Study tips from students who have earned an A in BIOL 1005

A common comment in the student evaluations for BIOL 1005 is that “There’s soooo much stuff to learn!” But remember, it is a 5-hour class, so there SHOULD be a lot more than in a 3-hour class. Students who take the class also quickly learn that my objective is for you to UNDERSTAND the material and be able to apply it, not just memorize a bunch of vocabulary. This is a real challenge for a lot of students, and I try to offer as many resources as I can to help you make this transition.

The following tips come from selected students who have earned an A in past semesters of this course. I think you will enjoy reading the students’ advice in their own words, but you might also want to take note of a few simple themes that appear over and over:

  • go to class;
  • focus on the material when you are in class (i.e. don’t goof off, or you’re wasting your time);
  • work on learning the material as you go along, not just before exams;
  • complete the assignments (and perhaps even learn from them!); and
  • take advantage of the help and resources that are available to you.

Fall 2018

Student #1:

The very first thing I would say is to take advantage of the practice tests. I took this class first semester freshman year, and honestly, I had never really studied for an exam before. It was difficult and I didn’t know what I was doing and the practice exams were a lifesaver. For one thing, they gave me an idea of what to expect, but I used them strategically. About a week before an exam, I would take the first practice exam and use it to see what concepts I was solid on and which ones needed more work. This helped me know what to focus on and not waste my time on the topics I did know.

Another important thing is to make sure to do every assignment. Every pre-lab, Connect assignment, lab homework, it all adds up and can really start to bring down your grade. I missed a few assignments, and it made it so I had to work really hard on all the rest of my lab assignments. Its better to try harder on the assignments you can do so that you can take the L when there’s an actual difficult assignment that you can’t handle (though you should always reach out to Dr. Hoefnagels if you’re having trouble because she always answers and is willing to help!).

Finally, make sure to go to every class and lab. Take good notes in class and pay attention and ask questions because Dr. Hoefnagels works very hard to make lectures fun and interesting and understandable. Participate in labs and have a good attitude! There are a lot of activities but they’re fun and go by fast if you just do what you’re supposed to do, and they really help you get a firm grasp on what you’re learning in class.

Most of all make sure to seek out help if you need it! Dr. Hoefnagels makes herself so available to students who meed help through office hours and email and action center. Make sure to take advantage of every opportunity to increase your understanding and have your questions answered!

Fall 2017

Student #1:

I would love to contribute my advice on how to do well on exams in the class, but I feel like my methods are not very good ones for most people. I have a really good memory, so before each test, I would just read through every note sheet and chart print out you gave us and remember what each fact or picture or association etc. was. Then on the test, I would just mentally unload all of what I had just read. I feel like that probably is not the kind of healthy and proactive advice you would want to encourage others to do haha, so for me I would just say “Take thorough notes every class and read over all of them.”

Student #2

When I walked into this class the last thing on my mind was earning an A. I filled my head with negative thoughts such as, “This is going to be hard, I don’t understand it, I hate biology, and this is too much information to remember.” By the end of the semester my feelings were completely shifted. I was right about one thing, it was too much information to remember, but it was just enough information to understand. You won’t earn an A in this class if you’re simply trying to memorize everything, you must understand the material, and if you use your resources wisely you can.

  • Go to Action Tutoring, I know I would not have received an A without it. I attended Action Tutoring regularly, I made it a requirement, rather than a choice. It isn’t for the kids who don’t understand anything, and it shouldn’t make you feel any less than for attending, because it is the exact opposite. It’s for those who seek to improve their understanding. It doesn’t matter how well, or how bad you’re doing in the class, they will always have something challenging for you to do. There were many times when I was the only student in Action Tutoring, and I didn’t let that intimidate me, I took advantage of it. One-on-one help with your professor and TA — why wouldn’t a student want that?
  • Attend every lecture, and discussion. She writes the test, she writes the book, there’s no better way to receive the information than from Dr. Hoefnagels herself! I promise you won’t regret it, she is amazing.
  • Go to the lab, they are not blow off labs, they go along with the lecture, and give you better understanding of the material.
  • Don’t take anything for granted! Dr. Hoefnagels goes above and beyond to make sure the material is taught well, and she provides so many resources. From her PowerPoints, to her regular attendance at Action Tutoring, she gives her all! Use her website, it is very useful! Email her, go to her office hours; she’s a sweet woman, and she is very understanding. Enjoy this class, put the work in, and you’ll have an amazing semester.

Early I mentioned that my feelings towards biology had completely shifted, and it’s because of the understanding that I now have of biology. Biology isn’t too much when you understand it, because everything connects, and everything fits. I now understand that biology is beautiful!

Student #3

I suggest rewriting notes following each lecture, as well as incorporating key topics from the book (Dr. H wrote the book, so it is definitely useful for exams). By doing this, your notes are more organized and easier to study. Also, I suggest studying a little bit every day, rather than just a couple days before. I crammed for one exam (studied literally the night before) and it ended up being my worst grade by far. Although I did not attend any Action Centers, I wish I would have! Every student I talked to said they were imperative. I really wish I would have taken advantage of both Action Center and Tutoring. Finally, go to class every day. The lectures are not only full of very useful information, but are really interesting and engaging, too!

Student #4

My advice would be…

  1. Go to class. I never missed a single lecture during the semester, because they are so jam packed with info I felt like I would miss out on key topics if I didn’t go. It’s important to go to class as well as be invested in class. Ask questions if you don’t understand or speak up when she asks questions, it really is helpful.
  2. Keep a planner or to-do list of all of the assignments. The pre-labs & post-labs, the connect homework, and lab homework can pile up so it’s important to stay on top of them and make sure they get done. Even though they might just be 5 or 10 points, missing a few starts to add up and can affect you in the long run.
  3. Go to lab. I know a three hour lab sounds awful, but it’s super important to go. Not only do they help you to understand topics, but most of the time they give you the info needed for your homework for that week. Also, take your time when answering the questions on the board before and after lab. The extra credit points from those are sure worth it.
  4. Go to Action Center. I regretted not going more. Even if you only can make it once every other week or only for half of the 2 hours, go! They can answer any questions you have and help you to better understand the topics, not just memorize them. It’s easy to memorize, but putting it all together is pretty hard so it’s nice having them to help.
  5. Use the review sheets and keep them for the final. I used the review sheets from each unit as a way to rewrite my notes before each test. It’s an awesome way to keep your notes concise and organized and definitely helped me study for the final.  Also, don’t forget about the practice exams. They show you exactly how the test will be formatted and what info to study!! That really helped me a lot for the first test when I had no idea what to expect.

Fall 2016

Student #1:

My advice is to go to Action Center and tutoring!

Student #2:

First off, going to class is so important! Try your best not to miss any.
I wrote down everything, and I made my notes fun and colorful to keep my interest, and make studying a little more fun. I always made flash cards from the beginning, and kept adding to them throughout the course of the class. After the first exam, I started going to Action Center, and I made a friend to study with in the class. I think the most important study tip is to keep at it. Quitting because you feel comfortable is when your grade will suffer. Study the hard things, you will get frustrated, and that’s why you’ll need a friend who is also going through this.

Student #3:

My first and most important bit of advice is GO TO CLASS! It’s easy to underestimate the importance of this but getting those clicker points can make a huge difference in grades at the end of the semester (and bonus, Professor Hoefnagels does a great job of making all lectures interesting!!). As far as studying for tests goes, what worked for me was making flashcard questions out of my lecture notes. It takes thought to turn the notes into questions and it takes thought to answer them. After you can answer most of the flashcards, I highly suggest utilizing the previous tests given to you! I learned that taking one year’s test WITH the help of my notes, and then taking the next years test WITHOUT the help of notes worked best for me. Then you will know what you struggle with/understand. Learn what works for you and stick to it! Hope this helps 🙂

Student #4:

First off I wanted to say thank you so much for such a challenging semester… no really. It helped me jump right in to an actual “work-for-it” college course, and I believe it will help me astronomically in my future at OU. I was very hesitant to take Biology, because I’ve heard the horror stories about how much work it is (heaven forbid anyone work for anything anymore), but I can truly say I thoroughly enjoyed the class, along with the work that came with it. I worked my butt off for every grade I earned in the course, and it was so rewarding to receive an A.

With that being said, my advice to students in BIO 1005 is this:
1.) YOU WILL WORK FOR EVERY GRADE YOU EARN. This will not be a “blow-off” class, but if you put in as much effort as you can, you will not be disappointed with the results. So don’t slack off.
2.) Go to every lecture AND lab. You will benefit from this the most.
3.) Keep detailed notes, and compare them to the review sheet posted by the instructor at least once a week. Rewrite them in a word file and save it for every test and the final.
4.) **Take the pre-exams before every test** I cannot emphasize this enough!! Nothing will prepare you more for the first exam, than to look at past exams, note the formatting, word usage, and test your knowledge of each section.
5.) Do not put off homework and random studying at any point in the semester. Look at every day as “Only __ days until the next exam” and prepare yourself accordingly.
6.) Go to action center/tutoring/office hours. The instructor/TAs are your friends!! They are always so generous with their help, and the class moves quickly, so if you’re confused you need to make use of their time.

Student #5:

My advice is to use as many resources as you can to prepare for tests and study. Really take advantage of the old tests, the guided readings, and the study guides. Also, do your best to attend Action Center, and if you can’t make it to Action Center (like I never could) schedule a tutoring appointment! Those tutoring sessions are what brought me from a B to an A. Trust me, if you use these resources to study, you will see a lot of improvement in your grade and become more invested in the course overall. Lastly, DO NOT SKIP CLASS. There is so much material covered in an hour and 15 minutes. Skipping one class can do a lot of damage.

Student #6:

Here are my tips!

I think the biggest piece of advice I can offer is that you shouldn’t be scared to ask for help!

