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Struggling with time restraints for AS Biology papers. Watch

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    Hi,

    I've just done a full mock today. And I didn't answer all the questions on it, including a 7-mark question which I barely wrote 2 sentences for.

    So upset, because my teachers keep toting me as their best student, and keep saying they predict an A for me. But, time restraints has always been my Achilles heel, and it's now distressing me.

    I've bought expensive set of roller-ball pens to help me write faster.

    How best do I answer the exam paper efficiently - write long answers first, or short answers first...or the other way around? What tips do you have for making sure I can conquer those time restraints and answer all the questions to my utmost ability.
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    I have the exact same problem, worst still my hand writing is diabolical if I go fast and not so good normally.

    As it stands I think the best way is just to do all of the easy ones or simple/short ones first and then the harder ones and if time is short I tend to just make sure everything has an attempted answer and list a bunch of key words and phrases for the un-answered longer questions and that has worked in the past!

    I have my Biology exam in just over an Hour now!!!
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    If you're worried about the time then I would suggest tackling the longest questions first as they are worth the most marks. Though it's down to personal preference, these are often more difficult and if you get especially nervous before an exam then you may find it more calming/relaxing to answer the easier questions first, in which case I suggest answer a handle of the easy questions then a couple of longer short-essay style questions and then whatever is left.

    There is no easy way to make sure you get it all done in the time, just keep practising the past papers in the allotted time and I suppose you could also try as a revision exercise, practising writing seven/eight mark style questions in seven/eight minutes, as the usual advice is a minute per mark.

    I hope that's of some help, good luck
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    Thank-you for replying. I'll get some more questions printed-off for me to tackle, and hone my answering style.

    What I've always tended to do in exams is just go through the exam paper in a linear fashion, but skip questions I feel I cannot fully answer straight away and need time to mull over (get my thoughts together). So I find large mark questions get answered last, because they need a detailed and thought-out response. And by the time I was being told 10-minutes left, I was only just finishing the end of the paper, but had 3 questions left unanswered, today.

    Just a shame candidates like me, have to battle with time being the deciding factor, when I do exam papers without the time restraints I'm coming out with 90%+. I'm struggling to keep it above 70% when I'm under exam conditions. I know in real-life we have to make decisions fast, but in real-life we should also makes decisions right and have the common-sense to allow ourselves to think things through properly - it's ludicrous to make time scales for examinations so tight!

    Thank-you again. Practice, practice, practice.... for the next 2-weeks.
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    (Original post by Kefte)
    Thank-you for replying. I'll get some more questions printed-off for me to tackle, and hone my answering style.

    What I've always tended to do in exams is just go through the exam paper in a linear fashion, but skip questions I feel I cannot fully answer straight away and need time to mull over (get my thoughts together). So I find large mark questions get answered last, because they need a detailed and thought-out response. And by the time I was being told 10-minutes left, I was only just finishing the end of the paper, but had 3 questions left unanswered, today.

    Just a shame candidates like me, have to battle with time being the deciding factor, when I do exam papers without the time restraints I'm coming out with 90%+. I'm struggling to keep it above 70% when I'm under exam conditions. I know in real-life we have to make decisions fast, but in real-life we should also makes decisions right and have the common-sense to allow ourselves to think things through properly - it's ludicrous to make time scales for examinations so tight!

    Thank-you again. Practice, practice, practice.... for the next 2-weeks.
    I think a lot of the time candidates always answer the exam from the first question to the last and for some people this isn't the best way. You clearly know the subject well, so just practice writing those long answers and remember you can answer the paper in any order you want so try tackling them in different orders, you might find that if you mix up the questions you can get through the paper just a little quicker.

    Also I don't know if it applies to you but I know that personally I write a lot slower when I make my writing neat. Obviously it's easier for an examiner to mark you work if you write as neatly as possible but you need to balance that with getting as much done as you can so may be focus more on getting down you answers quickly rather than neatly.

    Good luck with your exams
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    (Original post by Kefte)
    Hi,

    I've just done a full mock today. And I didn't answer all the questions on it, including a 7-mark question which I barely wrote 2 sentences for.

    So upset, because my teachers keep toting me as their best student, and keep saying they predict an A for me. But, time restraints has always been my Achilles heel, and it's now distressing me.

    I've bought expensive set of roller-ball pens to help me write faster.

    How best do I answer the exam paper efficiently - write long answers first, or short answers first...or the other way around? What tips do you have for making sure I can conquer those time restraints and answer all the questions to my utmost ability.
    The best thing to do is to answer the longer questions first because those contain the most marks then the shorter question which are 1 or 2 marks.
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    I've got another classroom mock on Thursday, and I'll print myself off one for tomorrow. I'll go with answering the big mark questions first, and see how I get on with time.

