How to Study

Studying for Biology Exams

Frequenty Asked Questions (answered by UCA Biology graduate students)


How far in advance should I start studying?

Studying is a process that should happen throughout the semester, not just right before an exam. Even when an exam isn’t coming up soon, it’s a good idea to make a habit of rewriting and reviewing notes, and making a list of key ideas and questions.


When an exam is coming up, how should I prepare?

Set aside some specific time slots for studying, and organize the material into chunks. Plan short-term goals for yourself, in terms of reviewing a certain amount of material, a certain number of flashcards, etc.


What are some ways to improve the effectiveness of my studying?

● Practice rewriting sections of notes from memory

● Be active while you study–move around, gesture, talk

out loud, or draw

● Make flashcards

● Use Quizlet, but only if you make it yourself

● Teach the material to someone else, or just explain

aloud without anyone listening

● Consult other sources (such as practice questions in

your textbook)

● Study with a group, as long as everyone has spent time

preparing individually first

● Try to come up with potential test questions and answer


● Take advantage of opportunities to ask questions (office

hours, tutoring, etc.)

● Make a concept map, or mind map (tutors can help with


● Consider changing your study location (where are you

most comfortable and focused?)


What if I suffer from test anxiety or need accommodations?

Explore the many helpful resources available through UCA’s Counseling Center ( and Office of Accessibility Resources (