Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
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Hello SDN,
I just had a biology quiz and left most of it blank. It's not because I'm not studying, but because I can't figure out how. I know this sounds silly, but bear with me. This quarter we go through a chapter in two days, and the professor teaches from the slides that come with the book, and each chapter has between 75-100 slides. We are tested by fill in the blank and short answer only, and I failed the first test and two quizzes. The problem is that I have no idea how to study this amount of information and the questions this quarter are extremely specific, non conceptual questions. The crazy thing is that last quarter we had the same book and essay questions and I received one of the highest grades in the class because I do well with going in depth with the information and understanding concepts but this professor asks questions like "list the five different types of..." "list the different species that have the...." etc. I'm sure this sounds ridiculous but I have no idea how to study for this testing style. I will sit for hours and read the slides, then try and read the book, then read the slides with the book, then hand write my own notes, then try and type notes, then make sample problems, then make flash cards... Nothing works!!! I can pick up life cycles and physiological processes in detail at the drop of a hat but can't remember different types of bacteria, it's really sad. I think that my main problem is organizing the information and tying it together but it feels nearly impossible with the sheer amount of information. We are tested on 5 or 6 chapters, so that's easily several hundred slides.

What do I do? How do you guys study when a professor teaches from the slides? I need to figure this out because I'm sinking. :(

Thank you
 
May 6, 2012
124
22
Status
Pre-Medical
Write question out for every one or two slides and quiz yourself using the questions. After class immediately review the material THOROUGHLY. Spend at least a few hours everyday for this class. Never leave anything blank on quizzes; Even if you have no idea, just go with your intuitive instinct. That might only increase probability of getting the problem right by 10% but its better then 0%. Go to office hours and talk to the professor every week. What does he think is important to understand? Ask someone who does well on the exams, how do they study?

Good luck.
 
Mar 8, 2012
55
3
Status
Pre-Medical
Most universities will have some sort of tutoring center or an educational access department. In said center/department there will usually be a study coach who's sole job is to help people fix problems just like this. If you tell me which uni you're at I can probably find this person so you can contact them and make an appointment.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you both of you so much, I appreciate the input! I go to a private university so I dont know if we have it but I can look into what options we have here, I appreciate it so much.

Part of it I think is that I am ridiculously particular with detail, and get very stressed if there's too much information and i am unable to learn every small thing. My nit pickiness is usually a good thing but my head wants to explode and I freeze like a deer in headlights when I see pages and pages and pages of the slides. I want to memorize every little detail and understand every little concept, and when I can't because there simply aren't enough hours in the day I get nothing in the end but the insatiable desire to fling my textbook out the window.

Do you ever cut out any information in classes like this?

Again thank you so much for the responses.
 
Mar 27, 2012
218
1
Status
Pre-Medical
For tests like this, it helps to make as many mental connections between this material and other things as is humanly possible. The more mental connections you have, the easier it is to recall information on a rote-memorization/fill-in-the-blank/short answer basis.

Yes, read the book, study the slides, go to lecture, etc. But consider going further than that. Read wikipedia articles about the things you are studying. Do google searches. Read papers, watch youtube movies, etc. Note: there are lots of wild molecular/micro clips on youtube that show these organisms in amazing detail. What diseases do these germs cause? What are some potential drug targets? How do existing drugs, etc. work to kill these bugs? It's time consuming, but it will pay dividends at test time. And you'll learn some really neat stuff to boot. :)

If you really want to nail it, practice explaining the concepts/giving the nitty gritty in simple terms that a four year old could understand. Go a step further and make a youtube video of yourself explaining/expounding upon each germ, which will help someone else.

Can you give me a specific example of something you're having a hard time remembering? It might be easier for me to give you some specific examples if I know exactly what's giving you heartburn.
 
Mar 27, 2012
218
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Ashley,

I used to memorize slides/notes, until I got to the point that there was just too much information for this to be effective. I don't have a photographic memory, but found it helpful to read the slides, and then make mental images of myself reading them. Instead of memorizing the content per se, I concentrated on preserving the memory of myself reading the information. I got to the point where, on an exam, I would see a question, recall the answer the slide was on, and effectively "read the slide" in my brain.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
For tests like this, it helps to make as many mental connections between this material and other things as is humanly possible. The more mental connections you have, the easier it is to recall information on a rote-memorization/fill-in-the-blank/short answer basis.

