A* in AQA A2 Chemistry and Biology - my tips.

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denteddental
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Hello, lovely people!

After receiving numerous PMs asking me to share tips on how to achieve A*s in AQA A2 Biology and Chemistry, I thought it would be a good idea to create this thread. This is by no means a guide to achieve an A* but rather just a few tips that I used during my A2 levels.
So let's get started!

-POSTERS - posters are your best friend. Create large and colourful posters with only key information and diagrams. I find diagrams superb because they help me visualise information. So for example in biology I drew diagrams for all the cycles (Krebs, Calvin), this helped me remember them. This also helps condense key information and helps you understand key topics better. Stick them up in your study, your room or even around your house (if your parents don't mind) and try to read them every time you walk past them. It worked wonders for me.

-FLASHCARDS - these things are fabulous for memorising information and passing time on the bus. I had a pretty long journey to school so I made flashcards that I read on the way to and back from school. Colour co-ordinate all your cards, if you wish. What I did for chemistry was put all the mechanisms in one colour, equations in another and calculations in another. Also flashcards are very useful for testing your own knowledge. Write the question on one side and answer on another and test yourself.

-AUDIOS & PODCASTS -This might sound a little weird at first but I recorded myself speaking and listened back to it just before going to bed. That way, it stayed in my head. This is particularly good if you study languages because pronunciation is extremely important. It's also good because if you are anything like me, you get tired and bored from reading. So audios are a great way of relaxing from reading without feeling guilty.

-WRITING INFO over and over and over again - Yes I know it's tedious and boring but I personally couldn't find a better way than this for memorising lots of information. This isn't probably very applicable for chemistry but it's good for biology and essay writing subjects. If you are struggling to memorise things write them over an over and over again and I promise that it will stick in your brain.

-MAKE YOUR OWN NOTES - try not to use several different documents of notes for revision, just have one. In my case my teacher used to give us notes, I had the Nelson Thornes book, notes off the Internet and notes from my revision guide. Rather than read them all over and over again I used all sources to make my own notes. I didn't type up my notes because I can't learn from black and white texts, I find it too boring. I wrote all my notes by hand because I learn best from my own writing. It might work for you too!

For chemistry, this website http://chemrevise.org/revision-guides/ (great notes) along with http://www.a-levelchemistry.co.uk/ (practise questions) is your best friend! The Nelson Thornes book for chemistry is also very good - it gives clear, concise information. I would recommend buying the Collins revision guides: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0...AYRVAYGBQNJBAB.
Also do all the end of chapter and examination style questions along with all the past papers you can find. This website is good for past papers - http://www.xtremepapers.com/
Also this guy is an absolute legend, check his channel out:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQI...3tJxOPGs8Yht8w

For biology, I found the Nelson thrones book to be completely useless. There was so much rambling and useless information in that book. So I strongly recommend buying the Collins A2 biology revision guide - http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0007...&robot_redir=1
I only ever used to Nelson thrones book for questions. For practise I recommend that you do questions by topic. So find all the past papers and put questions of the same topic together. I found that very helpful because it enabled me to concentrate more on my weaker topics. This website is also very good for practise questions - http://sciencemathsmaster.weebly.com/
For the synoptic essay:
-keep recapping AS topics mainly the important ones such as plants can cells.
-Use this amazing document - http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/atta...0&d=1339779087 Try to learn the main points of each essay, if you can. At first this document may scare you because most of the essays are brilliant. But remember these essays were not done under timed exam conditions so yours won't be as good. There is no need to worry!
- You need to include extra knowledge in your essay so I recommend reading up on the kidneys as this has many topics that AQA could set an essay on e.g osmosis, ions, specialisation of cells. At first the kidneys can seem complex and if you get completely stuck, drop me a message.
Also I'm sure your teacher will let you know about how you should structure the essays etc.

Although this year will undoubtabely be the most stressful year of your school life with so many things going on at the same time it will definitely be one of the best. Make the most of this and remember: work hard, play hard. :party:

Best of luck.

Nav_Mallhi

Ps. if some of the links do not work, let me know.
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Kill3er
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Thanks! Good read.
Keep getting recommended different books by different people. I don't know which ones are better since I've never read any of them

(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
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Edit: Those essays In that document are one and a half pages typed! That's like 5 sides of my handwriting. How long do we have to do the essays in the exam?
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denteddental
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(Original post by Kill3er)
Thanks! Good read.
Keep getting recommended different books by different people. I don't know which ones are better since I've never read any of them



Edit: Those essays In that document are one and a half pages typed! That's like 5 sides of my handwriting. How long do we have to do the essays in the exam?
Hiya!
I only used the books mentioned above and they seemed to have worked fine for me.