There are so many resources that you can take advantage of. For me, Action Center was absolutely one of the best resources. Action center is your best friend!!! Action center allowed me to really understand what I DIDN’T understand. I then could take those subjects and study more or ask questions. Action center is also a great time to ask questions regarding the Unit Homework assignments.

Here are some other tips:

1) Go over your notes from class at the end of EVERY week. Highlight or mark what you don’t understand and go to either Dr. Hoefnagels or the tutor for help.

2) Take advantage of the practice tests on the website. I would go through the entire test and then check the answers. Anything I didn’t understand I would ask for help on. Start studying for tests weeks in advance, and make a plan on how to review all of the information.

3) Mnemonic devices are incredibly useful in retaining information! Try to make them relevant to Biology and it’ll make it even easier.

4) Go to class!! Not only do you get your notes, but you also get clicker points. The extra clicker points at the end of the semester can significantly raise your grade a few points.

Lastly, stick through it! It is a lot of work but extremely rewarding. Manage your time well and keep a positive attitude!

Student #7:

I think it is important to get a paper copy of the book to have in front of you when you are studying. I had the book open when I did my Connect and highlighted the important information. After each class I would rewrite my notes expanding on topics from the book. Re-writing my notes I believe was the most helpful thing I did. I prepared for the tests by having the note outline that is found on your website in front of me and making flashcards of all the topics. I also would do the guided reading questions and looked at the helpful links on your website.

In conclusion I believe having a paper copy of the book, re-writing my notes and being familiar with your website is crucial to becoming successful in BIO 1005.

Fall 2015

Student #1:

Taking notes by hand was a big help for me. I have a photographic memory and writing things down made them a lot easier to remember later on. I made sure to not skip any lectures unless I was ill or had an appointment that I couldn’t reschedule, and even then, when I returned, I would get notes from others on what I had missed. Working with others or asking questions when I didn’t understand something was a big help too. To prepare for tests I would take time to do the practice tests online and see what I missed, along with going over my notes and the chapter reviews on your website. Staying organized also played a big part in making sure that I got everything done on time and turned in. My planner was my lifeline, and if it wasn’t in the planner, I’d probably forget about it, so I’d write EVERYTHING in it (color-coding helps too!).

Student #2:

Although it seems pretty simple to me, here is my advice:

  1. Go to every single class/lab, pay attention, and take detailed notes by hand. Not only will you learn the information, you will get clicker points.
  2. Read each assigned section and take notes. (I did this before the information was taught in lecture, but it would have been more beneficial to do this after so I could have added additional details into my lecture notes.)
  3. Do every homework assignment because these points are really valuable.
  4. In terms of studying for the tests, I started by rereading my notes, but I would recommend rewriting them (yes, all of them). Next, I made notecards with the review questions for each chapter (these are posted on the website). This kept me from simply memorizing information, but rather forced me to connect the information. Then, once I felt confident with the material, I met up with a friend in the class to make concept maps with the information. By talking through the information and connecting topics, I really pinpointed what I still didn’t know. I went back and mastered this information. Finally, I took both practice exams as if it was a real exam (set a timer and put notes away). After grading the test, I once again reviewed the information I didn’t know. I did most of my studying the week before the test, but I would really recommend doing it throughout the unit. That way, if there is a topic you struggle with, you can get help before it’s too late.
  5. I went to action center at the beginning of the semester, but my schedule unfortunately prevented me from attending after the first unit concluded. Action center was very helpful! Pencil it in your weekly schedule as if it was a class to force yourself to attend.
  6. If you’re having trouble remembering specific details (EX: animals, plants, biomes), try making a mnemonic.
  7. If a topic is really not making sense to you and you can’t attend action center, the tutorials on the online book and khan academy videos explain concepts in detail.

Although I received an A, I still could have vastly improved my studying habits for biology. Don’t let the first test discourage you. Instead, take time to find out what study strategies work for you.

Student #3:

To make an A in the class, I had a process for studying for exams. I would look at the review sheet for the unit (about a week or more before the exam) and write down all the information on the review sheet by hand based off my notes. This helped organize my notes. When studying them, be sure to test yourself on the information instead of just reading them. After thoroughly studying what I wrote, I would take the past exams from previous years without my notes and treat it like a real exam. I would go over what questions I got wrong and study those parts more thoroughly. I always made B’s on the midterms, so as long as you go to class and lab in order to get A’s on the other assignments you can still make an A. Going to action center if you can really helps as well. If you have friends in the class, get together with them before the exam and go over notes. That way you can practice by explaining information you already know, and have information you don’t understand explained to you.

So basically, always go to class and lab, use the resources on Dr. Hoefnagels’ website (review sheets and past exams), and go to action center, you should be golden!

Student #4:

When studying for tests, I would pull up the review sheet and go through my notes with it. On a separate peice of paper, I would outline all of the things about each subject I didn’t already know (and add in things that weren’t on the review sheet). I would then make my own review sheet based on this so I could test and check myself, allowing me to study what I needed to without being overwhelmed by the sheer size of my notes.

Student #5:

Here are some of my study tips:

  1. Sit towards the front of the class.
  2. Write everything down from the PowerPoints (pictures and everything).
  3. Use labeling and/or abbreviations when writing your notes (it makes it easier to get more information written down). Also, rewrite your notes after class.
  4. Read the sections, in the book, that you went over in class that day.
  5. Do not put off studying until a couple of days before the test.
  6. Do every assignment in lab and in lecture. It all adds up.
  7. Work hard and go to every class.

Fall 2014

Student #1:

  1. Go to every class and take good notes.
  2. Make sure to never skip homework assignments, lab, or clicker quizzes because the points really help you.
  3. At the end of every week print the online review. I liked to put extra space after every question to add in notes. Then study that section and make sure you understand it. If you do this is makes it a lot easy when the test is coming up because you already know a lot of the information and you have it organized.
  4. Go to action center because the more you practice the more it stays in your brain.
  5. I had a tutor for biology and what I think helped me the most was that he would not let me memorize the information. He always made me fully understand it by connecting it to my life or situations. I think that helps you remember it because you actually understand why it is happening and what is happening.
  6. I found it helpful to meet with my tutor after filling out the week’s review and studying it on my own. It is a lot of information so if you try to learn it all with your tutor, you will be with him for a very long time.
  7. Study a week and a half to two weeks in advance so by the night before the exam you are relaxed and not cramming. I found that by doing this I barely studied the night before which made me more confident.
  8. Do both of the previous exams that are online and then go through and try to figure out WHY you got an answer wrong because that helps you learn it for when it is asked again in a different way. The exams all have different questions but the concepts are all the same so after this I would usually take the practice exams again and make sure I really understand the concepts behind the question.
  9. Lastly, it is a hard class and you do have to study a lot to get an A but it’s definitely possible and really rewarding!

Student #2:

  1. Go to class.
  2. Take thoughtful notes. I changed the color of my pen with each new topic to keep them organized.
  3. Actively think and ask questions about the material while its being presented to you. Dr. Hoefnagels is excellent at explaining topics in more ways than one, so ask questions.
  4. Sit next to people that actually know what is going on in the class.
  5. Answer your clicker questions on your own, and then ask your neighbors.
  6. GO TO ACTION CENTER.
  7. Make sure you understand the material each day, if you don’t understand it now it will only be harder to grasp right before the exam.

Fall 2013

Student #1:

  1. Do the study guides on the website and correlate them with the book information and diagrams. I modified the study guides to put extra space between the lines; that way I had room to draw the diagrams myself so I could remember them better.
  2. For the [animal and plant] chart information make a mnemonic that will help you remember that load of information.
  3. Dedicate at least a week before each test to really study and understand the material.
  4. Connect it with your own life. If you have a connection with the material it’s easier to understand!

Student #2:

Coming into biology can be intimidating, especially when it’s a subject that you lack interest in, however, Professor Hoefnagels will quickly change your perspective. While there’s a ton of information to learn, your professor is the master of explanation, so don’t stress. When it comes to preparing for the test, make sure you starting looking over and reviewing material far ahead of time. Due to all the information, you need a lot of time to review, but don’t let that intimidate you. Studying should be more than just re-reading notes or your textbook; instead, make it interactive so you’ll absorb and remember more information easier. You should make flashcards, attend the action center, watch videos, and most importantly visit Professor Hoefnagels during her office hours. She is always more than willing to help her students and she wants to watch you succeed. Besides the worry of taking tests, just make sure you attend EVERY class and take part in EVERY assignment. The clicker questions and smaller assignments are what will help your grade tremendously, so take advantage of those points!! But in the end, just enjoy the class and be willing to ask questions. Good luck!

Student #3:

In getting an A I focused a lot on preparation and organization. I made sure to read all the sections in the textbook that we would be studying each week BEFORE we went over them and class and before doing the Learnsmart every Sunday. This meant that the class lecture was the second time I learned all the material and studying for the test was the third time. This made the Learnsmart easier as well. I took good notes and NEVER missed class (until dead week I think) so I would tell students to never ever ever skip. I used the old tests a lot to study, but honestly I didn’t need to study all that much. I think the most important thing was doing the reading before each week and always going to class and taking detailed notes. This gave me a good foundation and this helps because everything builds off the next thing in this class. They need to make sure they understand the current topic so they can use their knowledge to learn the next topic.

Fall 2012

Student #1:

  1. Go to class, everyday. It’s an easy way to get clicker points that will greatly help your grade.
  2. Listen in class. If you pay good attention in class, you won’t have to study as much. Dr. Hoefnagels does a very good job at explaining things in a way that you’ll remember. It’s much more fun to listen to her than to read everything from the book.
  3. Don’t slack off in lab. Labs are also another easy way to bolster your grade. Also, show up to lab a little early so you can get the extra credit points.
  4. Even if you don’t like science, this class is interesting. It pertains to so many aspects of life and it will help you so much if you actually try to care about learning the material.

