The semester is more than halfway done so it’s safe to say that I’ve learned some things about how to manage all that is intro biology. Bio 110 is a difficult class. It’s a lot of work but it’s not too bad if you stay on top of things and put effort into it. I have Dr. Morrison and I’m doing well in the class. This advice will not work for everyone but I think it’s a good place to start. Here are some of my tips on how to succeed in Bio 110.
1. Do the readings!!!
I cannot stress this enough. At the end of each PowerPoint, Dr. Morrison assigns pages to read out of the book. These readings are very helpful in gaining understanding of the material. I don’t always understand them while I’m reading them but they’re better explained in class during lectures. It helps to have already been exposed to the information before the lecture, though. Plus, they’re a great way to refresh yourself before exams. Also, I would strongly recommend reading the lab manual before the lab. It helps during labs because you’ve already been exposed to the information once so you’re able to complete the lab more efficiently.
2. Go to office hours
Dr. Morrison has office hours where you can go and talk to her either one on one or in a small group of students. This is more beneficial than during lectures because you can ask her questions and not have to fear asking them in front of the entire class. Plus, she is able to go more in depth about some of the trickier topics. (And she usually provides snacks!)
Even if you don’t normally study with others, I would suggest studying with at least one other person for bio exams. This is helpful because maybe the other person understands something you don’t. Plus, explaining some of the more complex concepts out loud can help you to make sure that you understand them well enough yourself. I have found that, once I know the material well enough, explaining concepts to people who weren’t in the class was helpful because I had to know it in order to explain it. Before the first test, I explained some the chemical structures to my roommate and before the second test I explained some experiments involving DNA to a senior creative writing major.
4. Start studying well before the exams
In high school, I would study for a test the night before. This is a terrible idea and I do not recommend it! For Bio 110, I always tell myself that I’m going to start studying a week before the test. But, that usually turns into starting on the Monday before the test (the tests are all on Fridays). I start by going through my notes and marking down anything I don’t remember. Then, I reread my notes. I attend the review sessions and then I study with someone else the night before. Then I go over everything and try to explain the major concepts to someone else to make sure I know what I’m doing. I have found that this helps because I’m exposed to the information so much that I learn it, instead of just memorizing it.
5. Attend the review sessions
The study groups and review sessions are excellent opportunities to ask questions and have things clarified. Plus, the notes you take during these times are great tools for studying and I’m sure they’ll be helpful on the final.
Bio 110 is an intimidating and challenging class. But, I've learned that if you put effort into it and keep up with the work you can find success.