It's recommend that you around 2 sides in your own handwriting. But I actually managed to write 8 (crazy I know), it was the adrenaline. Also you have to remember to include as many topics and possible as well as including extra off-spec knowledge and I can't do that in jus 2 sides. But time is a major issue because you have to complete an exam paper as well writing an essay! Keep practising essay writing, get them checked from your teacher and you'll get an idea of how much to write.

Hope I helped.

Nav
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Kill3er
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(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
Hiya!
I only used the books mentioned above and they seemed to have worked fine for me.

It's recommend that you around 2 sides in your own handwriting. But I actually managed to write 8 (crazy I know), it was the adrenaline. Also you have to remember to include as many topics and possible as well as including extra off-spec knowledge and I can't do that in jus 2 sides. But time is a major issue because you have to complete an exam paper as well writing an essay! Keep practising essay writing, get them checked from your teacher and you'll get an idea of how much to write.

Hope I helped.

Nav
Thanks.
I've been reccomended to get these books, as well as the Nelson Thornes one we use in class for Biology and Chemistry

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A2-Level-Che.../dp/1847627927
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denteddental
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(Original post by Kill3er)
Thanks.
I've been reccomended to get these books, as well as the Nelson Thornes one we use in class for Biology and Chemistry

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A2-Level-Che.../dp/1847627927
That seems like a text book to me rather than a revision guide. I haven't used that book so I can't comment on it but the books that I used were absolutely brilliant.
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Kill3er
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(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
That seems like a text book to me rather than a revision guide. I haven't used that book so I can't comment on it but the books that I used were absolutely brilliant.
I'll get the ones you suggested too then :P
I usually use CGP revision guides too.

Thanks for everything!
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denteddental
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(Original post by Kill3er)
I'll get the ones you suggested too then :P
I usually use CGP revision guides too.

Thanks for everything!
I would not recommend CGP - they over simplify everything.

You are welcome.
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Will_of_fire
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So did you not need any textbook for a2 biology
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Med_medine
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(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
Hello, lovely people!

After receiving numerous PMs asking me to share tips on how to achieve A*s in AQA A2 Biology and Chemistry, I thought it would be a good idea to create this thread. This is by no means a guide to achieve an A* but rather just a few tips that I used during my A2 levels.
So let's get started!

-POSTERS - posters are your best friend. Create large and colourful posters with only key information and diagrams. I find diagrams superb because they help me visualise information. So for example in biology I drew diagrams for all the cycles (Krebs, Calvin), this helped me remember them. This also helps condense key information and helps you understand key topics better. Stick them up in your study, your room or even around your house (if your parents don't mind) and try to read them every time you walk past them. It worked wonders for me.

-FLASHCARDS - these things are fabulous for memorising information and passing time on the bus. I had a pretty long journey to school so I made flashcards that I read on the way to and back from school. Colour co-ordinate all your cards, if you wish. What I did for chemistry was put all the mechanisms in one colour, equations in another and calculations in another. Also flashcards are very useful for testing your own knowledge. Write the question on one side and answer on another and test yourself.

-AUDIOS & PODCASTS -This might sound a little weird at first but I recorded myself speaking and listened back to it just before going to bed. That way, it stayed in my head. This is particularly good if you study languages because pronunciation is extremely important. It's also good because if you are anything like me, you get tired and bored from reading. So audios are a great way of relaxing from reading without feeling guilty.

-WRITING INFO over and over and over again - Yes I know it's tedious and boring but I personally couldn't find a better way than this for memorising lots of information. This isn't probably very applicable for chemistry but it's good for biology and essay writing subjects. If you are struggling to memorise things write them over an over and over again and I promise that it will stick in your brain.

-MAKE YOUR OWN NOTES - try not to use several different documents of notes for revision, just have one. In my case my teacher used to give us notes, I had the Nelson Thornes book, notes off the Internet and notes from my revision guide. Rather than read them all over and over again I used all sources to make my own notes. I didn't type up my notes because I can't learn from black and white texts, I find it too boring. I wrote all my notes by hand because I learn best from my own writing. It might work for you too!

