If you started Campbell’s reading, you may have noticed that the first unit is Cell biology (or molecular biology). While this unit is affectionately referred to as “mol bio” by many USABO campers, it doesn’t have too much of a focus on moles. Unfortunately, none of the units really have too much of a focus on moles.

While Campbell’s cell bio unit only encompasses chapters 2-12, the IBO/USABO cell bio unit includes chapter 16-20 as well, so we suggest waiting on reading 13-15 until you’re into the genetics. However, you’ll have to read it all anyways, so that’s not too much of a concern.

One huge thing to focus on in this unit is diagrams. I know I mentioned them before, but they are especially important here as they help you learn things like the differences between molecules like alpha and beta glucose or why lysine and arginine are common in histone tails (comment below if you know why).

Another thing to focus on is constantly asking yourself why things happen. Water moves up trees. Why? It has cohesion. Why? It has hydrogen bonds. Why? It has polar covalent bonds, and so on. Pretend you’re reading it to an over-curious two year old who won’t stop asking why, because this will really help you apply what you’re reading to those tough Olympiad questions.

One last tip as you get started reading, keep a google doc or note with a list of pages that have difficult diagrams. This is great for last minute review before the tests. For example, the amino acid chart in Chapter 5 is a great one to review until you have it down pretty well.

Reference Pages