How to Study for Microbiology Lab

How do you study for Microbiology lab quizzes?

This article contains how to study for microbiology lab (mainly quizzes) , how to complete the unknown project and resources and materials that may come in handy for lab

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How do you study for Microbiology lab quizzes?

The Microbiology lab is very intimidating! It’s like a new frontier than the skulls, animal organs, and charts of the human body from Anatomy Lab. Instead, you are introduced to bacteria, gram stains, vials, and agar plates. While intimidating, it is exciting. The lab was one of my favorite parts of Microbiology once I’ve gotten the hang of it. In this article, I will give tests on how to study for quizzes ( more so the quiz part), resources, and how to work on the “big” project!

How to Study for Lab Quizzes

Usually, before starting the hands-on segment of your Microbiology lab practical, you are tested by multiple-choice or write-in questions. These are typically nerve-wracking, whether you studied or not, but they are crucial if you want to be successful in Microbiology class!

1.  Attend lab orientation! Usually, when you are new to Microbiology, you go to the first lab (aka Lab 0). Your syllabus will be discussed during the first lab, and usually, your lab quizzes are a big percentage of your grade.

2.  Read the handbook – In my lab, we were given a handbook, and this had all of our reading materials. It would be wise to read the pages, if possible, several days before lab!

3.  Highlight important information – This can be a bit hard, but to break it down, let’s say you’re studying culture media. If I was examining cultured press, it’s best to know that three forms are liquid, solid, and semi-solid! And that liquid media is known as broths! Or another example would be to highlight while reading solid media that they are derived from red algae and melts at 100 degrees Celsius! Highlighting the important information helps and usually will give you an idea of where the lab is going!

4.  Make a Quizlet for lab and review it several times – What helped me in the lab a lot is making quizlets! I usually made these quizlets several days before class and after reading the assigned pages from the handbook. The Quizlet helped retain information from the manual, so I aced it when I took the test. If I missed, it was usually by 0.5 to 1 point (usually for spelling)

5.  Don’t procrastinate – This is setting yourself up for failure, let the material settle into your brain for a while, never ever wait to start studying the day before the test!

6.  Study with pictures – When you are studying things like nematodes, cestodes, or even alpha and beta hemolysis, pictures are the best learning guide and can be plugged into quizlets.

7.  Always answer extra credit questions – Whether you know your stuff or not, nothing beats scoring a few extra points!

The Big Project –

Usually, at the end of your Microbiology lab, you’ll receive a big project that plays a crucial role in your grade. This big project usually involves gram-negative or gram-positive bacteria. Here is how not to stress over the project and to minimize things

1.  Know what your teacher wants – Usually, your professor will give you a graded rubic on this project and what they are looking for from it. It usually involves identifying bacteria and how you identified it, an organized flowchart and a lab report, and, depending on your school, an article or two about this bacteria.

2.  Genus capitalized, species lowercased, and italicized-  I included this because while I did my flowchart. I lost points because of this, so it is good to remember this for people taking Microbiology in the future.

3.  Do not slack on your labs containing gram-negative and gram-positive identifications –  As nerve-wracking as this is, it’s usually best not to slack on these labs because they are so pivotal in your big project. It’s best to keep a close eye on these labs because you’ll be working with slants, agar plates and reading their results. This is important because you’ll have to identify these by comparing the results and deciding which bacteria you will leave out and take in. Along with this, you would want to do very well on the forms that you’ll be turning in because it makes things easier.

4.  Work efficiently and pay attention to detail – While working on this big project, pay attention to details. While it may seem corny, explain why you made the decision step by step and, if possible, give proof (by this, I mean the lab results, maybe your bacteria was  “-/-, “which means it didn’t ferment or it had red broth and no bubbles)

5.  Communicate with teachers – Usually, when doing a project, there may be something you don’t understand, so instead of suffering, I think it’s best to communicate with a teacher as much as possible while doing this project!

Resources for Microbiology lab/materials for the lab :

1.  Microbiology Atlas – This is literally the only outside resource that I used for Microbiology. It helped me through every lab and gave more in-depth information! It’s also handy to have, especially when you are working under a microscope

2.  Quizlets- I’ve usually made my own quizlets for the Microbiology lab, which have helped a lot. If anyone is taking Microbiology, please feel free to DM me for them!!

3.  Sharpies, Pens and Pencils, and Lab Sheets – These are self-explanatory, haha!

4.  Glycomed hand lotion or hand lotion in general – Usually, after working and cleaning up the lab, you have to wash your hands. For some reason, the hand wash isn’t the most gentle thing, so it’s always best to have some hand lotion handy!

To all of those taking Microbiology, good luck!

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Thank you for writing this! Could you share a resource link for the Micro Atlas you used?

TheNursingdoll, CNA

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2 hours ago, lilbumblebee said:

Thank you for writing this! Could you share a resource link for the Micro Atlas you used?

Microbiology: A Photographic Atlas for the Laboratory by Alexander Ph.D., Steven K., Strete, Dennis (2000) Spiral-bound: Books