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
If you don’t understand something it can be helpful to ask someone. Sometimes it is helpful to have a topic explained by someone else.
- 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 your 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 techniques to help you understand your course material -- see which one works for you.
Success in biology is dependent is not only dependent on your ability to recall course information, but also on your understanding of the material. You will find that understanding the material makes it easier to recall important details.
- 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 your summaries as well until you get down to the most important information
- Try drawing some of the main concepts of the material, especially 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 a 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. Doing this will aid memorizations since a large majority of the material will already be understood.
- 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 members, there can be too many voices contradicting one another. 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
Often this material will come up on the exam. Ideas covered in tutorials are important enough that the professor included this material not just in their lecture, but also within the tutorials.
- Aim to not only memorize the information but to really UNDERSTAND it.
- Being able to apply this information to an example can be helpful
Learn and Understand all of the terminologies 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.