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Seriously How do you bio people memorize so much info?

  1. Apr 19, 2005 #1
    Wow trying to learn glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and the TCA cycle the night before the biochem exam sucks. How on earth can anyone memorize this much material? Seriously though, does anyone have any hints on how to memorize this stuff?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2005 #2

    cronxeh

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    I'll let you in a secret.. you cant really memorize it all
     
  4. Apr 19, 2005 #3

    Monique

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    Yeah, and still physicists think they rule the world.. they don't understand the elegance of cells. Also here there is order in the chaos and biologists are trying to make sense of it.

    As for memorizing it all, you should understand the underlying concepts and the major players of the different pathways.

    Can you motivate whether it is good or bad to eat a high-sugar candy bar some time before starting an athletic exercise?
     
  5. Apr 19, 2005 #4
    Physicists dont rule the world? Thats news for me.. :eek:
     
  6. Apr 19, 2005 #5


    what kind of sugar would the candy bar be made up of ? sucrose? high fructose corn syrup?
     
  7. Apr 19, 2005 #6

    Monique

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    The sugar glucose.
     
  8. Apr 19, 2005 #7
    I suppose it wouldn't hurt since glucose under anaerobic conditions would form 2 molecules of pyruvate for 1 glucose through glycolysis no?

    Oh btw, what does it imply when an enzyme ends in thase vs. thetase?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2005
  9. Apr 19, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

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    First, you'll never memorize it all the night before the exam. It's no different than organic chemistry where you need to learn all the intermediates getting from a starting compound to a final product. Actually, it IS organic chemistry. Some teachers will expect you to write the whole pathway down from memory, but understanding the steps along the way will help yo remember all of them. Take note of when energy is added (i.e., formation of bonds, addition of a phosphate group) and when energy is released (i.e., breaking bonds, formation of ATP from the freed phosphate). You can't learn biology in a vacuum from the other sciences.
     
  10. Apr 19, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    The ending -ase tells you it is an enzyme. The rest of the word tells you what it is doing. Synthases make or add something (think: synthesize). Dehydrogenases remove hydrogen, usually two at a time, which typically means a double bond will form between the two carbons the hydrogens were previously attached to. The naming is pretty helpful.
     
  11. Apr 19, 2005 #10
    Im doing pretty good so far. Thanks a lot.
     
  12. Apr 19, 2005 #11
    If you have trouble remembering some things...happens to me in the middle of physics tests...talk about irritating!...you could try remembering the core concept and what springs from that concept. Nuemonic (I think the spelling is off, but Moonbear might fix it the way she did ammonia. :blushing:) devices.

    I want to rule the world too... :bugeye:

    Lots of practice, my friend. Lots of practice. :wink:
     
  13. Apr 19, 2005 #12

    Moonbear

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    As long as you don't mind me correcting your spelling, I'm happy to do so :wink: (I try not to offend people by correcting their spelling unless it's critical to meaning). They are mnemonic devices (and here's one to help remember that word: it starts with "m" for memory, even though you don't pronounce the m).
     
  14. Apr 19, 2005 #13
    I absolutely do not mind you correcting my spelling. :biggrin: You can't learn anything without making mistakes first! :smile:
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2005
  15. Apr 19, 2005 #14
    wow so i bombed that test, the worst i have ever done in my life. i studied all the wrong things. god i absolutely loathe biochem, it seems the only way that you can pass is if you have the ability to memorize a whole phonebook.
     
  16. Apr 19, 2005 #15

    cronxeh

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    heh.. what were the questions?
     
  17. Apr 19, 2005 #16
    Graven, we might be able to help you if you let us know what the questions were. You told us your test was on biochem, but specifically what was it would studied?

    I'm sorry you did so poorly on your test sweetie. :frown:
     
  18. Apr 19, 2005 #17
    The test was on glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and the TCA cycle.

    One question had to do with Galactose and how it can enter into the glycolysis pathway as glucose-6-phosphate. We had to start with galactose, describe how galactose turns into glucose-6-phophate (i.e. list all the steps and intermediates along with the enzymes that catalyze the pathways with products given off etc.) I remember glancing over this, but I did not memorize this process. The only thing I thought I should memorize was that Galactose can enter glycolysis as glucose-6-phosphate and fructose can enter as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate.

    The other question I bombed was on the regulation of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis and how they are reciprocally regulated. We had to pretty much list all the inhibitors and stimulators of phosphofructokinase and pyruvate kinase (for glycolysis) and for pyruvate carboxylase, phosphoenol pyruvate carboykinase, and fuctrose 1,6 bisphosphatase(for gluconeogensis).

    This was on top of listing bascially every enzyme, molecular structure, intermediate names, pathways, products, and cofactors, for all of glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, and the TCA cycle. (Which I got). There were also questions on the specifics of some of the pathway rxns like on thioester intermediates for the mechanism of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme.

