donkeykong1

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Ok, so this is my second semester of bio. first semester i ended up with a B-. keep in mind that this is a huge 600+ bio intro class. no matter how hard i try i cant crack an A on any of the lecture exams. i rock all the labs though. i'm using the campbell and reece text along with lecture slides. i go through the lecture slides along with notes i take from lecture. read through the text. and then read through the text along with the slides and the notes. then i read the texts study guide and answer as many questions as i can, and even start answering previous text questions as early as i can.

now the midterm is coming up next week and is on about 25 lectures=11 chapters. the questions are really difficult hence the average being around a 60. and i usually end up getting around the average. at times like now i feel really overwhelmed b/c there is just so much info and they all are very important. each sentence in the textbook is basically fair game.

so i am in need of some advice. gen chem and orgo i guess were okay b/c these were mechanical subjects, but bio is more abstract and system oriented. how did you guys prepare for such exams? i'm thinking about just going through concepts?
 

Krupat

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I just read and memorized as I read. I go to Rutgers and our classes are huge also. My science classes range from 200 to 500 people. I actually love memorizing though. If you don't do well with memorization I would just write everything you read down. This helps you retain information at high rates. I did that for bio., orgo., and now i am doing it with biochem. My problem is time limits any advice for me on how to master time?
 

Everglide

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I had a huge 750 person intro bio class too, I went through the material 3-5 times until I knew every detail cold. I never read the book though it sounds like you may have to for your class. I drew out anything that I could multiple times if it was a more complex concept or system. Pneumonics helped for random detail memorization.

As for time management, I personally did away with "study groups" aka social groups during study time and got rid of any distractions such as facebook or sdn.
 

fitz0809

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If the prof is approachable then go to office hours. Usually when I went I could get an idea of what she thought was important or would ask most about... then I would study that section more.

This only works if you have a good personable prof though... but you could kill two birds at once and get a LOR too.

Good luck.
 
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For what its worth... for things like Krebs Cycle and whatnot... I drew them over and over and over, then made sure they had different colors. during the test I could think back and remember the drawings or the colors
 

dapdrow

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We also used Campbell and Reece.

In my class, we literally had to memorize every single thing from the book. I'm not even kidding. She'd go through one chapter every lecture and the exam would be five chapters. There was no emphasis on anything---it was just memorize every minor detail and see what will end up on the test.

Perhaps you could approach the professor and see if there's anything else you could do differently in order to do well.
 

Cheshyre

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This might not be applicable to anybody except me.

Anyway, my issue with biology (and much of college) turned out to be, quite simply, me dodging responsibility. I worked hard, or at least, it felt like it. I'd pull late nights (like 3am) to study when I had class at 8. The reason for my poor grades was that I wasted a lot of time during the day. When I did study, I always over-estimated how much I knew. It was really discouraging to get bad grades constantly when I knew I could do better. I know people will say "oh, well you just partied your grades away." That simply isn't true. With constant sleep deprivation, I felt as though I was working myself to my limits each day. It made diagnosing the problem more difficult.

Now, I know better. You can't go into biology thinking "I've got a pretty good grasp on the material." Pretty good is never good enough. In fact, pretty good is usually average. If you can't recite at least a large part of the material, near verbatim, from notes or lecture slides, you probably need to study more. You have to not only sacrifice for grades, but you have to sacrifice consistently.

As you're finding out, intro bio isn't easy (at least at my school, it wasn't). It's a gateway class for all of the different types of bio - molecular, micro, ecological, etc. In fact, there was so much information in my intro bio class that my school eventually decided to split the course into two different courses. Again, don't underestimate it. You have to go in with the mentality of wanting to crush it.
 

ncguy2005

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Ok, so this is my second semester of bio. first semester i ended up with a B-. keep in mind that this is a huge 600+ bio intro class. no matter how hard i try i cant crack an A on any of the lecture exams. i rock all the labs though. i'm using the campbell and reece text along with lecture slides. i go through the lecture slides along with notes i take from lecture. read through the text. and then read through the text along with the slides and the notes. then i read the texts study guide and answer as many questions as i can, and even start answering previous text questions as early as i can.

now the midterm is coming up next week and is on about 25 lectures=11 chapters. the questions are really difficult hence the average being around a 60. and i usually end up getting around the average. at times like now i feel really overwhelmed b/c there is just so much info and they all are very important. each sentence in the textbook is basically fair game.

so i am in need of some advice. gen chem and orgo i guess were okay b/c these were mechanical subjects, but bio is more abstract and system oriented. how did you guys prepare for such exams? i'm thinking about just going through concepts?

