Biology books are usually not repetitive, so there is little chance of picking something up from reading on. Writers of biology texts believe that extra words and repeats get in the way of clarity.
The first time you should skim the chapter, noting topic sentences, words in bold print, all tables, diagrams and summary charts. This is best read before the class. The second reading should be in more detail, studying each area and not proceeding until each section is understood. Reread each section as many times as necessary until you understand its meaning. Mastery can take minutes or hours or days. The last major reading is for writing down terms and definitions and important concepts (see #5 below).
Explain what you have read aloud and make up your own examples to better understand what you have read. Rereading the material aloud, especially in your own words helps clarify the information. Hearing yourself makes a lot of difference.
Each time you come to a new term or concept, cover up the text and see if you can express the idea aloud in your own words. Write down all the words you do not know. Emphasise words in bold type. Whenever possible write out the definitions in your own words. Strive for understanding the definitions so that you can easily state them in your own words; you are more likely to remember them that way. By saying it out loud and writing it, you are more like to recall it later, when needed.
They condense a lot of valuable information. Cover up and see if you can visualise them.
After reading an example and working it out for yourself, try to think of other examples that would fit the idea being discussed.
Pick books that appeal to you. If you are very verbal, a book with long explanations is likely to be most helpful. If you are more visual, you might choose a book that has more illustrations.
You will get the most out of class if you have read the material before the teacher presents it. Even if you feel that you understood the material in class, read it over again in the text. The more you review it the more likely you are to recall it.
Done regularly, this commits more information to long-term memory.