legend1000
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Hey guys. My question is about the CIE A Level Biology board. I am currently in Year 12 and I was wondering is this exam board harder than others (AQA in particular). Also because there is so much content to learn, what is the best way to revise and then do well in the exam. Lastly do you guys know any good revision guides or resources as the actual textbook is incredibly detailed. Thanks.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Hi I have a couple of students who are doing the CIE course - my experience of it (and it is not as detailed as it could be simply because the specification for this year (my students are in Year 13 so A2 like)) is v recent - you will have one year extra knowledge of its style, exam Qs etc as you are in the year below.

The info I can share with you is as follows:-

1. The content of the syllabus is quite different in some ways from e.g. AQA in that there is coverage of some contemporary topics in some detail at a specific level e.g. you need to know the exact amino acid substituted (and by which other amino acid) in the mutation that causes sickle cell disease; you are required to have basic knowledge of the mechanism by which G protein mediates certain physiological processes, etc. This might sound difficult to start with, but if you approach biology in the way I prescribe to my students (check my earlier posts in response to Qs on biology study/revision), it will become a piece of cake, and you will thoroughly enjoy it!

2. Partly as result of the point made in 1), but also as an inherent feature, the exam Qs are sometimes phrased in a way that makes it difficult to work out what the examiner is looking for i.e. what is in the marking scheme. So I would suggest doing a lot of practise on previous papers, quite early on in relation to your exam dates for each unit, respectively.

Although the book looks "fat", if you try to understand the principles and learn to work out most of the facts, instead of just trying to memorise them (of course, some things you have to learn by rote!), you will find it much easier. As you are doing AS year, you have a lot of time to prepare and tackle the task facing you. Although it is perhaps a little more difficult to manouvre than the AQA board, if you take it step by step, and keep improving and learning from your mistakes, you will do very well!

GO FOR IT! You can do it!

Best of luck!

M (specialist biology tutor)
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legend1000
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(Original post by macpatelgh)
Hi I have a couple of students who are doing the CIE course - my experience of it (and it is not as detailed as it could be simply because the specification for this year (my students are in Year 13 so A2 like)) is v recent - you will have one year extra knowledge of its style, exam Qs etc as you are in the year below.

The info I can share with you is as follows:-

1. The content of the syllabus is quite different in some ways from e.g. AQA in that there is coverage of some contemporary topics in some detail at a specific level e.g. you need to know the exact amino acid substituted (and by which other amino acid) in the mutation that causes sickle cell disease; you are required to have basic knowledge of the mechanism by which G protein mediates certain physiological processes, etc. This might sound difficult to start with, but if you approach biology in the way I prescribe to my students (check my earlier posts in response to Qs on biology study/revision), it will become a piece of cake, and you will thoroughly enjoy it!

2. Partly as result of the point made in 1), but also as an inherent feature, the exam Qs are sometimes phrased in a way that makes it difficult to work out what the examiner is looking for i.e. what is in the marking scheme. So I would suggest doing a lot of practise on previous papers, quite early on in relation to your exam dates for each unit, respectively.

Although the book looks "fat", if you try to understand the principles and learn to work out most of the facts, instead of just trying to memorise them (of course, some things you have to learn by rote!), you will find it much easier. As you are doing AS year, you have a lot of time to prepare and tackle the task facing you. Although it is perhaps a little more difficult to manouvre than the AQA board, if you take it step by step, and keep improving and learning from your mistakes, you will do very well!

GO FOR IT! You can do it!

Best of luck!

M (specialist biology tutor)


Thank you very much for your help! You seem like a great teacher. Thanks again.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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My pleasure!
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