Hope you're enjoying the week off from no labs! This post is meant to give you guys some pointers on what will be on the lab practical next week, and some tips for studying.
First, a little about the exam. It will be a mixture of pinned specimens and diagrams, as well as a few conceptual questions. Common pin questions will be something like "What head sclerite is pin #9 pointing to?" The diagrams will be used mostly in instances where it is too difficult to pin the particular structure (think small things like galea) or for specimens we don't have (what structures make up the two bristles in the mosquito mouthpart - what about the cicada?). There will also be a few questions from the two papers we read.
There won't be any reading for next week. Just come prepared to rock the lab practical and then you're all done!
1. Know the big stuff. Particularly the head sclerites, mouthparts, sutures and divisions of the thorax. The thorax divisions can be confusing - work on it though (i.e. what's the difference between the metaepimeron and metaepipleuron.
2. It's mostly memorization. I know - not the most fun or dynamic or critical thinking exam - but again, the goal here is to have a really solid foundation of external anatomy you guys can identify insects more easily later on.
3. That being said, there are good tricks to memorization. Study with a partner, quiz each other, use mnemonics.
4. Make your own drawings. This worked well for me when I took the class - I'm a particularly visual learner, but copying the drawings from the lab manual or from Borror and Delong and then trying to fill them in will give you a blank slate to practice with.
5. If you have questions, feel free to ask. I'm available all this week for appointments, emails, meetings. I'm a resource. Use me.