Yes, read the book, study the slides, go to lecture, etc. But consider going further than that. Read wikipedia articles about the things you are studying. Do google searches. Read papers, watch youtube movies, etc. Note: there are lots of wild molecular/micro clips on youtube that show these organisms in amazing detail. What diseases do these germs cause? What are some potential drug targets? How do existing drugs, etc. work to kill these bugs? It's time consuming, but it will pay dividends at test time. And you'll learn some really neat stuff to boot. :)

If you really want to nail it, practice explaining the concepts/giving the nitty gritty in simple terms that a four year old could understand. Go a step further and make a youtube video of yourself explaining/expounding upon each germ, which will help someone else.

Can you give me a specific example of something you're having a hard time remembering? It might be easier for me to give you some specific examples if I know exactly what's giving you heartburn.
Thank you :) as far as what I cannot remember it isn't necessarily concepts its that it will be fill in the blank of some random information discussed in one slide out of the several hundred that does not apply to any of the concepts such as phylums, bacteria names, or differences between this plant and that. Detail wise in concepts I do very, very well but it's the sheer amount of information that is so hard.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
Ashley,

I used to memorize slides/notes, until I got to the point that there was just too much information for this to be effective. I don't have a photographic memory, but found it helpful to read the slides, and then make mental images of myself reading them. Instead of memorizing the content per se, I concentrated on preserving the memory of myself reading the information. I got to the point where, on an exam, I would see a question, recall the answer the slide was on, and effectively "read the slide" in my brain.
Ah, awesome. I see what you're saying. I think this may help, especially since the concepts are totally fine but it's those darn slides.

I actually was thinking about throwing the slides out all together because they're freaking me out so much but decided to come here for some input first...
 

mmmmd

tasty
Dec 9, 2011
305
1
california
Status
Pre-Medical
I study biology using www.quizlet.com. My friend and I collaborate and produce tailored flashcards that we interact with using the website. The "learn" and "space race" features are particularly useful.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
How awesome I appreciate all the advice thank you so much everyone! I am definitely going to have to get high As on everything else and need all the advice I can get thank you again! :)
 

Drrrrrr. Celty

Osteo Dullahan
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2009
16,100
5,349
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Medical Student
Narratives, study it like its a story. Also if there is any anatomy or structure or pathways then draw them out as multiple cortical representations = best method of memorization.
 
Mar 27, 2012
218
1
Status
Pre-Medical
How awesome I appreciate all the advice thank you so much everyone! I am definitely going to have to get high As on everything else and need all the advice I can get thank you again! :)
Don't worry, you're going to do fantastic. You have a great attitude, and seem like a delightful young woman. I'll be thinking of you. If you remember, do post and let us know how you did. I'm rooting for you!
 

Chir0nex

5+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2011
354
94
Status
Maybe you can try studying in a small group. Quizzing each other can be less stressful, and often times I found myself learning mnemonics and memroy aids from my friends.

Also, be careful to not over do it. It is very hard to concentrate for more than a couple of hours at a time, and when ever I had to memorize lots of detail I would take regular breaks to every 2 hours to give myself time to process. On the same note, make sure you are sleeping well. I was constantly surprised at how much I recalled from a study session if I took a nap afterwards.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
Don't worry, you're going to do fantastic. You have a great attitude, and seem like a delightful young woman. I'll be thinking of you. If you remember, do post and let us know how you did. I'm rooting for you!
This made me smile :) Thank you again, and I will try and post after my next test!!
 
Apr 7, 2012
151
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello SDN,
I just had a biology quiz and left most of it blank. It's not because I'm not studying, but because I can't figure out how. I know this sounds silly, but bear with me. This quarter we go through a chapter in two days, and the professor teaches from the slides that come with the book, and each chapter has between 75-100 slides. We are tested by fill in the blank and short answer only, and I failed the first test and two quizzes. The problem is that I have no idea how to study this amount of information and the questions this quarter are extremely specific, non conceptual questions. The crazy thing is that last quarter we had the same book and essay questions and I received one of the highest grades in the class because I do well with going in depth with the information and understanding concepts but this professor asks questions like "list the five different types of..." "list the different species that have the...." etc. I'm sure this sounds ridiculous but I have no idea how to study for this testing style. I will sit for hours and read the slides, then try and read the book, then read the slides with the book, then hand write my own notes, then try and type notes, then make sample problems, then make flash cards... Nothing works!!! I can pick up life cycles and physiological processes in detail at the drop of a hat but can't remember different types of bacteria, it's really sad. I think that my main problem is organizing the information and tying it together but it feels nearly impossible with the sheer amount of information. We are tested on 5 or 6 chapters, so that's easily several hundred slides.

