I am not sure if this is the right fourm for this question or if it counts as opinion based/subjective (if its not moderators feel free to remove or delete it, I should know better by now), but are their any "objectively better" ways for studying for biology tests/material than simply reading?

I usually try to read some of my texts before I sleep, but nothing seems to stick. And before a test I always try and rewrite my notes and the professors lecture notes with rewritten diagrams as well. And I have been getting average marks, I would like to improve on that though. I know this is "story-based" evidence, but pedagogy is not my strong suit.

2 Answers 2


I always found the best way to study was to rewrite all my notes. This makes you go over all of your material again. By writing it, you are also going over the material much more slowly. In addition to rewriting my notes from class, I would supplement that material with the textbook to make even more comprehensive notes. Once that is done you have a nice set of notes to read over and over again leading up to the exam. I did this because my biology professor was old-school and all tests were fill the blank, short answer, and essays. Thus, I needed to practice writing the material. I would often make myself practice exams and test myself beforehand to make sure I was absorbing information. Flashcards are also helpful. I usually try to spend the night before exams just reading. At that point you should be just reviewing. Hope this helps! It got me through my biology degree and I used these techniques through all my PhD coursework as well. Everyone is not the same though when it comes to learning material so you just have to find what works best for you.

  • Thanks for the reply, would you think those skills would be suited to studying for the Biology GRE? Or any advice on studying for it in general, since you are/have been a graduate student?
    – Ro Siv
    Jun 26, 2015 at 1:49
  • I would suggest using a Kaplan GRE prep book. Jun 26, 2015 at 7:33
  • The only one I can find is the 5th edition(2010), do you think that would suffice?
    – Ro Siv
    Jun 26, 2015 at 11:31

Don't go to your textbooks if it's not working. I struggle with science classes myself and all the textbooks ever did was confuse me and class lectures didn't help either.

What I did was my own research in relations to the class. For example, in my BIO we started with cells through the entire human body. I couldn't get my head around how it all worked with different bonds and fluids and such so I just did some basic googling and I found a site for middle schoolers which explained it simpler than my textbook but still had all of the information I needed. Throughout the entire course I looked up everything I needed online through other sources that simplified it by mostly using analogies.

This helped me, try things until it works.

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