This is dedicated to those who are pursuing any Pre-Health career, and wants a heads up. Whether you're major is biochemistry, biology, nursing, or kinesiology, this will prove as a great help. ACU has an amazing health department that is filled with amazing professors and students, and you'll honestly learn to love it. Although the first year is the most difficult, it is most definitely worthwhile. In addition, it tends to show how bad you want to succeed.
General Biology I:
This class is hard. I'm not going to act like it wasn't hard for me and the majority of my peers. However, it's something that can be conquered.
Utilize your tools:
The key to being successful in this particular class is to use the first thing they give you: your book. The biggest tip I can give you when taking biology is to read. When given a reading assignment, read every single paragraph, bubble, chart, etc. on the page. If you don't read and review every day, you won't develop good habits for harder material. I also encourage you to use the review questions from each chapter (answers in the back of the book) to determine whether you are understanding the material that is being taught in lectures and labs.
If you are not understanding the information, do not be ashamed of going to get help. I know I dealt with feeling like a failure when I had to get tutoring. Don't feel that way, because getting help is how you move forward.
I highly suggest you hold on to graded quizzes, and make notes on them for why you got certain questions wrong. More specifically, I used to go through every question on my quiz, writing why each answer (A,B,C,D) was either right or wrong. This will ensure that you do not make similar mistakes on the final (which obviously could make or break your grade). This is also important because you won't be able to keep your graded tests. gasp. Yes, I know, many professors won't allow this, but they'll typically allow you to look over it during their office hours. When you don't have time to do that, you can just use the quizzes as an alternative.
Lastly, I would recommend using something that will help you memorize information, especially for biology lab. In lab, you should expect most quizzes to be open-ended (not multiple choice), you'll cherish those moments when you do receive a quiz with multiple choice. Furthermore, you'll need to know how to spell certain names correctly and know what functions are served under that name. Make yourself know the information. Whether it's note cards, making your own Powerpoints, or even going to the Idea Room (upstairs in the library) to write on boards.
General Chemistry I:
For me, chemistry was pretty tough to understand, but I know plenty of people that find this class much easier. However, after finally conquering this class, I believe I can save you a lot of time.
Once again, the biggest tip I can offer for chemistry, is for you to read. I know, I know. You're drained from reading/memorizing material for both biology and lab, and you're done with reading. No. This is the main reason why I didn't pass General Chemistry I the first time. When I didn't understand something in class, I would go to the book. When in reality, it was supposed to work in reverse. I should've read the material before coming to class, that way I know exactly what questions to ask in class. So, with that being said, I highly suggest that you read everything that is given to you.
Although you need to read, chemistry is still calculation-based. You need to keep your calculator on you at all times. (Many times have I pulled an all-nighter, then realized I left my Scantron and calculator on my bed)
Chemistry lab is way more hands-on than the biology lab, mainly because the use of chemicals are involved. Lab lasts for 4 hours, and ironically, it goes by pretty fast. This is mainly due to the time you take answering the questions about the experiments. I suggest looking at the lab experiment thoroughly before class. This will help you know exactly what you're doing and how to carry it out. I also stress that for the first month or so, to put alarms on for doing your pre-lab quiz. Pre-Lab quizzes are required to be completed before class. Somehow the first month has proven to be the craziest for freshmen, and many minor factors will prove as distractions.
Lastly, I suggest that you spend a lot of time doing practice questions on OWL (web-based chemistry), and practicing in the presence of those who can help you. I found that I was more successful in that class by doing calculations with friends, tutors, or even one of the teacher's aids.
With chemistry, it's kind of a hit or miss. Either you're amazing at it or you're just okay at it. Because of this, some people may find that these tips aren't necessary. And for others, it may change your whole approach in the class.