The initial thought of studying for my biochem final had me overwhelmed with a sense of analysis paralysis (you know…when there are so many things to do but you end up just staring at the list of items rather than accomplishing anything).   Add to that the fact that I was taking the course online and did not have the best support system in the course, and I was freaking out just a little.

Once I got over the initial panic I had with just the thought of preparing for my biochem final, I created a study plan and used tons of resources out of the classroom that allowed me to ace the class. The following tips are exactly what I used to calm my anxiety, increase my confidence, and get an awesome grade in biochemistry! 

1. Understand the basics

  • This video, Memorize the Amino Acids in 9 Min was a life saver! I watched it multiple times a week so that I really had the amino acids down.

  • Recognize protein structure and be able to draw significant ones like alpha helices and beta sheets
  • Memorize the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation, which is used to prepare buffers for solutions in lab.
  • Understand weak interaction forces (Van der Waals, hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds, hydrophobic effect)
  • Draw the Michaelis-Menten equation and graph.
  • Study the mechanism of enzymes
  • Biggest takeaway: start to understand these concepts as soon as they are mentioned in class and continue to review throughout the semester.

2. Memorize the metabolic pathways

  • Khan academy videos were my saving grace, and there are videos for almost every metabolic pathway!– follow along and draw the images. Do this more than once for each metabolic pathway (you will probably need to draw some on the test).
  • Focus on one pathway at a time.
  • Teach it to someone else by drawing it out and explaining what you are drawing.
  • Review these pathways throughout the entire semester

3. Color Code your notes

  • Find something that works for you and allows you to comprehend the material.
  • I like to color big topics in one color and then smaller details in another color.

4. Make Flash Cards

  • As you learn words throughout the semester, write them down and keep all your flash cards together.
  • Review them in short intervals whenever you have some time between classes or on weekends. (I kept my flashcards in my purse for easy and quick access!)

5. Go to sleep at a regular time the night before the exam.

  • Sleep is very important for feeling your like your smartest and best self. Getting enough sleep the night before the exam (and skipping the cram session) will allow you to feel sharp and ready to ace that test!

If you’ve taken biochemistry, how did you prepare for your exam?


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