Biology Merit Exam

Biology merit exam participantClemson University's Department of Biological Sciences will conduct the 37th Annual Clemson University Biology Merit Exam on April 22, 2016.  This exam is designed for middle school and high school students for the purpose of recognizing and rewarding outstanding student achievement and promoting further interest in the life sciences.  The Merit Exam consists of 40 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"; for example the 2015 theme was the biology of the octopus.  Other recent themes included the biology of the imported fire ant, sea turtles, rice, great white shark, dolphin, yellow jacket and gorillas.    The top 3 individuals in each division receive awards.  While attending the Exam at Clemson, students also have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the education and research facilities available on campus and are able to interact with scientists in the various biological and agricultural disciplines.

The HHMI SC Life Project ended in August, 2015.

Biology merit exam participantThrough an award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Program, we attempt to increase the opportunity for 200+ students from distant and economically deprived middle and high schools to participate in the Biology Merit Exam by identifying biology teachers who wish to have their students participate and subsidizing their registration, mileage and lodging expenses for their classes.   

The SC Life Project is sponsoring over 200 students and teachers from the following middle and high schools as they traveled to and participate in the upcoming Biology Merit Exam:

Military Magnet Academy, North Charleston, SC
Carvers Bay High School, Hemingway , SC
Hanahan High School, Hanahan, SC
Lake City High School, Lake City , SC   
Lee Central High School, Bishopville , SC  
Marlboro County High School, Bennettsville , SC  
Garrett Academy of Technology, North Charleston, SC


The  award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute  Undergraduate Science Education Program allows the SC Life Project to fund the following items and events associated with the Biology Merit Exam for each of our sponsored schools:

  • Bus transportation to and from Clemson University
  • Overnight hotel accommodations for teachers, students and chaperones
  • Academic activities on Thursday and Friday
  • Welcoming reception and Science Expo on Thursday evening
  • Biology Merit Exam registration fees
  • Campus dining hall lunch passes for teachers, students and chaperones for Friday afternoon
Lee Central High School at the Biology merit Exam