HOW TO DO WELL IN BIOLOGY | high school & college/university biology tips & tricks

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hi friends nathan and welcome back to my

channel i'm an incoming pharmacy student

at the university of waterloo so in

three weeks

i will officially be enrolled in

pharmacy school and i'm also finishing

up some courses at harvard for the


because exams are quickly approaching

and once exams are over you'll be

starting a new term with new courses

i thought now would be the perfect time

to start a subject series

giving you tips and advice on how to do

well in certain subjects

now this is the second upload in the

series i already posted chemistry a few

days ago

students that take biology almost always

take chemistry as well so i'll link the

video on how i got an a in chemistry

right here

in this series i'll be going over what i

did in high school and university to get


marks in certain subjects so like i said

chemistry is posted

this one's biology and the next and last

one is going to be

english those are all three subjects

that i did very well and

and enjoyed throughout my educational

career and

they're often the toughest so i'm glad

to be sharing my tips with you

i'll be putting time stamps for certain

topics so if you're only interested

in studying or test taking

homework whatever that may be you can

just skip to where you want on the bar

but without further ado here's how i got

an a in biology and how you can too

the first step is to take thorough notes

and you do that by annotating in a very

particular way

so my notes would always have

supplementary information from the class

or lecture

i would be defining terms i would be

explaining biological diagrams

i actually filmed a video on how to take

notes depending on the subject

because note taking is not a

one-size-fits-all system

there is a biology section so i highly

recommend you checking it out i'll link

it above

you're in class and your teacher prof is

giving the lesson and you get to a topic


you just do not understand at all if two

plus two is four

right and five plus five is ten okay

what the is this star it or flag it


do whatever you need to remember that

you have to ask the teacher or go back

to it later on

a lot of the time especially in high

school i would find myself going back to

my teacher and asking

hey can you please go over this again

but slower

and teachers and prof want to go slow

and want to be really thorough but

sometimes they just don't

have that luxury of time they have

certain deadlines to me they need to


x amount of information before the

midterm or the test so they can't go

super slow

but if you ask them separately to

go over and reinforce material they'll

happily accommodate because they

understand that

not everyone picks up information as

fast as the next person

so just let them know and they'll

happily accommodate this is a tip

specifically for university students

and that's if you have tutorials use

those opportunities

to ask questions tutorials are

facilitated by upper year students or

master students so they're very

knowledgeable in the subject

and sometimes they can even explain

topics better than a pro

because they are students they're able

to use more student-friendly language

they're often a little more

understanding too and it's not a bash

against props

but it's just that from student to

student you can really feel the struggle

and you can really relate

i'm just like you i think that's true

you're just like me yes i can see you

ask some questions and definitely

definitely use them to your advantage

in my genetics class we took a really

deep dive into the lac operon

and for some reason it was just not

connecting with me i

was not getting it and like the

circumstances so if something is turned

off would this be made in excess or

would it be

the same or less it was just not

clicking with me

so i decided to seek out my ta rather

than my prop because i knew that this

would take

more than like 10 minutes to explain so

i booked an appointment with my ta and

we sat there for 30 minutes just going

over scenarios

going over material she was very nice

and very approachable

and so we sat there and she was

explaining things and going over

scenarios with me for

almost half an hour which is time that

you wouldn't be able to get from a prof

because they're so busy so that's just

something for you to look into

ask for homework i'm not gonna lie to

you i didn't do any

i don't find biology homework helpful

and i'm all about working smart not hard

so i honestly did not waste my time with


instead i would use that time to go over

the lecture again and make sure i


every single thing and if i didn't

understand anything

i would take the time to research and

find out the answer

so google was truly my best friend

i use my textbook online resources

journal articles anything that i could

get my hands on

that would help make information more

clear i would be utilizing it

and one thing also is that while you're

doing your research if you find any

interesting information

write it down in your notes i'll explain

why you're gonna do that later on in the

video when i talk about test taking

but really try researching the answer

yourself if you're in high school this

will develop your skills for university

and if you're in university

