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How do I study Biology?

I'm a second year in college right now and I'm having a hard time retaining information and to be more specific, I'm really struggling with my biology course. I'm taking notes from our presentations and in class but I can't really seem to process the information. I did fine in my chemistry and statistics courses, so I think I just don't know how to use biology in a practical sense especially because our professor doesn't give us homework.

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Tanceana’s Answer

Hi Kamaria!
I must admit that Conrad REALLY covered all of the basis, when it comes to "What to do Next."

I totally understand how you feel, but remember this. Choose not to go on your "feelings." Instead, Go Ahead, Make a Plan, and Press Forward! Don't spend any time looking back or feeling sorry for yourself at any point, but instead, LET'S GO!!!

When I was in college a thousand years ago :) , I felt the very same way about my Advanced Algebra Class. (Math always gave me the Blues!) Well anyway, after sitting down and having a "good cry," I was advised to do the very thing that I am sharing with You.... MAKE A PLAN. Or, as I like to look at it, Make a Plan A, B, and possibly C, because in some cases, it will take a combination of scenarios in order for you to get your desired results.

For me, I chose to sign myself up for as many "Math Tutoring Classes," as I possibly could schedule, in addition to reaching out to the math Professor for additional insight and help. I learned that it was important for my math Professor to know that I was struggling so that he could see that I was serious about doing well in his class and that my poor scores were NOT due to me being a 'goof off student.' :)

All in all, it worked! I continued using this very same Strategy when taking my next College Math Courses, and I am happy to report that I PASSED those 'dog gone' Math classes! Although I didn't earn straight A's in my Math classes, I earned grades that enabled my college GPA to still be high enough for me to Graduate with High Honors at the time of graduation. When I look back on those years in college, I feel as though it was all worth while by me having gone the Extra Mile, in order to pass my Math Classes.

So Kamaria, get a feel for what works for you, when it comes to YOUR PERSONAL LEARNING STYLE, MAKE A PLAN, and then PRESS FORWARD and HOLD ON!!! ...... You Got this, Puddin' :)
Thank you comment icon Your advice is so helpful and motivating, thank you! Kamaria
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micheal’s Answer

The first thing you need to find out is what you are doing wrong, if you have interest in it or not,once you are able to find out how you read for that subject and compare it with how you read for the other subjects you will be able to know what to do. In some cases it might be the lack of interest in that particular subject so try to develop interest in it, then it will become more fascinating to you because we tend to read what fascinates us and it stays in our memory because we have interest in it and are more curious to know more about it. If your teacher is not giving you assignment or homework do your own research in your leisure time and you will see a great turnaround.
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Conrad’s Answer

It sounds like you're experiencing some difficulty with your biology course, and it can be frustrating to struggle with a subject that you're not familiar with. Here are a few tips that may help you improve your understanding and retention of the material:

Active learning: Instead of just passively listening to lectures or reading your notes, try to actively engage with the material. This can include taking your own notes, summarizing information in your own words, or creating flashcards to help you memorize key terms and concepts.

Practice: Even though your professor doesn't give homework, try to find ways to practice the material on your own. This could include working through practice problems, taking online quizzes or practice exams, or creating your own review sheets.

Study groups: Forming a study group with other students in your class can be a great way to review material and discuss concepts that you're having trouble with.

Seek help: Don't hesitate to ask for help if you're struggling with the material. You can reach out to your professor for clarification or extra help, or visit the tutoring center for additional support.

Connect the material to real-world applications: Try to find ways to connect the material you're learning in your biology course to real-world applications. This can help you understand the relevance and importance of the material and make it more meaningful to you.

Practice visualization: Try to create mental images of the concepts you're learning. This can help you understand and remember the material better.

Remember that learning is a process and it takes time to understand and retain information. It's important to be patient with yourself and not to get discouraged. Keep working at it and consider seeking extra help if you need it.
Thank you comment icon This is great advice! I wanted to chime in with advice that connects active learning with study groups. I once had a professor tell us the best way to know if you understand a concept is to explain it to someone else and boy, was he right. People have the tendency to think they know more than they do but when they stop to think about it, they realize that there are some gaps in their knowledge. I would suggest finding a study buddy and explaining things to each other. Many professors give out study guides, use them and test each other on the material within the study guide. Gurpreet Lally, Admin
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Kamaria
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Michel’s Answer

Writing notes can be helpful in some cases. I finished my degree in Biology just a couple years ago. It is a difficult field to teach with things like homework which is one of the things that make it a difficult subject to study. I believe one of the best things you can do to learn Biology is to learn from people that have extensive knowledge. The first step to that is learning from your professor. Obviously they are going to give you a lot of information, but there will most likely still be gaps. If you are still struggling with certain aspects of ideas you can go to places like Khan academy and Youtube. There are a lot of people who teach the material and they can make concepts click a lot easier.

If you are better at visualizing things I believe making concept maps can be very helpful. If i am studying a system in school I will place it in the middle of the page and branch out from that system with disease processes that are in that field and continue to branch out from the center point. Creating concept maps allow you to visualize an entire system in one place and can give you ideas on how to add to the knowledge that you already have.
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Erlis’s Answer

My first suggestion is speak with your professor one on one to try to get some tips on how you can improve your studying for Biology. Make sure you rewrite your notes every day and make sure you are taking the basic concepts out of each lesson and be able to give yourself quizzes. But let's start with the professor and teaching assistant for tips.
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Brittany’s Answer

I had the same problem with History. I asked my Psych professor if there were any tips/tricks and these are what she suggested:

1. Pretend to be interested in it! Even if you aren't, if you treat it like you are, you retain it a bit easier
2. Write in blue ink, it sticks to the memory better
3. Hand write notes instead of typing them. Your brain remembers where you shorthanded something (sugh as putting & instead of and, or w/ instead of with)
4. Try to teach it so someone else. It shows you where those gaps are, but it also switches your brain out of retention mode and into recall mode
5. Don't study for more than 30 mins at a time, and take a small, technology free break in between
6. Try to study in the same location each time. Your brain recognizes the pattern and goes oh we need to study now, and enters study mode

My anatomy & physiology class was the same way. I could word vomit the material, but I had no actual understanding of it in a practical sense. What helped me was to see different things under the microscope to see the differences and similarities. Such as, your mouth, esophagus, and lady bits are all made of the same type of cells. Seeing slides to confirm helped me to solidify those quirky little facts and kind of apply it in some way
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Arantza’s Answer

As a college college student, I felt like I was a student 24/7 and I had to juggle my classes, extracurriculars, career development, and networking/socializing.

It’s difficult to find more time to study. I would start by optimizing your health. Sleep is very important and really affects your memory, concentration, and creativity. Eat healthy. Exercise at least 30 min a day. And build a strong community of support around you. Your friends are your family now.

Study efficiently. after you prioritize healthy habits, you will do in one hour what you would have done in 4 hours.

Find the best way for you to learn. It’s not the same for everyone. I learn best from YouTube tutorials. Learning from peers and teaching my peers.

Strategize. Often your success in a college courses is not based on what you learned but how the course is structured and the professor’s testing methods. Look at the syllabus and the topics, and build your study strategy around it.

Work smart not hard. And make time for yourself. You don’t want to burn out. You’re going for the long run and once you have mastered this balance you will be successful after college and in your career.
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