BIO 148 is a course that is taken by every pre-med, pre-vet, pre-vet and many other STEM students. It is also a popular science elective or science CORE class chosen by non-stem majors. While the concepts themselves are identical to those taught in AP Biology and some high school biology, that doesn’t mean the class is a walk in the park for students with prior knowledge. Here are some things to expect if you are taking the class, or thinking about taking it.
1. Mandatory attendance (mostly)
Attendance is technically required in BIO 148. Attendance is taken each class period by doing daily clicker questions. You are graded on these questions each day- which sounds tough, but at the end of the semester you just need a 90% average on these to get a 100% in the final grade-book. What makes this challenging is whether or not the questions are for accuracy. This depends on which professor you get for the course.
2. Weekly homework assignments
Each week you will have one or two homework assignments. Some of these assignments will be online questions, while others will be paper assignments. Similar to the attendance questions, you need a 90% average on homework grades to get full credit for homework at the end of the semester. Each homework assignment also has 2 attempts, but the grade is the average of these two.
3. In class quizzes
There are four in-class quizzes worth ten points each. These will be pretty similar to exam questions. While you definitely need to study for these exams, it’s nice to know that you are allowed five minutes at the end of the quiz to discuss the questions with the people around you. It’s like permission to cheat. However, while this is mostly seen as a advantage- it might make you second guess yourself when you’re actually right.
4. Difficult exams
Almost everything about this class makes it seen like an easy A. However, the exams can be incredibly challenging. It often seems to students that no matter how hard you study for the exams, you don’t always do well. The exams are incredibly tricky, and often make you second guess yourself. The best thing to do is to read every questions slowly, really think about what it’s asking you, and think about each answer as a possibility.
5. A cumulative final
Expect there to be a final on all material that has already been tested on, as well as the new material. The final is half new, and half old material; with new material being worth more points. The final is lengthy, but overall students think that it is slightly easier than the other exams in the course. Study hard!
6. A chance to retake an exam
Another great way to help your grade in BIO 148 is the exam retake option. During dead week, each student is allowed to choose one exam of their choice to retake. The retake test is different from the one given during the semester, and it’s a full length exam. While this is a great way to make up for an exam you didn’t study well for, it’s important to note that if you happen to do worse on the retake, that worse grade will be put in the grade-book over the initial grade.
7. Don’t expect a curve or a raised grade
Unfortunately, despite a lot of struggling students; the class will probably never be curved. Students have been known to receive a 89.99% in the class- and that’s a B on their transcript. It never hurts to ask for a professor to raise your grade-but do not expect it. And unlike other 100 level science classes like CHE 105, the class is rarely ever curved.
Overall, BIO 148 is a class that requires solid effort on everything from attendance to homework to exams. Luckily, they give you a lot of chances to make mistakes on assignments and in class quizzes. The course it set up in the best way to help you succeed. The one thing pulling most students down is laziness and the exams. Make sure you excel at the easier stuff, and try your very best on the exams.