Best way to revise for A-Level Biology??

Badges: 2
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
Hi all,
So I am currently in Year 12, more than halfway through all of the content needed for the first year of each of my courses (Psychology, English lit and Biology). When it comes to results from end of topic tests in class and mock exams done in the exam hall, I seem to do well in both Psychology and English lit, but despite putting the same amount of effort/time for biology, I never seem to do as well. I am currently working at an A in Psychology and a B in English lit, yet my Biology grades have fluctuated from a D to a C to and E.

I know that Biology is a HUGE step up from GCSE and with the majority of a level subjects, the content you need to remember is a lot. I'd say I revise for Psychology and Biology the same - English lit revision being different with it being more to do with interpretation rather than set information you need to memorise. For Psychology and Biology I tend to do mind maps, write notes, draw diagrams, use colour (highlighters, pens) and sometimes I watch revision videos online. My question is, however, when it comes to Biology revision I do own both the official AQA endorsed textbook (the OXFORD one) and the CGP revision guide, however, I find the textbook extremely overwhelming in that it sometimes goes off topic and covers content you do not need to know, whereas the CGP book is concise and only covers precisely what is on the specification. So, would it be better to revise from the textbook or the revision guide? I've heard from some that it is not efficient to revise from purely just a CGP revision guide and I'm wondering if this is what has been affecting my grades.

I also seem to struggle with exam technique when it comes to biology, looking through past papers I have completed it appears that I do well on the recall questions but when it comes to deeper thinking I seem to find it harder to gain the marks. On the other hand, the quality of teaching I get from my biology teachers is not fantastic, which is another factor.

Anyway, if any of you could recommend any tips/techniques on how to revise for A-Level Biology successfully I'd really appreciate it!

Thank you
Badges: 0
Report 5 years ago
First off, read the examiners reports and study the mark schemes. With biology, they're looking for certain words to tick off their boxes so make sure you include all of them.
I used revision cards to summarise topics along with mind maps, diagrams and notes. Honestly, it's all about re-crafting your class notes so that they stick in your head. Just highlighting and reading doesn't do much at all, especially with biology.
Revise from the CGP book to get your knowledge, which is vital but the AQA text book with help your deeper thinking as it goes into more detail and does go off topic. Remember that they want you to have wider knowledge, not just what's on the spec, so a quick mention of the AQA book's waffling will really help. Just don't go too off topic!!

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