READ READ READ. If your biology class is anything like mine, the professor just outlines the information you have to know in a powerpoint. There is no way he could explain all you need to know in detail and get through the curriculum.

In my Bio II class he got behind on the lectures and ended up inadvertently leaving us with like 225 pages of reading to do in the text book (in less than two weeks).... I worked for a good two weeks to read through and comprehend the material. The key is to start on the reading early and do your best to understand all of it. Quiz yourself, do end of chapter questions, use those cheesy CD's that come with the book.

If you put a lot into it, you'll yield a lot. Our professor was supposedly fired because so many people did poorly in the lecture, but I know I wasn't the only one who got an A. I just had to work on it a lot. Once you get the hang of it, you might enjoy it... you never know.
 
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READ READ READ. If your biology class is anything like mine, the professor just outlines the information you have to know in a powerpoint. There is no way he could explain all you need to know in detail and get through the curriculum.

In my Bio II class he got behind on the lectures and ended up inadvertently leaving us with like 225 pages of reading to do in the text book (in less than two weeks).... I worked for a good two weeks to read through and comprehend the material. The key is to start on the reading early and do your best to understand all of it. Quiz yourself, do end of chapter questions, use those cheesy CD's that come with the book.

If you put a lot into it, you'll yield a lot. Our professor was supposedly fired because so many people did poorly in the lecture, but I know I wasn't the only one who got an A. I just had to work on it a lot. Once you get the hang of it, you might enjoy it... you never know.
:thumbup:

There is no one right way to study. It depends on the professor. I've had professors that provided an outline of what you need to know and as long as you focused on that then you were golden. I also had a professor who would spend 30 minutes for what was supposed to be a 2 hour lecture and cover an entire chapter (during the summer session no less). Then the exam would only have about 15 short essay questions from over 200 pages of material. I just read and reread the chapters, took notes, and memorized as much as I could.
 

Krupat

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Wow Rutgers sucks they made us read 9 to 11 chapters per exam. The final was cumulative. Chapters were on average 30 pages.
 
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Something that is important to do when you're studying for a class is to go over the questions you got wrong in your previous exams. Are you missing basic concepts? Detail-oriented questions? Problem-solving questions? It will help you re-focus on your weaker points when studying. Also, teaching the material to someone else is really helpful too. So find a classmate to study with.

Personally, when studying bio I start by breaking up the material in a way that will make sense for me.

For example in my developmental biology course I first divide my studying between different model organisms, and then subdivide each model organism's process like gastrulation, neurulation, organogenesis, etc. Whereas other people might like to divide the material by clumping the different processes together, like gastrulation for all model organisms, neurulation for all organisms, etc.

Drawing might help you remember concepts, too.

Good luck!! :)
 

donkeykong1

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as always thanks for the advice, I am currently on spring break and am studying 2 chapters a day along with the powerpoints. i am also taking notes along the way, trying to recite the info out loud to myself in my room and in the shower. sounds cheesy but um i'm really desperate to bounce back after a dismal grade in genbio1. currently on nervous system stuff you know with the Na/K pumps, action potentials, direct/indirect post synaptic potentials......
 

elftown

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When I took General Biology, I just committed my notes to memory. I bought the book and never opened it. I met up with a few classmates about an hour before class sometimes, especially test days, to make sure we all had it down.
 

orthomyxo

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Mostly rely on your in-class notes, and crack open the book if you find something you don't understand. In anticipation for an exam, get all of your notes organized by topic. To study, read them over and over until you can recite everything under each heading by memory.
 

