Brock University’s Biology program is well designed to provide their students with an extensive base in biological thought, to attain the basic necessities for entry to specialized degree programs and to ultimately prepare alumni for callings situated in the realm of biological sciences. A first-year Biology class is considered the gateway course in that it provides students a deep foundation for other advanced classes in the biological sciences. Here is a list of five important tips to be successful in an introductory biology course.

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1. Attend the Lectures

The key to be successful in this course is attending every lecture. Your professor is an expert on the course material and will expand on complex concepts in detail for those who show up. Lectures also provide opportunities for open discussion in that the professor can address any questions or concerns in relation to the course material.


2. Understand, rather than Memorize

Find the time to break down complex biology terminology into their roots. Having knowledge of the prefixes and suffixes that make up such terms will enable you to have a deeper understanding of the course material. For instance, if you take the term glucose, this term can be chunked into two different words: gluc, meaning sweet, and ose, meaning sugar. Thus, as “ose” translates to sugar, you will understand that other terms such as sucrose and maltose are sugars as well.

3. Draw and Label Diagrams

This tip is extremely helpful when it is time to study for finals. A quick sketch of a biological process can help you really understand it as opposed to just reading about it. It is also important to go into your textbook and make note of important diagrams. Ask yourself what the sketch or diagram is presenting and how it relates to what you are learning in the course.

4. Do the Readings Before Class!

This is very, very, very important. Course material in biology cannot be fully absorbed in the short period of time you’re in lecture. By doing the readings prior to class, you will get so much more out of the lecture if you arrive prepared.

 5. Review your Notes Everyday

This tip will help you synthesize what was taught to you in lecture. More often than not, students will leave reviewing their notes to the last minute. However, if you wish to succeed in this first-year biology course, reviewing your notes after lecture will allow you to store all of the important concepts into your long-term memory.

In conclusion, there are various approaches to be successful in BIOL 1F90. Being successful in this course requires effort, commitment, and memorization.  It is important to come to class prepared, understand basic biology concepts, and take detailed notes to do well in this course. You should also learn to anticipate exam questions so you can study in a way that will allow you to answer them. Look at your syllabus, labs, assigned readings, and lectures to help you determine what material is important and what is most likely to show up on a test or final exam.  Ultimately, having a positive attitude towards biology will help you excel in this course. So, have fun and happy studying!


Melanie Amitrano

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