Biology Tutor: How Do We Classify Mutations?

Posted by Eden on 5/12/17 6:08 PM

In the previous post, we discussed some of the built in mechanisms that help to prevent mutations. Sometimes, however, mutations occur in spite of these systems. There are a few different ways that mutations are typically classified in an intro biology course and there are often overlaps between these categories. Here is a brief review of some of the ways that you may see mutations classified:

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Tags: biology

Preventing and Repairing DNA Mistakes During the Cell Cycle

Posted by Eden on 4/14/17 9:00 AM

If you are currently studying biology, you have probably learned that mistakes in DNA can create very big problems, including cancer. These DNA errors often (but not always) occur during replication. Whenever they occur, it is very important for the cell to have a set of systems in place to both prevent and repair these errors. In this blog post we will cover some of the common prevention and repair mechanisms built into the cell cycle that might appear in an intro biology course. 

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Tags: biology

Tips for interpreting pedigree charts and understanding inheritance patterns!

Posted by Eden on 3/31/17 2:49 PM

Different traits are inherited in different ways. Many intro biology classes will expect you to be able to identify different patterns of inheritance and parental genotypes based on either a pedigree or the rates of a given phenotype in the offspring. It is helpful to be familiar with the phenotype ratios, pedigree charts, and the specifics of the inheritance mechanisms to solve those kinds of problems. Here is a brief review that will help you master this important content!

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Tags: biology

Essential tips for learning the anterior pituitary hormones

Posted by Eden on 3/1/17 4:33 PM

Learning the anterior pituitary hormones for your biology class or the MCAT can be a little overwhelming. It is easy to get lost in the weeds and struggle to see how it all connects. One thing that helped me when I was learning the anterior pituitary hormones was to visualize the connections between the most important structures. This both helped me to memorize their function and to see how changes in one part of the pathway may have downstream effects. I often have students practice the pituitary hormones by filling in a simplified blank diagram of the hormones and where they act.

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Tags: biology

A Comprehensive Break Down of Nephron Functioning into Six Easy Steps!

Posted by Eden on 2/23/17 10:34 AM

The nephron is the kidney’s smallest functional unit. It works to ensure that the urine you excrete leaves your body in the correct volume and concentration. This is a complicated process, but once you master it, it is exciting to understand this important function of the human body! Here is a labeled diagram of a nephron followed by a general overview of the process:

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Tags: biology

AP Bio Exam Question Breakdown : Biotechnology Tools

Posted by Sandra on 2/6/17 6:43 PM

The AP Biology exam for 2017 is set for the morning of Monday May 8th. So it’s that time of the year again to begin reviewing past concepts and doing practice exams.

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Tags: biology

Tips and Mnemonics for Memorizing Amino Acid Structures

Posted by Eden on 1/18/17 6:31 PM

Learning amino acid structures is a challenging part of biology and biochemistry coursework. Many students feel totally overwhelmed by the task. The best way to master this skill is lots of repetition (here is a link to a Sporcle quiz that may help you with the repetition part) but it can be helpful to have tricks and mnemonics to get you started. Below is a chart with some mnemonics and tricks that I have collected over the years-hopefully this will be a good jumping off point for your amino acid mastery!

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Tags: biology, chemistry

Question Breakdown: How to Solve a 6 Grid-In Question on the AP Biology Exam

Posted by Sandra on 11/2/16 6:00 PM

On the AP Bio exam, there will be 6 grid-in questions that will require you to do some math. Yes, math. These questions will require you to do some simple calculations and thus you are only allowed a four-function calculator to do addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. That being said I’ll breakdown an example grid-in question to familiarize students with the type of questions they may be asked.

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Tags: biology, AP exams

Question Breakdown: Real AP Biology Exam Solutions

Posted by Sandra on 9/21/16 7:30 PM

The AP Biology Exam date has been set for Monday, May 8, 2017. Beginning at 8 am that morning, everything you learned over the course of the year will be tested with 63 multiple choice, 6 grid-in and 8 free response questions. Although the AP exam seems far off, it’s a good idea to master the basics now and set a good foundation off which to build future knowledge. That being said Question 4 on the 2016 AP exam is a good starting point.

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Tags: biology, AP exams

Odor Perception on the AP Biology Exam

Posted by Sandra on 3/25/16 9:30 AM

 

Last year, AP Biology students did a great job applying their math skills to the test. On average, 55% of math related question were answered correctly compared to 35% in 2013! That’s great news but there were still many questions that students struggled with such as free response Question 7 about odor perception.  This question gave students a particularly tough time with 70% of students earning 0 out of 3 possible points. So, let’s break this question down and review neuronal signaling. 

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Tags: biology, AP exams