What do I do? How do you guys study when a professor teaches from the slides? I need to figure this out because I'm sinking. :(

Thank you
Sounds exactly like what I'm going through...bombed my biology finals today after staying up all night:(
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
Sounds exactly like what I'm going through...bombed my biology finals today after staying up all night:(
Aww I'm so sorry :( it's really hard to fail on such epic proportions (at least for me) and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
 

argama

7+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2011
263
17
Status
Medical Student
OMG i have this problem too!! And I thought only i had this type of problem lol.

I bombed a midterm (we have 3) and aced the final for a bio class like this only to fall short of an A- by 5 points. So sad :(
 

ljpm8224

emt-abcdefgh
7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2009
690
6
Palo Alto, CA
Status
Pre-Medical
x2 for quizlet and also for group studying. even if it's just one other person. often when you sit with a friend and quiz each other, one of you will think to ask something the other person is missing. I've found this to be SUPER helpful. go to a cafe and study with a friend a few days before your test.
 
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Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you for all the replies!

I'm seeing so many sad faces on here :( haha
 

hmockingbird

7+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2011
488
182
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I had a similar problem in biochem recently. The professor loved to TALK about how his tests were conceptual and supposed to train you to weed out unnecessary details but his tests were all about details. lol What ended up helping were two things. I didn't find reading the chapter before class helpful because I'd forget but I read it after to get more details about what we talked about in class and clarify anything I didn't understand. When I was actively studying I would read through my notes and slides. While doing so I'd make note of anything that was straight memorizing... structures, types of receptors, pathways, etc. (And a lot of these would be minute details like "name the specific amino acid that moves when this happens to this protein".) I wouldn't do anything with those at that point beyond reading about them in the notes. After I had read through all my notes I would go back to the notes that had the stuff to memorize, and I would first recite those and/or draw them having a reference. Then I would test myself by writing them out or reciting them without the notes in front of me. I repeated this process (reading through the notes and then testing myself on the memorization stuff) at least once and I also tested myself on the stuff to memorize right before the test. For the amino acids, I made flashcards. I hope that gives you some ideas.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
I had a similar problem in biochem recently. The professor loved to TALK about how his tests were conceptual and supposed to train you to weed out unnecessary details but his tests were all about details. lol What ended up helping were two things. I didn't find reading the chapter before class helpful because I'd forget but I read it after to get more details about what we talked about in class and clarify anything I didn't understand. When I was actively studying I would read through my notes and slides. While doing so I'd make note of anything that was straight memorizing... structures, types of receptors, pathways, etc. (And a lot of these would be minute details like "name the specific amino acid that moves when this happens to this protein".) I wouldn't do anything with those at that point beyond reading about them in the notes. After I had read through all my notes I would go back to the notes that had the stuff to memorize, and I would first recite those and/or draw them having a reference. Then I would test myself by writing them out or reciting them without the notes in front of me. I repeated this process (reading through the notes and then testing myself on the memorization stuff) at least once and I also tested myself on the stuff to memorize right before the test. For the amino acids, I made flashcards. I hope that gives you some ideas.
Yes it does! Thank you very much! I want everyone to know that I'm writing this stuff down and it means a lot to me! I am really happy that I'm getting all these great ideas so I can do well this next test :)
 
May 3, 2012
60
1
Status
I took an Anatomy Course at an Ivy League school that was similar - except we went through about 200 slides per day. We also had specific fill in the blank questions. I just completely ignored the book and literally memorized each slide, which took hours. In the end I made a B+, but I actually did pretty well on all but one test (A's on all of them, bombed one due to lack of studying and brought me down to B+)
 

macfan101

Removed
May 8, 2012
81
0
Status
Important thing is to sit down and study the slides til you can teach it to someone else. Its a nice technique to have a study partner and the partner can ask you questions from the chapters, giving you an idea of what you know and what you need to focus on. Best of luck

P.S. Used this method for Intro Bio I+II and got an A both semesters.
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
I am wondering if the type of information has something to do with it as well. Last quarter it was a lot of A&P whereas this quarter it's all plants...

I'm grasping for strings here haha
 
Apr 23, 2012
47
1
Washington, DC
Status
Pre-Medical
DON'T USE FLASHCARDS.

Thanks to my psychology professor I now know that flashcards and your brain don't go well together. Long story but just stay away from them.

Also, you mentioned it's plants you're learning about right? I feel your pain. I do well in school, have a slightly photographic memory, and learn biology easily. Had a 102% average all semester, but during the last few weeks we hit all the plant chapters. I hated it. I pretty much gave up on studying them, scanned the chapters thirty minutes before the exam and I got an 83. So still an A in the class overall, but still annoying.

