Struggling with A Level Biology Watch

ellasimmons24
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Does any one have any tips to manage the work load for AQA a Level Bio??? Like how to divide each section and what MEANINGFUL revision is for it ? Im currently aiming for an A but my motivation for biology is so low and I’m really not enjoying it. Do any past students have advice ?
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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.
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AlexW2000
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Past student (kinda) here. So I'm taking a gap year to resit biology so I know what didn't work for me last year. I hated learning from a book so I brought the SnapRevise course with my friend and it helps me a lot. I would also say don't focus on the knowledge bit too much, in the exam its pretty much applied and how science works so past papers are a must
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Does any one have any tips to manage the work load for AQA a Level Bio??? Like how to divide each section and what MEANINGFUL revision is for it ? Im currently aiming for an A but my motivation for biology is so low and I’m really not enjoying it. Do any past students have advice ?
AQA A level bio changed my life and i was very successful in it. the key is extreme memorisation. keep reading over and over until you not only memorise it but actually genuinely understand it. reading through the textbook for the first time could take 2 weeks, but when you know if almost off by heart you can read through it in 3 hours, and at that point you have the knowledge stored in your brain, ready to pop out of you when the exam questions come up.

the second thing is having a good teacher who teaches 1 level above the required knowledge, but there's nothing you can do about that so i cba to explain lol
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ellasimmons24
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Thank you !! Did you use the oxford textbook to memorise the content ?
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CuriousCat567
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I'm predicted an A* if that validates my advice? I split down the content by the spec, split it down into the little chunks, e.g. for biological molecules it would be monomers/polymers, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. Make the notes on the small chunk you've chosen to do for that session. Then complete the physics and maths tutor questions for that topic and then make flashcards. Flashcards consist of the content but written in the specific style that the mark scheme would likely want. There are some good resources for doing a whole module once you've covered it such as mrs millers blog. Once you've completed it for AS content, do some past paper 1 and AS papers then A2 content do the paper 2 and then finally do some practice paper 3s. Anything you don't understand watch a youtube video such as crashcourse. Make sure you know the content but in the wording that the examiners want! This is my plan anyway. Model answers help a lot but don't remember to focus on graph/mathematical skills too. Plan some 20 mark essays and get in the habit of having a random question and planning it in a short time. I hope that helps?
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Thank you !! Did you use the oxford textbook to memorise the content ?
haven't your teachers given you a specific AQA A level Bio textbook? don't use a textbook outside of the syllabus tbh.
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ellasimmons24
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(Original post by CuriousCat567)
I'm predicted an A* if that validates my advice? I split down the content by the spec, split it down into the little chunks, e.g. for biological molecules it would be monomers/polymers, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. Make the notes on the small chunk you've chosen to do for that session. Then complete the physics and maths tutor questions for that topic and then make flashcards. Flashcards consist of the content but written in the specific style that the mark scheme would likely want. There are some good resources for doing a whole module once you've covered it such as mrs millers blog. Once you've completed it for AS content, do some past paper 1 and AS papers then A2 content do the paper 2 and then finally do some practice paper 3s. Anything you don't understand watch a youtube video such as crashcourse. Make sure you know the content but in the wording that the examiners want! This is my plan anyway. Model answers help a lot but don't remember to focus on graph/mathematical skills too. Plan some 20 mark essays and get in the habit of having a random question and planning it in a short time. I hope that helps?
Thank you so much !!! I’m doing all of this and our sixth form does give exam packs on every AQA question on the topic and I’m practicing mainly data analysis bc I find that hard ! But I feel like out of all my a levels, it just doesn’t pay off. I’m predicted an A and got a B in my recent mock
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ellasimmons24
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
haven't your teachers given you a specific AQA A level Bio textbook? don't use a textbook outside of the syllabus tbh.
Yes ! I have the CGP one but we were also given an online AQA Oxford one on kerboodle. I think it’s better than the CGP one since they actually have answers
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Yes ! I have the CGP one but we were also given an online AQA Oxford one on kerboodle. I think it’s better than the CGP one since they actually have answers
ok 2 steps:

1. if the Oxford textbook is the offficial course textbook, use that as it contains everything you need for the exams.
2. pour petrol over the CGP guide and set it on fire
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CuriousCat567
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Thank you so much !!! I’m doing all of this and our sixth form does give exam packs on every AQA question on the topic and I’m practicing mainly data analysis bc I find that hard ! But I feel like out of all my a levels, it just doesn’t pay off. I’m predicted an A and got a B in my recent mock
I feel that it’s almost a pot luck with exams and if the questions are in your favour. One thing I would recommend is don’t rely completely on the course book. Although it is validated by the exam board, they don’t spend hours pouring over it and make sure it has all the content and details. So remember to cross reference it with other sources because some details will serve you well when it comes to the 20 markers.
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University of Bath
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Does any one have any tips to manage the work load for AQA a Level Bio??? Like how to divide each section and what MEANINGFUL revision is for it ? Im currently aiming for an A but my motivation for biology is so low and I’m really not enjoying it. Do any past students have advice ?
Hi there,
I am a current university student and I took biology at A-Level too (just with Edexcel, not AQA). However, hopefully I can give you some helpful tips from my experience.

