How to Study Biology | 6 Effective Ways to Prepare for Classes & Test
Biology is a subject of science which deals with the knowledge of living creatures.
This includes the study of both plants and animals in nature.
It starts from smallest possible forms of plants and animals to the highly evolved forms.
The branch of biology dealing with plants is termed BOTANY.
And that dealing with animals is called ZOOLOGY.
The branch dealing with especially micro-organisms is called microbiology.
The subject deals in detail about birth, growth, reproduction, physiology and anatomy, etc.
How to Study Biology
1. Have the diagrams or 3D structures: Biology can be understood better by use of diagrams or 3D structures of animals or plants. Since there is an explanation about different parts of the anatomy or physiology, it has to be seen first. Seeing them helps us to have a better memory of the part. Also, it helps us understand what the functions of that organ or part are. Further diagrams improve the memory of the subject. So you can see that the memory of that topic is better than that which you have read without the picture.
2. Understand the terminology: The scientific language used in biology seems to be tough. This may be one of the reasons why some of them do not like it. But in fact, the terminology needs to be understood to make it easy.
Many of the scientific words in biology are from Latin or Greek. So if you understand the actual meaning of the word in those languages, it becomes easy to remember and understand.
For example, the word “meta” means “next.” So in the word “metamorphosis,” meta means next. So it is meta+morpho+osis i.e next+physical+condition (state). Similarly, metaphase (a stage in cell division) means again “next” phase. So if you come across the word “meta,” it always means next.
So try to understand the meaning of words in the terminology. This makes it easy for your to understand and also memorize any terms in the course of study.
Some of the terms which one needs to understand are
amphi = both (amphibians = amphi+bians; means “both+living” ex: frogs, live both on land and water)
apo = Tip
teleo = Tail
artho = many (ex: arthopods = artho = many+ podos= foot).
some = also called “somes” means part.
There are many and try to understand and remember the terms. This will help you learn biology in an easy manner.
3. Use natural comparisons: Also instead of just reading it from books use daily life activities. When you come across some physiology, metabolism, etc. see from everyday experiences. This makes you understand and remember better. For example, the beating of the heart can be heard by self. You can even count the number of beats for a minute. This makes you realize that the actual numbers are same as that mentioned in the book. This makes you confident and also the knowledge more reliable.
So always use real-life examples where possible to study biology.
4. Use laboratory: Using laboratory for many of the lessons is an excellent way to explore biology. Since it is a science subject, like physics and chemistry, biology needs laboratory demonstrations.
Use of laboratory to study biology helps to enhance your interest and curiosity in the subject. Many experiments are done in the lab. Some of them like staining of plant tissue slices, observation of animal tissues in slides, dissection of earthworms, etc., helps understand the anatomy and physiology better. So it good to never bunk or miss a biology-related lab work.
5. Read and revise: Once a particular chapter is discussed in the classroom, it is better to revise it the same day at home. This helps you understand better and also clarify any doubts from your teacher the next day. Also, it helps you memorize better and will be easy to get better results in exams.
But for this, it is wise to always read from a standard Biology book. Since there are images and flowcharts, having a book helps to memorize better.
Biology can also include biochemistry. Read how to study biochemistry.
How to Study biology for test
As we discussed before, biology deals with every aspect of living beings. So one has to read it in different points like
1. Anatomy: It describes the structure of the bodies of plants (Leaf anatomy), animals, microbes in detail manner.
For this one needs to know basics of Cell, tissue, organs, etc.
Each cell has cell organelles like nucleus, cell membrane, ribosomes, golgi bodies, micortubules, mitochondria, etc.
Even one need to differentiate plant cell and animal cells as they are entirely different.
“The anatomy is the primary factor by which one can differentiate the animals or plants.”
For instance, Aves (birds) have wings and two legs while insects have similar wings but many legs. Heart of reptiles is mostly three chambered while that of mammals is four-chambered.
In plants, there are simple leaves, i.e., single big leaf and some have compound leaves which means a single leaf is differentiated into many small leaflets.
2. Physiology: This is next vital factor to distinguish animals and plants. Physiology is the process by which anatomy of the plant or animal is maintained.
The physiology includes how an animal digests food, gets energy, the method of reproduction, cell division, cell death, etc.
The material like carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and nutrients are utilized in the process of physiology.
How food is converted to energy, how energy is used up in the body, the role of enzymes, hormones in physiology.
Since 80% of animal and plant anatomy is made up of water. You can see its role in physiology and anatomy. Importance of water.
For example, poikilothermic animals have body temperature varying as per surroundings while that of isotherms have same or fixed temperature in all climates.
3. Taxonomy: Taxonomy is a way by which plants, animals and microbes are categorized for ease of study and description. For example, mammals are a category of animals which breed their siblings with milk.
4. Life cycles: All living creatures have specific life cycles like birth, growth, reproductive phase and death. Some insects have egg, larva and then insect stages. So life cycle indicates how animal progresses in its life concerning anatomy and physiology.
5. Morphology: This tells how animals appear externally. Because of morphology, one can easily differentiate fish from tortoise in water.
6. Habits and habitats: Not all animals and plants are present all over the world.
They are present at places most suitable to them. Ex: Kangaroos are found mostly in Australia but not in Asia etc.
Amphibians like to reproduce mostly during the rainy season and this is their habit.
To learn biology, one should
- Have a standard textbook for reference.
- Have class notes written properly
- Draw and practice diagrams with proper labeling of parts.
- Try to memorize the Greek or Latin terms as they seem to be tough to remember.
Try to compare the aspects of physiology, the anatomy of one species or family with another. One needs to know clear demarcation between the plants or animals.
Ex: Monocotyledons and dicotyledons. Monocotyledons have unbreakable seed while dicotyledons have a seed which is breakable into two exact halves.
Whatever branches of biological sciences you take for studies, memorize the diagram, scientific terms and correlate with nature for better study and understanding.