Genetics is a huge part of our daily lives.  Cells are constantly replicating within us, and DNA is being transcribed every minute.  Thus, most majors list Genetics as an option to fulfill their science requirements.  However, this class covers a lot of information over a relatively short period of time.  By following these 4 simple steps, you are practically guaranteed to pass Genetics 3022 at the University of Minnesota.

1. Read the Book!

For this class, the professors rarely, if ever, assign readings from the textbook.  In fact, they don’t even mention the textbook.  Now this would lead some people to believe that the book is not important in this class and that they can just use it as a makeshift laptop stand in their dorm room.  WRONG!!!!  The textbook is a huge part of this course even if the professors don’t talk about it.  If there is a part of the lecture that you do not understand, the book is there to help you find a different way to understand the material.  It gives you the bare bones of the topic, and explains it in less words than your professor, which usually leads to a better understanding.  Even if you know the material, skim through the book to help you study for the test and make sure you know the material being covered.  Don’t judge the book by its cover, the knowledge in there is practically priceless.


2. Find a Study Group

Genetics 3022 is a huge lecture.  There are at least 100 students if not more, and sometimes this makes it harder to find people to sit with.  But go out of your comfort zone and find someone that has the same work ethic as you and is willing to study with you outside of class.  It is incredibly helpful to go over the material outside of class, after you have heard about it.  Having someone else there to sound off ideas to is good because you can then see if you are approaching a topic correctly.  And that person will be just as grateful to you for the same thing.  No one wants to struggle alone, and when two minds struggle together, they usually can find the right answer!



Genetics is not easy.  It has a lot of definitions and terms that sound similar but mean two totally different things.  And don’t even get me started on the topic of crossing-over.  In order to make sure you can retain most, if not all of the information you hear in lecture, revisit the material on your own time.  Take three or so for each credit that the class is worth and just go over topics until you have a firm understanding of them.  Yes, this class is worth 3 credits, which means that theoretically you should be studying 9 hours total a week for Genetics 3022.  But that is over a week!  Break it into little chunks, instead of having one big study time, and reward yourself with completion of studying by relaxing or grabbing a nice doughnut.


4.  Ask Questions

No professor can perfectly describe every topic they cover in any subject, and Genetics is no exception.  It can be nerve wracking to ask a question in front of such a huge lecture, but no one will judge you.  Seriously!  If you are confused, chances are there are at least 3 other people who are just as confused.  Professors love it when students ask questions because it shows that you actually care about what you are learning.  Everyone else is just as afraid, so be the one to break the ice and venture into that sea of knowledge!


Genetics 3022 is not for the faint of heart.  It requires constant attention and time, but in the end the payoff is well worth it.  This class acts as a foundation for so many majors, and doing well in it can help you greatly down the road when you are taking higher level science classes.  After all, college is where you go to learn, so why not work to make that true?!


Emily Jacobson

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