How to Handle Biology Reading Assignments

Note: This post is specifically for the Biology reading assignments in the RPC Biology course. However, most of this applies to my regular high school students, as well as anybody taking a biology class in a more "traditional" school setting. Especially if you're in an honors or AP biology class.

I've been told that cadets at Westpoint are deliberately given more work, duties, and responsibilities that they can possibly handle. Sooner or later, everyone fails to finish an assignment. Punishments and consequences follow.

The purpose of this method is to train future officers to make decisions, set priorities, and understand that there are always trade-offs. This might be one of the most important lessons you can ever learn. It's not just valid on the battlefield. Any entrepreneur, anyone who has to lead or manage other people, virtually anyone in any professional-level career will constantly have to make choices.

If you're fast, motivated, and have sufficient free time you might be able to read everything I assign you. But most of the time you'll have to decide how to budget your time.

You'll soon notice that the biology reading assignments typically fulfill one or more of the following purposes:

  • to reinforce, illustrate, or expand upon the material from the video lessons
  • to teach you vocabulary and concepts that are important for passing the CLEP and the AP exams
  • to give a detailed example of how a concept is relevant to the real world today
  • to provide the underlying philosophy or historical context for a concept you've been studying

Depending on your needs and interests, some of the biology reading assignments will be more important to you than others. For the first few weeks I'll tell you why I assigned each one. Eventually you should be able to discern the reason for each reading. If you can't find a reason for it, perhaps your time would be better spent on something else.

Don't take this as an invitation to be lazy. It's not. It's a challenge. Take responsibility for your own education. If you're too easy on yourself, it will show in the quality of your essays. In a few years, it will show in the quality of your life.

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