FTCE Biology 6-12 Study Guide & Practice Test

FTCE Biology 6-12 Exam Review

The FTCE Biology 6-12 (002) exam is a teacher certification test used by the state of Florida. All those who aspire to teach biology in a Florida middle or high school classroom will need to pass this FTCE test. The FTCE Biology covers a wide range of material, ranging from cellular processes to the practical day-to-day education of students. This exam is intended to test candidates' knowledge and skills in the field of biology, ensuring that they are ready to take to the classroom and teach students about everything from the scientific method, to the basic processes behind the food chain.

Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.

FTCE Biology 6-12 Exam Format

The FTCE 6-12 Biology Exam is a computer-based test (CBT), which means it is taken entirely on a computer. It consists of approximately 100 multiple-choice questions; there are no constructed responses or written essay prompts. Test-takers will be asked questions and then provided with a list of possible answer choices.

The time allotted for the exam is 2 hours and 30 minutes. You'll actually spend a bit more time than that in the testing room at designated FTCE testing locations, as there are a few pre-exam agreements and a brief exam tutorial that you will need to complete. Once the exam itself has begun, time will not be stopped for any purpose (other than technical difficulties). Test-takers are permitted to take restroom breaks, but the exam clock will not pause during these "unscheduled" breaks.

Although the FTCE Biology exam does not contain any sub-tests, it is divided into different knowledge categories, or competencies. We will go through each of these FTCE competencies in detail below.

FTCE Biology Exam Concepts

Ten competencies make up the FTCE Biology exam. Each one covers a specific aspect of the science of biology. They are:

  • Investigative processes of science
  • Interactions between science, technology, and society
  • Chemical processes of living things
  • Interactions between cell structure and cell function
  • Genetic principles, processes, and applications
  • Structural and functional diversity of viruses and prokaryotic organisms
  • Structural and functional diversity of protists, fungi, and plants
  • Structural and functional diversity of animals
  • Ecological principles and processes
  • Evolutionary mechanisms

Let's break these down in more detail:

Investigative Processes of Science

Science is all about figuring out why things work the way they do. Fittingly, the first competency of the FTCE Biology exam is Investigative Processes of Science. This portion of the exam focuses on the practical side of science, such as knowing how to use microscopes, covert units, design experiments, and interpret the results of these experiments.

This competency accounts for approximately 18% of the exam's material, which also makes it the single largest piece of the test. Assuming 100 questions, test-takers can expect around 18 questions that deal with this subject.

Interactions Between Science, Technology, and Society

The second competency deals with how science interacts in our daily lives. Test-takers should be familiar with ethical and legal issues in biological sciences, such as cloning and genetic modification. Other highly important issues include drug resistance, environmental impacts, virus transmission, as well as legislation and guidelines that pertain to laboratory safety, hazardous materials, and the handling of organisms in classrooms.

Making up approximately 4% of the exam content, candidates will encounter 4 questions in this competency.

Chemical Processes of Living Things

The third competency on the FTCE Biology 6-12 is a hybrid of chemistry and biology. It constitutes 14% of the exam, which is the second largest single portion of the test. Candidates can expect around 14 questions covering big-picture concepts like the basic chemistry of cells (e.g. the Calvin Cycle, photosynthesis, respiration, and glycolysis), cell-to-cell communication, and immunity. More specific topics may cover the different types of respiration, the role of enzymes in cellular functions, and the role of thermodynamics in different cellular processes.

Interactions Between Cell Structure and Cell Function

The Cell Structure and Cell Function competency focuses on the different parts of a cell and what roles do each of these parts play. Test-takers will need to be familiar with the history of cell theory, as well as the details and functions of cells, the different organelles, how they function, and how prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells differ from one another. This competency comprises 7% of the test, so be prepared for around 7 questions on these topics.

Genetic Principles, Processes, and Applications

Clocking in with 11% of the total exam material, you can expect the Genetic Principles, Processes, and Applications competency to contribute around 11 questions. Required knowledge includes a good grasp of DNA and RNA, genetic modification, and inheritance patterns. Be prepared to interpret Punnett squares and other probabilistic expressions of trait expression, and to know about the relationship between reproduction and inheritance. How do different forms of reproduction - e.g. meiosis and mitosis - produce different genetic results?

Structural and Functional Diversity of Viruses and Prokaryotic Organisms

Most organisms that we can see are made up of eukaryotic cells. However, prokaryotic organisms and viruses also make a huge impact in the world. This Viruses and Prokaryotic Organisms competency focuses on them and accounts for 4% of the total exam material (roughly 4 questions). The main focuses of this portion of the test are knowing the structure of viruses and prokaryotes, understanding their effects on other organisms, and being familiar with the processes that take place in prokaryotic cells and viruses.

Structure and Functional Diversity of Protists, Fungi, and Plants

The Protists, Fungi, and Plants competency makes up about 8% of the FTCE Biology 6-12 (roughly 8 questions). Major components of this section of the exam include identifying protists, fungi, and plants; understanding their structures, functions, and life cycles. There is also an emphasis on plant reproduction and plant genetics. Test-takers should also be familiar with the adaptations and biological niches of these types of organisms and be able to relate these adaptations to their ecosystem.

