Science and math aren't the most prevalent topics on the MAT, but they are tested. The biology topics listed here will help you prepare for the MAT by exposing you to the major subjects in the biology field that might appear on the test.

Biology terms that appear on the MAT test

Brush up on your biology by studying these terms and their definitions.

  • Abscission: Process by which an organism sheds a part of itself

  • Acclimatization: The process in which an organism adjusts to its surroundings

  • Aerobic organism: Organism that has an oxygen-based metabolism

  • Amino acid: Building block of proteins

  • Anatomy: Study of the structure of organisms

  • Arachnology: Study of arachnids (examples: spiders, scorpions)

  • Bacteria: Microorganisms without a cell nucleus

  • Bacteriophage: Virus that infects bacteria

  • Biochemistry: Study of chemical processes in living things

  • Biology: Study of life and living things

  • Botany: Study of plant life

  • Cell membrane: Barrier between a cell and its environment

  • Cell nucleus: Organelle in a cell containing genetic information

  • Chloroplast: Plant organelle that does photosynthesis

  • Chromosome: DNA and protein in cells, and contains genes

  • Cytoplasm: The gel inside of a cell that organelles are suspended in

  • Deciduous: Type of organism that sheds parts of itself

  • DNA: Nucleic acid with genetic instructions for reproduction

  • Ecology: Study of the relationship between life and its environment

  • Ecosystem: Community of living things

  • Egg: Place where an embryo begins to develop

  • Embryo: Earliest stage of multicellular life

  • Endemism: Life unique to a geographical area

  • Enzyme: Molecule that speeds up chemical reactions

  • Ethology: Study of animal behavior

  • Gene: Unit of heredity

  • Genetics: Science of genes and heredity

  • Herpetology: Study of amphibians

  • Histology: Study of microscopic anatomy

  • Ichthyology: Study of fish

  • Insulin: Hormone that regulates metabolism

  • Invertebrate: Animal with no vertebral column

  • Krebs cycle: Reactions by aerobic life to produce energy

  • Larva: Young form of animals before metamorphosis

  • Leukocyte: White blood cell; part of the immune system

  • Ligament: Tissue that connects bones to other bones

  • Lipids: Molecules, including fats and waxes

  • Mammalogy: Study of mammals

  • Marine biology: Study of ocean-based life

  • Meiosis: Cell division required for sexual reproduction

  • Microbiology: Study of microscopic life

  • Mitosis: Process in which chromosomes split into two identical sets

  • Mycology: Study of fungi

  • Neurobiology: Study of the nervous system

  • Oncology: Study of cancer

  • Ornithology: Study of birds

  • Osmosis: Movement of molecules through a membrane

  • Parasitology: Study of parasites and their hosts

  • Physiology: Study of the physical functions of organisms

  • Phytopathology: Study of plant diseases

  • Transcription: In genetics, the copying of DNA to RNA

  • Vacuole: Membrane-enclosed organelle in all plant cells

  • Virology: Study of viruses

  • Zoology: Study of the animal kingdom

Important figures in the field of biology

The following lists important people in the biology field you should become familiar with before taking the MAT.

  • Crick, Francis: English cofounder of DNA with James Watson

  • Darwin, Charles: English naturalist who proposed natural selection

  • Fleming, Alexander: Scottish biologist who discovered penicillin

  • Goodall, Jane: British expert on chimpanzees

  • Hippocrates: Ancient Greek father of Western medicine

  • Lamarck, Jean-Baptiste: French naturalist and proponent of evolution

  • Lister, Joseph: British surgeon who pioneered antiseptics

  • Mendel, Gregor: Founder of genetics who worked with pea plants

  • Pasteur, Louis: French microbiologist who invented pasteurization

  • Pavlov, Ivan: Russian scientist who worked with dogs to show a conditioned response

  • Sabin, Albert: American scientist who developed an oral polio vaccine

  • Salk, Jonas: American scientist who developed the first polio vaccine

  • Watson, James: American cofounder of DNA with Francis Crick

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Vince Kotchian is a full-time standardized test tutor specializing in the MAT, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. He teaches a GRE prep course at the University of California, San Diego, and has an extensive understanding of analogies and the MAT.

Edwin Kotchian is a MAT tutor and freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of test-prep material.

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