Biology is a science infamous for it’s complex use of words. The terminology used within this field is extensive in nature and tends to utilize every possible latin/greek phrase out there! So how do you best prepare for a biology exam? Continue reading to find out…
1. Understand the terminology
As noted earlier, biology is famous for having a somewhat complex and difficult nomenclature. If you can learn to master the words, you can also master the meanings. If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to learn the most important set of root words, suffixes (at the end of a word) and prefixes (at the beginning of a word) that are used in biology. As the list is somewhat large this is something to be done over a continuous basis; learning a few words every day.
2. Specific terminology
Once you’ve gazed through and learned some general terminology you can then focus on the specific terminology used in your course (e.g Microbiology). If time is of the essence then you should skip the first step and begin here immediately. Compile a list with all the most important words/phrases used in the course and/or ask the teacher if such a list is already available. By studying this list extensively you get a head start, understanding the words will help you to understand the concepts.
3. See the connections
Once you’ve memorized the word list you need to understand the most important concepts in your specific subject. How does “this” work, why does “this” thing work like “this and not like “that” etc. By asking such questions you are forcing yourself to see patterns and understand why things work in a particular way. Draw diagrams, flow charts, mind maps and tables if these help you to see the connections. Always double check so you’ve understood the concept correctly so you don’t get a wrong answer for misunderstanding a concept.
Establish regular reading sessions. Don’t expect to start preparing for your exam the day prior to the exam, this will not work! Always read a little every day, even if it’s as little as one page. In the beginning of each course, start out by generating a reading schedule noting how much you need to read every day in order to finish all the pages you need to cover. Make sure you leave a buffer of a few days so that you finish reading everything a few days before the exam date. This will make sure you have a few days allocated only for rehearsing.
5. Look at old exams
Hopefully, if I’m not all too lazy I intend to collect a handful of biology exams under the upcoming section for biology (see subjects). However, until then you can always let your search engine be your friend. Ask your professor for old exams, they usually post them a few days prior to the test. If you know any senior students you can always borrow one of their previous exams and see how they were structured. In any case, understanding the structure of the exam is highly important as this let’s you know what type of questions the teacher will ask. Albeit, it is important that you do not study only to pass the exam but instead you should study to understand the subject at hand. Once you do that, passing the exam will be a piece of cake with a slight chunk of frosting to the side.