How to study biochemistry in 1st year?

Biochemistry is considered to be the easiest subject in 1st year, both by quality and quantity. Hence, it’s also the most neglected subject in 1st yr.

The reason being that most of it seems familiar to us from our class 11th & 12th knowledge & also due to the immense pressure of Anatomy, it keeps on getting neglected.

So here basically I’ll be guiding you how to study smartly so that you can score good marks in Biochem, by putting the least effort.

1. Books to choose and solving mcqs

• Now, first & foremost which book to choose. Gold Standard book for Biochemistry is Harper. So, if possible follow this book only as it is the standard book referred by everyone. But it’s not good from exam point of view, though you’ll definitely clear your concepts from this book. For some, the language of this book also seems to be a bit tough. But I think the recent South Asian Edition of this book is quite palatable & so definitely give it a try.

Download Harper’s BiochemistryClick Here

• Coming to Indian author books Vasudevan is a good Indian author. This is the book followed by majority of the students as well as teachers all over India. Though, I personally didn’t like the Genetics section in this book. But overall it’s a good book & I think a must buy.

Download Vasudevan BiochemistryClick Here

• Other Indian authors like Satyanarayan & Md Rafi sir’s books are also quite common. I personally haven’t used them but they are also quite good from exam point of view.

Download SatyanarayanClick Here

• Another book which I really liked & also recommend to all my juniors is Lippincott. It’s a very good book, easy to retain, written in very lucid language & supplemented with numerous diagrams & flowcharts & other memory tools. I did the Genetics section from this book & it’s just awesome. So again, a must have book.

• But, most importantly remember, any book would suffice. Following a single book is what needed, not jumping between books.

• Lastly for solving Mcqs you can use Rebecca James mam’s book. It’s also a good option.

• Whenever you start reading any book, set a goal. Like, you’ll read 20pages of this chapter from this book today. In this way you can manage time easily & can do well. Otherwise, it becomes really difficult to cope up in the end with all these backlogs & procastinations piling up & you’ll get overburdened then.

• Try to read this subject for atleast a day in a week.

• Along with reading the books, also make notes alongside so that you can refer to them during your revision later on.

• Try to build in concepts first rather than cramming things. They won’t help you in the long run. But it’s just the concept which remains. So focus on that more.

• Another very important thing, please do MCQs also simultaneously. Many people think that solving MCQs means just for preparing for the PG entrance exam. It’s not like that. Solving MCQs tells you whether you’ve understood the concepts or not. So, they help you to judge whether you’ve understood the things or not & hence solving MCQs is also very very important.

• Also, please refrain from all sorts of shortcuts. Means, please don’t study Question Answer books from the beginning itself. Then, you can’t build in concepts. Use them at the last, for your Prof exam preparation, but not throughout the year.

2. Exam preparation strategy

• Once you’re done with reading of the textbook & clearing of all your concepts, then see the questions of previous years papers and mentally write answers to them. What points should be there to this question? Always remember, teachers need the main points. And write according to marks allotted to that question. And if you make a diagram, the teacher is bound to fall for the answer. Always try drawing one.

• Also, if you have time, then you can write these answers also in a notebook.

• Make a note of all the questions which are repeatedly being asked in your university. That means that they are the very important topics & you must study them thoroughly.

• If you’re not able to understand what to write for a particular answer, make a note of that also & discuss with your friends or Seniors.

• Also, try to write answers in the exam in the form of points & flowcharts, rather than writing in paragraph. That’d fetch you more marks. Also try to supplement with a diagram if possible.

3. Important topics to choose

• Metabolism and general chemistry is the core. So make sure you read them very carefully. Rest of the things can be read selectively, varying a/c to universities.

• Regarding Metabolism, not all pathways are important.

• For Metabolism, remember that you need to know something about everything & everything about something.

• So, what are those things first try to sort them out by seeing the previous years questions & study accordingly. Like, for every pathway you must know the rate limiting step & important clinical conditions associated with deficiency of enzymes of that pathway. Rest like if you forget all the intermediate steps also, doesn’t matter as long as they aren’t that much important.

So, study smartly.

4. Revision is the key 

• Revising the things again & again. Yes I know Biochem is easy, but quite volatile too. So, revise them frequently. Make notes for that revising so that you don’t need to read the entire book again & again for that purpose

• For the metabolic cycles, you can make a big chart & try to fit in all of them in that single chart, linking everything. That would really make things easier for you to revise later & also will help you to clear all your concepts

• Sticking to “human biochemistry” and clinical implications is what we need. Giving excess time will only reduce time needed for other subjects. So, don’t waste time on unnecessary things. Study what’s important & specially the clinical parts.

5. How to survive in practical and viva

• Biochemistry practicals are the easiest things in 1st year. Keeping the practical file upto date is what we need. Practicals are overall very easy & nothing much to do also. So, you can very easily get past it.

• Next coming to the Viva exam. Viva questions should be answered in brief and to the point only. Do not add information you are not 100 percent sure of. Half knowledge is going to get you killed in the viva. Answer smartly and don’t vomit out the book.

• Remember, questions in viva that are asked by the externals are very basic & conceptual only. They don’t ask any hi fi things. So, just stay calm & be confident & have your basics strong. That’ll do. You can very easily sail through the viva exam. And for that, don’t think that you can gain concepts by reading just the day before the exam or by reading any Question Answer book. So, read throughout the year from the standard books & that’ll be sufficient.

Dr. Rajesh Jambhulkar’s channel in Youtube is a gem. His mnemonics are very easy to remember. Also, he teaches as per the Prof pattern only, like which areas are important for long questions, short notes, explain why, viva, etc. So undoubtedly, he’s the best resource & life saviour in Youtube for Biochemistry.

So, I think these are the ways by which you can study Biochemistry easily in 1st yr. And 1 more thing, don’t study just for passing your 1st Prof exam. I can tell you, everyone will pass in Biochem. Perhaps, it is the most difficult subject to fail in 1st yr. So, don’t think of that. Study it so as to gain concepts which you’ll be requiring in your later years & also for your clinical knowledge.

Also, try to inter-relate things. Specially in biochemistry, integration within the subject is very important. So try to integrate all the metabolic cycles together. They’ll help you to retain & understand better. Also, study the clinical things properly because it’s only those which you’ll require later.

And, always be Confident. Key to everything you do. Needs to be kept so that the hardwork doesn’t go down the drain.

That’s all.


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Kaushani Saha

Quite interesting.

Shubham Jana

Well written

Arunima Roy

Apt🔥…. Really helpful.