Course Exam—BIOL 204 (Principles of Biology I)

BIOL 204 (Principles of Biology I) is a three-credit introductory general biology course and the first of two introductory biology courses that will prepare students for second-year biology courses.  This course is designed to help students learn more about the nature of life, and topics include enzymes, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, classical genetics, modern genetics, and molecular biology.  BIOL 204 does not have any prerequisites, however, senior-level high school biology is strongly recommended.  This course is not available for challenge.

Students should note that this course is delivered via an individualized or grouped study with a take-home lab component.  Students who register into BIOL 204 will be charged a laboratory fee.

Principles of Biology I is made up of sixteen chapters, two assignments weighing ten percent each, two lab reports that weigh ten percent each, lab results worth five percent, a midterm examination weighing twenty percent, and a final examination for the remaining thirty-five percent.  The sixteen chapters within this course cover many topics, such as energy, enzymes, cellular respiration, cell cycles, genes, chromosomes, DNA, photosynthesis, and much more.  To receive credit for BIOL 204, students must achieve a course composite grade of at least a “D”, or fifty percent, and a grade of at least a fifty percent on the final examination.

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation center.  It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation center can accommodate online exams.

Victoria Reid is from Edmonton, Alberta, and is a licensed practical nurse working in the operating room at the University of Alberta Hospital.  She is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program with a major in Health Sciences.  She explains that she “originally enrolled in 2015 in the LPN-BN bridging program.  After about a year I decided I was actually craving a new career entirely and transferred into the science program.”

When asked to explain BIOL 204 to students who have yet to take it, Victoria states “Biology 204 (Principles of Biology I) is a very comprehensive course covering prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity and cellular biology.  This course is a prerequisite for nearly every higher-level biology course at Athabasca University and other institutions.  It gives the foundation of knowledge needed to study further biology courses.”

As for the structure of the course, she explains that there are “two assignments which are a combination of short answer, definition/comparison and multiple-choice.  There are several home labs, two lab reports, a midterm examination, and a final examination.  The textbook is very necessary.  All of the learning is from the required readings, and there are no supplemental materials.  I also found that the study guides are not comprehensive.  The exams for this course are formatted exactly like the assignments.  There are multiple assignment versions and doing them all is an excellent way to prepare for the exams.  The examinations are no more or less difficult than the assignments.”

When asked if she would recommend this course, Victoria states that it was “one of the most challenging classes I’ve taken, and a lot of work between the vast amount of information and labs and assignments.”

As for any tips or tricks to completing this course, Victoria states that “Khan Academy and crash course videos on YouTube are really helpful for understanding them many cellular processes that are taught in this class.”

Victoria also advises students who plan on enrolling into BIOL 205 or BIOL 207 (Principles of Biology II) to “hold on to your coursework from BIOL 204.  It comes in handy when writing the lab reports and for succeeding in the in-person labs.”

Victoria’s had a good experience with her tutor for BIOL 204, stating “My tutor gave me topic summaries via email and was very responsive to emails and questions.  She was a fair grader and gave a lot of great feedback in a timely manner.”

Whether BIOL 204 is a degree or program requirement of yours, or the topics discussed above are of interest to you, this course will have you learning a lot of interesting material surrounding the topic of biology principles.