So you have now opted for biology as the main subject? People choose Biology out of their love for nature or the world around. But when they start to study, they find the learning of Biology very difficult. Some find it so because of the complex terms used and some for the long-term memorization it demands, and some for various other reasons. It is true that taking the Biology classes or preparing to study biology is as challenging as studying other subjects like Math, Physics, and Chemistry etc.
10 Tips to improve biology scores
If you are planning to get the best grades in Biology, you do not only have to work hard, but smart also. Here in this article, I am going to provide 10 tips to improve biology scores. These may help you in long run if you follow it in deeds and not only in words. Now without wasting much time let us learn how to study biology.
1. Positive outlook for the subject of study (Biology):
See, this is the basic requirement for the study of any subject whatsoever it is. If you maintain a positive attitude for the subject, however difficult it may seem, you are sure to fare well in the subject. This makes the study fun and not just a burden. Think about the best parts of the subject to develop a positive attitude. How biology relates to the real-world situations? How the body functions? What are the possible biological solutions to the world situation? If you will look at biology from these perspectives, you are surely going to develop a positive attitude and love of learning for Biology.
2. Start from the General and then slowly move towards the specific/complex:
This is a general science of learning any subject. For example, if you are learning to write a sentence in English, you have to start with general things like how to arrange words in a sentence, noun, verbs, adjective etc. and then tenses and then the literary terms. You cannot directly jump to learn the literary terms, without knowing the Basic English grammar.
The same thing is applicable while learning the Biological concepts and terms. For e.g. before identifying the primates, you need to first know what the features of a mammal are. Without knowing mammals, how will you understand the primates properly? For moving from general to the specific, mind maps help a lot. They organize the memory in a way that it remembers the concepts for very long.
3. Ease the process of learning the terminology for yourself:
The maximum learners of Biology find it very difficult to memorize and learn the complicated terminology. Terms like Cytokinesis, Heterozygous, and Oligosaccharide etc. are not only difficult to pronounce, but also to learn, understand and memorize forever. Familiarization with terms is extremely important if you are learning Biology. But how to do that?
Well, there is no one method that suits all. You have to try different methods and find for yourself that which method is the best. But the easiest way out is breaking the difficult terms into parts and then searching for some root. If you get to know the root word, you would be able to relate it to find the best meaning of the terminology.
The method to be followed while learning the complex terminology is the search for the definition of the terminology and then identify the roots by breaking the terminology in parts. Apart from it, you can develop your own way also like making a diagram, image etc.
4. Learn with the labeling of the diagrams:
Biology cannot be understood only by reading. As the biological processes are real, they can be learned easily and lively with the help of the diagrams. You must have read about the flower and all of its part. So how do you remember all of that? I think you must have seen the flower first and while reading about its part you must be making an image of the flower somewhere inside your mind. Why not bring that image on the paper, so that you can remember all the parts properly and for long?
If you are preparing to study biology, ensure that you draw and label the process/parts on a paper or some digital medium. It is a very effective way to learn the biological concepts quickly. It is sure that if you do so, you will improve your biology scores effectively.
Whatever diagrams are in your textbook make sure to observe them well, and then try to make them with your own mind and hand coordination. This helps to know how better you have understood the whole process/structure/part. Captions in the diagram are important to develop the understanding about the diagram. So never ignore them.
5. Use a mix of memory techniques to grasp the gist and memorize:
Biology covers myriad topics in its ambit because of its diversity. From virology, immunology to osmosis, it covers all. Biology is a subject which requires extensive recall, retention, and memorization. So how will you remember all of this for a lifetime? As you cannot just rely on the rote learning of the information, you have to imbibe some memory technique for learning the concepts well. Do you know any memory technique? If you don’t know, be cool. Now-a-day, the internet is full of information about the description of the memory techniques to be used while learning. Apart from them, there are some specific softwares designed to help students learn and memorize the biological concepts. Some of them are really amazing.
However, there are some basic memory techniques which are frequently used in school by students to learn the concepts well. The well-known techniques are:
- Teaching whatever you have learned.
- Using your learning in practical life. If not possible to use the learning in day to day life, at least write about it or use it in sentences to learn it for long.
