Hi hope you all are well! I’m having a lot of trouble with Bio 172 this semester my first exam was an 80% and now my second came out as an 85% I thought I did really well on this test and turns out I was wrong. I felt good about the material and confident going in also I did very well on the practice tests they gave out (got all of them correct). Idk why this isn’t translating onto the real exams. Can someone give me tips or suggestions on what might be going wrong, I think if I really work my butt off for the rest of semester I can pull an A- but I feel like I put in a lot of studying and exhausted my resources and still am not performing as well as I’d like to. Here’s a Quick Run Down of my Studying incase anyone sees any glaring errors
- Watch lectures every week even if I fall behind I catch up during the weekend
- When I’m watching depending on how I’m feeling I either jot down notes in my Bio notebook and then go thorugh and fill out the lecture guide or I take notes on my computer and fill out the lecture guide parallelly
- Tuesday before the exam I start going thorugh problem roulette for the topics we’ve covered so far and start practicing and noting down areas where I’m lacking
- Around Friday night I take one of the two practice tests
- I’m in an SLC group so I do the wks when we meet so I’m keeping up on those but I might redo them before the test
- I go to the 9:00 am office hours (i wish they were at a more convinent time)
- I go to office hours or SLC drop in tutoring if I have questions (this is consistently not just before the exam this is like after I watch the lectures if I have a Q that day I go)
- Weekend before I go through all my lecture guides, read my notes, do all the questions on problem roulette do the second practice test (all of these I’m getting correct w/o checking my notes)
- I also rewatch lectures I don’t understand and fix my notes rephrasing things to make them make more sense
- If lecture still doesn’t make sense find a youtube video on the topic and understand there or drop in slc tutoring and work through it with them.
- This unit had a lot of the cycles so I legit sat there and drew all the steps of glycolysis, Citric Acid Cycle, ETC, photosynthesis ETC, Calcin Cycle w/out my notes all of it, I thought I had it all down because that went well too.
- I participate in discussion eagerly, answer questions on Piazza and usually answer correctly and activly participate and contribute during SLC study groups, I used to love to learn and I was good at Bio in highschool idk what happened
I even finished the test early this time and checked over my work I legit thought I’d get like a 90-95% this test I felt so good coming out of it. (We still can’t see the questions so idk which ones I got wrong but I was sure I did all of them right but I got 6 wrong 🙁 , I called my parents and told them I feel really good about this test too I’m so embarassed. Also they’re going to be so disappointed in me umich is an expensive school they’re paying for me to go here and I’m wasting their money) But then during the real test I get things wrong even though problem roulette and the past exams go extreamly well! Our teacher did say this year since we’re online the tests are harder because we’ll have less freebie questions where just knowing a fact gets us the answer because we have our notes and that won’t be fair so our tests will be mostly application and conceptual questions the type where the answer isn’t just found in the notes. But I’m really struggling and if I can’t figure out how to do well in intro bio what chance do i have at this premed thing. I can’t believe I did good in Chem and am struggling so hard in Biology, I thought it’d be the other way around.
I hope you are well, too! First off, I want to say that you seem like a very hardworking student and definitely someone that can and will make it through to medical school! Also, I completely understand where you are coming from and know how you feel! I definitely felt overwhelmed as a freshman with the difference in the difficulty of high school vs. college science classes. It may take some getting used to, but it gets more manageable with time.
In terms of studying, you seem to have great study methods and I would highly recommend continuing them. Since you mentioned that exams are more application-based, I would suggest spending time creating your own questions using concepts you know were emphasized in lectures or ones you had difficulty with. They may help you think about how your professor could test your understanding of a certain topic. You may also find it helpful to look up practice questions online, in addition to doing Problem Roulette. Sometimes explaining the topics to someone else who doesn’t know biology (such as a friend or family member or even explaining it to yourself) can help solidify the material. If you like studying with others, maybe you and another student in your SLC group could get on a zoom call and explain the concepts to each other! Another tip is to email or meet with your professor directly! Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, they could discuss your studying methods with you or give you some new ones to try.
Some words of reassurance:
- You do NOT need a 4.0 to get into medical school! In fact, the average science GPAs at most medical schools are 3.6-3.9!
- Your grades do not define you, and while your GPA is important to medical schools, so is your MCAT, patient interactions, extracurriculars, leadership, and investment in medicine! Medical schools will always evaluate you holistically, not solely based on your GPA.
- It is okay for your intro science classes grades to be less ideal! You are still adjusting to their level of difficulty and to be honest, every science class has its ups and downs. Sometimes, you will need to use completely different study methods in two science classes or change your way of thinking for a certain class, and that can be difficult. However, despite any fallbacks you may have, medical schools look for upward trends and growth, and since you have three more years ahead, you will be able to show that! One A- will not put you at a disadvantage.
- Sometimes, circumstances are out of our control and a few points missed on an exam can put you on the cusp of an A- and an A. The one thing you can control is your mindset. If you are working hard and putting in your best effort, you are doing just fine!
- Here are some support groups on campus that I have heard great things about and definitely recommend! — Active Minds, Wolverine Support Network, Pulse, and many others (maize pages can also give you some more options).
I hope that helps! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or just want to talk! We also have advising hours Sunday-Wednesday from 6-10 pm!
Leen, PMH Advisor