5 Tips to Survive Summer Honors Biology

Credit: Kali Hoang

Credit: Kali Hoang

As summer honors biology kicked off last week, I thought it would be nice to give advice on how to survive this rigorous course. I took this course last summer and am a teacher’s assistant this summer.


What is Summer Honors Biology? It is both an advanced and accelerated course in which students have readings every night, daily notes, quizzes everyday, and two daily writing assignments (usually a lab or write up of some sort). Students generally learn one chapter a day which would be a week’s worth of information in the regular school year. This may sound intimidating so how does one survive this course?


1. Make Use of Your Time

Make use of the class time you are given to finish your work. The teachers might stay behind for an hour for any questions or help students may need. You also have breaks built into your course time. Use this time! “Do your homework during break. It may seem tedious but you’ll thank me when you go to bed at 9 rather than 12,” says Alexia Lao ‘20.


2. Don’t Procrastinate

Time is not your friend in this course. You have a lot of work you need to get done in a very short amount of time. If you waste time and wait until the last minute to do your work, you will not do very well. Start your work early! “To survive this class, you can’t procrastinate on the homework because the readings take commitment and focus which allow you to succeed in class and on tests,” says Tatum Yee ’20.


3. Be Thorough

There are only six weeks in this course, three weeks per semester. If you wait until the last week to start doing well, you won’t be able to make up your grade. You need to be thorough and try your best on all your assignments, not just on the final. “Take your time on the labs, don’t rush on the tests, pay attention to the long lectures, and do everything correctly,” says Christian Duan ‘20.


4. Know your material

This is not a course where you can show up, guess the answers, and get an A. Unfortunately, logic can only get you so far in this class. You have to study and really understand the material. Study in addition to the assigned reading and notes. “Sleep only after you’ve encoded the material or else you’ll struggle in your sleep,” says Sukyung Nam ‘20.


5. Be patient and persistent

Summer Honors biology students happily dissect a frog and learn about its anatomy; Photo Credit: Kali Hoang

At the end of the day you may be extremely tired as there is a lot of work and you may stay up late to finish your work, only to do it again the next day. Don’t get discouraged. You will get overwhelmed at times but be patient. The high pace of the class and material is new to you, you’ll get the hang of it. Also, it is the only class you are taking in the summer so you will have time to focus your energy on it. Believe in yourself, you can do it. Don’t give up! “It may take you an hour to do your homework or it might take you until 3 in the morning to finish; regardless of the task, stick with it until the very end and it will pay off even after summer biology is over,” says Mia Chi ‘20.