this will further develop any research

skill that you will need to have in the


if you've exhausted all your reasons

then i would go see an academic so your

teacher or your prof

profs have office hours that you can

attend to

i personally never saw any office hours

for biology

at least not that i can remember instead

i would usually just email

them it saves my time it saves the profs

time so if an explanation or response

can be made in a couple of sentence

i'd say go for an email if you're really

confused about a certain process

or a concept then i would go see

in-person help but most of the time

online virtual help was enough and

that's pretty much

all that you have right now because

we're an online school so definitely

just reach out using email

studying to study biology i use the

method called active recall

i would aggressively condense the notes

that i was making throughout the course

and then try to test myself using

specific prompts and i would use a

whiteboard for that

i also would kind of teach the


because if you're able to teach concepts

then you definitely understand it

i have a whole video on how to study for

different subjects depending on whether

the course is content based

or subject-based biology is a

content-based course so you'll find all

my tips

for biology in that section of the video

again all the work is done for you so

you can just click the above link here

in high school and university i never

studied for biology in a group setting i

don't think

that it's effective it may be for you


at least for me i don't see how it could

be because a lot of it is just

active recall and memory so it's not

like you're trying to solve things it's

really just

remembering and understanding content

which you can do perfectly by yourself

you can look at your notes or your

textbook for subheadings and then once

you have a subheading that is going to

be your prompt

then try to regurgitate every single

information that you remember

based on that prompt and that's how you

can test yourself there is so much to

cover in biology it's so dense it's so

heavy and

this may sound harsh but you really

don't have time to waste on

ineffective study sessions or

ineffective study strategies

honestly if you do not understand

something if you have a question

ask your prof ask your friend and then

just get back to your studying

that's all that's necessary there are

other courses which work great in a

group setting

biology just not so much test taking now

i would say this is probably one of the

most important

parts of this video because you can do

all that you want

during studying but when it comes to it

at the end of the day all that matters

is the test

so first tip is understanding

the format right so biology is usually

short answer or multiple choice you'll

probably be getting more short answer in

high school and more multiple choice in


let's talk about short answer questions

first when doing short answer questions

you want to be looking at the allocated


if there are four marks for this

question give five you want to be adding


extra one as your backup so with biology

it's very common to

forget maybe a step or to explain a step

unclearly and as a result

you get docked and you lose the point

but if you have an extra that you can

fall back on

it'll make up for your lost one another

tip is that you want to be including

as many keywords as possible so any of

those bolded terms that you saw in your


or in your textbook add those in at

every opportunity

i was shoving in those words left and

right because it was what was making my


look professional look scientific and

just really show

the teacher or prof or whoever's marking

my test that i

really know what i'm talking about and

that i'm able to communicate that

scientifically sometimes i would even go

above and beyond

to explain terms that i was using

so it wasn't just enough for me to add a

term in i put the definition of that

term in as well

making it super cohesive a very full

and informative answer and the last tip

for short answer questions

is to include out of classroom

information so remember when i told you

to jot down any interesting information

you found during your research

you're going to want to include that

into your responses if relevant or even

if you heard something in the news

or you saw an article about it include

any relevant

information this will show your

application skills that you're able to

take what you learned in the classroom

and find connections and apply it to

real world settings

which is pretty much what science is all

about i'm telling you this will be your

cherry on top

this is what's going to make your prof

or teacher be like oh

okay so you know he's not a regular

student this student

is interested in biology he's passionate

about biology and we'll be giving you

all the marks

so that is something teachers love to

see and we'll just help you get a better


the other format you'll see with your

biology test is multiple choice

now multiples is very tricky in biology


detail and wording is placed with a very

high importance

you want to be making sure that your

notes are very specific and you're using

correct terminology

because these multiple choices will be

testing on that specificity

your option a versus option b may only

differ by a few words and it may seem

interchangeable because the words i

