BIO308: Cell Biology            Dr. Karen Bernd
Words of Wisdom from Those Who Have Gone Before You

Since my advice is usually only taken so far--one semester, at the end of the semester, I took an anonymous survey that included the following question:

I am going to compile a list of tips for future students— Having completed the course you are the expert, what words of wisdom would you give them? I am looking for information about things that should they watch out for.  What did you do in studying or preparation that ‘worked’? (or that didn’t work)  What would you have done differently? Any advice about other courses that should be taken: before this one (good prep for Cell), with this one (reinforce each other) or after this one (Cell acts a prep for/ wish you had had Cell before taking)? Other advice to pass on?

The students' unedited responses follow in the order they appeared in my stack of surveys. These are their words and their emphases. You may see some lone comments, comments more than once and some comments that may appear to conflict. This is because everyone has their own background and learns differently. I attest to their sincerity and suggest that you read through them all to learn from 'class wisdom'. I hope that their advice is helpful.

Talk to the professor as much as possible when facing a problem

Definitely have taken Bio111; study principles more than actual facts; use the spots and online information

-Go to class
-do reading
-focus on 'big picture'
-print out class powerpoints for studying, and add your class notes to them
-bring a joke to class =^)

Pick a good lab group
Look at old exams

Start with a general understanding and approach to studying. Then narrow down to the specifics. The big picture is very important. Questions are connected, so look for the possible connections when studying. You should understand an entire process not just memorize what a certain enzyme does.

Write in complete sentences on test and read through writing so it makes sense. If she took the time to explain something, it is worth knowing it on the test. Know the lab well!

*skimming the reading material before class is a good idea, but going back to read it again after lecture helps you understand the material a lot better.
*For the yeast mating mutants experiment, start reading articles early to get an idea of what to look for in your mating mutants
*Class attendance is important because some of the powerpoint slides are hard to understand without class lecture notes.

-Bio111 good prep
-use the book to help you understand class notes more fully, but class notes should be the focus of test study.
-work in study groups, especially for final
-take time right after class to write out answers to the questions asked in the syllabus for each day's topic (use the book readings and notes for info). This sill help you prepare for the test along the way.

Stay on top of it!

Always reed the question very carefully because a lot are vague or ambiguous. Take copius because the powerpoints on second look make no sense at all. In fact, print the powerpoints and take notes on them.

Having taken genetics, it seems useful and I felt that I was more comfortable than most with the genetic subjects. Also, I think since genetics is the backbone of the cellular environment, it seems like it should be emphasized as a pre-med course. It need not be a prerequisite, but simultaneous or previous experience is extremely recommended. Also, my advice is to do the readinge before the lectures (obviously), because it makes the lectures much more interesting and linear. It is easy to get away with doing them afterwards, but it is not effective.

I would advise them to not pay so much attention to specific details, but get a good grasp on the main concepts. I would tell them not to get 'bogged down' in the text book reading but take away the big concepts. I would tell them to take advantage of you more as a resource for help on certain topics they don't understand as well. I would also advise them to follow all instructions on tests/papers very carefully.

Learn how to spell your yeast name!

Making outlines from the questions you had online really helped, as did looking at the old spots. It was hard to study for this last test because there were no practice exams or review questions. I would change that for next year. Bio111 is definitely needed before you take this course.

Don't spend too much time reading the text because it is very dense. Save it for review and for further explanation of topics that are unclear.

-Be sure not to miss class
-Retype your notes
-Draw pictures
-Read the sections of the book that applied to what we did in class
-Start on experiments in lab as early as you can
-Taking genetics before cell was very helpful.

-Reading should be emphasized read and reread the text!!
-Bio111 was very useful, I wish I had taken it before this class, rather than rely on AP credits

Genetics is a good pre-requisite for cell bio and perhaps vice versa. Lecture notes were useful guide to what should be focused on in the text and what should be researched outside the course materials but they weren't especially useful in conveying or understanding the topics by themselves.

Organic chemistry expalins a lot that is poorly explained in biology (protein interactions, genetic composition)
Bio111 taught me how to study and take a biology test. It is very different from any other course in that taking these tests requires practice.
Do all the reading. Understand the concepts of the reading if you're not going to read all the words
Ask questions in class. Awkward silences are painful.

Make sure you're up on scientific terminology/jargon and have experience with a more molecular lab experience

-Study with other people! Talking about things really helps to pull concepts together
-Talk to Dr. Bernd--she WILL help you!

Bio111 is a necessity for this course-students w/o it did poorly. Read the book. So many people did not do that and failed to realize that most of the test material wa drawn from there. Also don't rely on the online powerpoints-If you miss class they really won't help you. Just do the basics, go to class, take good notes, and keep up with the reading.

+Learn how to piece things together- everythin gets taught in pieces; learn to connect everything
+Do the old reiews and bring quesitons to Dr. Bernd--it will give you an idea of her style and what she wants in an answer.
+ATTEND CLASS! Online notes are no where close to covering the same detail as we covere in class
+Look at and understand figures--in scientific papers and in the textbook. Often the figures make sense out of the text.

-a good class to take after this is Dr. Putnam's Histology class
-talk to Dr. Bernd--very helpful!
-answer the questions on the course syllabus
-go through old reviews
-get experiments done ahead of time (b/c its likely that you might have to do them again)

Don't try to memorize everything in the book. Use the book as a method of reinforcement.
Go to class. This is always important, but you get much more out of Dr. Bernd's lectures when you are there and not just looking at the PowerPoint.
Do your strain characterization experiments early on. It seems like you have a long time but you WILL run into problems and/or more things that you want to test later on.