Biology Subtest of MTEL

3 Points that You Should Know about MTEL Biology

The Biology test of MTEL is one of the essential requirements to procure the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure in Biology. If you are aspiring for a teaching career in Biology in the state of Massachusetts, you are required to pass the Biology test of the MTEL program. Hence, you need to be well aware of the Biology test details before you begin your test preparation. Three points that you must know about the Biology exam are described in this article.

  1. Sources of Test InformationFirst of all, you should know where to find all the necessary information about the test, in general and about the Biology test, in particular. Here are a few important and useful links that are good to make a note of:
  2. Test ContentThe Biology exam consists of 7 subareas; the first six consists of multiple-choice questions while the seventh subarea includes open-response questions. Each subarea includes a few test objectives. The test objectives elaborate the subject content which forms the basis of the test questions. The subareas and test objectives are explained in detail below:

    Nature of Science: This subarea makes 10 percent of the test. The test objectives of this subarea cover the basics of scientific processes; namely,

    • Nature of scientific inquiry
    • Processing of scientific data
    • Scientific instruments
    • Relationships among Science, Technology and Society

    Chemistry of Life and Cell Biology: This section accounts for 14 percent of the Biology test. The major topics covered in this subarea are:

    • Biochemistry
    • Structure and function of cells
    • Cell Physiology

    Characteristics of Organisms: Questions from this subarea make 14 percent of the test. The main sub-topics of this section are:

    • Plant Biology
    • Life process of Microbes and Invertebrates
    • Vertebrate Biology

    Human Anatomy and Physiology: This section covers 14 percent of the test. The following topics are included in this section:

    • Human digestive system and Nutrition
    • Human circulatory and immune systems
    • Human respiratory and excretory systems
    • Human nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems
    • Human skeletal, muscular and integumentary systems

    Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity: This subarea makes 14 percent of the Biology test. The subject content covered by this section is listed below:

    • Principles of heredity
    • Molecular basis of Genetics
    • Evolution
    • Biodiversity

    Populations, Ecosystems and the Environment: This subarea makes 14 percent of the entire test as well. It includes the following sub-topics:

    • Populations, ecosystems and biomes
    • Energy transfer through an ecosystem
    • Effect of human activities on the environment

    Integration of Knowledge and Understanding: The two open-response questions of this section test your ability to integrate skillfully the subject knowledge that you have gained through the other subareas with the theme of the questions asked. This section makes 20 percent of the test.

  3. Test FormatThe number of questions that are framed from each subarea of the Biology exam are tabulated below:
    Subarea No.of Multiple-choice Questions No.of Open-response Questions
    Nature of Science

    Chemistry of Life and Cell Biology

    Characteristics of Organisms

    Human Anatomy and Physiology

    Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity

    Populations, Ecosystems and the Environment

    Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

    12 – 14

    16 – 18

    16 – 18

    17 – 19

    17 – 19

    16 – 18


As you can observe from the test content mentioned earlier, the Biology test syllabus is vast. Therefore, you must remember that it will require a lot of time to review all the topics and sub-topics of the test and to practice sample questions. Hence, it is advisable to begin your test preparation well before the test date in order to pass the exam successfully.