Biochemistry is an important subject for medicine, nursing and pharma students.
Many will find this subject to be very difficult and complex to study.
So here are few tips from my personal experience on how to study biochemistry.
During my graduation, i was taught human and clinical biochemistry.
It was my favorite subject as it is interesting and also quite challenging to master it.
But if you start liking it, it will be one of your favorites as it deals with our own body physiology at molecular level.
Biochemistry course as you might have noticed will have the following
- Chemical reactions.
- metabolic Pathways
- Graphical diagrams. etc. all related to body functions.
How to study biochemistry effectively
- Understand the concept & need.
- Understand the scope and extent of biochemistry.
- Understand the Terminology
- Categorize the basic molecules
- Practice derivations (Remember the first and last substance of any reaction)
- Try to take in practical aspects.
Understand the concepts: Biochemistry as we know is a subject of science. Hence we need to understand the concepts in it. Aspects of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, nucleic acids are discussed in biochemistry. So we need to understand their role, their formation, their metabolism and excretion in and by the body. This makes it easier to remember and write well in exams. Further, understanding the need helps us to think of its applications during practice.
The general concepts include, glucose metabolism, glycogen synthesis, fat synthesis, protein metabolism, nucleic acid synthesis etc. So if we go one mentioning the concepts, it gets limited. There are only fixed number of concept in biochemistry to run the physiology and life. Unlike biology or chemistry it is not unlimited or infinite.
Understand the scope and extent of biochemistry.
Biochemistry has a wide scope starting from microbes to plants and higher animals. Its principles are involved in biomolecules like enzymes, carbohydrates, toxins and electrolytes. So knowing the actual depth and scope of biochemistry will help you know the extent of topics you would need to study.
Understand the terminology: Biochemistry has many terminologies in use. These terminologies are scientifically designed. So when you see a word, its terminology gives us an idea of what the concept is about.
For example: Glycogenesis = formation of glycogen in liver from excess glucose.
So here the enzymes which come in the pathway will have related terminology like “glycogen synthase”. This means the enzymes is involved in synthesis of glycogen.
Gluconeogenesis = formation of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources like amino-acids, proteins and fats.
Categorize the basic molecules: If you know the basic molecules in biochemistry, it is like part of the work done. Biochemistry deals with only limited number of basic molecules in humans.
These include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, nucleic acids and their metabolites and corresponding enzymes. So if one is through with the types of basic molecules, their synthesis, metabolism and excretion, the study of biochemistry will be complete. So it important for us to know the basic molecule, their structure and physiology in body for easier approach to learn biochemistry.
Besides, these basic molecules have different pathways altogether. So they don’t confuse, if you understand their role and function in the body you can easily understand more concepts involving them.
Practice derivations: Derivations are key pathways which describe the synthesis of molecules or their breakdown. These derivation involve step by step changes to molecules in presence of supporting enzymes and ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). Derivations either big or small should be understood in complete, and also practiced.
I once did understand the whole pathway and went for exam. But during exam, i was stuck in the halfway of the pathway of purine synthesis (adenine and guanine). Though i understood the pathway well, i was stuck up with next step and could not proceed. So ended up with just the final steps of derivation. It scored less, but with practice it was avoided next time. So practice of derivations will help solve it in exam without problems.
Besides if you remember the first and last substances in pathway, it will be lot more easier to study.
Try to take in practical aspects: What ever the reactions or topics we come across in biochemistry are related to our body functions. So while studying, it is good to see the topics from day to day perspective or in common health & disease conditions. This will build up curiosity and help in better understanding of the topic. At the end we will be using it as a part of our career in practice. So trying to correlate the biochemistry subject in natural and daily life will help us study better.
Besides above tips, we need to have some clues to remember few aspects. For example activated form of enzyme is always in phosphate form. Isomerase enzymes will produce a molecule with same chemistry as parent molecule with small change in hydrogen and oxygen moieties. reductase enzymes will remove an oxygen or add a hydrogen. oxidase will remove hydrogen or add an oxygen.
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