If there is one aspect of medical studies that is unchanging around the world, it is the hatred of microbiology – every medical student knows the pain of having to learn everything about the smallest of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, even though it may be annoying to memorize, microbiology is a very important discipline of biology, with applications not only in environmental science, but also medical research, biotechnology, industry, and health. As our society gets more and more resistant to antibiotics and more infectious diseases are created, microbiology will only get more important as time goes on. To make your studying a little easier, let us give you a couple of tips on how to study microbiology.
First of all – what is microbiology?
To put it in simple terms, microbiology is the study of all microorganisms – those organisms which cannot be viewed with a naked eye. Those organisms can be single-celled or form a colony of cells, but every one of them requires a microscope to see. The main difficulty of studying microbiology comes from the fact that microorganisms are extremely diverse. They can be found in every corner of the world and their types are innumerable. Microbiology also includes various sub-disciplines, including virology, protistology, mycology, immunology, parasitology, and bacteriology.
As a medical student, you will study medical microbiology. Medical microbiology is a living subject, often changing from year to year. During the course, you will learn about pathogens that can affect your patients. With the knowledge you get at the microbiology course, you will bee able to make crucial clinical decisions in your future as a medical practitioner. It also is the foundation of understanding infectious diseases, which are one of the most common reasons patients will consult you in the future.
Tips on how to study microbiology
One of the easiest things you can do to study microbiology at home is to simply read books – there are several good-quality textbooks of microbiology available on the market, and you should definitely get one of them. As you probably know from the rest of the classes at medical school, the knowledge you learn during the lectures is not enough to become a doctor – you need something more. You can find these additional pieces of information in such textbooks, which delve deeper into the topic than a teacher, as they simply do not have the necessary time to do so. Most teachers will recommend one particular book: that recommended by the university guidelines of your school. One of the good textbooks on microbiology is Medical Microbiology by David Greenwood – the book is relatively cheap, can be found almost anywhere, and provides a ton of useful information on the topic.
If you are not used to the way medical schools work, let us tell you this – before every lecture, make sure you actually read the material before your classes. By doing this, you will actually understand some of the concepts that will be discussed, and they won’t come as a surprise to you. While doing it this way you surely won’t understand everything you read, especially at first, this is exactly what lectures are for – during the classes, the teacher will explain in more detail the more complex concepts, but will usually not have time to discuss everything. If you have any questions, lectures are a good time to ask the teacher about any issues you might have with that specific topic. After the class is dismissed, make sure to re-read the same material again, with the new insight you have gained during the lecture.
Remember to always take notes during classes. A list of important points will make future revision much easier, as you will know what exactly to look for. It is also good to write down what you are still missing or don’t understand. Furthermore, feel free to use any online learning methods you feel comfortable with. There are many channels on YouTube which talk about microbiology in detail. Always take caution when looking for such channels, as YouTube is full of people pretending to know what they are doing. One of the renowned channels on microbiology is Handwritten Tutorials. As for others – look around the website!