If you have decided to take A Level biology then you will probably need some help in ensuring you are properly prepared for your final exam. Therefore, we have decided to create an A Level biology final exam study guide. In this guide, we will provide you with some helpful tips on how to prepare for and approach your upcoming exam.
Remember, it is never too soon to start preparing for this exam. The sooner the better!
Preparing for a Biology Final Exam
While you might be thinking that A Level biology is a daunting mountain to climb, there are certain things you can do to ensure you work through your course material effectively.
Ensure You Understand the Concepts
Before even starting the revision phase for A Level biology, it is important to ensure that you understand all of the important concepts within the course. As you start your course and work through the content, make sure you thoroughly understand the concepts. This will help you retain the information and make your revision phase much easier.
For example, if you do not understand the concept of photosynthesis then it will be harder to remember the steps involved. It could also be more difficult to understand how it fits into other processes and concepts.
Consider a Tutor
If you are struggling to understand a concept, it could be beneficial to enlist the help of a tutor. They will be able to explain a concept in different ways, until you are sure you understand it.
A tutor will also be able to adjust to your specific learning style to simplify the learning process. As tutoring sessions provide you with individual attention, you will be able to ask all of the questions you have without being interrupted by other students.
When it comes to A Level biology, it is very important to turn to a tutor as soon as you experience difficulty as there is a lot of content to get through and you could be wasting precious time trying to understand it yourself.
Create a Revision Plan
While you should have a plan of how you will work through the course content, to begin with, it is extremely important to create a revision plan. Here, you should schedule study sessions and ensure that you have enough sessions to work through the entire course.
Be sure to include different phases of revision such as summarising, information retention, and working through past papers.
It is advisable to also include break times where you can relax and give your mind some rest. This will help you focus and prevent study fatigue from developing.
Give Yourself Enough Time
A Level biology has a large volume of content. It is definitely not something you can work through in a day or two. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you give yourself enough time to thoroughly cover each aspect of this subject.
Start planning early on, and include a form of disaster planning. You never know when you might take longer to memorise a section of information.
We advise doubling the amount of time you think it will take to understand and memorise a concept. This will ensure that you have enough time to properly revise all of the information contained in the course.
Maths, Graphs, and Terminology
We advise that you spend time making sure you are comfortable with certain mathematical concepts, reading graphs, and specific terminology that is contained in A Level Biology, as this can impact your progression in the understanding of the subject.
Most students are surprised by the amount of maths involved in A Level biology. It is, therefore, important that you familiarise yourself with, and understand, the mathematical concepts that will be utilised within biology. For example, biology has a strong statistical foundation. For this reason, it is advisable to ensure you are comfortable with finding things such as the percentage change.
A Level biology presents a lot of information in the form of graphs. It will be very beneficial for you to know how to read and draw graphs. While you might be able to extract information from a graph, you will also be required to present information in the form of graphs in assessments and exams. Therefore, even if you have the knowledge, you have to be able to present it in the right format to get the marks.
While certain vague terms will still gain you a mark on the GCSE Level, A Level biology requires students to use specific terminology. For example, the term “cell membrane” will no longer be acceptable. You have to be more specific and use terms such as “plasma membrane”.
Work Through Past Papers
Once you have worked through the course material and revised the work, it can be extremely beneficial to work through past papers. These are a well of knowledge as you can start to understand how the examiners ask questions and what responses they expect from students.
You will also have the opportunity to test your understanding of the content as it is better to complete these past papers without referring back to the course material while working through them. Once completed, you can mark your own results and see where you need to improve.
Be sure to time yourself while completing past papers to ensure you are completing them in the allotted exam time.
Practice for Practicals
It is important to keep your practicals in mind as you will be required to perform them in A Level biology. Make sure that you practise for your practicals and be sure to follow all of the safety requirements. Missing one of these steps could cost you valuable marks.
A tutor will also be able to help you ensure you are performing all of the correct actions required.
How to Approach A Level Biology Exam Questions
While you might be fully prepared for your upcoming exam, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing your examination. These tips and tricks will help you gain the most amount of marks possible.
Understand the Marking Scheme
It is important to understand the marking schemes of A Level biology as you can easily lose marks if you do not answer in the format that the examiner is looking for. Part of this is ensuring that you read the questions properly. You can break the questions up to ensure you understand what is required of you.
While in the exam, think back to the way in which the memorandums were set up for the past papers. This will give you an indication of the type of answer the examiner is looking for on certain types of questions.
Biology is not a subject that requires you to write essays for answers. Try and keep your answers as concise and to the point as much as possible. Stick to the topic at hand and don't diverge into other information, hoping that this will demonstrate your understanding.
Keeping your answers short and informative will also save you time and ensure that you are able to finish the exam in the allotted time.
There might be some questions in the exam that will require you to think laterally. Therefore, you will have to use the knowledge you have and apply it to a scenario provided by the examiner. To answer these questions, you will have to truly understand the concepts and how they function within a certain situation.
Answer Easy Questions First
It can be helpful to go through the exam before you start answering questions. Mark the questions that you know you are comfortable with answering and approach them first. You can then move on to the more challenging questions. This will ensure that you get marks on the easy questions and have time to answer the questions that you tend to struggle with.
We hope this A Level biology final exam study guide helps you in preparing for and completing your examination. If you do pick up any difficulty in your preparation or are worried about your understanding of certain concepts, you can sign up for our biology tutoring services.