Student #2:

I made a lot of flashcards right before the exam. I would think of any possible question that could be asked about the topics and write it on one side and the answer on the other. Then, I got with a friend and we quizzed each other. It was actually kind of fun because it turned into a jeopardy style game. Then, when I got the test, a lot of the questions I had written on the flashcards were actually on the exam!! It was effective and a lot more fun than that just reading old notes over and over again.

Student #3:

  • Go to action center!! I would learn twice the amount of information in even an hour than I did when I studied on my own.
  • Talk to the students in action center to figure out what you are forgetting to study.
  • Teach the other students in action center to test how well you know the information.
  • Use a white board to draw out figures and to piece information together by making qualitative charts.
  • Do not just memorize the information, understand it.
  • Map out a daily study plan with what section you study each day. AND FOLLOW IT.
  • Rewrite your notes. While doing this, study what is in your notes and follow the text in the book.

Student #4:

Hmmm, tips for students to earn an A include: redrawing the figures in the book (this helped me to conceptualize things like DNA transcription/translation), and actually reading the book. Many people I talked to in our section didn’t open the book whatsoever. That’s crazy talk. Reading the book was the single most important thing I did to understand the material.

Student #5:

The most important thing you need to do to get an A is to go to class. You may think, “I can skip class and just read the chapters.” I promise, it’s not the same. It is explained in class in a way that outdoes anything else, and there are also clicker questions in class that are great, easy points. Get a planner and write down when your weekly LearnSmarts are due, and when your pre & post labs are due. These are easy free points that add up fast at the end of the semester and missing them because you get the due dates wrong is a shame! I am not the best test taker, but if you use your notes and go over everything she puts on her review sheets, you should do really well on her tests. Her tests have a lot of application problems, so you cannot just memorize definitions and get away with it, you need to learn how it applies to the material. Paying attention in class really helps with the application part. I used action tutoring more for a place to ask questions and help me work out problems I did not understand, I went to maybe 30% of the Action Tutoring sessions and highly suggest going to more!

Student #6:

Whenever I studied for exams, I would always go back and look at all the diagrams and tables in the textbook. There’s a lot of great visuals to help you understand the material better, and for me it’s always easier to remember a picture than a paragraph.

Student #7:

Always read the chapters assigned BEFORE coming to class no matter how time consuming it may sound. It was beneficial for me to take notes while reading the material on my own.The Action Centers are available for your benefit and I would suggest going to every single one of them! Also, study what you don’t know. This piece of advice given to me by Dr. Hoefnagels now benefits me in all of my other classes. In the beginning, I found myself skipping over the sections that I had trouble with instead of working on those topics the most. Once I overcame this obstacle, I felt much more prepared when test time came around. Use all of your resources, ask questions, study a little bit everyday, and know that you can do it!

Fall 2011

Student #1:

As you study, constantly put things into perspective. Without doing so, it can look like a ton of random facts being thrown at you. If you realize that everything is flowing together from week one until finals week, it becomes a coherent story, which is much easier and more enjoyable to learn.

Student #2:

After each week, I would go over the outline and answer the guided reading questions. I went to every class and made it to every action center that I could. Before each test I would go back over the questions in the book and study the old exams!

Student #3:

I rewrote my ALL of my notes by exam before each test, but I wrote them using the Review Sheets that you posted for each exam. I didn’t do it periodically like I should have. (If I had done it once a week, my life would have been much nicer. However, even doing it all a few days before the exam helped a TON.) Before each exam, I always took the previous exams you’d posted from earlier semesters. That really helped just to know what kind of questions to expect and it gave me an idea of what you were looking for. Making and studying charts helped a lot too. I didn’t do this until the end of the semester, but it helped me remember so much for the final–I wish I had done it for the midterms.

Student #4:

The most inportant thing for me was the lectures. Going to the lectures and taking notes were the most important things to learn the materials well. And I liked the reading quizzes, although I forgot the quizzes several times. But it’s helpful for us to preview briefly. I didn’t review very often, but I made sure I understood the information from each class. Before the exam, I would do the previous exam to see what I had missed, then go over my notes and study what I missed.

Student #5:

I did almost all of the LearnSmart things on Connect, those seemed to really help me out. They were very useful!! I really enjoyed doing them too, it was a nice change of pace from just studying my notes. I also [spent] two weeks before every test reviewing my notes and [when] I felt confident, I took one of the old tests. Whatever I missed I went back and studied again, and then took the other test.

Student #6:

I tried several things throughout the semester to try and study for exams, but the most effective thing for me to do was to use the review sheets and past exams that are provided. I also went to (literally) every Action Center. This boils down to simply using the resources that are given to you. Not to mention going to class and doing the assignments each week. These assignments (in class quizzes, pre/post labs, unit homework) may seem insignificant, but they really add up, so staying on top of those, and actually learning the information presented in them is essential, and is a studying opportunity itself.

Student #7:

A great resource I used for studying were the LearnSmart modules on Connect. I used them to study for the first two exams and did much better on them than I did on the third. I also used old exams from previous semesters to study. I’d take the exams as if they were the real deal, then go back and check what I missed. Once I saw what questions I missed, I would read the section(s) over that information.

Student #8:

To study for each test, I printed off your review study guide, the guided reading questions, and the 2 practice tests. I went through each lecture in my notes, comparing it with the material in the book over the same topics, and then wrote a shorter version of the notes in my own words on the study guide itself. After I finished all of this, I went through answering the guiding reading questions. I always studied with two other girls from class, and we talked out loud about each topic, giving us a better understanding of the material. We usually started the week before the test and tried to meet a couple times before the exam. The night before each exam I took both practice exams and graded my results. All of the resources you gave us to study on your website were definitely what helped me the most!

Student #9:

I would say one of the best things I did would be to talk through the material with a classmate. Me and [my friend] (who also got an A) would go through the lectures and just read/quiz/talk about certain subjects especially ones that we didn’t understand. Another thing we did, which sounds crazy but I think it may have helped, is that before every pop quiz, test, homework, etc. I would tell myself, as well as my friends, that we would get three for threes or hundreds for hundreds. I think the psychology of having a positive attitude helped–though this could of just been a superstitious thought of mine!

Student #10:

Action Center was a great resource, helping me review and understand material week to week. Also, I was very dedicated to rewriting/relearning (not just highlighting) my notes after each lecture. There is a TON of material, and not all of it is necessarily difficult to understand, but you have to keep up with your studies or your workload will really add up come test time. An A is definitely achievable if you put in the time to really understand everything you learn each day, and don’t study for your midterms the night before of course. Biology is not a course to “cram” for!

Student #11:

Write down EVERYTHING said in lectures. Nothing is unimportant. When you go home, REDO your notes! Then you can weed out what is important and what is not, and it is much easier to read them. If you have questions, ask them, and if there is not time in the lecture to ask write them in the side column of your notes and look up/ask about it later. Do not be afraid to ask questions, ever. Also, GO TO ACTION CENTER. You never know what is going to be discussed and how/if it will help you, but taking two hours out of your week to just think about Biology (outside of class) keeps it fresh in your head and excited to learn more.

Student #12:

Go to class and don’t just take up space. Listen! Actively learn! Then review your notes later in the evening before you go to bed. That way you learn the material the first time!

Student #13:

I used my notes as an overview of how to get the big picture of what I was going to need learn for the up coming tests. I mostly read the sections that we went over in class in the textbook later that week and was always caught up by the end of the weekend. READING the textbook and not just the notes is what really made the difference to me. Also using the list of section and end of chapter questions really helped me to know that I knew the information that I was reading.

Spring 2011

Student #1:

What I basically did was come to every class/Action Center. The Action Center helped a lot. And I tried to write down topics that seemed like they could be on exams, and I went through past exams the night before every exam, and that is after I studied everything from the chapters listed for the exams. So I kind of used the past exams as a final review. And I also made sure not to get a low score on the three exams; that way I had a little to worry about during finals.

Student #2:

Make sure you go to every single lecture. Missing one class means missing a ton of information. I have never been great at science. Since I know this about myself, I made sure that I attended Action Center. It is so helpful to go and review the material we learned in class and clarify anything that you did not understand. When studying for tests, start early! The lecture notes and Action Center notes were my most helpful materials to use for review. Make sure you always go to lab, because those points have a strong impact on your final grade as well.

Student #3:

Stay on top of the reading before the corresponding lecture, then go back and review the textbook after the corresponding lecture. Also, if you’re not a strong test-taker (like me), put a lot of effort into homework, lab assignments and quizzes. If you make A’s on all of your quizzes and assignments, it gives you an advantage in studying for tests and it gives your grade a nice cushion.

Student #4:

The best advice I can think of is simply to show up to class EVERY day and to take great notes, including illustrations of the pictures on the PowerPoint. Even if a student thinks they have a friend who is a great note taker that they can copy off of, they lose helpful hints you give in class or verbal emphasis that you put on things. I would leaf through my notes once a week and then quiz myself on the things that I thought were most important, but nothing beats listening in class.

Fall 2010

Student #1:

To get ready for the week I would take both online quizes, no matter what I got on the first one. And I looked each question up in the book or ebook to have a visual. I tried reading the chapters from the book and take notes prior to class, but there was way too much information compared to what was discussed in class.

I showed up for as many classes as I could, but being a mom I did have to miss a few. I would take as many notes as I could. I even drew diagrams and pictures and took note of any book pages given as references.

At the end of the week I would rewrite what I needed to and would highlight information that was discussed at length in lecture and was also touched upon in the weekly quizzes.