- Use mnemonic devices. Mnemonic devices are memory techniques which make use of the memory’s power of association and relationship. The general example of this is associating the unfamiliar biological words with the familiar general English words. For e.g. when we learn the periodic table, we relate the first words of the element with some known words. H, He, Li, Be, B, C, N etc. can be made to relate to the sentence ‘Hey Henry Life Became Boring Come Near.’ Now each word in the sentence relates to an element in the periodic table, thus making it easy to remember.
- Solving quizzes
- Testing your knowledge again and again by self-testing and evaluation
- Use Flash Cards (Flashcards are 3*5” size cards). Students write the concept name on one side of the card and the definitions or descriptions related to it on the other side of the card. This helps to memorize quickly. These can be used to play with the classmates to add fun to your learning.
6. Study tip for Biology classes - Make a habit of reading the text before going to the class:
Unlike mathematics, biology cannot be learned suddenly or quickly. It takes time to learn and memorize the concepts of biology. Sometimes it happens in the Biology class that when we are unaware of the context or pre-text, we do not understand whatever is taught in the class. The best way to attend the classes of Biology is that we must come to the class prepared for the study of the concept. It is highly advisable that you must read the concept or the textbook before coming to the class. This helps to understand the concept well as you are aware of the pretext.
Reading the textbook also helps to prepare for the exams according to the syllabus. Teachers sometimes explain the concepts randomly, and not according to the syllabus. In this case, reading a textbook helps the student a lot. If you have read about the concept well, you can clarify your doubts about it in the class.
7. Attempt to solve all the questions given in the textbook at the end of every chapter:
Textbooks are generally designed by a group of intellectuals who have certain kind of specialization in that subject. The questions at the end of every chapter are given to help one to evaluate what he/she has understood in the chapter and learned well. It also helps to reinforce and recall the matter of the chapter. You will also be able to evaluate what questions are more difficult for you to solve and which one needs more attention on your part. You can even take the help of your teacher for that. Solving these questions is a type of self-assessment.
8. Read the notes or chapter after the class:
As discussed and advised before, you must read the Biology chapter before the class so that you can grasp the content in the class more quickly. Similarly, it is advised that you must read the notes of the lecture or chapter after the class is over. Reading it in 24 hours helps to grasp the content well.
Actually, teachers and the classmates also take interest in discussing the concepts and chapters when they are being taught in the class. Once the chapter is over in the class no one will take much interest in solving the doubts you have. So read the notes/chapter after the class very carefully and remove your doubts by discussing with your teacher or classmate.
9. Set the timetable of study and devote a specific time to the study of biology:
Frequent study of a subject helps to keep your interest intact in the subject. This helps to maintain the positivity. It is better to devote certain time every day for Biology. If it is not possible, keep some time aside every other day for Biology. Biology is not like mathematics that once your concept is clarified, it will take only minutes to revise and remember again. Biology requires frequent recalling and revision for performing better in the exams. So it is best to devote some time regularly to the study of Biology.
10. Utilize the Biology Lab to its full potential:
A Lab is a place where one can give some vent to the ever-rising curiosity. It is best to visit the Lab and perform biological tests etc. to bring the theory of biology to life and practice. A Laboratory is a place where your hypothesis is tested and then established as a fact. Students get fascinated and feel attracted to the biology when they put some of the biological concepts into practice.
Reading just the books can sometimes make you forget the concept, but when the same concept is learned in the Lab, the memory remembers the concept for long. Lab practice is considered one of the most effective ways of learning biology. So utilize the Lab to its full potential whenever possible.
These are the study tips for biology classes and for learning Biology on your own. The above tips if followed in deeds will help you for sure to get good grades in the Biology exams. There are some other ways also to develop your interest in the Biology like studying in a group (if you are an extrovert sort of a person). Sometimes reading and learning alone becomes a boring experience and slowly they lose the interest. Studying with friends is a fun in itself. Some groups over a time become so strong that they study together throughout a year and it is observed that such groups perform better than others.
Now-a-day, maximum Biology books come with some information about the online links about animation, tutorials, quizzes etc. related to the chapter or the concepts. These help the students to a very great extent. Never ignore such information. It is said that a single animation is sometimes more than a thousand words. Check out all the resources referred to in the textbook. Additionally, you can explore the Biology learning resources on your own. Just keep on clicking the links of the famous biology sites and it may take you to a new world of learning.