Imagine this: you walk into your biology class, feeling bold and a bit adventurous and ask your teacher, "What is biology?"

Your teacher may give you a surprised but supportive look and respond with:

"Sure thing, but where do we start? Evolution, cells, DNA, photosynthesis?"

Moira from Schitt's Creek sitting in front of a table with notes. She says,

Just like our teachers, ChatGPT thrives on clear and direct communication!

Knowing how to interact with ChatGPT by writing prompts can help you breeze through biology topics and find the answers you're looking for.

A microscope viewing small plants with other plants in test tubes in the background. Photo from Adobe Stock by shaiith

1. Identify the topic you'd like to learn

Biology is a very large topic, so it is a good idea to start your ChatGPT prompt with choosing a specific topic in biology.

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Don't know where to start?

You can identify the topic by:

  • Looking at the chapter you're studying and your notes.

  • Identifying the main subject and key concepts being covered.

What if you're new to everything in the world of biology and don't know where to start? Well, there's a prompt for that!

Will Ferrel shouts,

You can ask ChatGPT to provide a list of topics in biology to help you get the ball rolling. Open ChatGPT and get started!

Example ChatGPT prompt

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  • User: "Provide a list of 5 topics in biology that I can learn about."

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  • ChatGPT: "Certainly! Here are five topics in biology you can learn about: 1. Cell Biology, 2. Genetics, 3. Human Anatomy and Physiology, 4. Evolution 5. Microbiology."

In this example, ChatGPT is asked to only provide 5 topics in biology. Including some rules and parameters can help you get the best response. If not, you may get an overwhelming amount of information!

A Stark Trek character looks overwhelmed. The text reads,

Being specific is an important part of writing your prompt. If you ask ChatGPT, "What is genetics?" You may get a very general response.

This is when you can ask yourself, what do I really want to learn about? Is it DNA? Chromosomes? Punnet squares?

The clearer and more specific your prompt, the more helpful ChatGPT's response will be. This will also help avoid any chances of ChatGPT giving you incorrect information.

2. Have a conversation to understand a biology concept

ChatGPT is designed to understand natural language, so keeping a conversational tone will keep it enjoyable and make it feel like chatting with a knowledgeable friend.

Start the conversation

User: "Can you help me understand a concept in biology?"

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ChatGPT: "Of course! I'd be happy to help. What concept in biology would you like to understand better?"

Write your ChatGPT prompt

It's very important to be clear and concise while also telling ChatGPT how long of a response you'd like.

User: "Can you explain in one simple paragraph why the mitochondria are called the powerhouse of the cell?"

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Read the response

ChatGPT: "Mitochondria are called the powerhouse of the cell because they produce most of the cell's energy. They convert nutrients into ATP, which is the energy the cell uses to perform its functions. This process happens through chemical reactions in the mitochondria, making them crucial for energy production and overall cell activity."

Ask follow-up questions

If you still need clarification on your question, don't feel limited to your first prompt!

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By changing the wording and adding more information you can build on your first prompt and guide ChatGPT to the output you are looking for.

This is where you and ChatGPT can begin to have a real conversation!

Seth Meyers prompting with his hand and saying,

Here are some phrases you can use in your ChatGPT prompts as follow-up questions:

  • “Explain the concept...”

  • "Provide an example of..."

  • "Break down the process of..."

  • "Describe..."

  • "Compare and contrast..."

  • "Summarize..."

  • "Define..."

3. Use ChatGPT as a study partner

Let's be real — a lot of topics in biology can be complex! Think of ChatGPT as your trusted friend and tutor when learning tough topics. You don't have to study alone or worry about asking too many questions!

A bartender in front of a shelf of bottles says,

Here are some ways you can use ChatGPT as a study buddy:

Generate practice questions to test your knowledge

Ask ChatGPT to generate some practice questions for the topic you are studying. These can be short answers, multiple choice, true or false. You can do this by copying and pasting the information you are studying into ChatGPT and asking it to generate test questions.

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Example ChatGPT prompts

Practice questions: "I want to see if I understand the concept of photosynthesis. Can you make some practice questions so I can check my understanding?"

Exam prep: "I have a biology test in a week on the cell. Can you quiz me on some key concepts?"

Summarize complex information

Do you have a friend who always seems to be able to make things sound easy?

Lake Bell stands in a cornfield and says,

That's kind of like ChatGPT! Ask ChatGPT to explain complex topics in more simpler terms or summarize the complex text. You can even specify how you would like the information, such as a short paragraph or bullet points.

Example ChatGPT prompts

Explaining concepts: "I'm having trouble understanding cellular respiration. Would you be able to provide a breakdown of the key concepts in bullet point form?"

Summarizing texts: "I am reading this section of my text [insert text], and I don't understand it. Can you provide me a simple summary of it?"

Quiz Time!

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Jacob is learning about the digestive system and is finding his textbook very complicated and hard to read. Which of the following ChatGPT prompts would be most helpful for Jacob in this situation?


"I'm having trouble reading my textbook. Can you explain the digestive system to me?"


"I'm having trouble reading my textbook. Would you be able to provide me with a summary of this paragraph from my text in simpler words?"

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"Can you generate a multiple-choice quiz on the digestive system for me to practice for my upcoming exam?"

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"Why is it important that we learn about the digestive system?"


Which of the following ChatGPT prompts would be most helpful for Jacob in this situation?

Take Action

ChatGPT is a great tool to learn biology but keep in mind to always fact check the information it provides you. Just like us, AI isn't perfect!

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