
a zero on the exam, and a formal report with a full description of the event will be
submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as the Vice
President of Student Services, according to RCCD policy.
No talking or looking at any other exam.
Keep your exam and answer sheet covered at all times.
o The exam begins at the beginning of class. Do not be late – you may not havce
enough time to comp0lete the exam. Students who are late are also a major
distraction to those taking the exam.
o When you enter the classroom, be quiet. The exam is in session.
o All electronic devices are prohibited during any exam. This includes cell phones,
cameras, any music device, or any other device.
• General tips when taking your exam:
o Arrive to class early. Don’t be rushed, and give yourself enough time to complete
the exam. o When you receive the exam, take a few minutes to look over the entire exam, to
get a feel for what the exam looks like, and what is expected.
o Read each question carefully, and make sure that you answer it correctly.
o If you are unsure of a question, don’t answer it. Move on to another question,
and come back to it at a later time. Perhaps you will remember the correct
o If you have to change an answer, make sure to completely erase the previous
answer, and clearly mark the new answer. You are responsible for the quality of
The following study guides are designed to help you organize your notes, and think about the
material on the exam. This is not designed to tell you what to study. This list is fairly complete, but
there may be additional material on the midterm. Good luck!
FIRST LECTURE EXAM
This first lecture exam sets the stage for the entire semester. Before we can learn about plants,
animals, ecology, or your DNA, you need to have an understanding of how molecules are made,
how energy is stored within molecules, and how living cells live in a harsh non-living environment.
You will learn how biology and science impacts modern society, how atoms build molecules, and
how energy is trapped within these molecules. This first lecture material will help you truly
understand and appreciate the rest of the course.
What is biology?
Biology is the scientific study of life, and looks at everything from the small (atoms and
molecules) to the big (the entire planet, and even the universe). This lecture is designed to
familiarize yourself with the history of scientific thought, of how biology is a science, and how
people act in a scientific manner. Think about the scientific method, and why (or how) people
study science. This entire course revolves around the scientific method, how it applies to
biology, how people think scientifically, and the role that science has in human society.
• What is life? How do biologists study living organisms?
• What are the levels of organization? Why do scientists organize things into these levels?
• What are the unique characteristics or features of life? Be able to list and describe these.
• What is taxonomy? Why do biologists use categories to classify organisms? What are
the hierarchical categories (from domain to species)?
• Why is biodiversity so important, and how to biologists study biodiversity? • What is the scientific method? Why do scientists use the scientific method? Be able to
describe the scientific method, list and describe the steps, understand what the process
of science is, the differences between a hypothesis and theory, what independent and
dependent variables are, the importance of peer review, and the power of “rejection” in
• Science is one thing that humans do. How is science different than other things that
people do? What can science study, and what is considered a science? What is not
considered a science? Basically speaking, what is the role of science in your life?
• Suggested homework:
o Write down the steps of the scientific method, and be able to describe the
process of science.
o Write a list of the “levels” in biology, from the biggest (the biosphere) to the
smallest (the atom).
o Write down the complete taxonomic classification for humans, from Domain to
o Write a table comparing things that science can do, with things that science
cannot do. Think about what science is, and why we study it.
From atoms to cells – the chemical basis of life:
In biology, atoms form molecules, and molecules form cells. Cells are alive, yet they are an
interaction of non-living molecules. I want you to be able to explain these interactions, and
understand how living organisms live in a non-living environment.
• Chemical elements are atoms, which are shown in the periodic table of elements. What
are bulk elements? How do these differ from trace elements in biology?
• What are the three parts of an atom? What is an atomic number? How is this different
than the atomic mass?
• Isotopes are different forms of a same atom. What is an isotope? How are these used in
medicine and science?
• Atoms, when bonded together, form molecules. Be able to describe a covalent, ionic and
hydrogen bond, and be able to give examples. Try drawing to atoms bonded together
with each type of bond.
• Carbon, because of its shape, is very versatile chemically. How does the shape of
carbon determine how versatile it is? Why is this so important in biology? What is an
• Water is the most important molecule in biology. What are the properties of water which
make it so unique? Be able to describe the importance of water. • Acids and bases are very important in biology, and its chemistry. What is the difference
between an acid, and a base? What is the pH scale? What's a buffer system? Be able
to describe the importance of acids/bases in biological systems.
• What is a monomer? How are monomers turned into polymers (and vice versa)?
• Be able to compare the four categories of macromolecules, including examples.
• Suggested homework:
o Draw an atom, including its protons, neutrons and electrons.
o Draw each of the three types of chemical bonds, showing how atoms are bonded
together to form molecules. Give an example for each.
o Draw two water molecules bonded together, and describe the five features of
water discussed in class.
o Draw a pH scale, defining what an acid and what a base is, and give examples of
o Draw how monomers are bonded together to form polymers.
o Draw a table comparing the four categories of macromolecules.
