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-> Best way to study first year college biology?
Read 4375 times | 6 Replies | Average Rating: Not Rated Yet
Hi folks,
I just wanted to draw on your wisdom to see what study methods have worked for you in the past to ace the 1st year biology courses (well aside from knowing the exam questions in advance Wink )

This is my current method:
1.   Read a section from a chapter in the textbook (say Campbell’s biology) and understand it
2.   In my notebook turn the important stuff into questions or fill-in-the-blanks
3.   Review prof’s lecture notes for that section (which doesn’t necessarily facilitate learning the stuff in the textbook, but rather builds up on them by adding more jargon)
4.   Same as step 2
5.   Repeat steps 1 to 4 for the next section of the book
6.   Review my notes (which is a collection of questions and fill-in-the-blanks) every now and then but not the textbook or lecture notes anymore (it’d take way too much time!)
7.   Do test bank questions, practice exams, etc before my exam

-   It makes the important stuff stand out from the “useless” stuff
-   It reduces all the material into a manageable chunk that saves me precious time

-   The prof and I may have different opinions as to what is considered “useless”  Grin
-   After a while, when I review my notes enough times, I can answer the questions I have made automatically (without much thinking) using various cues such as their location on the page, what section they belong to and what not.  Which could mean that on the actual exam if you change the question a little bit or ask it in a way which involves comparing/contrasting things from different sections of the book (e.g. photosynthesis vs. aerobic respiration) I may not know the answer or confuse stuff.


Reply# 1
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4 years ago

In my opinion, i'd say..
Start by step 3.
Then do step 1. (You'll know what to focus on).
Back to step 3. (To check if you still need to go back to the textbook).
Work on the notes you took in class by taking into consideration now the professor's notes and what you read in the textbook, so that later on when you're studying for an exam reviewing these notes would be enough.

Now when you want to study don't review the final notes. Keep going back to the textbook, and read about the subject online. Do step 7 every once in a while to check your weaknesses.
Only before the exam review your final notes.

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Reply# 2
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4 years ago

Good point, Karim. I would start by making detailed notes from the lecture slides (# 3). If the test is purely multiple choice, then you can almost guarantee that all the questions are coming from the test-bank and so I would focus at least 50% of my energy there as well - so 50/50. Reading the textbook really gives you a good understanding, but it's more like reading a storybook. It gives you way more information than you need to understand the plot Wink

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Reply# 3
4 years ago

Yeah I just had my final exam yesterday  Shocked
Out of the 100 MC questions I'd say 5 or 6 were word for word from the test bank. The majority of the questions from lecture notes. So you're right on the money there Karim. The good news is that I'm taking another course with this prof next semester so now I know what to focus on  Grin
I also read somewhere about concept maps ( which are somewhat similar to mind maps but only way more organized. I think this is a fantastic idea b/c I tend to focus so much on the tiny details that I forget about the big picture. I think concept maps are also a great idea to link "concepts" to each other which has been my problem in the past. Sure I know about the structure of the dermal tissue in the leaves and also in the roots, but ask me to compare the two and I'll have to think about it making sure that I don't confuse the two because I learned them separately and never thought about their connection and this is where I think a concept map could come in quite handy. I will test it out next semester and let you know  Smile

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Reply# 4
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4 years ago

I suggest reading the chapter more than once!
Its better to read it, make an outline, then read it again and highlight the most important things on your outline. I read it a third time, but some people don't have time like I do.

Also, I have heard that when you study right before you sleep, the short-term memory that you activate while you are studying is actually turned into long-term memory as you sleep. So when you wake up, you will be able to remember what you studied right before bed.
My mom has actually told me that I would be mummbling biology terms in my sleep, which I find creepy Too Funny.
Give it a try.

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Reply# 5
4 years ago

Thanks  Smile
Looks like I'll be getting a lot of sleep next semester!  Congratulations

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Reply# 6
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4 years ago

It is really the best way to do good in school. The more sleep you have, the more time you have to regenerate neurons and what not. Happy
Call me Sleeping Beauty lmfao Happy

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