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  • May 19

    Found these great study tips online and had to share!

    Dr. Rodell's Tips

    Taking Science Courses By Dr. Charles Rodell

    1. GET ORGANIZED -- Organize your week. Allow specific times for studying each of the courses you are taking. Study periods should not be excessively long. Break them up with diversions and other activities. The general rule is two hours of study time for each hour in class.
    2. BE DISCIPLINED -- Stick to your plan!
    3. ATTITUDE -- Recognize your subjects as topics that are interesting and worth knowing rather than as chores you must complete. The functioning of the kidney and the transmission of genes are fascinating topics. These topics and many others took many years of work and study for scientists to understand. It is much easier to study and learn if you have some commitment to and interest in the subject matter.
    4. TWO MAJOR TASKS IN A SCIENCE COURSE
      1. Vocabulary - There is a tremendous amount of jargon associated with the sciences. You must learn it! It has been shown that there are more new terms in first year biology than in a first year course in a foreign language.
        Method: Let's face it. This task requires good old fashioned memorization. Make up your own vocabulary cards, one card (3" x 5") per term. Do this for each chapter that is assigned. Review them regularly whenever you have spare time, e.g., on the bus between campuses.
      2. Principles and Concepts - The main purpose of the course is to assist you in arriving at an understanding of the principles and concepts of the particular science. Understanding does not mean memorization. If you try to memorize what is in the text and what your professor tells you, you are history! There is too much material and, besides, your professors will virtually never ask you to reiterate what they said or what the book said. More commonly, you will be asked to apply your understanding of concepts to problem situations.
        Method:
        1. Skim through the chapter to get an overview. Ask yourself - What is this chapter about? What are the key concepts?
        2. Reread the chapter more slowly and carefully. Make up your vocabulary cards.
        3. Read your lecture notes.
        4. Prepare study sheets. Drawing on material from your lecture notes and the textbook, develop an outline for each major topic. For each subtopic of your outline, develop one sheet of paper that organizes and summarizes the important features of that subtopic. This activity requires that you be actively involved in the subject. The fact that you are taking information from two sources (text and lecture) and reorganizing it causes you to think about the subject more thoroughly than if you would just spend time reading and rereading your notes and the book. Thus, you will improve both your understanding and retention. Limit yourself to one sheet of paper per subtopic. Even if you use just one-third of the sheet, leave the remainder blank. Don't begin another topic on the same sheet. This activity allows you to separate the important features of the subtopic from the text, your notes, and other topics. This physical separation will assist you in making proper associations rather than confusing this information with other topics.
        5. Before the exam it may be helpful to spend some time studying with one or two others. Ask each other questions that require some explanation. This practice, forcing you to organize your thoughts, helps you achieve understanding.
    5. EXAMS
      1. Multiple Choice - If you follow the suggestions above, you will be well prepared. Your vocabulary work will allow you to correctly answer a significant number of questions. Your study sheets will help you make the correct associations.
      2. Essay
        1. Make sure you understand the question! This next statement may sound silly, but it represents a major mistake among those not familiar with the essay test. Answer the question. Don't answer a different question and don't include extraneous information.
        2. Make a brief outline of the points you should include in your answer.
        3. If a longer answer is required, write a brief introductory paragraph, make your points in one or two paragraphs, and briefly summarize.
    6. LABS
      1. Take the labs seriously. They can make a significant difference in your final course grade.
      2. Go to the lab prepared. Read the exercise over before you go to lab so that you have a reasonable idea of the objectives and activities that are in store.
      3. Being organized and conscientious in your lab efforts should allow you to obtain the majority of lab points available.
    7. OTHER TIPS:
      1. Concepts of Biology is a "survey" course, which means we move quickly. In fact, we cover about a chapter of the text per day. You NEED TO KEEP UP. When it is time for an exam, there is too much material to cram.
      2. Use the questions at the end of the chapter and in the Student Study Guide to help direct your study efforts.
      3. Talk to your prof if you need help.
      4. Don't forget to study both lecture and textbook.
      5. Take care of yourself. Get sufficient rest/exercise and eat well.
      6. Organize your time. The amount of time wasted by the average student (and even professors) is incredible.
      7. Avoid doing all of your studying the night before an exam. Get a decent night's sleep.
      8. Be aware of Bloom's Taxonomy. In brief, Bloom's Taxonomy provides a hierarchical way of organizing cognitive processes. There are six major categories, each building upon the previous.
        1. Knowledge - the ability to define, recall, identify, recognize, knowledge of methodology, principles, generalizations, trends, facts, terminology, theories, and structures.
        2. Comprehension - the ability to translate, rephrase or restate, interpret or extrapolate.
        3. Application - the ability to apply, generalize, choose, organize, develop, use, classify, restructure.
        4. Analysis - the ability to analyze relationships; to deduce, compare, discriminate, and categorize.
        5. Synthesis - the ability to derive a set of abstract relationships.
        6. Evaluation - the ability to judge in terms of internal and external evidence; to judge, assess, argue.
        Example: Assume you are to be tested over the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". As you recall, the story line has Goldilocks visiting the bears' home, sleeping in a bed, eating the baby bear's food, and breaking the baby's chair. Some questions might be as follows:
        • Knowledge - What are some of the things Goldilocks did in the bears' house?
        • Comprehension - Why did Goldilocks like the baby bear's chair the best?
        • Application - If Goldilocks had come to your house, what are some of the things she might have used?
        • Analysis - In actuality, what parts of the story could not have happened?
        • Synthesis - How might the story have been different if Goldilocks had visited the home of the three fish?
        • Evaluation - Do you think Goldilocks was good or bad? Why do you think so?
        Notice that the questions get progressively more "difficult". As you progress along the categories, one word answers are not sufficient. Also, note that memorization will not suffice to answer the more advanced questions. Careful thought is required to formulate a decent response. In general, Biol 115 students do very well with levels 1 and 2, knowledge and comprehension, and probably at least half of your exam will consist of this type of question. You will have some questions that require deeper levels of understanding. Be prepared! Cramming and memorization only work for "knowledge-type" questions.



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