Study Tips for Learning Science
Science isn’t just about Who, What, When and Where something happened. It is about HOW it happened, and when possible, WHY it happened like that. This means that memorizing facts and vocabulary won’t take you very far. You need to understand the information.
1. Review or learn the math you will need to know. Most science classes, especially physical sciences like Chemistry and Physics use a lot of math. To begin with, you need to know and be able to use the Metric System. You will also need to use a lot of Algebra and some Geometry. When you first get your textbook, skim through, looking for what kinds of math you will be using. You could also ask your teacher. Then start to learn or re-learn the math. If you have a problem, use the website for Khan Academy: www.KhanAcademy.org You can get help in math, science, and many other subjects.
2. Always read and understand the chapter before the lecture. You will understand more of the lecture and won’t need to take as many notes.
3. Skin the chapter, taking time to read the introduction and conclusion. Pay close attention to all diagrams and charts like the one shown here. Try to understand what the chapter is about.
4. Divide into chapter into the most important concepts or ideas. The headings might help you find there. You need to take your time. You should probably do only one main idea at a time and then take a break.
Read the first section carefully, concentrating on understanding the material. In some textbooks, especially in the lower grades, this might be easy. But in most high school science books you need to take time to understand one idea well.
If this diagram is in your book, you might start by comparing the two cells, and finding the meanings for Prokaryote and Eukaryote. You would look at all the different organelles (small parts of the cells) and find out what they do. A serious Biology student might look up terms like “mitochondria” and “Ribosomes” on the internet to see what else you could learn about them.
5. In Chemistry, you shouldn’t try to memorize every reaction in the book. You want to understand how the reactions work not memorize them. You might compare the substances that react with oxygen. How are they similar? Why might this be true. compare elements next to each other and those above and below each other to see why the Periodic Table is organized this way.
6. As you read your science book, you might be able to create your own diagrams to describe a process.
7. When you complete the chapter, organize the information logically. If you studied seven parts of the cell, you might draw a matrix (chart) divided into seven sections. List the parts of the cell across the top and information in the boxes. The top row might describe their size. The next row could describe their shape. Continue to describe what they do and anything else you have learned.
8. Copy the most important diagrams on a sheet of notebook paper. As you listen to the teacher, you might be able to add further information.
9. Now you can go back though the chapter and see if there are any terms (bold print or italics) that you don’t understand. for each of these, write a definition, rewrite it in your own words, and include several examples. You might need to memorize some of these terms, but you remember information better when you understand it instead of memorizing it.
10. Before going to the next chapter, organize all the notes and diagrams you will need to prepare for a test. You might store them in a binder or in a file folder.