Biology Resources

Study Tips for Biology

Complete any mock exams available to you (PASS); By completing these mock exams they are preparing you for not only the type of questions that you can expect but also the format of the questions and often how they are worded.

  • Complete the past PASS worksheets, they will usually review the key concepts that should be known for exams
  • Complete practice questions from the textbook
  • Go onto Mastering Biology and complete the questions within that website

ASK QUESTIONS; if you don’t understand something just ask so that the topic can be explained to yourself

  • Professors are great resources, attend office hours if you have lecture related questions or general topic questions. 
  • Try to get in contact with a Biology tutor if you need more specific subject related assistance
  • Attending TA office hours if available are another great resource.  Often TAs are majorly used for laboratories however they have taken the course before and so they often know a large percentage of the material
  • Consult you PASS facilitator.  If you do not want to ask your question in front of a group of people in a PASS workshop feel free to go to their office hours often receive one on one help.

Try out different memorization techniques and see which one works for you – success in biology is highly dependent on your ability to recall the information in great detail

  • Commonly used techniques are concept maps and rewriting notes/making formula sheets
  • Try to learn the information in as many different ways as possible
    • Try teaching it to people that are not in the same class as you, if you are able to explain it in such a way that they understand you probably fully know that topic
    • Try reciting the material, if you are able to say that material multiple times it will often commit it to memory
    • Try summarizing the main topics, and try to summarize you summaries as well until you get down to the most important information
    • Try drawing some of the main concepts of the material, especiall things such as cycles and diagrams.
  • Make the information fun to read or learn by changing up techniques or using different colours for your notes.
  • Don’t just read and copy the notes from the slides rather put everything into your own works and if it helps you potentially draw picture to exemplify what the notes are about

Start studying early; By reading the assigned material before the class and then reviewing notes after class it will make studying much easier since a large majority of the material will already be understood (making memorization easier)

  • Try reading the assigned chapter before the class so that you do not have to take notes about everything rather just the topics that were not understood
  • Reading the chapter before will help to focus on the additional information that the professors are teaching
  • Take detailed and organized notes throughout the class that you are able to follow when reading back

Form study groups; often there is some material that you do not understand but your peers do, by working together you are able to communicate information in such a way that will often make sense to you more than if a professor was to explain it with often complicated terminology

  • There is often a golden number to the amount of people within a study group that will make it successful.  With too many comes too many voices contradicting one another but however with not enough there is not much information being shared between the group. 
    • Therefore, groups between three and five often work the best together but you can find your own golden number for your group

Review the material covered within tutorials if they were held; often this material will come up on the exam for it is ideas that the professor thought that it was not only important to include in their lecture but also within the tutorials.

  • Aim to not only memorize the information but to UNDERSTAND.

Learn and Understand all of the terminology of the course; Biology is about understanding the terminology and complex theories, by studying these and understanding them you are often able to answer any question

  • Create cue cards with the terminology or concept on one side and then the definition or an example on the other that will help you to remember it
  • Create an excel file as you are going through the lecture material of the terms and the definition and then after completing all of your notes or during your studying go back and then fill in examples or further definitions in your own words to test your knowledge.

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