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We all know the big EMPA is coming up. I just would like help on how to answer those style of questions. i struggle with them enourmously and cannot tell if it is just because of my lack of common knowledge. i am so bad at applying bio, so help would be amazing.
TSR Jessica
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Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you've posted in the right place? Here's a link to our subject forum which should help get you more responses if you post there.

You can also find the Exam Thread list for A-levels here and GCSE here. :dumbells:

Just quoting in Puddles the Monkey so she can move the thread if needed
(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
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HSW sucks ((
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This was something that someone posted on here and I saved.

IMO, Biology's syllabusisn't too hard. It's all fact, hence what you need to do is to get the fact inyour textbook very clear.

Next you can start by doing the past yearquestions, preferably sorted by topics so you can focus on each topic at atime. After doing a whole question, mark your answer according to markingscheme. Pay attention to how your answer differs from the markingscheme even if your answer conveys the same meaning. This is important because normally the markingscheme will have answer that is moreeffective and shorter answer thanyour own answer, or even the answer copied from textbook. This improvesanswering techniques.

After doing some past year questions, you'llprobably notice that there are certain types of questions that you can alwaysfind direct answer from textbook (hence memorisation) and some question typesthat you can't find direct answer (the suggest-why/suggest-how questions) fromthe textbook.

Obviously the former is where we can surelyget the marks from.
These question types include:
a)STATE/NAME/DRAW/DEFINE-question (normally easier mark them with * ) b)PROCESS/STRUCTURE/FUNCTION/ADVANTAGE/IMPORTANCE-question (longer answer needed, more marks awarded hence I'llmark them with ** )
The SUGGEST-WHY/HOW-questions are marked with ***.

(The no. of * denotes the degree ofuncertainty.)

A normal reading of textbook will normallyequip you with enough knowledge to answer the STATE/NAME/DRAW/DEFINITION-question (*) question.

Some definition questions are camouflaged andthey sound like they are not asking directly about the definition.

For instance,explain why Tuberculosis is an infectious disease.
But you can just answer by relating tuberculosis to thedefinition of infectious disease, e.g. ...caused by pathogen ( direct definition of disease),
...can be transferred from a person to another (directdefinition of infectious), ...causedby Mycobacterium tuberculosis/bovis (RelatingTuberculosis in the context).

To tackle the (**) question, while doing pastyear papers I will always attempt to write my own answer based on my readingFIRST. Mark. Then rewrite the answer using the all the keywords given in themarking scheme. Then you need to COMPARE between your first script and yourscript after marking.

Why? Because evenif you know what the answer is, your answer will not necessarily include theimportant mark points, or sometimes you won't even expect certainrelated-but-not-directly-related points being awarded marks. By rewriting and comparing, you can accustomed tothe answering techniques and how the marks are awarded in the marking scheme.

Also these (**) questions tend to come outmany times in the exam, so I highly recommend that you rewrite 'the perfectanswers' in papers so that you can revise in the future. I find it very usefulto group these questions into:
a) PROCESS, e.g. translocation of sucrosefrom source to sink, cyclic & non-cyclic photophosphorylation, procedure ofelectrophoresis, mitosis & meiosis etc.
b) STRUCTURE & FUNCTION/IMPORTANCE - e.g. explain how mitochondriafunction in a plant, describe how structure of xylem is suited for its function etc.
c) ADVANTAGE/DISADVANTAGE - e.g. what are the advantages ofbatch culture, im mobilised enzyme etc.
Easier (**) questions can be very general,e.g. Outline the role of antibiotics.
Some of the (**) questions are not as generalas my examples and are hence harder to answer when you first look at thequestions, e.g. Outlinethe role of antibiotics in the treatment of infectious disease, such as TB.

DON'T panic! You cantake the key points from therole of antibiotics as a frame, and add on the context of infectious disease into this frame.
E.g. ...killbacteria (role of antibiotic),
...prevent bacterial growth (roleof antibiotic), not affect human cells (role/propertiesof antibiotic),
...prevent death (roleof antibiotic with context),
...prevent transmission of disease (roleof antibiotic with context)

The top tip to answer BIOLOGY structured questionis that you can't jump from the questions to the answers straightaway. You mustanalyze the question type and break down the questions, then finally you answerthe broken-down questions according to the frames you are familiar with. The frames are you ASSETS!

OMG the thread is getting very long!

Finally, the (***) questions came out morefrequently in A2 level.
These questions are normally related to thesyllabus but are in another unfamiliar context. In this case, we can only make smart guess by, again, analysing info from the questions.Normally these questions will have a very clear context with lots of info andhence they accept quite a lot of possible answers.

For example,
The introduction of the whole question:
When preparing infertile women for in-vitro fertisation IVF, the growth andmaturation of several ovarian follicles are stimulated by giving injections ofglycoprotein hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).

(c) Recombinant human FSH (r-hFSH) can be produced by adding the genescoding for the α and β polypeptide chains of FSH to mammalian ovary cells.
Suggest why mammalian cells are needed to produce r-hFSH, rather thanbacterial cells. [1]
Upon reading the question, what do you think?
Because mammalian cells are closer to human?
Because bacterial cells are different?
But you can't put them in words like that.

What is the differencebetween bacterial cell and mammalian cell?
Why can't we use bacterial cell to produce aglycoprotein hormone?
As you keep on reading back the questions andasking yourself questions like this, you may have already known the answer - bacterial cells cannotmodify proteins into glycoproteins [1] because they don't have Golgi body [1].

Best of luck x

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