I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate plants. :thumbdown:
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
DON'T USE FLASHCARDS.

Thanks to my psychology professor I now know that flashcards and your brain don't go well together. Long story but just stay away from them.

Also, you mentioned it's plants you're learning about right? I feel your pain. I do well in school, have a slightly photographic memory, and learn biology easily. Had a 102% average all semester, but during the last few weeks we hit all the plant chapters. I hated it. I pretty much gave up on studying them, scanned the chapters thirty minutes before the exam and I got an 83. So still an A in the class overall, but still annoying.

I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate plants. :thumbdown:
Thank you!!!!! Someone who shares my pain! I was thinking of taking ecology instead of biostats (either required for my major) well yes I don't think so now!! Haha yes, plants are killer but I have to deal with it I suppose haha
 
Mar 27, 2012
218
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I am wondering if the type of information has something to do with it as well. Last quarter it was a lot of A&P whereas this quarter it's all plants...

I'm grasping for strings here haha
Plants! I love plants. Plants are a line-item in our household budget. Really. I drool over garden catalogs like men drool over Victoria's Secret catalogs.

Find gardens, herbariums, arboretums, ANYTHING you can locally. Heck--find a Lowe's (or other big box garden center). See the plants. Smell them. Touch them. Caress them. Read poetry about them. Go to an art museum. Google Georgia O'Keefe.

Flashcards are indeed horrible. One of the nice things about plants, is that there are lots, and lots, and lots of fun ways you can make interesting connections in your brain about what you're learning. I standby my advice to memorize the action of yourself reading the notes (as opposed to trying to memorize the notes themselves). But the wealth of nifty info out there can really help you as well.

You can even find lots of extra science-related info to help you. There's a neat NOVA (PBS) documentary about using small interfering and micro RNA to modulate gene expression in petunias. One of the best selling garden plants in America right now (a black petunia) was developed this way. It's pretty cool stuff. ;)

If you live anywhere in North Carolina, I'll teach you anything you want to know about plants. And probably some things you couldn't care less about. :laugh:
 
OP
Ashley1989
Apr 7, 2012
1,159
111
Hello, cold
Status
Pre-Medical
Plants! I love plants. Plants are a line-item in our household budget. Really. I drool over garden catalogs like men drool over Victoria's Secret catalogs.

Find gardens, herbariums, arboretums, ANYTHING you can locally. Heck--find a Lowe's (or other big box garden center). See the plants. Smell them. Touch them. Caress them. Read poetry about them. Go to an art museum. Google Georgia O'Keefe.

Flashcards are indeed horrible. One of the nice things about plants, is that there are lots, and lots, and lots of fun ways you can make interesting connections in your brain about what you're learning. I standby my advice to memorize the action of yourself reading the notes (as opposed to trying to memorize the notes themselves). But the wealth of nifty info out there can really help you as well.

You can even find lots of extra science-related info to help you. There's a neat NOVA (PBS) documentary about using small interfering and micro RNA to modulate gene expression in petunias. One of the best selling garden plants in America right now (a black petunia) was developed this way. It's pretty cool stuff. ;)

If you live anywhere in North Carolina, I'll teach you anything you want to know about plants. And probably some things you couldn't care less about. :laugh:
Haha I love this!! You sound like quite the botanist actually. My professor says very similar things and I've always admired the passion. Unfortunately I'm on the opposite side of the country but I really am gaining wonderful knowledge and insights! And hey now that I think about it a plant catalogue could be comparable to a Victoria's secret cataloge; I have to admit some plants do have nice velvety leaves and long elegant styles.
 

mmmmd

tasty
Dec 9, 2011
305
1
california
Status
Pre-Medical
DON'T USE FLASHCARDS.

Thanks to my psychology professor I now know that flashcards and your brain don't go well together. Long story but just stay away from them.
I gotta call BS. These forums deserve a better explanation than that, if you have one.

Every individual learns differently of course. If you use flashcards, you have to study them effectively. Quizlet makes efficacy an easy process. It's designing the flashcards that is conceptually challenging... memorizing your home-grown content is trivial. Also, if you stay on top of it and make the flashcards as you go (and make them well, tailored to what you expect to be tested on the next exam), when it comes time to study all you have to do is pile through them and it's a simple-to-achieve A. Easier said than done, but this website has changed the way I approach studying for exams. And it works (for me).