guess in english

can mean the same thing but biologically

it doesn't

and that's how it can trip you up and

that is what you want to be avoiding

another tip is to choose the option that

you know is right

not the one that you want to be right

with biology

you'll often find answers that are very


very detailed and sound really good i

guess like sound pleasing

to the ear but then you have another

answer that

is simple and is right but you know your

brain tricks you into choosing the more

full answer and that's where teachers

will try to get the upper hand on you

go with what you know if you see

something in your notes and it's right

just choose it it's better to be safe

than to maybe take a risk and choose

something that you're not 100

confident with just because it sounds

better or looks better

and sometimes if the question that you

chose is right but the prof marks it as


but it is a correct answer you could

potentially argue for that and your

profit may or may not change it

accordingly depending on how the entire

class answers it

but it's always better to go with safer

answer last tip

is that everyone knows that if you don't

know a question you skip it and you go

back to it later right

that could be more true for biology

because that actually works in your


biology is very interconnected and

sometimes if you skip a question that

you don't know

maybe 10 20 questions down you'll run

into a new question

that gives you a hint about the one that

you are stuck on and as a result you get

the right answer so

definitely don't stress too much about

it just skip it go back to it and

there's a high chance

that it may come to you later on because

of the intertwinedness of questions and

topics in biology

so you wrote your test and you're done

right not exactly

go back and review it a lot of people

don't do this and i think it's a

critical step

in the learning process go back to see

what you messed up on what topics you

were unclear about so that you could

touch up on them

for the next test or next exam or if the

course is over

you could see a recurrent topic in the

next course that you would regret

not reviewing another smart thing to do

is to look at how the question was


so if you lost marks on a question that

you thought you know you answered


see what the examiner was looking for

that you weren't able to meet

and then you'll learn how to answer

questions better part of the game is not


knowing information it's being able to

deliver the information in a way

that's pleasing to the examiner that's

just something that you will eventually


and you just need to practice and the

best way to do that is by reviewing to

see how you can improve for the next


the last thing i want to talk about is

not something you can do physically

but it's more of something you do

internally and that's your mentality

while doing biology

your mentality has to be focused on


biology is a very heavy and long subject

there is a lot of material for you to


and it can be boring sometimes and

that's when you have to just push

through even though you're tired even

though you're exhausted

you have to be diligent in your studying

truthfully biology is not the

hardest course but because of how much

content you have to go through it makes

it hard

and it's not a course you can study in a

very short amount of time it takes me


three hours to study for one chapter of

biology and that's why

my study schedule is very important

because i can't fall behind

because i can't cram two chapters in one

day or i'd like

not to at least three hours for each


when there's 12 chapters that's 36 hours


a lot of studying i have to wake up at

three in the morning

the day of my midterm to finish the

three chapters that i didn't get to

it was awful and uh waking up at 3am was


pleasant at all so that's where

you have to really push yourself even

when you don't want to study biology

every single day even when you don't

want to spend three

hours of your time going over mitosis or

whatever you need to study just pushing

through and knowing that it's worth it

and you want to get a good grade

that is how you're ultimately going to

get the best mark and honestly there's

nothing more satisfying than being able

to go through

a hundred multiple choice questions or

showing how much you understand and how

much you know about a certain topic

through a short answer question

that you can just write for days and

you're filling out the space and you

want to write more

biology is a very interesting subject

and it's one of those courses where if

you put the work

in you'll get the outcome but that is

everything that i did to get an a in


if you found this video helpful please

give it a like let me know how you're

finding biology if you're taking it this

semester or in the next let me know

i respond to every single comment and if

you want to see more from me

whether that's the next and final uh

video in the series which is going to be


english make sure to subscribe i will be

starting pharmacy school in january i

will be moving to waterloo living in a

place of my own

and really beginning this new endeavor

in my life so if you're interested in

that make sure to hit the post


and if you want to follow me on

instagram i'll link it below you can

find day to day content from me

and i will see you friends in the next

video bye

listen so much