Originally Posted: Oct 12, 2011
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2015
In addition to having proper research and writing skills, science majors must be able to communicate effectively and have good math skills. Start today on developing your writing, research, communication, and math skills to give you the advantage in working internships, volunteer opportunities, and your future careers.
I remember several assignments in my undergraduate science courses that involved presenting an experiment or concept. Many colleges make this a requirement because you will have to make presentations in your future science careers. Your employer will expect you to know how to discuss your findings in a way that connects with your audience.
Take the following action steps:
Keep it simple. When you are preparing your presentation, consider your audience. You want to give adequate information but not overwhelm them.
Use appropriate language. Make sure that your choice of words is suitable for the audience. The goal is to make sure that you share information in a way with the audience that is understandable.
Speak clearly and slowly. Practice speaking clearly so that you will hold your audience’s attention the entire time.
Be prepared for questions. Someone in the audience may have questions, so prepare questions you think someone may ask you. Remember, it is better to say you don’t have the information to answer a question correctly than to lie or make up something. Be truthful with them.
Resources. Visit www.mindtools.com for tips and advice on how to further develop your communication skills.
This subject can cause anxiety for many incoming science majors due to gaps in learning or a bad experience with a science teacher in earlier math courses (such as in high school). You will be expected to use formulas and equations in your future careers. I use math everyday in my current position to assess the safety of consumer products.
Take the following action steps:
Practice makes perfect. When your teacher assigns homework, do the work. Often, teachers will pull test or quiz questions from the homework or create very similar problems. You can’t wait until the night before to start studying, but practice a few problems every day.
Ask for help. As soon as you notice you are having a hard time keeping up with the work in class, ask for help. Your teachers are more than willing to help you. Also, you can hire a tutor or study with other people in your class, if you feel more comfortable with that option.
Focus on the approach to calculating math problems. I have found that understanding why you have to use a certain formula is more helpful than just writing an answer down on a test. This is helpful for when you get stuck on a problem. You can think through the process of completing the problem which will give you a better chance of getting the problem right.
Get organized. For math classes, feel free to write out pictures, graphs, or diagrams to help you solve the problem. Once you know what pieces of information you have, you can begin to figure out what you need to solve the problem.
Resources. For more information, visit www.powertheyouth.org which was founded by LaToniya Jones to increase math literacy among youth and their families.