GENE-ius Q&A and supplemental files

Several new files are available on the GENE-ius page: magnetic chromosome kit, instructions for how to print the magnetic chromosome kit, and slides from the January 29 coach workshop.

Below are some questions and answers from the coach workshop.

How many questions are on the test?

There will be 10 to 15 questions in the first part of the test (multiple choice, matching, true false, fill in the blank). The second part will have 3 to 5 multiple part problem solving type questions. Questions may have different point values; for clarity, each question will be labeled with how many points it is worth in parentheses after the question. In our experience, the majority of teams are able to complete the entire test (and tie-breaker questions) in the time allotted.

Will students be expected to build/assemble the DNA model during the test?

Students will not be asked to build (or even touch) the DNA model during the test. They may be presented with the model and asked questions about it, but it will not involve altering the model in any way. Students will be provided with a color key code that tells them which nucleotide corresponds to which color on the model (so they will not need to memorize which nucleotide is which color).

Can students work on test questions individually or do they have to answer each one together?

Students are welcome to separate the pages of the test and work on questions individually or go through the test together — it depends on the team and what the best strategy is for them. Teams can be up to 3 people and each team will have their own separate work space during the test. We do ask for teams to work together quietly so as not to disturb (or give away answers to) the teams around them.

Will students be asked to answer probability questions (e.g. in the context of genotypes and Punnett squares)?

We don’t explicitly use the word “probability” on the test, but we may explain the genetics of a trait (e.g. eye color), give two genotypes, and then ask things like “what percentage (or fraction) of offspring will have blue eyes?” Students should be able to recognize that one quadrant of a Punnett square is equivalent to 25% or 1/4 the offspring.

Will there be essay questions on the test?

There may be several fill in the blank questions where we expect one key term as the answer (note that spelling doesn’t matter as long as we can interpret what word they mean). There may also be 1-2 questions where students are expected to write out 1-2 sentences. This could be something like “what would the genotype be and why?” However, we will not ask a question that requires more than 1-2 sentences to answer and we encourage students to answer the questions succinctly so as not to potentially convolute a correct answer with incorrect details.