UpwardTrend

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Frequent starts and stops help me retain the most Bio information. I get up and do a quick 2-3 min task after every 1/2 hour of studying. I take notes out of the book and study those along with powerpoints/lecture notes. I try to have those notes on me if I'm volunteering or doing something else where I could look them over. Burning yourself out on hours of studying without breaks won't help. Besides, your ass will thank you :laugh:
 

GeneticMedic

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Ahh! This makes me nervous. I took gen bio I back in the summer of 2007, I did ok, got a B+. After finishing my sophmore year, I took a year and a half off of school to become an EMT then paramedic. Now I am back in school and going to be taking gen bio II more than likely in the fall. I have not touched bio since 2007, any tips on preparing for gen bio II??!?! Lol!
 
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You all are going to think that I am Crazy, but this was the method I developed for Bio classes. In general, Biology is memorization heavy; If you know the facts then you can reason your way through whatever they throw at you. To get the material down I would make detailed note cards from the professor's power-points. In General, professors emphasize the material that they test on in their lectures. Once my note cards are made I play loud music, run around my couch, test myself out loud off the note cards, and throw the done ones down on the couch. I have used a treadmill a couple of times, which works too. Here's how I figure, If I can recall information while distracted and physically exerted then I can recall it no sweat during a test. The music and physical activity also keeps you from nodding off. Let me tell you, it works like a charm.
For anatomy and complex processes It is also helpful to draw out the material from memory in addition to using note cards.
 
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It is very difficult but my key to understanding general bio and getting good grades stem from my belief that I have to be ahead of the professor. I read my text as much as possible so that when the professor arrives at a certain chapter, I would have already read that chapter and what ever I did not retain or fully understand gets cleared up during the lecture. You must stay ahead of the game. Use the lecture as a reveiw not the text.

|God Bless|
 
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How did you study for General Bio?

...well I made an offer to my Bio Professor that she can't refuse...and I ended up being in second highest in my class lol.

Ok, that was a joke except the latter part. But I studied my bio course real hard since the instructor was known to be tough teacher. My class used same text as your class but I used many other sources and tried to study pretty much everyday. Of course, there were a lot of memorizations and I just memorized stuff that I had to, but I focused on understanding the main concept first. I also went to group study before the test and did a lot of quiz. It helped me personally. There are many good advices here already, so I stop here.
 

donkeykong1

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you see this is why intro bio classes are so difficult they consist of a plethora of topics all loosely related which take a ton of time to prepare for. meanwhile your taking 4 other classes, doing you honors thesis, working a part time job and throw in some research/volunteer hours. chem, physics, orgo are all problem based so i do the problems and move on-no can do with bio-i must sit down and actually talk myself through the material.

honest to g-d, i just really hope all this work pays off on the mcat.
 
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I'm currently in general Bio 1 now. Being a freshman it was a shock at the actual amount of work I would have to do. I never really had to in high school so that first test was horrible. After that I went and talked to my professor. In the large scale setting she doesn't seem to "teach" it well, but rather read it off the slide. The one on one helped me a ton in understanding the concepts I was still not fully understanding. She also told me to outline the powerpoint slides while reading the book. Then I used my notes that I wrote down to study. I think that helped me the most. Actually re-writing the slides plus the notes I took while she was talking, helped me tons. Like everyone said its the memorization you need and you just need to sit down to do it whether you like it or not.
 

dapdrow

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Ahh! This makes me nervous. I took gen bio I back in the summer of 2007, I did ok, got a B+. After finishing my sophmore year, I took a year and a half off of school to become an EMT then paramedic. Now I am back in school and going to be taking gen bio II more than likely in the fall. I have not touched bio since 2007, any tips on preparing for gen bio II??!?! Lol!
I found that they were mostly separate and that you could have taken the second semester first in my school without a problem. (If you're going by C&R's book, which separates the first half from the second half sort of by micro and macro, respectively.) I think you will be fine.
 

donkeykong1

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Fyi: I rocked the exam and got an A

top 5 grade out of a class of 600 students. Soooooooooooooo happy!
 
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into bio was probably the easiest science class i ever took as an undergrad. but i was also a chemistry major. haha

anyway, 600? wtf? my class was about 50 tops
 

plsfoldthx

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I bought lecture notes and studied them the day before the midterm and final and got an A. :D