Redwood High School

Tamalpais Union High School District


Honors Biomedical Science

This document includes critical information including deadlines



2020-2021 School Year



What is Honors Biomedical Sciences?


            Honors Biomedical Sciences is yearlong science elective. Subject matter for this course is taken from the biologic sub-discipline molecular biology. The level of difficulty reflects typical course work in molecular biology based college courses. Honors Biomedical Sciences is a college level course designed for very advanced high school students. As such the intended audience are students with college level academic skills interested in molecular biology, and those interested in pursuing post-secondary education in the areas of pre-med, pre-vet, virology, microbiology, molecular biology, biomedical science, biomedical engineering, neurobiology, and other molecular biology related degree programs.


What are the short- and long-term goals of such a course?


         to offer a rigorous college level opportunity for those students who have an interest in a course that mirrors the content of molecular biology based post-secondary programs

           provide real-life, off campus experiences in the fields of medicine, biomedical research, and clinical testing

           provide access to biotechnology opportunities in the form of lab work integral to the curriculum – with respect to this goal, the intent is to provide highly advanced lab experiences that meet industry and research level expectations

           in both lab and non-lab opportunities the priority is to give students a tangible advantage when entering college and/or the work force


What is the expected workload for students?  What type of work should students expect to be doing in this course?


            Homework is rarely assigned overnight. As such the workload cannot be described as having a regular cycle. Much of the work outside of class time revolves around preparing for a lab, analyzing lab results and preparing a lab report, or preparing for an exam. However reading and writing assignments are also part of the course and these assignments tend to be scheduled in advanced at regular intervals throughout the semester. Students are advised to review all classroom work, particularly lecture notes each night. By doing so a student maintains the material we are covering at any particular point in the course in the forefront of their mind, and tend to do more reviewing than relearning when preparing for exams or preparing lab reports. The course also requires that students complete two large projects independently and one group project. These projects require a considerable amount of maturity with respect to time management and seeking help on a timely basis.


Will there be an informational meeting?


There will be an informational meeting for students interested in Honors Biomedical Science. The meeting will take place at RHS in room 228 during lunch on Thursday January 23.


Admission Criteria


Students must meet the following admission criteria in order to be enrolled in this course:


To be eligible for enrollment in Honors Biomedical Science students must have completed Chemistry 1 with a minimum grade of B+ or Honors Chemistry 1 with a minimum grade of B-, and score 75% or higher on the entrance test. The entrance test assesses reading, writing, comprehension, data analysis skills, and foundational Chemistry topics. The entrance test will be given in room 228 on Thursday February 6 from 2:45pm to 4:15pm. Students wishing to take the test must sign-up for the test in room 228 no later than 3:30pm Tuesday February 4.


What is the Entrance Test Like?


Critical to success in Honors Biomedical Science is the ability to read, write, and comprehend at the college level; particularly material related to molecular biology. Data analysis in a molecular context is another necessary skill, as is a strong background in general chemistry. These areas are the focus of the entrance test. Lab based scenarios with background information and data are provided in support of the data analysis portion of the test. Point distribution:50% reading, writing, and comprehension; 30% data analysis; 20% Chemistry topics.
The instructor scores the entrance test.


If teacher recommendations are required, what qualities are teachers asked to evaluate?


No teacher recommendation is required.


Selection Process


Students are notified by the principal’s office, via mail, as to whether they did or did not successfully pass the entrance test. Students who are selected will be asked to commit to the course by signing a required Honors/AP contract.


What if the test is being given on a date for which the student has another obligation?


Students are involved in a myriad of activities so it may be necessary for them to make a choice between taking the test and participating in something else.  Since this course is designed for students who are willing to give it their highest priority if other activities are already intruding at this point, perhaps the student should not consider the course at this time.

There will be no opportunities for makeup other than the specified test date unless the student has made a prior arrangement with the teacher in charge.



What if a student doesn’t do well on the entrance test?


Because of security reasons, the entrance test will only be given on the specified date. No re-takes will be administered.  Since this course is designed to provide a college-type experience, students need to be prepared to perform well under stressful conditions. Many college courses are graded on the basis of one or two exams, and placement tests are often given only once.


Would it be possible for a student to have excellent grades in previous courses in this subject and not meet the entrance criteria?


Yes. Many students work hard in their coursework and earn good grades through effort and persistence. However, Honors/AP courses are designed for students who have an unusually high interest level or talent for the subject and are ready to deal with course content at the pace required in a college course. This is a big leap from regular high school coursework and may be too much for a student to handle even though s/he is doing well in high school coursework.


What can a student do if they do not meet the course entrance criteria?


Honors/AP courses are just one option. Most other courses in the same department are college preparatory and will provide a rigorous preparation for college. Other options include a) asking for enrichment within a regular class, b) taking a specialized summer workshop or institute, c) enrolling in a concurrent college course in a related subject. There are many ways to find the right challenge. Talk to your counselor or teacher.


What should a student or parent do if they need more information?


Contact Mr. Lovelady, Honors Biomedical Science instructor