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Succeeding in a Biology Class

Updated on January 18, 2011

To receive a Bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution, a student is required to complete courses in life and physical sciences. My introductory biology college class was filled with non-science majors who struggled with biology concepts. Many of them had failed, sometimes repeatedly, and they still had not absorbed enough information to pass the class I took with them. I don't believe the average person is too stupid to pass an introductory biology class, and I suspect the problem was largely due to laziness.

Biology is a challenging subject, but if you devote a couple of hours of study time each day, you should manage to, at least, pass the class. Whether you would like to squeak by in biology, or if you're like me, and are determined to make an A, read on for some tips.

1. You must study.

I cannot stress this point enough. Read each chapter, even if you feel overwhelmed by the jargon and concepts. Take notes independently of the notes you take in class and write down the concepts you don't understand.

2. Attend class.

So, your class is at 8 AM, and lasts for 2 hours? If this is your reasoning, how will you ever manage a job? Your teacher can provide valuable information and even if they don't specifically highlight what will be on the exams, you may be able to gather some insight.

3. Attend labs, and don't allow your partner to do all of the work.

You will be expected to recognize and answer questions about what you do and see in the labs on your lab midterm and final.

4. Don't wait until you find that you are failing the class before you seek help.

College biology is more difficult than your high school biology class. Don't be too prideful to see a tutor. Contact the student center at your college and inquire about tutoring, or hire another student who has aced the class.

5. Do not allow extracurricular activities to interfere with your classes.

Near the end of my introductory biology semester, some of the sporty girls in my class were gleeful to discover my grade. I was making an A, and they hoped I could help them. The entire semester, they'd missed labs and lectures so they could attend basketball games, and their grades suffered horribly. Do not allow extracurricular activities to interfere with your classes. Unless you have an excellent chance of being recruited by a professional sports team, you're best to devote your time to studying.

6. If biology is too difficult or boring for you, make sure you are not persuing a medical degree.

I've met so many students who were interested in the financial rewards of a medical degree, but they did not care to comprehend the basis of their field of interest. Your college may have a low enough gpa requirement that you can get by with low grades, but what's the point? Major in something you enjoy, and don't go to school with the intention of wasting the time of those who come to you for expertise when you do have that degree on your wall.

7. Try to be interested.

If you make an effort, you may even find yourself somewhat intrigued by the wealth of information that has been contributed to society by the scientific community.

Hope this helps some!


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