FHS Biology Logo

Honors Biology-Dr. Langdon
Framingham High School

email:  rlangdon@framingham.k12.ma.us
voicemail extension: 27627 (email preferred)
Course Guidelines in Word or PDF Format

Studying for Tests

Honors courses differ from CP1 course in a few fundamental ways.  They hold the students accountable for more material.  To fit in the extra material, they move faster and hold fewer reviews of earlier content (students who are struggling are expected to see the teacher outside of class).  Finally, and most importantly, honors courses stress the application of knowledge rather than simply learning new facts.

Another big difference is in honors level exams.  They test to see that you remember what you are taught and that you can use it in real settings.  For example, on a genetics test you must know the definitions of different types of genetic inheritance and how to tell which one is occurring in a particular situation.  In other words, just memorizing facts is no longer going to ensure an A+.  You must be able to use what you know.

There is a way to increase your memory and understanding of new ideas.  It is based on one very important bit of neurological research:  the more discrete sections of your brain you use to process information, the more likely you are to remember and understand it.  In other words, reading and rereading your notes is not good enough.  First, read your notes, and then write a second copy from memory.  Alternatively, read your notes, and then recite them aloud. The more you do, the more deeply the knowledge will be embedded in your brain.

Below are some hints that may make preparing for Honors Biology Exams easier.  For more detailed explanations, download the Honors Biology Study Skills booklet.

  • Do not cram for tests.  Study for an hour or two each day in the week leading up to the test.

  • Study your least favorite or toughest course first, when you have the most energy and willpower.

  • Break the material into smaller chunks, and schedule them into your study sessions. 

  • Don’t just read, do something!  Rewrite your notes from memory, recite them aloud, organize the information into a chart or table, create a labeled diagram or drawing of interrelated ideas.  Pretend you are making a cheat sheet, and try to write all of the important points onto one sheet of paper.

  • Study smart:  do not spend a lot of time rehashing material you know well.  Focus on material you are weak on.

  • Do extra practice problems from the book, or copy a homework problem you already did on a separate sheet of paper and try to solve it.  The more problems you do, the more successful you will be on the test.

  • If you identify an area you are really struggling on, see the teacher.

 

Quick Links

Note-taking Skills page

Cornell notes lined paper page template (PDF) 

Cornell notes graph paper page template (PDF)

Download a helpful Honors Biology Study Skills booklet (PDF)  Large File: 1 MB

Study aid links:

SparkNotes® SAT Subject Test in Biology Review Site

Quizlet- a website that allows you to create online flashcard sets you can share with your friends.