    I was thinking that probably working on some rehearsed answers might be a good way too - that way I can roll off long answers efficiently, if they come-up. So I'm just going through past papers of what common high mark questions are, and the mark schemes, to give me a structured answer to roll off in future?

    My writing isn't that neat and I don't concentrate on neatness, just grammar and legibility, bit too big if anything - which is frustrating for answering the questions in allocated space. I've been trying to write smaller, as theory has it I'll write quicker that way, as well as fitting it in the space. Sometimes I'm using the extra exam paper to finish off questions.
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    (Original post by Kefte)
    Hi,

    I've just done a full mock today. And I didn't answer all the questions on it, including a 7-mark question which I barely wrote 2 sentences for.

    So upset, because my teachers keep toting me as their best student, and keep saying they predict an A for me. But, time restraints has always been my Achilles heel, and it's now distressing me.

    I've bought expensive set of roller-ball pens to help me write faster.

    How best do I answer the exam paper efficiently - write long answers first, or short answers first...or the other way around? What tips do you have for making sure I can conquer those time restraints and answer all the questions to my utmost ability.
    I had the same problem as you during my AS biology mocks. My best suggestion to you would be to go over all the mock exams and look at how the mark schemes want you to answer the questions. Usually when people write down their answers, they write a lot of unnecessary things. If you look at the answers on the mark schemes, the answers are usually really brief for each mark you can get and more like lists - even the 7 mark questions.

    Also look at key words on the mark schemes, you get marks sometimes for just writing key words. Additionally to that, also write abbreviations of words and phrases. However, when doing this, you should first write the full word or phrase with its detailed description (if required) with the abbreviation next to it in brackets. Then you can use the abbreviation throughout the rest of the answers. Though this should be used more in the case of higher marked questions, requiring more detail. For example, for water potential you could instead write the symbol for it. These little things in the exam go a long way in terms of time management.

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    these points are actually very useful-thanks!
    btw what exam board do you do, 7 mark questions!?!


    (Original post by haseeb1)
    I had the same problem as you during my AS biology mocks. My best suggestion to you would be to go over all the mock exams and look at how the mark schemes want you to answer the questions. Usually when people write down their answers, they write a lot of unnecessary things. If you look at the answers on the mark schemes, the answers are usually really brief for each mark you can get and more like lists - even the 7 mark questions.

    Also look at key words on the mark schemes, you get marks sometimes for just writing key words. Additionally to that, also write abbreviations of words and phrases. However, when doing this, you should first write the full word or phrase with its detailed description (if required) with the abbreviation next to it in brackets. Then you can use the abbreviation throughout the rest of the answers. Though this should be used more in the case of higher marked questions, requiring more detail. For example, for water potential you could instead write the symbol for it. These little things in the exam go a long way in terms of time management.

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    (Original post by SaraZara97)
    these points are actually very useful-thanks!
    btw what exam board do you do, 7 mark questions!?!
    Lol why does 7 mark questions surprise you? The 2nd exam even had 12 mark questions. My exam board was OCR, I did AS biology a couple of years ago.

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    The maximum we have are 5 markers.oh right i am doing AQA AS biology atm. Are you in uni then?

    (Original post by haseeb1)
    Lol why does 7 mark questions surprise you? The 2nd exam even had 12 mark questions. My exam board was OCR, I did AS biology a couple of years ago.

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    (Original post by SaraZara97)
    The maximum we have are 5 markers.oh right i am doing AQA AS biology atm. Are you in uni then?
    No unfortunately not, due to personal and financial circumstances, I stopped when I finished my AS's and started working. I came out with BBC in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology - I was going to continue and go for either nueroscience, or medicine but at the time it didnt seem likely, especially since I really wanted to go for medicine.

    However, after looking at it in hindsight, I decided not to give up after doing some research into people going into medicine at a later stage in life. To my surprise it wasn't that unlikely. So I decided to get back into studying - most likely, I will resit Chem fully, and do Physics and another A level, and maybe stack up on some a few more A/A* at GCSE. I should be starting with the GCSE's to refresh my knowlegde for the 2015/2016 year (which is why im back on this site) - I plan to apply for medicine before the 2020 entry year at the latest. Ill be 26 by then lol Hopefully all will go as planned and I will have no regrets.

    Sorry for the long ass life story AQA only has 5 markers max? Damn ill probably go for AQA when I resit then, I've heard a lot that OCR is probably the hardest exam board. The practical exams were bloody hard, its what got me B's for bio and chem, I got like D's for them, it really ****ed up my grades. Out of curiosiy, what other A levels are you doing? Since you're doing bio I assume you want to do a science or medical based degree.
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    oh right, fair enough. haha it's nice to know you haven't given up!
    yes I found the practical's hard, especially physics, I totally messed it up.
    yes I am doing bio physics chem and French, hopefully go for medicine or something related.

