AHSGE Biology

What to Expect in AHSGE Biology?

The Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE) is a test of academic knowledge which all Alabama high school students need to pass in order to earn their high school diplomas. Starting from their 10th grade year, all students need to take this exam which evaluates their mastery level in the courses covered by the high school syllabus. The exam is conducted over a period of five days, with each day allotted to one of the five test subjects which are:

  • Reading
  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

The Science test covers Biology and Physical Sciences. This article briefly describes the Biology test in AHSGE, its question format, test content and the sources of preparation.

The AHSGE Biology Test – Overview

Biology is an important part of the Alabama high school curriculum. Students are taught the basics of essential biological concepts such as cellular processes, hereditary and evolution, ecology, taxonomy, plant biology and genetics. They are also trained in laboratory experiments that support the theoretical courses of the curriculum.

The Science section of this exam consists of a total of 100 questions, out of which Biology constitutes 70% of the test and the remaining 30% includes the Physical Sciences. The test questions are provided in a multiple-choice format. There is no time limit for the test. Hence, you can spend as much time as you need in order to complete the test. The passing score for the Science test is 491.

You are permitted to attempt this test six times; once during your 10th grade year, once in your 11th grade year and four times during your 12th grade year. Thus, you are provided with enough opportunities to master the subject and to pass the test.

The AHSGE Biology Test – Syllabus

A team of educators representing each state school board form a committee which frames, reviews and approves the content for the Biology subject. The most authentic source to obtain the test syllabus is the official website of the Alabama Department of Education. The following steps explain how to access and understand the Biology test syllabus:

    • Open the webpage through this web link: www.alsde.edu/html/sections. On the left side menu, click on ‘Publications’. Choose ‘AHSGE Resources’ from the list that appears on the right side.
    • A list of item specifications for each subject test is provided in this page. Select the one for Biology.
    • The item specifications for each subject can be downloaded as a document in the PDF format.
  • This document includes the subject content standards 1 to 16, eligible content and sample items. The content standard is the general topic of assessment. The eligible content refers to the sub-topics and details the content of the main topic. Sample items are questions with answer choices, framed from the content standards. They serve as examples of the actual test questions.

The AHSGE Biology Test – Sources of Preparation

Needless to say, the Biology section demands a good amount of test preparation because of the vastness of the test syllabus. You need to remember that conceptualization and understanding of each content standard of the course requires enough time and perseverance. In general, as students keep learning new topics every day, they tend to forget what they learn in their previous classes. Therefore, spending regular time for the revision of previously-studied contents is significant as well, for an effective exam preparation.

The following are a few sources of test preparation for this section:

    1. The Alabama Department of Education Official Website: Downloadable chapters on Biology content standards can be obtained through this web link: http://www.alsde.edu/html/sections – Publications – Curriculum and Programs – Pathways 7-12 – Science.
  1. Alabama AHSGE Test Science Flashcards: A set of 50 flashcards with important Science concepts serve as a good study tool for the test preparation. This book can be obtained from book stores or can be purchased online.

You need sufficient time for learning and revision of the test content as well as for solving practice test questions. Hence, you need to gain enough knowledge about all the test topics and the necessary time required to cover each topic, in order to make a realistic study plan for the Biology test of the AHSGE exam.