To study for exams, I would start a week out and review notes, using the book or ebook to fill in areas in my notes. The Action Center would have been nice to attend the week of the exams, but doing the handout on my own helped straighten things out in my head. I did use old exams for types of questions, but never really as a way to judge my level of understanding of the material. I would get discouraged if I missed a question so instead I would mark the answers and then go through each question and explain why the other answers were wrong.

As for lab, the pre and post lab questions aren’t worth much, but they add up. This is one spot that almost anyone can make up some points in the class.

Student #2:

I think it is important for students to know that even if they do not perform well on the first exam it is still possible to get an A in the class. It is important for them to realize that all of the small assignments and points REALLY add up, and students need to be in class every day because they will fall behind. They should focus on studying the things that challenge them rather than working with the stuff that they feel most comfortable. Also, students should form relationships with other students in the class so that they can work with one another and answer each other’s questions. Most of all use the resources that are given to you especially the practice exams. Even though the questions are not the same it will be very helpful to understand the way things are asked and what materials the tests focus upon.

Student #3:

You need to study a lot more than you might at first think.  My grades improved when I joined a small study group that met multiple times a week.  Discussing concepts is a lot more helpful than reading and re-reading definitions on your own.

Student #4:

What I did for your class is I went to class every single day no matter what. I felt like if you miss a class then you miss that part of the subject and then you’re lost forever because of the way that the class is set up. I also went to every single action center so that I made sure that I knew the material.  I also took both online quizzes unless I got a 100 on the first one and even if I thought I knew the answer already I still looked it up in the book just to be safe. I studied the review test that you had online so that I could see kind of what you were looking for on the tests. Also what I think helped a lot too was I would get to class a little bit early and I would read my notes from the last class. That’s all I think I really did for your class besides also studying but that seems like it would be an understood thing.

Student #5:

I really didn’t do anything special besides go to class and take notes. I also compared notes with a classmate and had a discussion with her twice a week about what we thought was important information to know. If we didn’t understand, we would read about it and try for a few hours to figure it out for ourselves before seeking outside assistance. I think that made us rely on ourselves instead of someone else for the answer.

Spring 2010

Student #1:

How I studied for this class was I went to every lecture and at the end of the week I would go over what we learned so toward test time It wasnt so overwhelming. Also I would continue to go over the practice tests and even though I knew the correct answer, I would evaluate why the others were wrong. That helped a lot because it make me know terms in the other answer choices. For me, it was all about putting in the time and effort to LEARN the material, not just memorize it!

Student #2:

Well, I went to class everyday. I never missed. This is the key to success and taking good notes. I studied really hard for each of the tests by doing the guided reading, outlines, and online help such as the interactive websites. I usually made some flashcards over things I wanted completely memorized. I attended every lab and worked hard on all of the assignments we had for that class. Getting the clicker questions, extra credit questions, and doing the online quizzes really boosted my grade. I studied for the final, but I didn’t stress myself out because I knew that I had done well all semester. I learned a lot in this class, but it is not easy, you have to work!

Student #3:

What I did this semester: highlight notes after every week; read assigned chapters; drew out confusing processes like transcription/translation and meiosis.

Student #4:

I think the best thing anyone can do is attend class and write down what’s on the powerpoints. I came to class almost every day and wrote down all the notes on the slides. I asked questions whenever I was curious about something. While we were taking notes, I would write down silly little things that sprang into my head while you were lecturing, such as drawing a little stick figure with a sombrero saying “I’m bilingual!” next to tRNA. Those “silly” little things helped me a lot on the tests – I was able to better remember stuff. I also tried to do all the reading you assigned. When it came to studying for the tests, I would take the old tests you had on your website. I would act like it was a real test, and sit down, and answer all the questions, even the short answer ones. Then, I would check my answers and see what I needed to look over. I would then go back through my notes and study what I had struggled with (including answers I got right by sheer dumb luck). Most importantly, I went to bed at a semi-reasonable hour. You don’t think clearly and you make mistakes when you haven’t slept.

Student #5:

First, keep up with the outlines and do them gradually as they are updated on the website. Do all of the quizzes, pre-labs, post labs and GO TO CLASS! Almost everything you need to know for the tests come from the lectures. But, doing the guided readings when there is a test in about a week helped me a lot with reinforcing all of the information and getting it to stick in my brain. When it comes to tests, go over your notes a lot, re-write points to reinforce them, do the practice tests as if you are taking a real test, and look things up in the book AND your notes, not one or the other. Also, if you ever have a question ask Dr. Hoefnagels, she is the best help you could get! The action center is also helpful before tests to ask last minute questions! This should get you an A in biology, study study study!! If I could do it, you definitely can!

Student #6:

Often times, I would take sections of my notes that were tricky, find that section in the book and read over it for another possible explanation, and rewrite that section of my notes in my own words. A lot of times, it was just changing the way things were worded that helped. For the final, I did that with all of my notes from the two test sections that I got the lowest grades on.

Student #7:

Getting an A in this class was simple. All I had to do was go to class, pay attention, and take good notes! Everything you need to know for exams is said word for word during class, and if you take notes and pay attention in lecture and lab, you will do great. Also, use Dr. Hoefnagels’s website. She posts old tests that are really helpful for studying. Take them just like a regular test, and then look up/study the things that you missed on the test. However, don’t just look up the right answers! For example, if you miss a question that says something like “how many of the following apply directly to fungi,” you should look up each of the words that is an answer choice as well as the characteristics of fungi, plants, animals, protists, bacteria, and archaea. That is, look up everything that applies to the question, not just that one fact. That way, you’ll be ready for a similar question on the exam, since she won’t use the exact same one. Dr. Hoefnagels really does want you to do well; she provides you with everything you need to get an A if you just listen in class and use the resources she provides!!

Student #8:

The best actions that I found to help me study were rewriting my notes and using the tests to study from. I actually copied my notes from hand written, which I took in class, to typed. In the typed notes I added info from the book to connect things from lecture, and that helped me to catch on to a few things that I might not have fully understood. The past tests were great tools to help me study and figure out what I did not know. I also used this semester’s tests to study for the final, and since I am a visual learner I reserved a room in Wagner, and wrote out everything that I missed and did not understand on the whiteboard. Since my notes were typed it was a lot simpler to sift through them and find the information to help me understand the problems. This was probably the best tool for me and I wish I would have thought of it earlier in the semester.

Student #9:

Receiving an A in this class is hard work, but is very possible! I took advantage of the action center and it helped tremendously.  I encourage you to attend as many action center sessions as possible, even if it is early in the section.  It’s a great way to review the chapter, ask questions, and have great discussions.  I also organized a couple of study groups with a few classmates to review and answer each other’s questions.  Remember every point counts, so don’t get lazy on the pre-quizzes and LON-CAPA.  I attended class everyday and took good notes!

Student #10:

I am usually a notecards kind of person, but for Biology I actually did not use notecards to study. There was so much information that was connected to other information, that I actually found it easier to study by just going through my lecture notes, quizzing myself (in my head) and then making myself write down everything I knew about that subject.  Then I went back to my lecture/textbook notes and compared those to what I just wrote down.  By doing that, and also getting a 7-11 big gulp and some chips, I was able to receive an A!  🙂

Student #11:

To earn my grade, I spent a lot of time rewriting notes and at the Action Center.   I would try to rewrite my notes from the week before and then go to Action Center to make sure I was truly understanding.  I also did the outline that was alway posted online and really paid attention in lecture.  Honestly, I didn’t read the book unless there was a portion of the material that I really didn’t understand.  I also studied with other people sometimes which helped.  I spent more time studying for this class than any other class I took this semester but it definitely paid off!  It took a lot of work but I enjoyed the feeling of not just memorizing things but actually understanding them.

Student #12:

When doing the Discover assignments, I spaced them out and worked on them for a week so that I didn’t get tired and do poor work. I made flashcards over all of the notes, and I read every section we went over in class, paying close attention to the summaries at the end of each chapter. I never missed one class.  I think that this is what helped me the most.

Fall 2008

Student #1:

My helpful hints to the rest of the lucky people that stay enrolled till the end would be to never get behind.  I was one of the lucky people to get to take the LON-CAPA assignments rather then having to take them in lab.  I had a scheduled time I would take them every Sunday night (since they were due the following Tue.)  Also, pre and post lab work I always tried to get done ahead of time.  Pre lab was done two days before because often times you can’t trust the computers so you don’t want to have problems the night it is due and needing to be turned in.   The same goes for post lab I usually did it the day after I had lab.  Labs can seem long but there are really not that many and most of them are REALLY fun.  I will be honest and say I never read unless I needed clarification on a specific subject.  Lectures are great and if you copy down just about EVERYTHING she says you should be great on notes as well as understanding the material.  It is however, helpful to look over a new chapter to get an idea of what to expect for the next few weeks.  I would say to download the online book because it is easy to use.  Go to every action center (this is THE MOST beneficial thing you can do besides attending class every day) as well as taking advantage of office hours. Good luck and remember it’s interesting stuff that applies to everything! (and no, I am NOT  a biology major!  ha!)

Student #2:

I would say the most important thing is GOING TO CLASS. The lectures are the richest part of the course and provide the most material when studying for exams. Besides going to class, the action centers helped me both times I was able to go because I’ve found that studying with other students helps to conceptualize the material. Use the review sheets that are posted and be sure you know everything on the sheet, not just by definition, but also how it all relates. Don’t just memorize, actually UNDERSTAND the material. Also, it helps to break the material down into sections and begin studying a few days before the exam so that on the day before the exam all you have to do is review a few things you might still be struggling with. Flashcards are always helpful but again, be sure you aren’t just memorizing definitions and are actually understanding how everything is connected.

