Have you ever struggled to fully grasp the sometimes complicated concepts of biology? If so, or if you’re just looking for some ways to improve your current study practices, then this is the article for you. Biology can be a challenging subject to understand, so knowing some helpful tips and tricks can make your life so much easier.
What is the Fastest Way to Memorize Biology?
Biology is a hard subject to learn by straight memorization, but there are some tricks. Since biology is such a broad subject, it is best to break it down into different categories to work on memorizing. We’ll be talking about memorizing vocabulary, memorizing key concepts and systems, and putting it all together in this section.
Flashcards are a great biology study tool, especially when it comes to vocabulary. Most words in biology are derived from Latin roots, so understanding some Latin roots can be super helpful. Keep on top of making flashcards every time you are given new vocabulary words and use your knowledge of Latin roots to help you derive meaning from longer words.
Key concepts and systems can be harder to memorize than words, but it can be done if you remember to look at the big picture. Taking time to draw out concept maps or diagrams of concepts and how they relate to each other can be super useful, especially for a subject that is as interconnected as biology. Being able to draw out both the big picture and the details is a great memorization strategy.
The best way to memorize concepts in biology is to start studying early and to continue studying every day. Studies have found that studying for a short amount of time every day is way better than studying a lot in one day. Try copying your notes down after class, so you go over the material again each day. That way, the information will be fresh in your brain.
How to Make Effective Biology Notes?
Taking effective notes in any subject is a great skill that takes time to master. Try coming up with your own symbols or color-key to mark your notes for easy use later. This could be a star for a vocab word, a plus sign for a key concept, or any symbol that makes sense to you. Some people prefer to use different colors as opposed to symbols. Both make it easier for you to sift through your notes later and glean the necessary information.
One of the best tips we have in regards to your notes is to rewrite them. We’ve already mentioned this, but it is worth mentioning it again. Sometimes it’s hard to take clear and organized notes during lectures, so going back through your notes at a later time and cleaning them up can be a really useful practice to get into.
How to Study for a Biology Test in College?
Studying for any test in college is similar to studying in high school in many ways. You should continue to make sure that you study regularly and keep up with your studying. You should use study strategies that work for you and help you retain the material well. In general, you should continue any successful study habits you developed in high school.
There are a few things that make studying in college different from studying in high school. The main difference is office hours. College professors have office hours where you can go into their office and ask them any questions you might have. If a lecture didn’t make sense, or you can’t figure out a homework question, take your notes or the attempts you have at the question and go ask your professor during office hours.
Office hours are also a great resource when studying for a quiz, test, or exam. As you go through all the material on your own, take note of anything that you aren’t sure you completely understand, any questions you might have, or anything that you would like more detail on. Take these confusions and questions to your professor during office hours and ask them. You’ll be getting the information directly from the person who will be writing your test.
The other benefit of going to office hours is that sometimes your professors will even give you little hints about what to expect from the test. For example, if you come into office hours with a lot of questions about one section, they might tell you that the section you have questions on isn’t even on the test much, so don’t worry. They also might give you some hints as to what sections will carry more weight, so you can really tailor your studying to the test.
How to Study for a Biology Test in High School?
The study practices you develop in high school are what will help you get through college, so it’s important to develop good practices. High school is also a great time to try different study strategies and see what works best for you. Try out using flashcards or color-coding things; see if they work now, so you’ll have a game-plan before you even get to college.
How you study for a biology test in high school depends on what level of biology you’re in. If you are in a general, intro-level biology class in high school, the style of teaching and testing you are receiving will vary vastly between different schools and teachers, so take some time to learn what your teacher expects of you. Ask what their tests will be like and how they recommend you prepare for their particular tests.
If you are taking AP Biology, make sure you are studying for the AP exam throughout the year and are gearing your studying towards that style of test. We have an article on tips for AP Biology and AP Biology review textbooks so if you are in that boat, we recommend you consider checking out that article.
5 Study Tips for a Biology Exam
Study a little bit every day
We’ve already talked about this a little bit, but taking some time to study every day is going to be way more helpful than cramming right before the test. Many people like copying their notes into a different notebook each day after class as a way of going over the information again. You could also read the section in the textbook before class, so when you are taking notes in class, you are reviewing as opposed to hearing the information for the first time.
Use mnemonic devices to help memorize lists
When memorizing lists of things or a particular order of things, try using a mnemonic device or some sort of saying or song. These can be super helpful for keeping things in the right order when thinking about them. You can make up your own mnemonic devices or find already existing ones online. Just find what works for you and what makes it easier for you to remember lists.
Another great thing to help memorize lists is to find a song that describes the concept you are trying to memorize. There are so many videos online of people singing songs about different concepts in biology and other subjects that if you tend to be able to memorize music better than straight words, it might be worthwhile for you to find a good song to help you out. This won’t work for everyone, but if you are a musically inclined person, this might be a great option for you.
Study old quizzes and tests to help prepare for cumulative tests, like finals
Concepts that have been asked about on quizzes are likely to show up again on tests, and the same goes for tests and exams. Studying from your old tests and quizzes will also give you a good idea of what your teacher is looking for. If your teacher tends to use short answer questions and you always lose points on them, maybe focusing on what you messed up on from graded tests can help you understand how to do better next time.
You can also go through old tests and quizzes and use them to create a study guide. By focusing on what your teacher has already shown to be important information, your study guide is more likely to be tailored to your test or exam. This can also be a great thing to do with other students since each person is likely to see something different that your teacher is focusing on.
Test yourself before your teacher does
Give yourself fake tests or quizzes as a practice for the real ones. Going through your material and writing test or quiz questions for yourself is a great study tool. Plus, then you get to go over the material again when you take your newly made test or quiz. Some biology textbooks even have review questions in the back of chapters or at the back of the book that you can incorporate into your fake tests and quizzes.
Study with others
Oftentimes studying with other classmates can be overlooked, but it can be a really useful strategy to learn from others. Maybe someone will have a new way of thinking about a concept that will really help you. It can also feel less like a chore to have someone to study with. You can even plan an afternoon of it. Once you finish studying, take yourself out for a treat to help relax, maybe go get ice cream. Stress is a huge reason that people struggle with tests, and others can often help alleviate that stress.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for a Biology Test
Overall, the best way to study for a biology test is a little bit every day. Studying for a test in college can be slightly different than studying for a test in high school, but if you develop good study habits during high school, you can carry them on with you to college. This will make it so much easier for you to study for tests, such as biology tests, in college.
Studying for a biology test doesn’t have to be scary. Just break it down into smaller, more manageable sections and tackle it little by little each day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out help for other students or your teacher if you are confused. Studying a little bit every day will have you well on your way to acing your next biology quiz, test, or exam.