Med3
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For the biology AQA specification, does anyone have any advice or helpful resources that will help me get an A in AS?
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victoria98
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I don't do AQA biology, but I did get an A at AS so maybe I can help. As I'm sure you've noticed by now, there's A LOT to learn in biology. Fortunately, the content isn't difficult (most of the time anyway).

What worked for me last year (and has so far worked this year too) was to firstly go through the textbook + revision guide (if you have one that is) and make notes on everything. Then make a new set of notes but this time using the specification, and typed (unless you prefer to write them out, it's up to you). So take a point straight out of the spec (ignoring the really obvious 'state' ones like 'state that the Calvin cycle takes place in the stroma' etc.) and make notes on it using your own notes, and anything extra you can find- I tend to try to write some stuff from memory to see how much I already know. Here's an example:

(a) Outline the steps involved in sequencing the genome of an organism. Genomes are mapped to identify which chromosome they have come from
2). Genome samples are broken down into segments of about 10000 base pairs.
3). Sections placed into bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) and transferred to E.coli cells. Copies of sections produced as these cells grow in culture – CLONE LIBRARIES
4. DNA extracted from the BACs and cut into fragments using restriction endonuclease enzymes- using different types of RE enzymes to get different fragments.
5. Electrophoresis separates the fragments.
6. Each fragment is sequenced.
7. Overlapping regions are compared – BAC segments sequence is reassembled.

If you have any sections of the spec that you can't get your head around, make flashcards for them as well - they should contain a summary of what your typed (or not ) notes contain - make sure you actually go through them though!

Next comes the fun part (not really). PAST PAPERS!! The most important thing really. You can choose to wait until you're done with the whole unit to do past papers, or you can do questions by topic (physicsandmathstutor.com). I usually do questions by topic before I do past papers because otherwise I tend to forget the previous content (I always forget to go through my flashcards... ) but again it's very much up to you. Mark your answers harshly and make flashcards (YAY!!) for anything you get wrong - have the question on one side and its model answer on the other. Go through these whenever you feel like it (try at least once a week).

Keep a record of your marks on past papers, at first you probably won't do extremely well and that's perfectly ok. You should see improvements with every paper and eventually they'll become really easy (have faith). Don't be afraid to do a paper more than once, and if you feel like you need more practice once you're done with all the AQA papers (should take some time) do take a look at Edexcel/OCR papers ignoring the questions that are obviously not in your spec.

I think that's about it, if you have any other questions (or if I failed at explaining something above) do let me know! Good luck
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Med3
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(Original post by victoria98)
I don't do AQA biology, but I did get an A at AS so maybe I can help. As I'm sure you've noticed by now, there's A LOT to learn in biology. Fortunately, the content isn't difficult (most of the time anyway).

What worked for me last year (and has so far worked this year too) was to firstly go through the textbook + revision guide (if you have one that is) and make notes on everything. Then make a new set of notes but this time using the specification, and typed (unless you prefer to write them out, it's up to you). So take a point straight out of the spec (ignoring the really obvious 'state' ones like 'state that the Calvin cycle takes place in the stroma' etc.) and make notes on it using your own notes, and anything extra you can find- I tend to try to write some stuff from memory to see how much I already know. Here's an example:

(a) Outline the steps involved in sequencing the genome of an organism. Genomes are mapped to identify which chromosome they have come from
2). Genome samples are broken down into segments of about 10000 base pairs.
3). Sections placed into bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) and transferred to E.coli cells. Copies of sections produced as these cells grow in culture – CLONE LIBRARIES
4. DNA extracted from the BACs and cut into fragments using restriction endonuclease enzymes- using different types of RE enzymes to get different fragments.
5. Electrophoresis separates the fragments.
6. Each fragment is sequenced.
7. Overlapping regions are compared – BAC segments sequence is reassembled.

If you have any sections of the spec that you can't get your head around, make flashcards for them as well - they should contain a summary of what your typed (or not ) notes contain - make sure you actually go through them though!

Next comes the fun part (not really). PAST PAPERS!! The most important thing really. You can choose to wait until you're done with the whole unit to do past papers, or you can do questions by topic (physicsandmathstutor.com). I usually do questions by topic before I do past papers because otherwise I tend to forget the previous content (I always forget to go through my flashcards... ) but again it's very much up to you. Mark your answers harshly and make flashcards (YAY!!) for anything you get wrong - have the question on one side and its model answer on the other. Go through these whenever you feel like it (try at least once a week).

Keep a record of your marks on past papers, at first you probably won't do extremely well and that's perfectly ok. You should see improvements with every paper and eventually they'll become really easy (have faith). Don't be afraid to do a paper more than once, and if you feel like you need more practice once you're done with all the AQA papers (should take some time) do take a look at Edexcel/OCR papers ignoring the questions that are obviously not in your spec.

I think that's about it, if you have any other questions (or if I failed at explaining something above) do let me know! Good luck
The amount of effort that you have put into this answer is incredible. All of your techniques were encouraging and very useful and I plan on working on all of them. Thank you sooo much!!!
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