Student #3:

My first tip would have to be going to class. I went to class every day and that definitely helped me a lot. You receive all the information you need to know for the test in class and also what information you don’t need to know, which is extremely helpful when studying for the tests. I would also say to check her website for the study guides, note layouts, and practice tests. Print out the practice test and take it before you start studying; NO CHEATING. Then once you complete the entire test check your answers and that will help you figure out what you need to focus more of your study time on. Then I would suggest going through your notes with the note layout sheet and answering all the questions on the page; make sure you have complete understanding of the questions, not just a definition. Next I would print off the study guide, read the sections mentioned, and answer the questions it points to at the end of each section. Once all this is complete go back and make concept maps for each chapter; this was one of the most helpful things I did while studying. With the concept maps you can connect the topics and see how they relate to each other rather than just memorizing definitions, which WON’T HELP YOU ON THE TEST! These few things take time though; don’t wait until the night before the test to start studying. You will stress yourself out if you try cramming all the material you need to know in one night, so spread it out and focus. The class is only difficult if you don’t try, put in some effort and the class will be a breeze. Good luck!

Student #4:

There are two things that helped me to earn an A in the course. The first thing was the correct mental state! A person who believes they can earn an A will be much more likely to earn the A in comparison to one who doubts themself. Second, I looked back at every single question I missed in class, whether it was a clicker quiz, exam, or lab, and learned why I missed those questions. This helped me to look over concepts that I may not have yet understood and prepares me for future assignments. Overall, having confidence in my capabilities, completing every task in the course, having excellent attendance, and learning from my mistakes helped me earn the A in the course.

Spring 2007

Student #1:

One of the main things to do in order to receive a good grade is to go to class. It is very important, not only because of clicker points, but also Dr. Hoefnagels explains things in the best way possible to make it easy to understand. Sometimes trying to learn something from the text can be difficult. I usually started looking over my notes and typing them at least a week before the test. Then, I would go through and type out as many questions from the notes I could come up with and create a separate document that had the answers. I also took the review outline that Dr. Hoefnagels posts online and made sure that I had everything lined up. One thing that I had problems with in the beginning was preparing for the lab quizzes. In my experience, the best way to study for them is to take notes from the lecture your TA gives in lab and look over the lab in the lab book — pay attention to bold terms! Also, make sure to remember the online quizzes and homework given in lab. They really add up!

Student #2:

The easiest way to make a good grade in this class is to go to class as much as possible and pay attention. I know everyone has heard this a thousand times, but it’s true. The one time you slack off in your note-taking or skip a class to go shopping will be the day that the professor covers something that will be on the test half a dozen times. The lectures are the easy part; it’s the tests and quizzes that are harder to keep up with. Online quizzes are best dealt with if you make a schedule. For example, if you make it a point to finish your online quiz on Monday evenings, after a few weeks it becomes second nature to get it done at that time, and there’s less of a chance that you’ll forget about it. Lab quizzes are a little trickier since it takes a couple weeks to get used to the TA’s questions and grading. The best thing to do is to read over your lab manual a couple days before you have lab, then to skim the lab chapter again just before class to brush up on anything you may have forgotten. As for studying for exams, the easiest thing for me was to find ways to relate to Biology while I was doing other things. For example, if I was cooking dinner, I would think to myself “Now what is the purpose of this egg – an emulsifier – in this recipe?” By doing that, Biology became more familiar, and therefore much easier to understand. Furthermore, make sure that you are actually STUDYING when you ‘study’. It’s very easy to go over to a friend’s house to study and get caught up watching TV or playing on Facebook the entire time. If that gets to be a problem, chances are you’d be better off studying alone for an hour or so before you go anywhere else to study. During the test, go for the partial credit. Partial credit is your friend. If you don’t know all of a written question on the exams, write down EVERYTHING you know that relates to the topic. Chances are some of it will be relevant, and believe me, 1 point out of 3 is better than nothing. Finally, if you have a question, ask it. Someone else is probably wondering the same thing.

Student #3:

Studying for Dr. Hoefnagels’ Concepts in Biology class is actually pretty simple because she provides you with an immense amount of information on what to study and how to study. The most important thing to do is attend every lecture. Her lectures are interesting and prepare you for everything you need to know for the exams. Another benefit of going to class is the clicker quizzes and pop quizzes. These are really helpful because they show you whether or not you are understanding the material — plus they boost your grade! As far as studying outside of class goes, I found it very helpful to type up my notes and then fill in the diagrams by hand. After doing this it is also good to continuously go through the notes and fill in the gaps with the book. Fortunately she provides you with old exams on her website. If you take one before you really begin to study and then one after, it will allow you to see where your weak points are. Looking over the online quizzes and discussing the information with friends in the course are also really helpful ways to consider studying! This course is very organized and outlets are available to help you with it, you just have to be organized and willing to take the extra step! -Good Luck!

Student #4:

My study tips more or less follow along the lines of your study minutes in class. I really like to have someone quiz me after having studied for a while. I always took the old exams from your website (including the final ones). I was never very big on flash cards for this class because I tend to use flashcards for more definitions and things, and I quickly found that that wasn’t at all what your class was about. The concept maps you had us do in class were very helpful, but hard. I never really did many on my own, though I probably should have. The thing that really helped me the most to study for this class was rewriting my notes before each exam. I would rewrite and consolidate my notes that pertained to the test that was coming up. That was probably the most useful study tip for me personally, and then with the added quiz session at the end.

Student #5:

To study for an exam, I would take a practice exam about 3 days ahead of the exam to see what I knew or still didn’t understand. I wrote down the concepts that I had trouble with and looked them up immediately so I wouldn’t forget. The next day I would read over my class notes and handouts to refresh all the information. The night before the exam I would take the 2nd practice exam and see what last few concepts I didn’t get. Then I would look over my notes once more before bed. The morning of the exam, I scanned my notes to keep all the terms fresh in my head. I’m a vey visual learned and have generally useful photgraphic memory, so as long as I could see the terms several times I could remember what was important about them. I also have a system of memorization that helped me keep lists straight.

Fall 2006

Student #1:

To earn as best a grade as possible, it is necessary to go to class every day. The points that can be earned in class through the pop quizzes were what pushed me ahead in point totals. Don’t let their small point value fool you because they start to add up quickly. Also take the online quizzes seriously as well. They seem like they take a lot of time and are overwhleming at first but you get used to them and they get easier as you learn what they are like. Also in preparation for the tests I looked over my notes twice and then took one of the practice tests then looked notes over again really focusing on the topics where I missed questions. Then I took the next test. And did the same to it. For the final exam, I not only used the final exam samples but I also took the multiple choice sections from the earlier tests as well.

Student #2:

I would say the two main things that contributed to my grade would be doing all of the material that was assigned and also doing intentional studying. I think doing all of the in class quizzes, the internet quizzes, the discover assignments, and the lab assignments not only cushioned my grade, but it also forced me to learn concepts that I didn’t grasp as well. When it came time to study for the exams, I did it very systematically. Before I did any studying at all I took the first practice test. Most of the time I did very, very, very poorly on both the multiple choice and the short answer. This was basically a reality check; obviously I didn’t know it. Then I would write out the study guide section by section. After every Roman numeral, I would go back and really study that section by going through the study guide and making sure I knew it. After I felt pretty confident with the material, I would take the second practice test to see the areas I needed to go back to. Then I would study those sections until I felt comfortable with them. The morning of the test I always studied for an hour or so and would go to your office hours if I had any last minute questions. And that was basically it! I think one of the main things, along with studying for the exams, was just to have the mindset from day one that this IS a five hour class, and it IS going to take a lot of work, but I CAN make an A.

Student #3:

I would like to point out that in nearly every one of these tips, there is one thing mentioned far more often than anything else:  class attendance.  There is a reason this is so prevalent, because so much of your grade comes from quizzes, participation, lab grades, and the like.  Trust me, in the end, every little point matters, so going to class is definitely important.  Also, since notes are not provided for you, attendance is the best way to make sure you have all of the information and notes that Dr. Hoefnagels finds important.  If it is important enough to spend time on in class, it’s important enough to appear on an exam.  Also, do not hesitate to approach her for help.  She knows exactly how you are doing in the class and for the most part can identify which areas are giving you problems based on your quizzes, exams, and other assignments.  However, she can’t help you to understand or work on these areas unless you go and talk to her about them.  Also, be sure to utilize her study tips.  She supplies tips that she perceives are a good way to study for the exams.  In preparing for the exams, the best approach to studying is learning the material, not memorizing it.  Take the old exams one at a time.  After each one, identify areas you missed, or were unsure of, and go over that material in your notes again.  Then take the next exam, following the same approach.  Take advantage of every opporunity this class presents.  It will expose you to many of the different styles of learning you will find in college, and it is absolutely interesting if you really try and explore the topics presented.

Fall 2005

Student #1:

Unlike many entry level courses, if you want an A in this class, you will have to work for it. Do not expect to skip every other class and make an A. So first and foremost, GO TO CLASS! Lecture is actually interesting almost every time and Dr. Hoefnagels makes it interactive and funny. I am a political science major, about the farthest from biology, and even I thought this class was interesting—even more interesting than some classes in my major. Additionally, the pop quizzes are practically FREE POINTS. You get to work with a neighbor for the answers. But if you skip class, you automatically get a zero and those zeros ADD UP. Second, follow Dr. Hoefnagels’ study tips. She’s not giving you study tips hoping that you secretly fail. These study tips WORK. And if the person who writes the tests is telling you the correct way to study to get A’s on the tests, then you should listen to her! Third, NEVER EVER EVER skip lab. There are at least 10 points possible every lab, if not 20 or 25. That doesn’t sound like a lot but 0/10 points = 1% off your final grade automatically and when you’re sitting at an 89 at the end of the semester, you’re going to wish you had gone to lab. Plus, the quizzes the next week in lab are on the previous week’s material, so if you skip one week, you’re probably going to fail the quiz the following week. Finally, stay on top of all of your assignments. Nothing in this class requires you be Albert Einstein, but it does require that you complete things on time. There are online quizzes, pop quizzes, discover assignments, and e-mail quizzes. Just make sure you get it done on time and you should get all of the points which will set you on the path to an A.