The structure and function of cells (cytology):
Cells are chemical factories, however cells are the first level of life, and are considered to be
alive. Basic cells (like bacteria) are prokaryotes, whereas more complicated cells (like your
cells) are eukaryotes. You will be expected to be able to compare these two types of cells,
describe the parts of cells, and to understand how cells function. How can your cell get
materials (nutrients and energy) into the factory, and how can the cell get rid of its products?
Think about solutions, and how they can be found within (and around) your cell. Remember
that cells are the basic unit of life, therefore they are alive, and since they are alive, they have
to do all of the things to live that you do. If you break a cell apart, you are left with molecules,
which are not considered alive.
• What is a cell? Think about the historical context of how cells were discovered.
• What is the cell theory? Why is the importance of the cell theory in biology?
• What are the features common to all cells?
• Why is surface area important in a cell? What is the relationship between surface area
and volume? How does this relate to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells?
• What is the structure and function of the cell membrane? Be able to describe the “fluid
mosaic model” of membrane structure and function.
• What is a phospholipid, and how does it affect cell membrane function? • What is “signal transduction,” and why is communication within a cell so important?
• What are the differences among the Domains, when comparing their basic cell structure?
• Be able to compare prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, as well as comparing plant to animal
• Be able to discus the components (parts and organelles) of a eukaryotic cell, and
describe their functions (with examples).
• Suggested homework:
o Draw and label a bacterial cell, a plant cell, and an animal cell.
o Fill out the table (found in your lab manual) describing the parts of cells, what the
function of each part is, and what cells those parts are found.
o Draw three sugar cubes, one 1cm wide, one 2 cm wide, and one 3 cm wide.
Calculate their surface areas and volume. Briefly explain the relationship
between surface area and volume, and why this is important when studying cells.
o Draw a phospholipid bilayer, and identify the parts of the membrane.
The working cell:
Energy is vital to living organisms. How does your cell acquire energy? How is it transformed
from one form to another? What is the main energy currency your cells use? Why are
enzymes important? Think about enzymes as "workers," and how they regulate chemical
reactions in your body. What would happen if the shape of an enzyme is changed? Think
about how they can work efficiently, and what happens biologically when they don’t do their
job. How does diffusion and osmosis impact your cells? Keep in mind that your cells are
alive, in a non-living environment, so how can your cells interact with their environment?
• Diffusion is the movement of molecules. Know the three types of diffusion.
• Osmosis is the movement of water, and is concerned with substances suspended in
• Solutions contain a solvent (water), and a solute (anything suspended in water). How do
molecules move through solutions? How is molecular movement related to the cell
• Be able to compare diffusion and osmosis, including the types of diffusion, why diffusion
is an important concept in biology, hypertonic/hypotonic/isotonic solutions, and how cells
are impacted by their external and internal fluid environments.
• What is the sodium/potassium pump? Be able to describe the process, and its
• What is energy? How is it defined? Be able to compare and contrast kinetic and potential
energy. • Be able to describe the laws of thermodynamics, giving examples, and explain why this is
an important concept in biology.
• What is cellular metabolism? Be able to describe metabolic pathways (catabolic and
anabolic), endergonic and exergonic reactions, the process of oxidation and reduction,
and why most reactions in biology try to achieve a chemical equilibrium.
• What is ATP, and how is it made (phosphorylation)? How is it broken apart? Why is ATP
such an important molecule in biology?
• What is an enzyme? Why are enzymes important in your body?
• Know the attributes and environmental factors that effect enzymes. How can you
denature an enzyme? What are enzyme inhibitors? How do they impact enzyme
• What is endocytosis? What is exocytosis? Be able to describe the process of how cells
bring material into the cell, and push material out of the cell.
• Suggested homework:
o Draw three cells, each placed into a solution (hypertonic, hypotonic, and
isotonic). Show how the solvent moves, in relation to where you find the solvent.
Show what happens to each cell. Make sure to use proper terminology.
o Draw how ATP is made, from combining ADP and a Phoshpate. Is this
endergonic, or exergonic?
o Draw an enzyme, and show how it can turn a substrate into an end product.
o Draw a cell either eating something (endocytosis) or expelling something
(exocytosis). How does this relate to the life of a cell?
Cellular respiration releases energy from food molecules. Cellular respiration and
photosynthesis are linked. Keep relating this to your life, and sugar. Sugar has to be made
by photosynthesis in order to grab energy found in sunlight. Sugar has to be broken apart, so
that you can get energy (since you can’t get it from standing in sunlight). Sugar is broken
apart through cellular respiration. Sugar is broken down in your cells to make ATP. It is the
ATP that you actually use in your cells. You need to break sugar apart, almost in reverse of
how it was made during photosynthesis.