    The other question that was a pain was on the flow of carbon atoms. We were given molecules at some point in glycolysis that had a labled Carbon 14 atom and we would find out where the carbon atom would end up at another point in the TCA cycle. ( I think I got this one though).

    The concepts on the test weren't hard at all, the only reason the test was hard was becauset he amount of information that one would have to memorize for this test. I knew exactly what the questions were talking about and where I could find the answer to the questions in the text, but memorizing all that without getting it mixed up is next to impossible. I am also chem. major not bio, so I haven't seen any of this before like all the bio majors in the class. It doesn't really matter though, I got a 99% on the test that dealt with proteins and chemical kinetics so if I get a 50 on this test I can still get a 75 avg. If i do semi decent on the final then I can at least get a B. Biochem is definitely not my thing.
     
  19. Apr 19, 2005 #18
    I understand. I have had similar problems myself. Did you receive the test back today as well or are you still waiting for it? The only thing you can really do now is to prevent it from happening again. Double checking what material is on the exam before you invest all that time the way you did should help. You might find that reading through the chapter on your own and taking notes and doing the problems, then going to class and taking good notes, and then really reviewing might help reinforce your memory because of how often you are studying the material.

    I hope that helps a little. :smile:

    Kitty
     
  20. Apr 19, 2005 #19
    I just took it at 6pm today
     
  21. Apr 19, 2005 #20
    Then the answer would be a largely resounding 'No'. :wink:
     
  22. Apr 20, 2005 #21
    I'm in organic right now. Some people have claimed that you can 'figure things out' without having to memorize a bunch of different reactions, but I don't see it. There are trends, and some trivial reactions are pretty obvious, but a large percentage simply has to be memorized.

    Edit: This is part of the reason why I dislike organic. In the real world, I can look up any reaction I want. Why should I have to memorize 100s of different mechanisms, etc. that tell me next to nothing about a reaction which I have not encountered before. I have a theory that organic is just a weed out course for people who thinking about med school, since you have to do a similiar thing in memorizing a large amount of information.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2005
  23. Apr 20, 2005 #22
    I thought you would like to know, that in the real world, thats all chemists do is look up reactions. They don't memorize anything. I have an internship at a pharmaceutical company, and whenever we need a reaction we just type what we want into the computer, search scifinder, and find a reaction that works.
     
  24. Apr 20, 2005 #23

    Moonbear

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    It's hazing for biochemists. :biggrin: Everyone has to memorize those pathways in biochemistry. I have yet to figure out a good purpose for doing so, so really can only attribute it to "they had to do it, so we had to do it, so you have to do it." The only time I need to know those pathways nowadays is to answer student questions about it. I discovered that biochemistry was much easier to learn once I realized there isn't actually any chemistry in it once you get past memorizing glycolysis and TCA cycle. The only people who did well in biochemistry when I took it as an undergrad were the biochemistry grad students in the course (they only offered one class and the undergrads and grad students all got tossed into the same lecture). Don't worry, if you go on to grad school, you'll get a second crack at it. The world's biggest waste of time in grad school is that every program seems to require you to take biochemistry again, even if you took it as an undergrad, and the class always includes the same material as the undergrad courses. It's still the same material as when I took the class *mumbles* almost 15 years ago.
     
  25. Apr 20, 2005 #24
    Amusing to know that hazing extends to other aspects of life too. At least this is much less violent and not stitches are require! :wink:

    Moonbear has a point. It is just a right of passage mostly and it is an effective way to pound the information into your brain. My algebra teacher (being I am only a junior in high school! :blushing:)was complaining about how easy it is for us to just plug a logarithm into our calculators while she had a million sheets of paper, similar to the mulitplication table they give kids in the 2nd grade, except it had a ton of logarithms on it. She looked at us and laughed; "you have no idea how ridiculously easy you guys have it!"

    She's got a point though. I'm sure sooner or later things will get easier for you Graven. If they don't get easier then hopefully they will level off to a consistant level of difficulty. It does seema ascinine to a point, making you repeat biochem if you already took it as an undergrad. I can understand the reasoning behind it though.
     
  26. Apr 20, 2005 #25

    Monique

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    Well, you do have to understand the basics of what happens and how it is controlled. I think it is unfair though to expect students to learn all the reaction by head. My biochem exam was open-book and the exam was of insight-questions where you had to know what was going on and where to look it up.

    I mentioned one of the questions on the exam that I still remember: is it good to eat sugar candy bars in front of an athetic exercise. You have to know what happens in the body and it actually is quite simple. You eat sugar, your blood sugar level rises. You think that that is good, since you need sugar for exercise. But as your blood sugar rises, your body starts to produce insulin to bring it down to normal levels. During excersise you need to get sugar out of your cells, so you produce glucagon. Hormones circulate in your body and it takes time to get rid of them. So you conclude that you can better not eat food that releases sugar fast into your bloodstream, but rather ones that release it slowly.

    In fact I got 10/10 on my biochem exam, I think there were only 5 out of 20 that passed the test :eek: :biggrin:
     
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