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A+ in Cell Biology? Finals Prep

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

Hello my lovely readers and happy Sunday before finals week! Today I am really excited to share a new resource on my blog: my cellular biology practice final!

70 Page Practice Final & Answer Sheet

Wait...70 pages?! I know what you're thinking, you're thinking I'm crazy and I don't blame you. Let me start from the beginning and explain my approach to the cellular biology final.

Let's start at the beginning

Last semester, I took BSCI330 and at the start of the course I spoke to many students who had taken the course with the same professor that I was taking. I was warned of one thing: the final is super hard and tanks your grade.

One of my biggest pieces of advice on my blog is that mindset is everything! I didn't let this information scare me but instead I let it motivate me to try my best on the final exam. In the class we had three midterms and my professor was really amazing by giving us extra credit/buffer points on our exams. The exams had 110 possible points but maxed at 100 points and overall the exams were very straightforward and I after studying and preparing well I was able to earn 100% on all three exams.

Want to know my study tips for biology courses? Click here!

So going into finals week, I had an A+ in the course but I knew it was going to be a FIGHT to keep that grade. The final was 220 possible points for a maximum 200 points and was multiple choice, true/false and matching. I knew that this exam was going to be much harder than my midterms and I decided to adjust my study technique to reflect this.

Finals tip

One of my first steps for all of my finals is to make a checklist of all the topics that were covered in the course. This helps me ensure that I won't miss any topics!

Next, it was time for content review. A great thing about the three step note taking technique is that I had all my notes typed out which made it easy to review material for the final.

Other than this, I knew that to really prepare for this final I needed to mimic it in my studying as closely as possible.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork

So, I reached to my friends and told them the idea: let's work together and make our own finals practice exam. We split up the course into 4 and each of us took one section of the material. The main instruction was to make it as difficult as possible and as many questions about the material as possible!

What makes multiple choice difficult? Answer choices which change just one word and that makes the question incorrect, giving options such as all of the above, A and B, B or C, etc which makes you second guess which is the best answer, and giving none of the above or false answer choices that seem right.

So that's exactly what we did!

This also was helpful because the process of writing your own questions is an amazing study strategy that I've been sharing since freshman year and still swear by it! During the process of writing the questions, we were going through the notes and old exams and really thinking of answer choices that we almost right but not quite right. You can see how helpful that was for the exam!

When we put it all together, we had this master practice exam document of questions and answers that was 70 pages long and truly encompassed everything we had learned in the class.

330 Final

Finally it was time for the final, I said a prayer and walked into the 8 am exam with my roommate after a stressful night of not much sleep. Once I started the exam, I started noticing the little tricks that we had practiced with our exam! I really had so many questions that made me second guess my answers and some questions I straight up had to make educated guesses. I remember telling myself that I could lose 20 points and I remember counting up the questions I thought I got wrong as a way to help calm myself down. It just felt like my mind was on auto-pilot getting through that final.

It was truly one of the most difficult exams I have ever taken

me after the exam ^

Waiting for my score on that exam felt like foreveeeeeer. Finally, one morning I checked Testudo for my final grades and there it was : A+

I really thought it wasn't real, my final score hadn't even been posted yet! Later that day, the final scores were released and I got a 188/200 with an average score of a 142/200 and my final grade was a 97.25%!

Looking back on this whole experience, BSCI 330 remains one of my favorite classes. I learned so much interesting material about the molecular aspects of health and medicine and the field of cellular biology. The class reaffirmed my decision to be a cellular biology and genetics major and gave me a great background to my upper level courses.

Did I enter the course thinking I would end with an A+? Not one bit! But looking back, I see that the constant work and studying truly paid off and now I want to keep sharing what I have learned and any advice that I can give.

That's why I am happy to share the 330 practice exam that my friends and I made with you all! I really think this will be extremely helpful for you if you are studying for the final.

And I suggest to everyone to make practice exams with a friend, it is a great way to review concepts, study and test yourself!

Head over to my resources page to gain access to the practice exam and let me know if it helps! Also let me know of other resources you would like me to upload over the summer.

Good luck with finals everyone!



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