Your biology teacher draws confusing diagrams on the board. Some of your classmates scribble in their notes. Others stare in shell shock. As you twirl your pen, two thoughts run through your head: How can I keep this class from wrecking my GPA? And why should I even care about biology?
You are not the only one with these worries. According to U.S. News & World Report, students across the nation are struggling to appreciate and understand science. But you can overcome this challenge.
Here are seven secret tips for reaching that “A" without all the pain and misery:
To ace any class, you must care about the topic in some way. Ask your teacher during free time: What’s in it for me? Why should I care? What are some controversial issues in that science class that affect me — and can class discussion include information about that? Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts. Your teacher can answer your questions and provide a reason for you to care about science.
Did you know that scientists can map out your genetics — which reveals what diseases you are likely to contract? Did you know scientists have a computer that can read your mind and perform tasks you ask it to do? Want to know how else science is changing your world? For starters, check out livescience.com. This website shows you all the cool technology and discoveries scientists have made that can affect you.
English starts with letters and builds into sentences. Math starts with numbers and builds into equations. Likewise, biology starts with cells and builds into large animal groups. Make sure you understand your building blocks — how cells and other small units of life work — as well as vocabulary and relationships between animals and their living space. These are the foundations you need to excel in biology. If you don’t understand something, ask away until you do!
Tutors are a valuable resource if you’re worried about your grade, and they can help you to complete assignments, and study for tests. Ask your school for more information about their tutoring programs. At the same time, a study group with your peers can also help you. Multiple minds are better than one, and study groups create fun social experiences that you then connect with biology.
Even if you don’t fully understand how cells work, teaching that topic to another person forces you to process the information in a different way — and if you don’t remember the notes themselves, you can remember the conversation when you go to take that test.
Pursue hands-on experiences. If you’re learning about flowers, go to a garden, and pick up a flower to analyze it. If you’re learning about birds, go birdwatching in the woods or a park. When you come back to your study notes, those experiences will alter how you see the information, improving your memory and your interest level.
As in every class, take time to understand all of your assignments. Ask questions when you don’t understand a topic. Always take notes from the lectures and from your book. Review those notes for a couple of minutes every night to keep your memory refreshed. The more you invest into this class, the easier your tests will be and the less panic you will feel.
Beard, K. (2013, 13 November). Behind America’s decline in math, science and technology. Retrieved from U.S. News and World Report.
O’Brien, M., & Baime, J. (2011, October 17). Mind reading computer system may help people with locked-in syndrome. Retrieved from National Science Foundation.
Vance, A. (2014, January 15). Illumina’s new low-cost genome machine will change health care forever. Retrieved from Bloomberg Businessweek.