• Cellular respiration has a few primary steps. You need to know where these steps occur,
what their function is, and how much energy each produces.
o Glycolysis breaks sugars in half, into two pyruvate molecules.
o Each pyruvate is converted into acetyl coenzyme A in the mitochondria.
o Each acetyl coenzyme A enters the Krebs cycle in the mitochondria. o The energy and molecules produced from the breakdown of sugars is now used
in the electron transport chain, in order to produce the vast majority of ATP.
• Know the equation for respiration. How is this equation related to photosynthesis?
• What is the main reason why cellular respiration is important?
• What does "aerobic" mean? What does "anaerobic" mean?
• What is glycolysis? Where does it occur in the cell? What does it make?
• What is acetyl co-enzyme A? Can acetyl co-enzyme A be made with no oxygen?
• What is the Krebs cycle? Be able to describe it.
• What is the electron transport chain (ETC)? Be able to describe it.
• How much energy does glucose yield? What about energy efficiency?
• Where is the ETC in eukaryotes? Where is the ETC in prokaryotes?
• How much energy can be made from sugars, fats, or proteins? How do these types of
molecules compare with one another?
• Why do you need to consume oxygen? Without oxygen, what happens?
• Know what fermentation is, and be able to compare fermentation in plant cells, to lactic
acid respiration in animal cells.
• What are "strict anaerobes"? What are "facultative anaerobes"?
• Suggested homework:
o Draw a cell and show where glycolysis and anaerobic respiration takes place.
o Draw a mitochondria, and show where pyruvate is converted to acetyl coenzyme
A, and where the Krebs cycle takes place.
o Draw the inner and outer membrane of a mitochondria. Show the electron
transport chain, and how it makes ATP.
o Draw a table, showing how each of the major macromolecules are broken down
during aerobic respiration.
Energy is found all over the universe, either as energy found in atoms and molecules, or as
energy found in sunlight. Photosynthesis converts energy found in sunlight, to a more
useable form of energy in molecules. You cannot get energy to live, just by standing in the sunlight (although it is warm). You get your energy from the foods that you eat. This is the
link between photosynthesis and respiration, the production of these high energy molecules,
and the breakdown of these molecules. Energy - how you get it, and how you use it, are vital
in your life. The vast majority of organisms on this planet ultimately acquire their energy
through photosynthesis, or through respiration, which also gets its energy from
photosynthesis. Remember, the suns energy is not directly available to living organisms
without photosynthesis, so you can argue that this is one of the most important of all
biological reactions, anywhere.
• What is photosynthesis? Why is photosynthesis so fundamentally important?
• Know the equation for photosynthesis. How does this compare with cellular respiration?
• How and when did photosynthesis first evolve? How did this change the surface of the
• What is electromagnetic radiation? Which EM frequencies are used in photosynthesis?
• What is a light photon? Is the photon kinetic or potential energy?
• Organisms are either autotrophs or heterotrophs. What do these terms mean?
• What is ATP? Why is this molecule so important to your body?
• What is chlorophyl? How is this molecule involved in photosynthesis?
• Be able to label a chloroplast, and describe its function.
• What is a reaction center? Where is it found in the chloroplast, and what does it do?
• Be able to compare the light dependent and light independent reactions.
• What is the Calvin cycle? Be able to describe it.
• How many turns of the Calvin cycle does it take to make one glucose?
• What kind of plants are known as C p3ants? What do they make?
• What kind of plants are known as C p4ants? Why did these evolve?
• What kind of plants use CAM photosynthesis? Where did these plants evolve?
• Suggested homework:
o Write a detailed paragraph, showing how photosynthesis can make a sugar, and
how cellular respiration can break down the sugar, releasing its energy.
o Draw and label a chloroplast, showing where photosynthesis takes place.
o Compare autotrophic and heterotrophic creatures. o Draw a basic photosystem, showing how sunlight energy is captured to form
o Draw the Calvin cycle.
o Compare the three types of photosynthetic pathways, and give examples of the
kinds of environments which you would find these plants.
SECOND LECTURE EXAM
This second lecture exam builds on the material that you learned previously. However, for many
students these topics are more understandable, and more easily can be related to. You will learn
about your genetic information (DNA), how chromosomes carry this information, and how your
cells actually produce proteins. You may never look at your family the same again, once you
learn about how cells reproduce and genetics. In today’s modern society, biotechnology is based
on the knowledge of DNA, and you will learn how modern technology impacts your life. An
addition, when you serve on a jury, if scientific evidence is presented to you, most likely this exam
covers the material you will be presented with.