Student #2:

First of all, I went to class! Then when studying for the biology tests I started about a week in advance (I am not good at studying for long periods of time so I did a little bit each day). First, I rewrote all of my notes, which takes a while but it is helpful when trying to remember everything. Then I would do the old exams and see how I did, and go back and find the answers to the problems I got wrong and go over those topics again. Then mostly I kept going over my notes and comparing them to the book, and just making sure I understood everything.

Student #3:

I went to every single class, took good notes, and made sure I understood the lecture. I used the old exams as a diagnostic. I also typed up my notes after each week (ideally) of lectures using the outlines provided on this website. I used the insert picture feature to add diagrams and pictures, and pasted in handouts. Using the outline form helped me to see how all the topics were related. Also, actually typing the notes in — rather than just reading over the handwritten ones — forced me to make sure I understood the material. I typed in what was on the slides in class, and for difficult concepts explained it to myself in my own words. Although it did take me some time to type all the notes, it was very helpful. The notes were easy to use as a reference when I was studying for the tests and the final. If you study hard and do well on the midterm exams, there will be no need to worry about the final. Your class grade will be high, and you will retain much of the material from previous tests. Good luck!

Student #4:

First, go to class. Make sure to read the textbook, but learning the material in class is vastly easier than trying to learn it primarily from the textbook. Second, take thorough notes on what is discussed in class. Third, make use of the online material; the websites and practice tests are a huge help. Finally, ask questions.

Student #5:

Always try to maintain a positive attitude. When in class (hopefully always), try to stay positive about being there and also about the material being presented. This will keep you focused on taking good notes and learning the material. It is extremely easy as a non-biology major to get lax in your studying and note-taking skills in this class. Fight the urge to slump down in your chair, and always focus on what is being said. The more you pay attention in class, the easier the material will come to you when studying for the exams. Also, try out the ideas that Dr. Hoefnagels presents in her “Study Minute” segments. Some you may like, some you may not. I found that if I tried them at least once, I probably have either used them to this day or have adapted them in some way to use in my studying. Lastly, always do the Discover assignments to the best of your ability and think twice on all of the H-ITT quizzes; there’s no use in giving away easy points.

Spring 2005

Student #1:

ALWAYS attend classes. Try to never skip a class. Take really good notes (I always brought my laptop; it was quicker and my notes were a lot neater). Make sure you always do the pop quizzes and HITT questions in class. Write down the HITT questions as you do them with the correct answer. Mark on your calendar the days when a new Discover Assignment or WebCT quiz is up and promptly do them the day they are available — do not wait until the last minute.

Student #2:

Attending class every time is imperative to doing well in this course. Just being there and taking down what is off the screen and paying attention does wonders. This was my hardest class last semester and did not think I would be able to make an A in it. The best way to do well on the exams is to print out the study guide she puts up on her website. This allows you to see what you need to cover to be prepared for the exam. The old tests are a great way to test your knowledge before actually taking the exam. I only used the study guides once before finals because for some reason I just never thought of using them as a study tool, but the one time I used it I got the highest of all my three exams. Go to the lab. If you are making alright grades in the class, the lab can bring up a grade level as it did to me. Try not to miss any because the points will add up if you do. Keep studying and working hard for finals. I know it is the end of the semester and you are wanting a much needed break, but if you can focus your grade will reflect the hard work. The improvement policy probably put me into the A range. Just enjoy the class, there are some really cool things you get to see.

Student #3:

Make biology a priority. Remember to take weekly quizzes online and don’t blow them off, because they are easy As that really can contribute to a good grade. GO TO EVERY CLASS. The lectures are far from boring because the professor is always upbeat and smiling and funny. She seems to put a lot of work into her lectures – you can tell from her powerpoints. Think of your work as giving back the effort that she has put in to teach you. Make notecards weekly over your notes. KEEP your notecards so that you can just look through them for the final (although you will have a stack about 6 inches tall of notecards!). When there is a chart that has information that needs to be memorized, such as the phylums of the animal kingdom, trace over the lines, leaving the phylums and info blank. Then make a lot of copies and test yourself until you are confident you could redraw the whole thing. (When you get to your test, draw it on the back before you even start!) Write down the H-ITT questions. They make for good notecards. Participate in lab – it’s really not that hard, just time consuming. Be personal with your professor – she really seems to want to help and is an amazing person!

Student #4:

I think the best advice is to go to class and take detailed notes. Keep reviewing your notes during each week so you will not be overwhelmed when it is time for an exam. Also, ask questions during lecture or actually visit Dr. Hoefnagels during office hours if you do not understand the material.

Student #5:

Keep all your notes and at the end of a section staple them all together and keep for the final. When it comes to studying for the midterms I printed them off and kept them in my back pack about a week and a half before the midterm, then when I was sitting in class waiting for class to start I’d go through and look at them. First I’d answer all the questions I knew. Then I’d go through and put a square around the questions I could answer but only because I could do process of elimination but not necessarily because I understood the material, and I’d put a circle around the questions I just didn’t know. Then I’d go back and read through my notes paying particular attention to the areas that were either squared or circled on the old tests. Also use the office hours. Either have specific qustions already outlined to ask or just go in and explain something to her and see if you’re understanding it right. It will keep you from wasting your time on material you already understand or don’t need to go over. It’s not impossible to make an A in the class; you are provided with every opportunity to succeed if you just keep up.

Student #6:

  • Go in with a positive attitude!! It CAN be done!
  • Go to class and actively listen — draw the diagrams and everything
  • Take quick notes that you can go back and re-write neatly later — this helps because if there is something that you forgot to put down or can’t read in the notes you can get it answered before test time arrives
  • Ask questions to make sure that you really understand
  • Go into office hours — Dr. Hoefnagels is there to help and will do whatever she can to help her students understand!

Student #7:

My best advice is to show up every day. I missed a few days and those were the parts of the test I didn’t do as well on. You can get notes from someone else, but it’s not the same as being there and listening to the stuff that generally doesn’t get put into someone’s notes. And find someone who is willing to listen to you explain stuff to them. It’s so true that if you can explain it to someone, then you’ve got it down. And last never say you know something if you know you’re not answering a study question right. You may think you’ll get it on the test, but you won’t.

Student #8:

I guess the best way to study for this class was to go to class!! Nothing is better then getiing the information directly from the professor who can clarify any doubts, and the points from the HITT were a huge help in earning points and helping me think about the material just covered in class. If I got a HITT wrong, I knew right then that I had to work on that specific topic and took note of it. (I kind of made an outline on what I needed to study the most). Another way I was able to get an A in this class was by talking about the material with friends from the same class. Once I was able to tell the story, of say cell division without looking at my notes, I knew that I had mastered the material and taking the midterms was simply a matter of retelling the story in my head, a piece of cake! Finally, professor Hoefnagels’ office hours are a gold mine. She is more then happy to help and not going to see her is a big mistake. The list of topics and things to know seems way too long and hard, but with a good organization it’s not that bad (it’s still a lot of work, but hey that’s what college is all about).

Student #9:

What helped me study was really going to class, and taking clear, neat notes so that when I reread them it is as if I were in class, and imagining you telling them. Because I am a bit lazy rewriting them takes too long! Since I have a visual memory, as I reread my notes I write the important parts on a different sheet, and make sure I learn the material and understand it . The most important is to understand. Studying with someone is always helpful if you don’t understand a concept! Doing all the assignments and pop quizzes is also really important because it is a different way to approach the material you learned in class!

Student #10:

I attended all of the lectures (except for maybe one). This was very helpful because the information was presented in organized, entertaining powerpoints which made it much easier to remember it. Taking notes on ALL of the information, including details, also helped a lot. I definitely recommend taking the practice tests from the website because that allows you to see what topics will be prominent on the test, and to realize which subjects you know a lot about and which you still need to study.

Student #11:

The best thing that anyone can possibly do is GO TO CLASS! She is a great teacher and will make the material interesting so that you DO pay attention. Also, there are so many points to be earned in class and in lab that if you do miss them, it’ll hurt anyway. Use her study tips, use the old exams that she posts. In the end though, I would have to say that I learned more in this particular class than any other class that I have taken at OU (and this was an intro class!), and it is all applicable to life, so it is such a fun course, just take it with an open mind, go to class everyday, and listen!

Fall 2004

Student #1:

Going to class is probably the best way to stay on top of things; and it’s fun too. I think it’s important not only to go to class,but to actively pay attention. I’s easy to get all the H-ITT and WebCT points. Those points are important in the end. I missed a WebCT quiz once, and my grade plummeted a couple of percentage points, but only because I hadn’t missed any points earlier by keeping up with the quizzes and H-ITT points. For tests, I looked over the outline and made sure I knew about each of the points. For one of the tests I had a study party and we played biology charades with different terms and ideas. Yep, so go to class, pay attention, do all the quizzes, and play charades.

Student #2:

I highly advise you to go to class! Not only do you get points (which do add up) but, go figure, you actually learn a lot and then you are not left cramming at the last minute! As far as studying for tests goes, I would always go over my notes and then take one of the practice tests, only using my notes if I had to. Then, I would take the second test with no help from my notes, grade it, then find out what areas I needed more help in, and focus studying those. I would finally take the last test without having looked at my notes for awhile, so I would know if I was truly prepared. Right before the test I read through all my notes so everything would be fresh in my mind. Just don’t slack…go to class, do your assignments…all will be good!

