Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    Does anyone have any advice on tackling exam questions for biology edexcel. I've started A levels in biology, chemistry and sociology. Today I had a mock for biology and I think it was last years AS paper on cellular biology. It was nothing like the questions I've practised even though I revised everything in the spec. It was full of data and analysis questions and everyone struggled. I really want to do well, I need an A.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    It's because Edexcel is a piece of **** and unless you want to be a scientist and have the natural talent for analysing data I'd suggest you just accept that you are doomed. It's not Biology, it's ****ing How Science Works ******** thrown at you with random biological stuff here and there, you'd be lucky to get 70% of the A2 specification since they love so much asking from AS like we didn't have to suffer that **** enough back in its day.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    1. Hi I think the Electrify person is certainly talking some real fact - Edexcel are a very strange kettle of fish - not only is their mark scheme sometimes completely unpredictable from the Qs, but they are often downright incorrect. Whether this is a result of poor control by the Govt (who are, as everyone knows, the worst crooks!) - anyone want to sue me, please try!) or an unfortunate follow-up of their purely money-minded political decisions is a matter of opinion.

    As far as poor 11ashh and other poor victims of schools who have, in my opinion, very unwisely or due to a wide temporal width, selected Edexcel, are concerned, the problem to be addressed is how to tackle to the best possible level this extremely illogical and unfair method of assessing knowlege of a very logical and normally easily predictable subject, invented by the Tetragammaton himself (who actually I do not believe in!).

    My advice to 11ashh and other students of biology (including those doing AQA and OCR, etc.) is to read the Q carefully twice, think about the wording, and try to work out what the examiner is looking for (very difficult with Edexcel when the examiner him/herself does not know hat they are talking about - apologies!!) - the ways to do this are:

    1. Look at the words used: "Describe" means "what can you see or observe directly?" - if it is a graph you are looking at:-

    a) what is the overall trend
    b) is the graph bottom left to top right or other way round i.e. do the dependent values (y axis) increase or decrease, respectively, as the independent values (x axis) increase?
    c) how steep is this rise or fall?
    d) What x value does it start at?
    e) what x value does it end at?
    f) does it level out at any point?
    g) if yes, where?
    h) is there any change in direction anywhere?
    i) If so, which way?
    g) where?
    h) does the line go though the origin?

    2. "Explain" means "Why?"

    a) try and work out reasons for any/all of the points in part [1] or for the particular point asked?

    b) think logically what effect the values of x could have ion the values of y. e.g. Why does a graph of enzyme action plotting product conc (y axis) against time (x axis) level out after a certain time and why is this time different if the initial substrate concentration is different? If the substrate is all used up, of course no more product can be formed - less substrate to start with = levels out at a lower y axis height = less product formed at equilibrium. If a different curve is shown for a higher temperature e.g. at 40 degrees, why does it level out at the same height as the lower temp curve but earlier? Yes, because enzyme action is speeded up by faster collisions, so more substrate/active site interactions; reaches peak earlier but at same height as lower temp = same final amount of product - If temp = 65 degrees, say, OK because the denaturation of the enzyme by heat means that after a certain period there is no more active enzyme left to collide with and act on further molecules of substrate, the highest point reached is lower (on y axis) because it is likely some substrate will never be converted to product as there is no more viable enzyme remaining.

    c) On a table of data, first, as with a graph, have a quick scan of the data (30-40 secs) to quickly glimpse what the variables are and how they have been measured from the description of the experiment. Then take a glance at the Qs followed by a deeper look at the data with a view to working out the points mentioned in [1] and [2] a) and [2] b) above.

    d) The last part is usually a suggest Q where the mark scheme has a wider scope, and if what you say is correctly using the data AND makes rational sense WITH relevance to the Q, you will get your mark(s).

    3. The number of marks assigned to each part of the Q (always given these days) usually tells you how many different correct and relevant points/ideas/factors/reasons/observations you need to gain full marks (the mrk scheme will almost always have more than the assigned no. of marks). It is a good idea to put down one more of these ideas/points etc. than the number of marks assigned to the Q as an insurance measure, as long as whatever you put down is not incorrect. If it is incorrect, you may be penalized; however, if it is irrelevant but correct, you will get zero for that item - nothing gained, nothing lost!

    Check out ALL the other techniques (the ones referring to essay Qs for the 7 or 8 mark Q only) in the attached article that I wrote a short while ago. Best of luck! M (Specialist Biology Tutor)
    Attached Images
  1. File Type: pdf Exam Tips GS LS.pdf (164.8 KB, 134 views)
    Offline

    7
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by macpatelgh)
    1. Hi I think the Electrify person is certainly talking some real fact - Edexcel are a very strange kettle of fish - not only is their mark scheme sometimes completely unpredictable from the Qs, but they are often downright incorrect. Whether this is a result of poor control by the Govt (who are, as everyone knows, the worst crooks!) - anyone want to sue me, please try!) or an unfortunate follow-up of their purely money-minded political decisions is a matter of opinion.

