How to Study for Biology – Content and Skills
Biology is a course that includes lots of factual information, conceptual content, and very important skills. Each of these three elements requires three different methods for how to study biology and you will need all three in order to be successful.
Some things Just Have to be Memorized
Biology contains lots and lots of factual information, and there is no method of learning this information other than memorization. For example, there are two types of cell division – mitosis and meiosis. The process for each type has very specific steps, and they must be memorized. However, one of the most important study tips for biology when such things must be memorized is using visuals as much as possible. If, for example, you can construct visual representations of the types of cell division, you will find it easier to memorize. The visual will allow your brain to recall that picture when you need it for a test.
Concepts are Best Learned through Example
Just as with any other course, the process for how to learn biology concepts is quite the same. Once you have understood the concept of something, for example, the characteristics of mammals, then your best method for cementing that concept is by associating specific examples – dogs, mice, humans. The concepts of specific ecosystems can be remembered in much the same way – by placing examples of plant and animal life within those systems.
Skills Require Practice for Mastery
Biology study tips for skills mastery is not unlike the mastery of skills in any other course, such as math. In biology there are some procedures and processes which are best learned through practice. For example, in constructing genetic models such as Punnet Squares, there is a specific process to follow. Practicing that process multiple times will cement that learning and allow it to be replicated in a testing situation. As well, completing equations involving DNA models requires extensive practice. There is just no way to master these skills without plenty of practice.
One of the most helpful tools that students find when they have to memorize a lot of biological factual information, is to make flash cards. There are some great apps that allow you to do this online, and you can even find pre-made flashcards to use. There are also online apps that will provide you with plenty of skill practice for such problems as genetics and DNA modeling. And most textbook publishers now have their own sites for each text. On these sites are lots of supplemental study materials and resources which many students find really helpful.
Finding a study partner can also help a great deal, especially when it is exam time. In fact if you are uncertain about how to study for biology exams, having someone else to collaborate with can be extremely beneficial.
Biology coursework is no different than that of most other courses, so you should not feel intimidated simply because it is a science. There are facts, concepts, and skills, and each of these requires a different approach.