Student #3:

*Go to class and pay attention.
*Take awesome notes.
*Think about how everything relates to everything else. Try to visualize how and why things happen and what it would look like.
*Take lab seriously.
*Take the quizzes and the H-ITT quizzes seriously.
*Give yourself enough time to study, just go over the awesome notes you took earlier.

Student #4:

Go to class! You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to understand when she explains it than when you are reading it from a textbook. Also, it really helps if you take good notes (notes that are broken up into specific topics with headings and sub-headings) and read over them for ten or so minutes a day.

Student #5:

I found that going to (and paying attention in) class was most beneficial to my success. The discover articles are also very helpful in seeing how the subjects we are learning about actually fit into the world of biology. I sometimes read more than one discover article than I needed to, and if interested I looked up more information on the topic with a quick google search. I ended up learning more than is taught in class however that extra knowledge reinforced what we were supposed to be learning about and many times on exams I found that my looking deeper into things helped me. Previous tests on Dr. Hoefnagels’ website were helpful in preparing for the final.

Student #6:

My suggestions are more simple, general, and kind of abstract because I think that studying is very different for a lot of people, so all I really think that I can say without personally describing my methods would be to say 1) figure out for yourself what works and what kind of a learner you are closest to (visual, audio, kinesthetic), and develop tricks that help you to retain information; and 2) keep in a positive environment that’s not too distracting.

Student #7:

First, I made it a priority to attend every lecture. Second, I do everything I can to comprehend what was said during that lecture (some people attend without focusing, and instead waste their own time). Third, take comprehensive notes. Copy at least everything in the powerpoint presentations with side notes further explaining what was in the slides.

That’s about all that I did right. Now for the things that I did wrong and regret. If I had attended all the lab sessions, then I would have made a higher A. Granted, an A is an A, but I was sweating the final nervously and I would not have had to worry if I had the extra 35 points that I lost due to absences. So I recommend that people attend every lab, and do every assignment. Even if they don’t do well, a D on any given assignment is better than a zero.

Student #8:

You must go to class to earn a good grade in this class. In class the lectures are easy to follow, much more so than if you are trying to teach yourself at home with your book. If you are in class and have a question, you can ask it, another luxury you don’t have on your own. Most of the test material is taken straight from your lecture notes, so if you have well organized notes, you are likely to do well on tests. I always typed my notes on the computer to make them more organized and then made an outline of the things I needed to concentrate the most. It’s much easier to flip through a couple of typed papers than a whole stack of notes. It’s also very important to turn in every assignment because everything helps!

Student #9:

Well, first of all I WENT TO CLASS!! But, I’m definitly not perfect and when I did miss class, I was sure to immediately copy notes from someone. Secondly, take advantage of all the easy points there are to be earned. Go to lab… do your best on H-ITT questions… remember to do your 5 point quizzes every week (write them in a planner)…get your Discover assignments in on time. All these things aren’t hard at all and give a good foundation. Third, take advantage of office hours if you don’t understand something, it really helps a lot. For the tests, I just studied. I didn’t do anything great, I honestly just started to study a couple of days before the tests. Just make sure your study time is quality…that is that you are really understanding the material because a lot of Professor Hoefnagels’ test questions have to do with concepts.

Student #10:

I think the best thing to do is go to class!!! And you should really take notes. Draw all the diagrams unless she provides them on one of her helpful sheets. The notes aren’t hard to follow if you understand the material and if not, you should take advantage of office hours. Make sure you ask questions and participate. Sitting near the front helps as well; it keeps you involved. The old tests help. Fill them out with what you know first and mark what you’re unsure about. Study what you don’t know. If you’re confident about a subject, move on. Also, cramming doesn’t help a whole lot.

Student #11:

The most imporant thing to remember is that every point counts. It may seem as if the lecture quizzes or the extra points in lab aren’t imporant, but in the end it all adds up. As far as studying for the exams, I would write my own exam as if I was giving it to the class, and through choosing questions and coming up with appropriate answer choices I learned so much. At the beginning of the semester when I got the syllabus, I made a calendar for the entire semester that included the due dates for Discover assignments and a study plan for every test. I gave myself small study deadlines every Friday, so that when the week of the test came around all I had to do was a general review of the notes. Good notetaking is important, and if you can it helps to write the different examples that Dr. H gives for various concepts, because when you go back over your notes and see those examples you’ll be able to relate to and remember the concepts better.

Student #12:

I took an old test, studied what I missed and then took another. Everything else I did involved going to class and taking good notes.

Student #13:

First of all, it is so important to attend every class and take very thorough notes. Even if you do have a friend in class that you can borrow notes from, it is so much easier to understand the material if you are actually in class listening to the lecture. Secondly, what really helped me was recopying my notes. Rewriting all of my notes really reinforced my comprehension of the material. I also recommend actually reading the material in the textbook before you take each WebCT quiz, instead of just looking up the answers. That way, you have some background on the lecture material, which really makes lectures easier to follow and understand. But don’t use that as an excuse to blow off lecture! Even if you’ve already read the material, having someone actually teach it to you really helps you understand it.

Student #14:

The most important thing is to understand what’s going on with the material, which allows me to do well on the exams … For most classes, I briefly read everything ahead of time … Then, I always go to the lectures, where I can ask questions about what I didn’t understand from the readings. If the material is new or difficult to grasp, I re-read the readings and my notes … If I still can’t write volumes on the subject, I search the internet, call up knowledgeable friends, and I review the readings again. If that still doesn’t work, then I stare off into space for a while until things start coming together (by far, this is the most effective method of learning) … When the exam arrives, I usually know everything I need to know, so I make sure that I am not stressed out. I’ll glance over the material briefly, go skateboarding, watch a movie, get enough sleep, possibly consume 100mg of caffine, eat a good breakfast, search for the pencil I don’t own, and arrive at the exam fairly early (make sure to bring a good eraser if you don’t own a pencil!).

Student #15:

I know everyone says goes to class and I agree. If I missed a class, I got notes right away from someone from the class and studied them. Then if I had a question I went to Dr. Hoefnagels office hours and asked for help. As for office hours use them if you do not understand something. I found that going to office hours answered questions that the book or my friends couldn’t answer. Also, study the “stuff” you don’t know!

Student #16:

I made sure I came to class. If you aren’t there and something important was explained (which usually happens) you may never understand the concept. I typed my notes, and when Dr. Hoefnagels posted her outline, I would take my notes and plug them in under her outline! I made sure I didn’t miss anything because sometimes even when I was there I would notice that I didn’t get something on the outline. Also by typing the notes you are keeping it fresh in your head and it helps you know what you do and don’t understand. A few days before each test I would make note cards by going through my notes and making a note card for everything possible. I think that just making the note cards helped the most! Don’t rely on others to contribute to your studying. I had a study group and they weren’t as dedicated as me, in fact they missed class a lot, but they didn’t make A’s either. This class is time consuming, but it’s fun. Also, lab is imperative. Just go. I know it’s long, but the extra credit points and HITT questions make it important.

Student #17:

[Note that this student did NOT earn an A; but he/she did do something that some of you might wish to do: raised his/her grade from a D (at mid-semester) to a B (final course grade). I thought some of you might want to see how his/her study habits changed]

The biggest diference in my studying was how many days prior to the test I started going over everything. For the first tests, I would stay up all night and cram the best I could and take the test with no sleep and an overly crammed brain. I have found the more time you give yourself, the better you will feel going into it. The first couple days of studying, I just sort of skimmed over all my notes and then I broke up all the material into 4 sections and intensly studied 1 section per day and then the day before the test I skimmed over everything again and I gave my notes to my friend and he tested me over everything for a long time. A lot of hours, but it definitely paid off!

Spring 2004 (Dr. Hobson taught)

Student #1:

My number one tip for students would be to go to class – I learn best when I can see examples of the topics and have something in my memory to refer to as we went over it in lecture. Also, in preparing for exams, I always took advantage of the past tests. They really give a good idea of what information will be on the test. For the final, I studied with a classmate – sometimes it’s easier when you hear another student’s way of understanding, and helping someone else learn makes things more concrete in your own mind. Other than that, I just studied my notes from lecture and completed the quizzes, which were also a good indicator of test questions.

Student #2:

I feel that the largest reason for my success was going to class. Pop quizzes end up being a large portion of your final grade [instructor’s note: 10%], and I found that I did not have to spend as much time studying because I retained the material from lecture.

Student #3:

(1) Type the lecture notes at the end of each week. This way, you can organize and review your notes at the same time. This also prepares you for the study guide — all you will have left to do is cut and paste. (2) Work out all old tests and check with a study buddy. Highlight the ones you have trouble on and find out the answers. (3) On test day, wake up early, eat a good breakfast and do some last minute reviewing before you take the exam. (4) After the exam, keep the multiple choice questions. This is good for two things: to check your answers and to study for the final later.

Student #4:

The thing that definately helped me the most in studying for tests in this class were the old exams. I answered and studied all of those, as well as looking over the practice quizzes at the back of each chapter in the book and main points from the notes taken during lectures. Good advice — never procrastinate! 🙂

Student #5:

To get an A, I made sure to finish all the online assignments on time and used the webct quizzes to get the main idea from the week’s readings. Then, to study for the test, I simply read through my notes and would glance at the previous tests to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

Student #6:

I would advise students to study old tests, review their notes weekly, and really understand everything that is on a power point slide during lecture!

Fall 2003

Student #1:

I did four things which I think helped me on the tests. The first thing is that I never missed class; just going to the lecture is the easiest thing you can do to help your grade. Second, before tests I printed off the outline and used it to help me go through my notes. Third, once I knew the outline I would have a friend go through it and ask questions, and I would explain each part of the outline. Fourth, I printed off all the old exams, took them, and tried to determine why the wrong answers didn’t fit. Like if one wrong answer had more to do with DNA than lipids I could understand both concepts better.