For chemistry, this website http://chemrevise.org/revision-guides/ (great notes) along with http://www.a-levelchemistry.co.uk/ (practise questions) is your best friend! The Nelson Thornes book for chemistry is also very good - it gives clear, concise information. I would recommend buying the Collins revision guides: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0...AYRVAYGBQNJBAB.
Also do all the end of chapter and examination style questions along with all the past papers you can find. This website is good for past papers - http://www.xtremepapers.com/
Also this guy is an absolute legend, check his channel out:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQI...3tJxOPGs8Yht8w

For biology, I found the Nelson thrones book to be completely useless. There was so much rambling and useless information in that book. So I strongly recommend buying the Collins A2 biology revision guide - http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0007...&robot_redir=1
I only ever used to Nelson thrones book for questions. For practise I recommend that you do questions by topic. So find all the past papers and put questions of the same topic together. I found that very helpful because it enabled me to concentrate more on my weaker topics. This website is also very good for practise questions - http://sciencemathsmaster.weebly.com/
For the synoptic essay:
-keep recapping AS topics mainly the important ones such as plants can cells.
-Use this amazing document - http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/atta...0&d=1339779087 Try to learn the main points of each essay, if you can. At first this document may scare you because most of the essays are brilliant. But remember these essays were not done under timed exam conditions so yours won't be as good. There is no need to worry!
- You need to include extra knowledge in your essay so I recommend reading up on the kidneys as this has many topics that AQA could set an essay on e.g osmosis, ions, specialisation of cells. At first the kidneys can seem complex and if you get completely stuck, drop me a message.
Also I'm sure your teacher will let you know about how you should structure the essays etc.

Although this year will undoubtabely be the most stressful year of your school life with so many things going on at the same time it will definitely be one of the best. Make the most of this and remember: work hard, play hard. :party:

Best of luck.

Nav_Mallhi

Ps. if some of the links do not work, let me know.
Why hasnt anyone pmed me for tips when I have 6 A*s in A levels?

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denteddental
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(Original post by Med_medine)
Why hasnt anyone pmed me for tips when I have 6 A*s in A levels?

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Well done for your 6 A*s!
I don't know. Maybe because they don't know that you have got 6 A*s at A level? I have put my grades in my profile.
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Med_medine
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(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
Well done for your 6 A*s!
I don't know. Maybe because they don't know that you have got 6 A*s at A level? I have put my grades in my profile.
By the way did I mention that you are very pretty assuming that the avatar is your photo?
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Paradox.
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(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
I would not recommend CGP - they over simplify everything.

You are welcome.
I disagree! I used CGP as my main source of revision and they fully cover the specification - they have all the info needed for full marks. Obviously Bio comes much more down to HSW etc. to get the higher grades which no textbook can really help with

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denteddental
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(Original post by Med_medine)
By the way did I mention that you are very pretty assuming that the avatar is your photo?
Yeah, that's me. Thank you!
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denteddental
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(Original post by Will_of_fire)
So did you not need any textbook for a2 biology
Our school provided us with the Nelson Thornes book for biology but it was pretty rubbish. As I said, there are many mistakes in that book and too much useless almost story-like information. Not great for revision.
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rachu
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omg i love colors and post its too ! good advice btw.
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denteddental
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(Original post by Paradox.)
I disagree! I used CGP as my main source of revision and they fully cover the specification - they have all the info needed for full marks. Obviously Bio comes much more down to HSW etc. to get the higher grades which no textbook can really help with

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Hiya!
I bought the CGP revision guides for AS but I didn't find them too good. I used to Collins one. Each to their own, I guess.
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denteddental
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(Original post by rachu)
omg i love colors and post its too ! good advice btw.
Same! :five: Colours lighten your notes up and make you want to revise.
Thank you!
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Med_medine
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(Original post by Nav_Mallhi)
Yeah, that's me. Thank you!
Why did you put medical science as your insurance? Even if all your dental offers are AAA, on the off chance that you miss your grade you could still call them up and have double the chance?
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denteddental
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(Original post by Med_medine)
Why did you put medical science as your insurance? Even if all your dental offers are AAA, on the off chance that you miss your grade you could still call them up and have double the chance?
I'd like to keep this thread about my tips for A levels so I will PM you the answer to your question. I hope that's ok.
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wyntersugar
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(Original post by Kill3er)
I'll get the ones you suggested too then :P
I usually use CGP revision guides too.

Thanks for everything!
For my AS I used the Nelson Thornes book, the CGP (I live to cover all possible options) and the book that Nav_Mallhi recommends and I'd say that sometimes the thing books she recommends can be too condensed down and it might help to get them all.
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