Preparing to study biology
What should I know before starting biology?
General science skills
- The scientific method. Are you rusty on what a hypothesis is or how it gets tested? How about experiments? These basic concepts will help you not only in biology, but also in any other area of science.
- Introduction to chemistry. A big picture view of chemistry and why it is important to math and other sciences, like biology.
- General chemistry. Get a feel for atoms, molecules, and how they interact with each other. After all, that's what you (and all life) are made up of.
- Acid-base chemistry. A lot of the chemistry in your body is acid-base chemistry that takes place in watery solutions. Knowing what acids and bases are will get you a long way with biochemistry.
- Laws of thermodynamics. Get a feeling for what energy is and what rules govern its transfer. Energy is constantly flowing through ecosystems, organisms, and cells, and is essential to keep these systems running.
- Basics of probability. Probability is a key concept in biology. You don't need to know tons of details or formulas, but if you understand the basic concepts, that will help you a lot with genetics and population genetics.
- Statistics. Remind yourself about the basic ways we can describe sets of data, such as mean, median, and mode. If you go even deeper and learn about hypothesis testing, you'll definitely be ahead of the curve!
- Basic algebra and graphing. Most intro bio classes are not that math-intensive, but having an understanding of basic algebra and graphs (e.g., the meaning of slope) will help you understand figures and data in biology.