The only strict pre-requisites for biology are interest, an open mind, as well as a willingness to think critically about the natural world. If you meet these pre-requisites, you can easily commence learning biology without any background, as long as you’re enthusiastic to pick up bits of chemistry, statistics, physics, and math along the way.
They say you can find your journey through biology smoother as well as more satisfying if you already have some knowledge with topics in other areas, especially chemistry. Below are a few foundational topics that will assist you in getting the most out of biology materials or any biology classes.
General science skills
- The scientific method: – Are you rusty on what a hypothesis is or the way it gets tested? What about experiments? These basic concepts will help you in biology as well as in many other area of science too.
- General chemistry: – Get knowledge for molecules, atoms, and how they interact with each other. Nevertheless, that’s what humans and life is made up of.
- Acid-base chemistry:
– A major part of chemistry in your body is acid-base chemistry that takes place in watery solutions. Having knowledge about what acids and bases are will get you a long way with biochemistry.
- Laws of thermodynamics: – Get knowledge for what energy is and what rules govern it. Energy is continuously flowing through ecosystems, organisms and cells, and is vital to keep these systems running.
- Basics of Probability: – Probability is an important concept in biology. It’s not necessary to know tons of details or formulas, but if you understand the basic concepts, that will assist you a lot with genetics as well as population genetics.
– Learn about the basic ways you can describe sets of data, such as mean, median, and mode. If you go deeper and learn about hypothesis testing, you’ll surely be ahead of the curve.
- Basic algebra and graphing: – Many of the intro biology classes are not that math-intensive; whereas having an understanding of basic algebra and graphs (e.g., the meaning of slope) will help you understand figures as well as data in biology.
Is it necessary to know all these topics before starting?
As earlier mentioned, you can also learn as you want to. You just have to be willing to work on these topics in parallel with your learning of biology. So, don’t be discouraged from biology if you haven’t still mastered all of these topics.
What if you don’t like [chemistry/physics/statistic/math]?
Biology is a vast, diverse field. Each and every biologist need to have some basic, foundational understanding of chemistry, physics, math, as well as statistics. However, you don’t have to become specialists in all these topics.