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What is it that makes A level Biology so hard

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Find your uni forum to get talking to other applicants, existing students and your future course-mates 27-07-2015
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    What makes it different from the GCSE version, is everything more in depth?
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    I did my GCSEs and A-levels quite a long time ago - but I found it to be quite a dramatically different approach. The GCSEs were concerned with overall concepts, while A-level dealt with details, mechanisms, chemical biology, and introduced totally new concepts that were never really touched on before. There was also a large amount of content.

    EDIT: That being said - it's not hard by default. I think some people can grasp it and some can't. If you are prepared to work hard then it's no problem at all
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    Personally, I don't find the content much harder. However, there is a lot more content to learn, and you have to know if in detail: the markschemes are often very specific and you can't just 'kind of know what you're talking about.' There's also a lot of biochemistry which is hard if your chemistry isn't great.
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    - Things are more in-depth
    - You have to know more
    - You need to have good exam technique
    - Theres more application of knowledge
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    The specific mark schemes make the exams a bitch. You can know the right answer, but if you don't use the right words in your answer you won't get the marks. :nopity:
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    Definitely the crazy markschemes - especially the HSW questions - my biology teacher has a masters yet he always gets them wrong too because it's just about memorising what they want to hear and being lucky.
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    The examiners
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    The content isn't particularly difficult, it's just there's a lot to know - or should I say, memorise. Other subjects eg chemistry need a bit of memorisation, but often one concept can apply to many others. In biology there's a lot of specifics, and the harsh mark schemes reflect this.

    In class, Biology is the subject I understand the most.. but in exams I do better in Chemistry, even if it's only by a few UMS. This amuses me, because I learn the textbook to the point of being able to recite information off any page for bio, but in chemistry I was still flapping about not knowing some key stuff half an hour before the exam.
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    (Original post by TattyBoJangles)
    The content isn't particularly difficult, it's just there's a lot to know - or should I say, memorise. Other subjects eg chemistry need a bit of memorisation, but often one concept can apply to many others. In biology there's a lot of specifics, and the harsh mark schemes reflect this.

    In class, Biology is the subject I understand the most.. but in exams I do better in Chemistry, even if it's only by a few UMS. This amuses me, because I learn the textbook to the point of being able to recite information off any page for bio, but in chemistry I was still flapping about not knowing some key stuff half an hour before the exam.
    totaly agree with this. in chemistry all the pieces kinda fit together like if you understand atomic structure you can determine many things in chemistry, while in biology its basicaly all memorisation and the language you have to use has to be sooo specific to the markscheme. so basicaly key tips are : memorise the content and learn how to use the marksceme language required. i do AS Human Biology and AS Chemistry btw
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    That there's just so much of it! So much to learn *cough memorise cough*
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    I'm an extremely hard worker and so work ethic isn't a problem for me. I can motivate myself whenever I need to. The problem is, can things go wrong in A Levels such as Biology, chemistry and maths even after intense revision?
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    (Original post by kILLERm)
    I'm an extremely hard worker and so work ethic isn't a problem for me. I can motivate myself whenever I need to. The problem is, can things go wrong in A Levels such as Biology, chemistry and maths even after intense revision?
    Yes
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    not working hard enough i guess
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    (Original post by AtomicMan)
    Yes
    How could things go wrong?
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    Hmm so what I'm reading I have to learn lots more information and concepts and follow the mark scheme down to a tee. Sounds challenging but i'm willing. thanks for the above guys
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    Notorious mark schemes.
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    (Original post by kILLERm)
    How could things go wrong?
    If your exam board is OCR, for example, they are consistently adding questions that nobody of even the top tier of Biologists can understand, let along answer.
    OCR has a habit of making some questions very ambiguous. Even if you know your Biology, you still have to spend time making out what the question is actually asking your for, which is actually the biggest factor that drains your time limit in an exam.
    Also, they enjoy to test you on questions of very tiny parts of the syllabus, so a lot of what you learn will actually not appear on the exam at all.
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    The fact that OCR are your exam board, and they put a crossword in one of your exams. See attached.:angry:
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    (Original post by herothing11)
    If your exam board is OCR, for example, they are consistently adding questions that nobody of even the top tier of Biologists can understand, let along answer.
    OCR has a habit of making some questions very ambiguous. Even if you know your Biology, you still have to spend time making out what the question is actually asking your for, which is actually the biggest factor that drains your time limit in an exam.
    Also, they enjoy to test you on questions of very tiny parts of the syllabus, so a lot of what you learn will actually not appear on the exam at all.
    Couldn't agree more. It's more about 'decipher the question' than 'show what you know'.
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    (Original post by beanstalkgirl_24)
    The fact that OCR are your exam board, and they put a crossword in one of your exams. See attached.:angry:
    i actually did ocr biology so i didn't have that :P i did hear people talking about ti after they came out though :P

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