Student #2:

I went in there with an open mind knowing that if I had a negative attitude about the class then it would be a bad class, but if I had a positive attitude about the class then the class would be great.
Second I made sure to go to class and do the WebCT quizzes. The most important thing though was … put[ting] the effort into the class so that I could walk out learning as much as I could. The A was just a bonus; I didn’t really care about the grade as long as I know that I did my best.

Student #3:

In order to make an A, you should make sure to do all the little assigments. The WebCT quizzes and pop quizzes in class add up to a lot of points and they can really help your grade if you do them all. Also I suggest that you study the lecture notes for at least two days prior to the test. [Note from MH — studying them a couple of times a week would be even better!] Don’t wait until the night before the test to start studying. Also the online chats are very helpful.

Student #4:

GO TO CLASS. When it comes to test time you will be surprised at how much information you retained just by going to class and listening to lectures. This in turn will cut down on the amount of time you need to study.

Student #5:

Early on in high school, I realized the best way for me to study. I think that it is important for everyone to discover their own style and stick with it. The biggest thing that helped me in this class was “coming to class.” Really that is the key. Also going to lab is a major key because every little point counts. Be careful not to consider assignments and quizzes to be insignificant because they are not worth many points. Also WebCT chats are like the coolest thing since lined paper. They are so helpful if you go and inquire about material you do not understand.

Student #6:

My advice to students looking to get an A in your class would be to simply go to class and take good notes. Before every test I also summarized all of my notes and read them over 2 to 3 times. It is very time consuming, but pays off in the end.

Student #7:

To earn an A in this class stay on top of the online section of the course and also the lab points, these are easy points to get but also easy ones to lose and they add up. As far as the tests go, make sure you set aside plenty of study of time to understand the study guides and use the practice tests.

Student #8:

The best way to have success in this class is to take advantage of all the free points. It would be pretty easy to give away points early in the semester which you later wish you had back. Do well on the WebCT quizzes, Discover Assignments, pop quizzes, and all the lab stuff and you’re set. I made an 85, 85, 82, and 86 on the tests and still made an A in the class because of all my other grades (plus improvement points). As for the tests, I’d say the best way to study is to use the practice exams to evaluate where you are. It’s really easy to just fill in the answers on all three exams and think you’re ready when you’re really not. Trust me, that approach will end in disappointment. Study up to the point that you’d feel comfortable taking one of the practice exams as if it were the real test. Those are the tips but in reality the way to succeed in this class is the same as it is in all classes, show up and work hard.

Spring 2003

Student #1:

The one piece of advice that I do have for your next class is to keep up with all the online quizzes, pop quizzes, lab quizzes and other possible points. I cannot stress enough how important those points are. They are easy to get and they help you learn. I did not make an A on any of the four tests but I was able to make an A in the class because I kept up with my other points.

Student #2:

I think the best thing for me was going to class, because I learned a lot of information every class, which helped me to do well on quizzes. Earning as many points as possible on each assignment is the key, and even if science isn’t your subject (like me) and you pay attention in class and spend time on each assignment, not last minute, you should be fine. I also studied for the final for an hour each day for a week, so that made me feel good about the final. This is the first time I’ve ever taken a science class and actually enjoyed it and made an A.

Student #3:

I found that taking the old tests and looking up all of the answers you don’t know was the best way to study. And going to class because not everything covered is in the book.

Student #4:

First, I made sure to read the material on time and take good notes. To study for tests, I glanced over my notes first. I also studied the old tests to make sure that I understood major concepts. If there was a question that I missed, I went over that again in my notes.

Student #5:

Well, besides going to class every day and making sure to take all the WebCT quizzes because those plus pop quizzes in class equals easy points… I would say definitely take advantage of the old exams. This means not filling them out using the book and your notes, but actually sitting down and taking them. And when studying for the test, read the chapter summeries of each of the chapters covered. They’re great reminders.

Student #6:

First, DON’T blow lab off. Yes, it is the most labor intensive group of points you will earn, but it is what will get you a ‘C’ if you get 100% credit on everything else in the class. I know it is hard to get motivated to spend 3 hours of your time each week for a few points, but remember — each point in lab is weighted the same as each point earned on a pop quiz or an exam. Lots of work, lots of points! Secondly, be honest with yourself about how much you are REALLY studying. Staring at your notes or the books isn’t studying. If having friends around keeps your mind on BIO like it did for me, invite them over. If they distract you with talking and complaining about the exam, don’t invite them next time. Also, keep in mind that Dr. Hoefnagels really does mean it when she says her job is to help you understand. Study early and often to get an A.

Student #7:

I would recommend going to class all of the time because I used my notes to study from. Also, make sure you do all of the quizzes and assignments. I also used the old exams to study from.

Student #8:

I guess the most advantageous technique was to go over my notes every day. I can definitely tell which test I did this on because I received 10 points higher than the one I kind of slacked on. Also on my highest scoring test, I actually read through the chapters thoroughly and highlighted the things in the book you emphasized the most in lecture.

Student #9:

* Always come to class and pay attention in class…studying will be much easier and less time consuming
* Take thorough notes…try to memorize AND fully understand the notes
* The night before a test you should study your notes, book, and review sheets. Afterwards, highlight anything that you don’t understand or have not learned… only study what you have highlighted. By doing this you won’t be wasting valuable time reviewing things that you already know
* Complete the online review sheets and type your answers…you’ll be creating your own study guide
* Take advantage of the professor’s office hours…before you go write down all the questions you want to ask
* Don’t wait till the night before a test to study….skim over your notes weekly

Student #10:

I think what I did was actually read the readings assigned to the class before coming to class. It gave me a good grasp of what the lecture was going to be about, so that if I already had attempted to wrap my head around it, seeing the PowerPoint the next day would just work wonders for helping me visualize what actually happens — the stuff I read about the night before.

Student #11:

I would start studying for exams about a week in advance by printing off the old exams off your web site. That REALLY helped! Then I would answer the questions on the exams and look up the ones I didn’t know. When we finished lecturers, I would print off the outline and go back through my notes and highlight all of the important concepts and review all of those (looking back through the book if more explanation was necessary). Regular class attendance made it easy to learn the concepts.

Student #12:

The only thing I would say to your future students is never miss a class. It is rare to have a professor so well prepared and it would be a waste to miss lecture. Also take advantage of office hours. Your book and CD-ROM are great but nothing can answer questions like a living, breathing, human being (especially one who happens to write the tests).

Student #13:

Most Importantly: GO TO CLASS! Every day! Dr. Hoefnagels explains things better than any book can. Actually read the part of the book that she assigns for each quiz, BEFORE you go to class. When I read the material ahead of time, I already knew about what Dr. Hoefnagels presented in lecture. She helped to fill in the blanks and explain more thoroughly. Use the old tests on her website to study for your tests. I printed off the test and answered all the questions. I put a star next to any question that I wasn’t sure about. Then I went back and studied only the questions that I didn’t know. This helped me to realize which parts of the lecture I needed to study so that I didn’t waste time studying what I already knew.

Fall 2002

Student #1:

The tool that helped me to best prepare for the tests was the old exams on your website. I would print off all three and go through the first one question by question and look it up in the book. It helps to read the entire section in the book pertaining to a question, not just finding the answer and moving on. It’s also a good idea to write the page number beside each question so you can go back over sections you’re still uncertain about. On the second and third tests, I would try to answer everything I could without using the book. Then I would look up the answers to double-check. This method helped me to better actually understand the concepts instead of just memorizing the material for the test. You’ll be glad when the final comes around, because you’ll pretty much already know the material. Oh – don’t study with friends…it never worked for me. I scored the lowest on the one test that I “studied” with friends.

Student #2:

I would say to study every day. After class each day, just review your notes and do not let any material slip through your fingers. If you do not get it the day we learn it in class, then go see Dr. H. right then. Also take every point seriously. It is easy to convince yourself, “hey what’s ten points out of a thousand” but be point selfish and do not let any just get away. Also, go to class!

Student #3:

What helped me the most was talking about the stuff I was learning with my friends and family. My boyfriend and I ‘discussed’ evolution; my father and I talked about chemistry; my friends and I talked about animals and plants. Even though this didn’t cover everything I learned in the course, at least it kept my brain in gear while I wasn’t in the classroom. Studying became just a question of filling in the gaps in my working knowledge, rather than having to learn everything all at once.

Student #4:

I took notes IN MY textbook. I had it open, following along in class as you were lecturing. When you covered something in the textbook, I highlighted it. If you mentioned something that wasn’t in the book, I wrote in the margins (there’s a lot of space, especially if you write small.) Obviously, this only works if you don’t care about maximum book value afterwards, but it facilitates extremely efficient use of study time…I homed in on exactly what you covered, and didn’t waste time learning all about the “Krebs cycle” if you didn’t talk about it in class.

Student #5:

My best advice for new students is to first, and most obviously, GO TO CLASS and TAKE NOTES. The second would be to use the old tests to study with, they are a tremendous help! The best way I found to study for the exams was to read through all my notes once or twice, then sit down with a classmate and go through a couple of the tests using notes to answer any questions I didn’t know, read through my notes again, and then go through the last old exam on my own.

A Plan for Academic Success

(adapted from an article by William J. Higgins, University of Maryland)

  1. Go to class, sit up front, and speak to the professor. Just because you’re physically present, doesn’t mean you’re there!
  2. Recopy your lecture notes after each class. This yields a complete set of notes rephrased in your own words. Use the “double column” method: leave space in one column to indicate corresponding pages in the text, identify material given special emphasis in lecture, and refer to specific questions in exams from previous semesters.
  3. Use exams from previous semesters to test your understanding.
  4. Practice. No one runs a marathon or learns to play piano without practice; why should learning about biology be any different?
  5. Get help early.
  6. Manage your time well.