Benedictine has an extremely rigorous, prestigious science program. That means there is no faking it when it comes to exams. Unless you’re a genius, you’re going to have to study in order to do well. Studying for science exams isn’t like studying for most course subjects. It requires not only memorization, but also a solid understanding of the material so you can apply your knowledge. I’ve taken my fair share of biology and chemistry exams for Benedictine, and when I don’t fully know the material on the test, it always shows. If you’re going to get an A, your most likely going to have to consult multiple resources and spend more than one day studying. Here are a few ways you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your studying:
1) Take advantage of practice exams: These are a gift. Going through them will help you get a feel of the types of questions you will be asked on the actual exam. This helps make sure you’re studying the right things and not wasting your time on info the test will not be focusing on. I find these especially useful for chemistry exams. Sometimes I base all my studying off these exams and use the questions I have trouble with to help guide me with what I need to study.
2) Attend review sessions: As a freshman, I never thought it was worth it to use my time for a review session. This year, I realized students who go to review sessions are at a definite advantage. Besides getting help with specific concepts you’re struggling with, the professor or TA will usually give you more information about the test. I have a TA for physiology right now who uses the review sessions to tell us the material she knows will be on the tests based on exams she has taken for the class in the past. This is extremely helpful in not wasting your time stressing over info you don’t need to know.
3) Focus on your notes and use the book as a supplement: I usually find that reading entire science textbooks before an exam will cram your brain with too much knowledge and when you get to the test, you won’t be able to organize it all. Start by looking at your notes first, then use the book or other resources to dive deeper into more complex topics or things your don’t understand.
4) Don’t just memorize: Biology classes can involve a lot of memorization. Anyone can memorize facts in a table or chart. But if you don’t understand the concept behind it, you will most likely forget it in the test. You have to know how to apply the things you memorize, and in order to do that, you need to understand what your memorizing. Like I said: Benedictine’s science program is rigorous. You’ll find few questions on exams where all you have to do is memorize something then copy it on a test word for word.
5) See if you can teach the concepts: If you can explain a concept on the test to someone else, chances are you know it very thoroughly. This is one of my favorite techniques since I want to be in the education field. Sometimes I just see if I can explain it to myself in my head. Always try to recall the information you have looked over continuously. This will create a more permanent spot for it in your brain.
These are things that have been successful for me in the science program so far, but don’t change your study habits if you know they work for you. Even if you do bomb a few exams, remember that you are a part of a program that is meant to push you, and weed out the individuals that do not care. Don’t stress and try something different the next time!