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Biology Study Guides
- The Cell
- Cellular Respiration
- DNA Replication
- Electron Transport Chain
- Exam Notes
- History of Microbiology
- Human Anatomy
- Natural Selection
- Punnett Squares
- What is Mitosis
How to Study Biology
I often hear from students that Biology is a hard class. While it may be challenging, anyone is capable of learning biology. It is not a matter of smart or not. It is a matter of time spent and effort. It does take some work. Learning biology might be considered hard to some mainly because it involves learning a new language. I think this is the main reason that it is sometimes considered harder than other classes. In addition to learning new concepts, you first have to learn this new language that consists of hundreds of words that you don't hear in your day to day life.
So- we have two challenges- 1) learning all these new words- and then 2) the more important goal of understanding how all these words describe things and processes that explain how living organisms work. It is all really quite amazing to learn once the pieces start falling together- and given enough effort these words and concepts will eventually start to come together. It can be quite rewarding once you reach that moment and is definitely worth the effort. It will also help you get a better grade in your class which I understand is also an important and respectable goal.
Also, if you are relatively young (say not in college yet) I encourage you to take this opportunity to learn biology now. At this age you will be able to integrate these ideas and concepts into your understanding of the world in a way that is far more challenging at an older age. Yes, it can be learned later on- but the foundational understanding of the concepts is not quite incorporated in the same way. That being said, how should you study.
1) Spend some time learning the keywords that are used in biology. Flashcards can be very helpful for this. The process of writing your own cards is also better than simply buying or printing them. The task of writing them will start the learning process. Printable lists of all the keywords used in the flashcards on this site should be helpful.
2) At first these words might not make sense. That's ok. It will take a few rounds of studying. Start reading from your textbook. It still might not make sense. That's ok.
3) Go back to the flashcards and study the keywords some more.
4) Re-read at least part of your textbook chapter. Focus on the figures and descriptions of those figures- and specifically read the text in sections that seemed confusing. Identifying the parts of the chapter that you found confusing is a more active process than reading the chapter again from start to finish. It is easy to zone out while reading straight through- so you are kind of reading but not retaining any information.
5) Repeat this cycle until you feel you have a good understanding of the chapter. Yes this will take some time, but will eventually work.
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