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Arghh... Biology problems -- Please help!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MrDreamWeaver, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. MrDreamWeaver

    MrDreamWeaver Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm taking Bio over the summer and I'm not doing so hot. I guess I just really don't know how to study for this type of class -- simply rote memorization?

    I'm great at physics & chem because I "Just get it" but Biology isn't the same. There's not much intuition.

    Anyway, I was wondering how you guys actually STUDY for Bio. Do you just read the book 100 times? Do you go through the book highlightening then coming back? Do you take in-depth notes? Do you take simple notes?

    I'm thinking about using my laptop to take some pretty nice notes. Any1 try this?

    I know everyone learns differently... I'm just trying to figure out a learning style that works well for this subject.

    Thx.
     
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  3. jackieMD2007

    jackieMD2007 ***MVI***

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    I always drew diagrams for myself, be it with words or with rough pictures, carefully labelling. Charts are good, comparing two things side by side as well. What might help you is to get a basic biology review book from like Kaplan or Silvers/Flowers is good too, and look at the pictures/diagrams/charts in there because they will help you sum up things.

    When I was a TA for biochem, I shared these simple drawings with students and they seemed to like it. But I am a visual learner. Hands on is even better for me.
     
  4. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet
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    I took good notes, supplemented with the text, and made flash-cards and reviewed said flash-cards.

    Basic Bio is rote memorization (or at least it was at my school). Much less conceptual than chemistry or physics, IMHO.

    This doesn't mean I didn't like bio -- I did -- but it just did require a different studying technique.

    Good luck to you! :luck: I'm sure you'll find the technique that works best for you.
     
  5. Cali Anteater

    Cali Anteater Member

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    I guess the basic level behind bio is unfortunately rote memorization...but you also have to appreciate the processes in the subjects. Whether its genetics or biochem or physio...I always found it helpful to understand things in the form of a mechanism like in ochem. One thing leads to the next which leads to the next and pretty soon you find similarities in different topics.

    Also try getting to know the prefixes of certain words...they tend to clue you in on what is going on (i.e. hyper and hypo)

    Hope it helps
     
  6. GoldenBlind221

    GoldenBlind221 Completely Clueless

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    Like you said, everyone studies differently. When I'm trying to learn something challenging in bio, I'll read a chapter straight through, paying attention to what I'm reading. Then, I'll go back and write notes, usually outlining them, including all terminology. After that, I'll make vocabulary cards, which I never really use that often, except when I only have a few minutes to kill between whatever I'm doing, but writing it down reinforces the memorization for me, so that helps. I'll keep reviewing my notes, rereading sections if I'm having trouble, and do exercises included in the book (if there are any) to kinda examine myself and see what I miss, then go over that again. Writing it out helps me memorize things a lot better than just reading, though, so I write things down over and over again.

    Funny, I do really well with biology, but I suck something fierce at chem and physics.
     
  7. TimeResonance

    TimeResonance Junior Member

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    yah bio 1 and 2 are a lot of striaght memorization but it helps to understand the concepts. Its not purely conceptual you have to know the language to understand the concepts and learning the language is memorizing structures/what does what etc...but when you memorize try to put them in context to each other and try to view it as a whole.Why does this do that...and if that does that what else is necessary...why is this grouped with that etc.. that is what helped me. Also try to think like a biologist ie what questions would the prof ask me.... most (well some) really drive home the key concepts. Get the big stuff down to where you can recite it but dont overlook the little stuff. thats my advice. then again i always did better in bio than say chem or physics.
     
  8. vtucci

    vtucci Attending in Emergency Medicine
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    Let me warn you now, medical school is rote memorization for most classes your first two years. I know and I suck at it too. I prefer to learn the whys and hows then get stuck with minutae.
     
  9. DoctorPardi

    DoctorPardi In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Intro biology, genetics and to a lesser degree anatomy were conquered using note cards with reckless adbandon and no regard of the world's tree population.

    I basically would take good notes, and as I am taking them underline keywords and important concepts. Then I would go back and notecard every single underlined word in my notes. This took a considerable amount of time and was in itself a good study method. Then about 2-3 days before the test I would just straight up memorize the cards, word for word.

    This didn't work as well for anatomy because it is a very spatial course. This muscle is an antagonist to this muscle etc. It isn't like you could notecard every bone, tendon or muscle any particular muscle interacts with. So I used an anatomy coloring book and reviewed diagrams a lot. It is good to make copies of the diagrams your professors give you (this is for any course) and fill in the blanks over and over until you can do this without any problems.

    Also another thing to keep in mind is, study like a mad man for your first few tests. It might seem obvious, but if you can really jump on top of the course early, you will be on easy street when finals come around. Last semester I didn't have to make anything higher than a 75 to keep A's. This is additionally helpful because sometimes you just don't know how much you need to study for some courses. Studying 5 hours leading up to a test might get you a 98 in one and a 70 in another. So it is best to over study, but do it the right way, start studying at least a week before the test and study a lot. Then you should be able to have a really good idea of how much you need to study and a good grade early to help you stay stress free.
     
  10. Dr.TobiasFünke

    Physician

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    I am terrible at memorization… you just have to keep reviewing till you get it. Anatomy next year is going to be hell for me.
     
  11. Pose

    Pose Senior Member

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    Get your hands on as many review questions as possible. I find this works for most any course.
     
  12. Robizzle

    Robizzle 1K Member

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    You have the mind of an engineer! My GOD I feel your pain. This really worries me about medical school because I HATE just straight up reading and memorization.. When I took cell bio & human phys (the only 2 bio classes i've ever taken by the way), I had to read each paragraph oooover and oooover just to understand it. Each page took me like 10-15 minutes! Hopefully this is just because I'm not used to reading dense material and I will get used to it eventually.
     
  13. NYMC MD 2B

    NYMC MD 2B Member

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    It depends on the class and the professor. If he/she gives in depth lectures, taking good notes is a must. This is how I always studied for bio classes (I got As in all my bio classes, both lower division and upper division, so this might work for you as well).

    Read the material in the book once through carefully. Highlight anything tied to what you have been discussing in class.

    Go through your notes, and memorize in as much detail as you can.

    Go back to your book and look at anything that is tied to what you have in your notes but not discussed in depth. Memorize this stuff as well.

    In short, if you know everything in your notes+the extra detail covered in the book, you will really understand the material. Therefore, it will be tougher for the professor to trick you on exams
     
  14. geno2568

    geno2568 Senior Member

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    man, i'm in the same boat...i was getting A-'s and A's in physics and chem, and B-'s in bio

    just do whatever u can, theres no easy way. Do questions, reread multiple times, take notes, whatever..

    if it wasnt for physics/chem/math, my bcpm would be in the crapper right now

    oh, theres a thought.....why not become a chem major?
     

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