    (Original post by haseeb1)
    No unfortunately not, due to personal and financial circumstances, I stopped when I finished my AS's and started working. I came out with BBC in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology - I was going to continue and go for either nueroscience, or medicine but at the time it didnt seem likely, especially since I really wanted to go for medicine.

    However, after looking at it in hindsight, I decided not to give up after doing some research into people going into medicine at a later stage in life. To my surprise it wasn't that unlikely. So I decided to get back into studying - most likely, I will resit Chem fully, and do Physics and another A level, and maybe stack up on some a few more A/A* at GCSE. I should be starting with the GCSE's to refresh my knowlegde for the 2015/2016 year (which is why im back on this site) - I plan to apply for medicine before the 2020 entry year at the latest. Ill be 26 by then lol Hopefully all will go as planned and I will have no regrets.

    Sorry for the long ass life story AQA only has 5 markers max? Damn ill probably go for AQA when I resit then, I've heard a lot that OCR is probably the hardest exam board. The practical exams were bloody hard, its what got me B's for bio and chem, I got like D's for them, it really ****ed up my grades. Out of curiosiy, what other A levels are you doing? Since you're doing bio I assume you want to do a science or medical based degree.
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    (Original post by SaraZara97)
    oh right, fair enough. haha it's nice to know you haven't given up!
    yes I found the practical's hard, especially physics, I totally messed it up.
    yes I am doing bio physics chem and French, hopefully go for medicine or something related.
    Haha Thanks. Im now dreading physics practicals because you said that - and also by the fact I havent done anything physics related in like... 5 years :sigh:
    I suggest, if you really want to do medicine and become a doctor; you should really do as much voluntary work in care settings (if you haven't already). Btw this conversation is getting a bit off OP's topic. If you want any advice on medicine, I would be happy to help, so pm me if ya want.

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    Have you tried asking if you can be tested for extra time, OP? It's too late this year, unfortunately, but in the new (academic) year, you can request to get tested for extra time, which I believe is 25% extra time on top of the exam's usual time for all of your exams. It won't help you for this exam period obviously since it's unavailable so close to exams, but it's something to keep in mind if you honestly feel as though you don't have enough time c:

    As for this exam period, try to keep your longer answers concise and to-the-point, though ensure you're writing in full sentences and that you're addressing all of the question. If something asks for one mark, give one point. Mark schemes look for phrases instead of sentences, so as long as you mention these phrases, you'll get the mark. Hope I helped haha.
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    (Original post by haseeb1)
    Haha Thanks. Im now dreading physics practicals because you said that - and also by the fact I havent done anything physics related in like... 5 years :sigh:
    I suggest, if you really want to do medicine and become a doctor; you should really do as much voluntary work in care settings (if you haven't already). Btw this conversation is getting a bit off OP's topic. If you want any advice on medicine, I would be happy to help, so pm me if ya want.

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    It isn't actually - medicine is my goal too.
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    (Original post by GetOverHere)
    Have you tried asking if you can be tested for extra time, OP? It's too late this year, unfortunately, but in the new (academic) year, you can request to get tested for extra time, which I believe is 25% extra time on top of the exam's usual time for all of your exams. It won't help you for this exam period obviously since it's unavailable so close to exams, but it's something to keep in mind if you honestly feel as though you don't have enough time c:

    As for this exam period, try to keep your longer answers concise and to-the-point, though ensure you're writing in full sentences and that you're addressing all of the question. If something asks for one mark, give one point. Mark schemes look for phrases instead of sentences, so as long as you mention these phrases, you'll get the mark. Hope I helped haha.
    I'm wondering if my grades are so high, then it'll be an acceptable request?

    How do I get tested, though?
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    (Original post by Kefte)
    I'm wondering if my grades are so high, then it'll be an acceptable request?

    How do I get tested, though?
    No, they don't take into account your grades during the testing. They assess whether you're able to complete your exams in the given time, and if not, why that is. If you're found to be disadvantaged for whatever reason, they'll allow you the special provisions necessary such as extra time, but try and get onto it as soon as possible next year. That way, they'll probably trial it during your mocks and you'll be able to experience how much it allows you to do on top of regular time.

    Speak with your Head of Sixth Form or Form Tutor and they should be able to get you in contact with the department of your school that deals with it.
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    (Original post by Kefte)
    It isn't actually - medicine is my goal too.
    Oh thats good I thought it would annoy you if we kept rambling on lol btw did my advice help or was it pointless. Im guessing exams are done now as well.
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    you could try asking for extra time? a guy at my old school was allowed to use a laptop and had a tiny bit extra time for his GCSEs
 
 
 
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