Do you need to ace your cell cycle test?

Marge Simpson approaches Bart at the kitchen table. She says,

Develop simple techniques to learn the different phases of the cell cycle.

Step 1: Become familiar with the vocabulary

  • The cell cyclehas many terms derived from Latin words. It's essential to know them as you study the course.

  • Use the correct terms as often as you can to be more familiar with them.

Common terms used in the cell cycle:

Flaticon Icon for sister chromatids

  • Sister chromatids — identical chromosomes held together by a common centromere.

Flaticon Icon for microtubules

  • Microtubules — a cytoskeleton that supports the segregation of chromosomes during anaphase.

Flaticon Icon for a pair of chromosomes

  • Diploid — a complete set of chromosomes.

Flaticon Icon for eukaryotic cell

  • Eukaryotic cell — a type of cell that performs the cell cycle.

Step 2: Know how each phase works

The cell cycle is a series of events where the eukaryotic cell grows, and DNA replicates and divides. It has two major stages: interphase and mitosis.

Interphase is the period of cell growth and DNA replication.

  • G1 Phase: cell growth

  • S Phase: DNA replication

  • G2 Phase: cell growth

Cell Cycle Diagram

Mitosis is the period of cell division.

  • Prophase: chromosomes condense and are visible

  • Metaphase: chromosomes line up in the middle

  • Anaphase: sister chromatids are pulled to opposite poles

  • Telophase: chromosomes decondense

A diagram showing the progression of interphase, prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase.

Here's a good mnemonic device for the stages of mitosis: Pass Me A Taco!

A dancing taco that says,


An increase or decrease of chromosomes in each cell affects its functions. Which part of the mitotic stage could affect the number of chromosomes in each cell?

Step 3: Perform laboratory activities

  • The different phases of the cell cycle offer a variety of fun laboratory activities, from creating an onion or cheek cell slide, to witnessing cool prepared samples from science companies.

  • You can do an in-person experiment or use a virtual lab to experience these activities.

Flaticon Icon for a Microscope

In-Person Experiment

  • You can prepare an actual cell slidein an in-person experiment.

  • A compound microscope is commonly used in an in-person experiment. It provides a real image of a sample cell.

  • Ask your science teacher if you can use one for your experiment.

Flaticon Icon for Cell Division

Virtual Lab

Step 4: Understand real-life examples

  • Thecell cycle brings many benefits to our body and harms when it becomes uncontrollable.

  • One of the benefits of this process helps us heal our wounds fast. But, one of the harmful effects of an uncontrollable cell cycle is cancer.

A picture of a cancer cell developing from a normal cell to malignant cancer cells through cell division.

Take Action

Simpson Cops with a caption here for the tests

Follow the steps below to better understand the phases of the cell cycle:


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