BIOL 112

BIOL 112 – Unicellular Life

Instructor: Dr. Karen Smith. Sweet little blonde lady who knows her biology. Only complaint I have is that she’d sometimes “answer” a question by going on for 10 minutes about something else. I’d definitely recommend her, though.

Textbook: Biological Science by Scott Freeman, Canadian 3rd ed. Old versions of the text are fine for the most part, I had the 2nd edition (the one with a giant squid on the cover) and the only differences are the page numbers and the examples aren’t Canadian. Also, you need an iClicker for this class. When I say need, I really mean it, as the clicker questions count towards participation marks.

What I Learned: Cell membrane structure and transport, protein synthesis, DNA replication, gene regulation, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and nutrient cycles, all with a focus on single-celled organisms (read: lots and lots of E. coli)

Midterms/Final: There were two midterms in this course, one worth 10% and one 20%, both of which were multiple choice. The first midterm will lull you into a false sense of security; it was only 15 questions and fairly easy since only a few topics had been covered by that point. The next midterm, which covers protein synthesis and DNA replication is much more difficult. I did about 20% worse on the second midterm. You’ve been warned. The final exam was worth 50% and covered all topics from protein synthesis onward, with more focus on topics after the second midterm. The format of the questions in the exams is super annoying, and sometimes I feel like they’re intentionally trying to trick you. You’re allowed to bring in a cheat sheet to the midterms and final, but I didn’t find it really helped very much. You need to know your stuff, especially given the confusing nature of the questions.

Comments/Tips: Memorization can only get you so far; in this class, it’s all about conceptual knowledge. Another lesson: lecture slides being posted online does not mean skipping class on a regular basis is a good idea. The answers to the Clicker questions aren’t posted online, but the exam questions tend to be very similar to them, so attending lecture is a must. Also, don’t forget your iClicker at home 90% of the time (like me). That being said, this course had the most interesting content out of the three first-year biology classes I took (in my opinion). The exam questions were rough, but really allow you to think critically about biology. Besides, it’s a necessary evil if you’re planning on specializing in anything life science related.

6 responses to “BIOL 112

  1. Thanks for posting this! Do you know where I can buy an iClicker and second hand textbooks?

    • iClickers you can just purchase at the UBC Bookstore. There’s also a pretty good selection of second hand textbooks at the UBC Bookstore, or you could try Discount Textbooks in the University Village, Craigslist, Facebook groups, upper year students you might know, etc. Don’t worry about books just yet, though! I don’t think booklists come out until August anyways.

  2. OMG, this is extremely helpful!!!
    I need your suggestion here: do you recommend if I take bio 111 and 121 in the first term, and 112 & 140 the 2nd term? I had problems to put bio111 and 112 together in my 1st term worklist. I was just wondering if I need knowledge for bio112 to pass bio 121. Thanks!! (btw, I only had bio 11 in high school)

  3. Thanks for the info! BTW do you have any past midterms or finals?

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