• Question: How often did you have to revise science when you were at school to get this far in the subject?

    Asked by erinwaterfield123 on 8 Jan 2018.
    • Photo: Alyssa Alcorn

      Alyssa Alcorn answered on 8 Jan 2018:

      If by school you mean secondary school… the things I studied that have helped me the most where I am today are the English literature and composition classes I took (and for which I put in many, many hours every year). As soon as I walked out of high school I never thought about biology or chemistry or that kind of lab science ever again, and probably never will. Being a well-practiced writer (and reader!) was an enormous investment in my future, even though at that point I had no idea that I would end up in a science career. Science actually requires an enormous amount of writing, from papers (for other scientists) to instruction manuals (for your team) to e-mails (to everyone all the time!). For most of us, our work is only as good as our ability to clearly communicate it to other within and outside our specific scientific communities.

    • Photo: Freya Wilson

      Freya Wilson answered on 10 Jan 2018:

      I definitely agree with Alyssa that the part I used that I didn’t expect to was English. I hated English at school. I am dyslexic, and found it really hard. I dropped it as soon as I was able and then discovered I had to write lots because communicating your science is really important! But when you’re writing about something you’re passionate about it is a lot easier.

      As for science – I loved learning new stuff, but hated revising. I mean, I already got told that and remembered the interesting bits so why would I want to hear about it again?! Unfortunately though, you’ve often got to pass exams to get to where you want to be in life, so I did have to revise science. I discovered that having a list of quick fire questions and quizzing myself on them was the easiest way for me – then I got to compete with myself. It became quick and easy.

    • Photo: Daniel Mills

      Daniel Mills answered on 10 Jan 2018:

      I was not so much one for revising at the end but really understanding as I went along. Once you understand something I find you don’t have to revise much, the main thing is to make sure you understand the words you are using. this can actually be quite a lot harder than it sounds. Scientists often use quite complicated words in order to ensure they remain precise and don’t get confused with more general terms used on a day to day basis. I was once told a scientist often learn more new words in a degree than someone studying languages and can believe it.

    • Photo: Wendy M. Grossman

      Wendy M. Grossman answered on 12 Jan 2018:

      I don’t really know what you mean by “how often did you have to revise science”. I went to a good school with a good general introduction to science, and then in high school I had two years of biology, chemistry, physics, and several years of math (through trigonometry and calculus). At university, I did about a year and a half more math and had a lot of science student roommates, but slowly moved more toward the arts. When I became a writer in my 30s, I gravitated toward science and technology subjects. (In between, I worked as a musician.)