- Try audiovisual learning. This is much more engaging then just reading through a textbook and I found that this was the way in which I retained information best. For example, watching revision videos explaining a topic. I have used Khan Academy and Crash Course since GCSE and still use it now at university - they cover a massive range of topics at different levels.Khan Academy also has a Youtube channel, but I've linked their website as I find it really useful - if you make an account you can track your progress on each topic, read relevant articles, watch all the videos and there's topic tests/quizzes.
- If you aren't motivated, set yourself goals or tasks and allow yourself a treat/reward for each one. For example, say that you can only go and hang out with your mates if you study topic A and do a past exam question. This way you are giving yourself a motivation to complete the task at hand. You could also try and find ways of learning that you find more enjoyable. For example, I watched loads of documentaries when studying the ecology/evolution parts of biology as I found these really enjoyable. Audiovisual learning can also be used for this, as videos such as the ones on Khan Academy are very interesting and enagaging so it makes revision less daunting.
- Find different ways to do notes, instead of just writing something over and over again. The best way I have found to study a topic, even now as university, is to write full, detailed notes with diagrams, photos etc. that are relevant. I may include information from my textbooks or online. I'll then write more concise, record card notes - when I read back through these, if I can't remember some of the more detailed info, I'll just look back at my initial detailed notes. I'll also do a record card with questions on one side and answers on the other. Since record cards are small, I can keep them in my bag and just read through them easily then quickly quiz myself with the Q&A card at the end.

I hope this has helped, and please let me know if you have any more questions,
Eryn, a second year natural sciences student
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ellasimmons24
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(Original post by University of Bath)
Hi there,
I am a current university student and I took biology at A-Level too (just with Edexcel, not AQA). However, hopefully I can give you some helpful tips from my experience.

- Try audiovisual learning. This is much more engaging then just reading through a textbook and I found that this was the way in which I retained information best. For example, watching revision videos explaining a topic. I have used Khan Academy and Crash Course since GCSE and still use it now at university - they cover a massive range of topics at different levels.Khan Academy also has a Youtube channel, but I've linked their website as I find it really useful - if you make an account you can track your progress on each topic, read relevant articles, watch all the videos and there's topic tests/quizzes.
- If you aren't motivated, set yourself goals or tasks and allow yourself a treat/reward for each one. For example, say that you can only go and hang out with your mates if you study topic A and do a past exam question. This way you are giving yourself a motivation to complete the task at hand. You could also try and find ways of learning that you find more enjoyable. For example, I watched loads of documentaries when studying the ecology/evolution parts of biology as I found these really enjoyable. Audiovisual learning can also be used for this, as videos such as the ones on Khan Academy are very interesting and enagaging so it makes revision less daunting.
- Find different ways to do notes, instead of just writing something over and over again. The best way I have found to study a topic, even now as university, is to write full, detailed notes with diagrams, photos etc. that are relevant. I may include information from my textbooks or online. I'll then write more concise, record card notes - when I read back through these, if I can't remember some of the more detailed info, I'll just look back at my initial detailed notes. I'll also do a record card with questions on one side and answers on the other. Since record cards are small, I can keep them in my bag and just read through them easily then quickly quiz myself with the Q&A card at the end.

I hope this has helped, and please let me know if you have any more questions,
Eryn, a second year natural sciences student
Thank you so much !!! You’re advice sounds really helpful and will definitely try. Also, do you recommend doing exam questions from other exam boards if you run out of your own ?
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University of Bath
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(Original post by ellasimmons24)
Thank you so much !!! You’re advice sounds really helpful and will definitely try. Also, do you recommend doing exam questions from other exam boards if you run out of your own ?
Hi again,
No problem, I'm happy to help! I did exam questions from other exam boards when I was doing my A-Levels, you jusrt need to make sure the content is basically the same - there's generally not too much variation between exam boards at A-Level/GCSE (i.e. don't deduct marks for things you aren't expected to know on your exam board). Doing questions from other exam boards is actually quite a good way of expanding your knowledge outside of your own syllabus, so you'd probably be even better prepared.
Eryn, a second year Natural Sciences student
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