Biology Merit Exam April 22, 2016

Printable Flyer (2016)

The Clemson University Department of Biological Sciences annually conducts the Biology Merit Exam to recognize and promote outstanding achievement in the biological sciences among middle and high school students in South Carolina.  We also provide laboratory visits and tours around campus to promote interest in the life sciences and a preview of college life.

Students attending the Biology Merit Exam at Clemson University will have an opportunity to:

  • Test their Biology knowledge
  • Acquaint themselves with Clemson
  • Tour the Clemson campus, explore the museums, attend science exhibits and demonstrations
  • Prepare for the Advanced Placement Exam
  • Prepare for success on the Biology "End of the Year Exam"
  • Explore a college atmosphere and see what a college freshman exam might look like
  • Compete against students at grade level for awards


Any middle school or high school students who have completed or are currently enrolled in a biology or life science course AND who have been identified by their teachers as having a strong interest and aptitude in the biological sciences are eligible to participate.  Homeschool students and students from out of state are welcome to participate!

Exam Structure & Divisions

The Biology Merit Exam consists of forty multiple-choice questions of varying degrees of difficulty that are distributed among the major content areas of biology.  Each year the exam has a different “theme”; examples of previous exam themes include: the biology of the Bengal Tiger, yellow jacket, blue whale, and a wren.  Students compete only against others in their own division, and awards are given to the top three students as well as honorable mentions in each division.  

Biology Content Areas:

  • General Principles
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Taxonomy
  • Plant Structure and Function
  • Animal Structure and Function

There are three divisions:

Division I -- Middle school students having completed or presently enrolled in life sciences or high school students having credit for middle school life science only.
Division II -- High school students having completed or presently enrolled in their first biology course.
Division III- High school students having completed or presently enrolled in a second year of a high school life science.

Students compete only against other students in their division.