Structural and Functional Diversity of Animals

Having covered single-celled organisms, plants, fungi, and protists, the Diversity of Animals competency deals with animals. It comprises 13% of the exam's total material, making it one of the largest single domains on the test (about 13 questions). The overarching theme of this competency is that of animal systems, such as the circulatory, endocrine, lymphatic, and immune systems. Candidates should also show knowledge of animal behavior and how animals communicate with one another.

Ecological Principles and Processes

The ninth competency of the FTCE Biology exam is Ecological Principles and Processes, making up 11% of the test, (around 11 questions). This section is all about how living organisms interact with each other and their environment. Major emphases are placed on understanding the components of an ecosystem, cycles (e.g. water, nitrogen, and phosphorous), and energy flow within ecosystems. Test-takers should show understanding human impact on ecosystems, distinguish between biotic and abiotic factors, and identify factors that place limits on population growth in an ecosystem.

Evolutionary Mechanisms

The final competency covered on the FTCE Biology 6-12 is Evolutionary Mechanisms, which contributes roughly 10% of the test material (around 10 questions). Test-takers will be expected to understand the general theories of evolution, as well as how natural factors such as genetic drift, plate tectonics, and mutations affect it. Candidates will want a good understanding of taxonomy, along with a general knowledge of the currently-accepted theories of how life evolved on the early Earth.

FTCE 6-12 Biology Registration

To register for the FTCE Biology 6-12, candidates will first need to visit the FTCE/FELE website and navigate to the "Biology 6-12 (002)" page. This page contains a link that you can follow to begin the process of FTCE registration. If you haven't already, you'll need to create an account. Then just follow the instructions to register for the test. The FTCE test cost is $150 for the FTCE Biology 6-12 exam, which is payable by credit card, debit card, or personal check.

You'll be given the choice of when and where to take the FTCE. You will have a wide variety of dates to choose from; appointments are available year-round, multiple days a week. There are also FTCE testing locations available all around the state of Florida and the United States.

Accommodations and Policies

The FTCE/FELE program permits accommodations for nursing mothers and those with disabilities. If you need to make special testing arrangements, you must submit an Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form as early as possible before your test date. This ensures that the reviewing committee has time to process your request.

On the day of your exam, arrive 30 minutes earlier than your scheduled start time to check you in and avoid lateness. You must present two valid pieces of ID: a primary document (government-issued ID, such as a driver's license or passport) and secondary document (any other form of unexpired ID, provided that your name and signature or photo are clearly visible).

Once inside the test center, you must store all personal belongings in the storage spaces provided. Unless covered by a religious or medical exemption, personal items aren't allowed in the test room.

FTCE Biology Study Guide and Test Prep

The FTCE passing score for the FTCE Biology 6-12 is a scaled score of 200. Although the raw score needed will vary slightly from exam to exam, candidates will generally need to get at least 71% of the questions correct for a score of 200 or better.

To pass the FTCE Biology 6-12 exam, you'll need to make sure you are well prepared. The amount of material is quite immense, but it is manageable with proper FTCE test prep, study techniques, and a well-designed FTCE Biology 6-12 study guide. Here are some study tips to help get you started:

  1. Understand the test. Before you can create your FTCE Biology 6-12 study guide, make sure you understand the structure of the test and the material on the exam. Read over the list of FTCE competencies and note what each one is asking you to know.
  2. Plan your study course. Assess what you know and what needs review. Answer some practice questions to get a feel for where your strengths and weaknesses lie, then prepare a study guide to structure your time.
  3. Take practice tests. As you're busy learning the ins and outs of the ten competencies, take regular FTCE Biology practice tests. These practice exams are readily available both online and in print, often for little to no cost. Make sure to take an FTCE practice test regularly and effectively, noting what you need to continue to review. These practice tests allow you to engage with the material directly and in a timely manner.
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  1. Which number in a chemical formula is used to determine the number of molecules?

    • Correct Answer
  2. In which type of cell will you find a cell plate?

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  3. You are working to measure the distance around your new laboratory. One wall measures 15 meters in length. What is this measurement in kilometers?

    • Correct Answer
  4. In molecular transport, diffusion is also known as which of the following?

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  5. The ultimate root cause of the genetic variation which allows for evolution to occur over many generations is

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  6. What is the xylem responsible for transporting?

    • Correct Answer
  7. DNA to mRNA transcription includes all BUT which of the following stages?

    • Correct Answer
  8. Which of the following is not found in animal cells?

    • Correct Answer
  9. What can be determined using a Punnett Square?

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  10. Over the course of a month, a researcher measures the hours of sun a particular field of sunflowers gets per day, as well as the amount of growth per day. They find that the number of hours of sun per day predicts the amount of growth per day. What type of study is this?

    • Correct Answer
  11. Which type of blood vessel carries blood toward the heart?

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  12. DNA replication is _____

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  13. Which of the following movements happen when plants grow towards the sun?

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  14. An example of an innate behavior in human beings would be

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  15. Which type of transport involves moving from a less concentrated solution to a higher concentrated solution?

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