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As a survey text, the goal of the Microbiology textbook is to hit the highlights of the science of microbiology and spark an interest in continuing deeper study in some area of the discipline. The text combines elements of cell biology, cell structure and function, genetics, biochemistry and immunology and presents them through the perspective of the microorganism. It explores the various microbial life forms that comprise the sciences of bacteriology, mycology, virology and phycology and illustrates the impact microbes have on our lives by explaining how they function as distinct entities within a complex biosphere. Evaluating cause and effect relationships, such as microbial causes of disease, by the scientific method are good exercises for developing critical thinking skills. Many such examples are found in throughout the text to illustrate how scientists throughout the history of microbiology have solved problems.

Because of the many contributing areas of science, microbiology is often perceived as a complex and difficult subject. However, if you study and focus on microbiology, assisted by other sciences, you will gain insight into the science of microbiology and how it has impacted human culture.

Here are some study tips to help you:

Come to class ready to participate. Read assigned material before each respective lecture. The material will make better sense after you have read about it at least once. Reading the material before class, coming to class with questions or answers, and showing up with an open mind is an excellent way to learn.

Seek assistance with difficult concepts early. See your instructor for an explanation of terms, principles or techniques, which you don’t understand. Use office hours!

Remember, microbiology is a comprehensive biology course. It is not a course that you can pass by just memorizing the facts. Think through the reasons why experiments were performed. Analyze data or relationships to understand conclusions drawn from them.

Regularly attend classes. Information will be presented and concepts will be developed in class that will not be effectively communicated by reading the notes of another. You need to experience each class yourself.

Don’t wait until the day before an exam to prepare for it.  Learning is an ongoing, full-time job. Read before class. Re-read after class. Review your notes frequently. Ask questions. Get feedback. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help.

Use study aids. (1) Try dividing notebook paper with a line down the center. Keep class notes on one half and corresponding book notes on the other half. (2) After each lecture, write down 3-5 questions that reflect the essence of the lecture material. (3) Find other members of the class who will agree to write questions for each lecture, and share them. (4) Use the Online Learning Center to take study quizzes and explore related topics on the World Wide Web.

Like everything else, "practice makes perfect."!

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