DNA Structure and Replication:
DNA is a molecule which contains your genetic information. You got this information from
your parents, who in turn received the information from your grandparents. The structure of a
chromosome is important in explaining genetics, genetic disease and abnormalities, and how
cells reproduce in their own particular way. Think of what a normal chromosome is, how it is
structured, its function, how we can "see" chromosomes, and what their normal and abnormal
consequences are. DNA is a three-dimensional molecule, which contains the genes that your
parents gave to you. This molecule can decide when to make a copy of itself, and it can also
repair some damage to itself. It directs all of your cellular activities. Know some of the history
which led up to the discovery of DNA’s structure, and think about how DNA makes copies of
itself prior to the cell dividing.
• What is the structure of a chromosome? Where are genes located?
• What are somatic cells? Where could you find somatic cells in your body?
• Experimental achievements of the following: Griffith, Avery/MacLeod/McCarty,
Hershey/Chase, Chargaff, Wilkins/Franklin, Watson/Crick.
• Know the four nucleotides of DNA, and their basic structure.
• What are pyrimidines? What are purines?
• Why does DNA polymerase works only in the "5' 3'" direction?
• What is the difference between the “leading” and “lagging” strand during replication?
• Suggested homework:
o Draw a chromosome, showing where DNA is located. o Draw and label a nucleotide.
o Draw a DNA molecule, showing how nucleotides are connected.
o Show how a double-stranded DNA molecule replicates itself.
The cell cycle and meiosis:
Think about how cell reproduction. Somatic cells produce two identical daughter cells in
mitosis, while others (i.e. germ) make haploid cells that are distinct genetically in meiosis.
Why do you think this is? What is the advantage of mitosis over meiosis? What is the
advantage of meiosis over mitosis? Try to visualize how a cell would make a copy of its
DNA, split it in half, and divide the cell into two. Think about making haploid germ (sperm or
egg) cells. How could you go from one cell that is diploid, to multiple cells that are haploid?
Be able to compare meiosis with mitosis. What is the advantage that meiosis has over
mitosis? How are haploid cells different than diploid cells? Why is Prophase I so important?
Why is genetic diversity so important? Think of where meiosis takes place in your body, what
a gamete is, and what zygotes are. Remember, meiosis makes gametes, which form
zygotes, which then grow through mitosis into a baby. Can you describe these processes?
• What is meant by the “life cycle” of a cell? Know its parts.
• What is "haploid"? What is "diploid"?
• How do bacteria reproduce? What is binary fission?
• Why does mitosis occur only in eukaryotic cells? Why is mitosis asexual?
• Know the stages of the cell cycle of a eukaryotic cell.
• Know what happens to the cell during each of the phases of the cell cycle.
• Terms: chromatid, kinetochore, centromere, spindle fibers.
• When does DNA replication take place in the life cycle of a eukaryotic cell?
• What are germ cells? Where could find germ cells in your body?
• What is a tetrad? How many chromosomes and chromatids do they contain?
• What are the steps of meiosis? Is there an interphase in germ cells?
• Why is Prophase I so important?
• What is "crossing over"? When in the meiotic cycle does it take place?
• Why is the tetrad arrangement in Metaphase I so important in genetic diversity?
• What is a zygote? • Why does meiosis involve what is called "reduction division"?
• Suggested homework:
o Draw the life cycle of a cell, and make a table describing the steps of the life
o Draw two chromosomes forming a tetrad, and show how crossing over occurs.
o Describe the three ways in which meiosis contributes to genetic diversity.
The patterns of inheritance:
You must be able to do any genetic problem that I discuss in class, or that I assign. This
exam will have many genetics problems that you have to calculate. You need to practice. I
cannot emphasize this enough. In order to do any genetic problem, you must first be able to
determine which gametes each parent could produce, which in turn would tell you the
possible babies that they could produce together.
• What is the definition of genetics? Why is the study of genetics important?
• Who is the “father” of genetics? Have an understanding of the history of genetics.
• What are the seven garden pea traits that were studied by Mendel?
• How does genetics follow the rules of probability? Why is this important?
• Terms: dominant, recessive, homozygous, heterozygous, genotype, phenotype.
• What is the difference between the genotype and phenotype?
• Know how to arrive at genotypic and phenotypic ratios.
• Why are the "parents" are considered the "P" generation?
• What is the "F 1 generation. “F 2”
• What is Mendel’s "principle of segregation"? “Principle of independent assortment"?
• Know what a "test cross", and why is it used?
• Know how an amniocentesis is performed, and what a karyotype is.
• What traits in humans exhibit inheritance?
• Know what autosomal recessive, autosomal dominant, and X-linked traits are. • Genetic problems: monohybrid, dihybrid, and incomplete dominance.
• Genetic problems: sex-linked, and multiple allele problems.
• What are pleiotropic and polygenic inheritance?
• Suggested homework: