How much time should I dedicate to the study of biology for the admission test? How should I organise my time? And, if anybody is wondering, why should I spend time on it?
The answer to the last question is relatively straightforward: biology is the most abundant test subject. It accounts for 18 questions out of 60. Getting all 18 biology questions right will make you earn 27 points (almost one-third of the total score!).
How to organise your study
Unlike other subjects, where practice is the key to success, biology requires a large amount of theoretical study. This must be accompanied by exercises that will help you consolidate the acquired knowledge.
Study planning is crucial to gain the best preparation possible and be as confident as possible during the test.
There are five main steps:
- What should I study? After your high school finals or exams, you deserve a vacation. Right after that, you have to read the test specification (provided by MIUR and Cambridge Assessment) and choose the topics you must focus on. Finally, pick the more appropriate materials (textbooks, exercises books, online resources, videos) for your preparation.
- Not only books. Avoid university books: they are way too detailed. The test has never required more than what most students usually learn in high school.
A clear and well-structured book is more than enough, and it is often more efficient than a long, detailed text, which would take up precious time and energy. It’s a good idea to integrate paper material with online resources, like Youtube videos.
- What first? More or less, all of you have faced scientific subjects (biology, chemistry, maths and physics) in high school. However, each of you has a different preparation level for every topic. Therefore, you will need to tailor your study plan based on how confident you feel in each subject.
A good starting point is a mock test: it is the only way to truly understand your initial preparation.
- Get a vaccination against anxiety. If you followed the previous three steps, you’d know by now that the exam programme is quite vast. It’s summer, and all your friends are on vacation. It’s not easy to stay focused. An excellent way to fight stress is planning ahead of time: make a calendar with all the topics you should cover every day. Try to set achievable goals. Studying will be much more satisfying.
- Am I studying in the right way? Summer is not endless, and it is fundamental to make the best out of it, avoiding non-efficient study. It is essential to practice at the end of each topic to fixate the things you’ve learnt. If you notice you’re making many mistakes, it’s better to go back and revise it again.
You are expected to remember many pieces of information for biology. You might struggle to memorise all of it. The best way to avoid forgetting important names during the test is to use mnemonic techniques. They will help you to retain complex notions, such as mitosis phases or hypophyseal hormones.
Practice gets always rewarded. Believe in yourself and your study plan.
Hundreds of years ago, someone said: “Never let monkeys eat bananas”.
If you know what this means, then: Good job! You’re halfway there. If you didn’t get it, hurry up! You must study the leukocyte count!
Good luck to all the aspiring doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals.
May Biology be with you!