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A level biology exam strategies?

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    • Thread Starter

    What are your strategies to keep your biology exam answers concise and to the point?

    I seem to still be stuck in the GCSE mindset where teachers drilled it into our heads to write in full sentences, repeat the question in answers, etc. Whereas at A level time is a lot more limited and, when I look at mark schemes, marks seem mainly to be given for short, to-the-point facts and sometimes even just terms.

    Does anyone know if you can lose marks at all for not always writing in full sentences?

    For example, if a question asks; "Why does the process of photosynthesis require carbon dioxide?"

    Which of these would be the best way to start the answer;
    "The process of photosynthesis requires carbon dioxide for..."
    "It requires carbon dioxide for..."
    or simply

    (With the actual explanation following.)

    Any tips on this would be greatly appreciated. I tend to automatically write too much and am trying to reduce the time I take to answer questions (as I consistently run out of time in exams), but obviously don't want to lose marks for it.

    No, it doesn't need to be that long.

    Answer; Co2 is required in the light independant reaction to combine with Ribulose Biposphate to form 2 molecules of Glycerate 3- Phophate. This is then reduced to 2 molecules of Triose phosphate using 2 molecules of ATP and 2 Reduced NADP. 1/6th of the TP is uses to synthesise organic substances such as glucose and carbohydrates. The rest uses ATP to regenerate RUBP in order to combine with Co2 again.
    Depends how much information it asks you for, that's quite a thorough response assuming you are AS. But that kind of response should do for content based questions.

    Usually i stick with the answer straight away with no introduction because there's no need. The examiner isn't looking for an intro - just wants the answer.
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you both -- that's reassuring and helps a lot. I'll be practising getting straight to the answer and cutting out all the unnecessary stuff.
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