    As far as poor 11ashh and other poor victims of schools who have, in my opinion, very unwisely or due to a wide temporal width, selected Edexcel, are concerned, the problem to be addressed is how to tackle to the best possible level this extremely illogical and unfair method of assessing knowlege of a very logical and normally easily predictable subject, invented by the Tetragammaton himself (who actually I do not believe in!).

    My advice to 11ashh and other students of biology (including those doing AQA and OCR, etc.) is to read the Q carefully twice, think about the wording, and try to work out what the examiner is looking for (very difficult with Edexcel when the examiner him/herself does not know hat they are talking about - apologies!!) - the ways to do this are:

    1. Look at the words used: "Describe" means "what can you see or observe directly?" - if it is a graph you are looking at:-

    a) what is the overall trend
    b) is the graph bottom left to top right or other way round i.e. do the dependent values (y axis) increase or decrease, respectively, as the independent values (x axis) increase?
    c) how steep is this rise or fall?
    d) What x value does it start at?
    e) what x value does it end at?
    f) does it level out at any point?
    g) if yes, where?
    h) is there any change in direction anywhere?
    i) If so, which way?
    g) where?
    h) does the line go though the origin?

    2. "Explain" means "Why?"

    a) try and work out reasons for any/all of the points in part [1] or for the particular point asked?

    b) think logically what effect the values of x could have ion the values of y. e.g. Why does a graph of enzyme action plotting product conc (y axis) against time (x axis) level out after a certain time and why is this time different if the initial substrate concentration is different? If the substrate is all used up, of course no more product can be formed - less substrate to start with = levels out at a lower y axis height = less product formed at equilibrium. If a different curve is shown for a higher temperature e.g. at 40 degrees, why does it level out at the same height as the lower temp curve but earlier? Yes, because enzyme action is speeded up by faster collisions, so more substrate/active site interactions; reaches peak earlier but at same height as lower temp = same final amount of product - If temp = 65 degrees, say, OK because the denaturation of the enzyme by heat means that after a certain period there is no more active enzyme left to collide with and act on further molecules of substrate, the highest point reached is lower (on y axis) because it is likely some substrate will never be converted to product as there is no more viable enzyme remaining.

    c) On a table of data, first, as with a graph, have a quick scan of the data (30-40 secs) to quickly glimpse what the variables are and how they have been measured from the description of the experiment. Then take a glance at the Qs followed by a deeper look at the data with a view to working out the points mentioned in [1] and [2] a) and [2] b) above.

    d) The last part is usually a suggest Q where the mark scheme has a wider scope, and if what you say is correctly using the data AND makes rational sense WITH relevance to the Q, you will get your mark(s).

    3. The number of marks assigned to each part of the Q (always given these days) usually tells you how many different correct and relevant points/ideas/factors/reasons/observations you need to gain full marks (the mrk scheme will almost always have more than the assigned no. of marks). It is a good idea to put down one more of these ideas/points etc. than the number of marks assigned to the Q as an insurance measure, as long as whatever you put down is not incorrect. If it is incorrect, you may be penalized; however, if it is irrelevant but correct, you will get zero for that item - nothing gained, nothing lost!

    Check out ALL the other techniques (the ones referring to essay Qs for the 7 or 8 mark Q only) in the attached article that I wrote a short while ago. Best of luck! M (Specialist Biology Tutor)
    Thanks for the tips. I hope applying these tips and other exam techniques I have read up on will help with these stupid edexcel biology exams. I've been stuck on terrible grades on biology for way too long now. Literally have like 30 days until my exam, I've got to make a lot of improvements very quickly.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by carlbane)
    thanks for the tips. I hope applying these tips and other exam techniques i have read up on will help with these stupid edexcel biology exams. I've been stuck on terrible grades on biology for way too long now. Literally have like 30 days until my exam, i've got to make a lot of improvements very quickly.
    best of luck!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Just to say I'm in exactly the same situation- I'm from Scotland but my school does the English A Level exam system, and for some stupid reason our school does Edexcel Biology. It is honestly some of the most retarded stuff I have ever seen from an exam board, even the textbooks are riddled with mistakes as well as completely irrelevant content. I also completely agree that the mark schemes often make zero sense, and the question style is just ridiculous and tests very little of your knowledge but rather your ability to interpret pretty challenging data. What I would say however is that everyone in the country is in the same boat so I wouldn't worry too much- everyone I've come across has really struggled with the exam technique but that may well mean that the grade boundaries will be low when everything is marked.Good luck for the exam though! Hopefully the paper won't be too ridiculous!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Has a teacher ever helped you cheat?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.