How to revise for A-level Biology exams: AQA explains what to do

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Exam and revision advice to help you get your target grades in A-level Biology

When you're revising for your A-level exams, you want to make the most of your study time.

So, we invited the experts at the AQA exam board to share their tips and advice on preparing for A-level Biology exams.

The article that follows has been written by an AQA curriculum expert, based on their years of experience in the assessment of their subject.  

You can find more articles in this series, covering a range of subjects at both GCSE and A-level, over on our revision section.

Also on The Student Room, you can find student discussion of 2024 A-level exams.

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  1. Read the question carefully and respond specifically to the command word(s) and the context given in each question. Try to make sure you’re answering the question being asked, rather than the question you’d like to be asked.
  2. High-scoring answers generally use appropriate scientific terminology in the right context. Lower scoring answers tend to be vague and/or don’t use the appropriate scientific language.
  3. Maths questions make up 10% of the qualification and the maths skills are listed at the back of the specification. Practise skills that you find difficult.
  4. The essay question in Paper 3 tests synoptic skills, which means you need to include at least four different topic areas from the specification in your answer to get a mark above 15.
  5. Make sure you address the theme of your chosen essay title. For each topic, set out the topic knowledge and then explain how that knowledge links to the essay title which is usually “the importance of...”. By explaining several topics correctly, you can move into the relational band of the mark scheme.
  6. Examiners deliberately count the numbers of answer lines they provide for each question to make sure there’s more than enough space. You should only need extra pages if you need to cross out incorrect work.
  7. Be aware that answers that contain contradictions, even on additional pages, can lose you marks. Make sure you cross out anything that you don’t want to be marked, particularly if you’re using an additional page.
  8. Don’t rush. You can avoid common errors if you take a little more time to understand the nature of data given in a question before attempting an answer.
  9. Take care with your handwriting in exams. It’s tough to keep handwriting clear after two hours of answering questions, but examiners can’t give marks for an answer if they can’t read it.
  10. Keep going. If you don’t understand the question, move on to the next one and come back to it later.

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