Post-16-student
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I am currently studying a level biology AQA board and I am really confused with revision. I have no clue what sources are better to use in comparison to others. I have both the AQA textbook and CGP revision guide. I use my textbook for notes as the CGP has quite brief descriptions. Can I have advice from anyone who has studied AQA biology or has knowledge on how to revise for it. What book would you recommend? How did you make your notes? How do you get the top grades using the notes, question papers and mark schemes? Thank you
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by Post-16-student)
I am currently studying a level biology AQA board and I am really confused with revision. I have no clue what sources are better to use in comparison to others. I have both the AQA textbook and CGP revision guide. I use my textbook for notes as the CGP has quite brief descriptions. Can I have advice from anyone who has studied AQA biology or has knowledge on how to revise for it. What book would you recommend? How did you make your notes? How do you get the top grades using the notes, question papers and mark schemes? Thank you
The problem I've found with the resources is that the textbook contains too much information and the CGP guide doesn't go into enough detail for the top grades. You also need to remember that note-taking from scratch is very time-consuming.

At the moment, i'm using the notes from here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5062288, and I add a bit more detail to these using the AQA textbook, but make sure you don't go overboard with how much info you add.
The key to biology A-Level is to learn the sufficient content quickly and then start doing as many exam questions as possible.

After I learn my notes, I do the 'questions by topic' from Physics&MathsTutor, so I can identify weaknesses in any areas within each topic. Make sure you learn the specific words that mark schemes accept because the exams are marked harshly for this subject. Afterwards, try doing full past papers under timed conditions to practice for the real thing. Ensure you do the specimen and 2017 papers as well, as these give the best insight into how the actual paper will be.

Don't feel disheartened if you're not scoring high percentages in Biology exams because the grade boundaries are usually quite low compared to other subjects as the 'application-style' questions can be challenging.
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
The problem I've found with the resources is that the textbook contains too much information and the CGP guide doesn't go into enough detail for the top grades. You also need to remember that note-taking from scratch is very time-consuming.

At the moment, i'm using the notes from here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5062288, and I add a bit more detail to these using the AQA textbook, but make sure you don't go overboard with how much info you add.
The key to biology A-Level is to learn the sufficient content quickly and then start doing as many exam questions as possible.

After I learn my notes, I do the 'questions by topic' from Physics&MathsTutor, so I can identify weaknesses in any areas within each topic. Make sure you learn the specific words that mark schemes accept because the exams are marked harshly for this subject. Afterwards, try doing full past papers under timed conditions to practice for the real thing. Ensure you do the specimen and 2017 papers as well, as these give the best insight into how the actual paper will be.

Don't feel disheartened if you're not scoring high percentages in Biology exams because the grade boundaries are usually quite low compared to other subjects as the 'application-style' questions can be challenging.
Thank you very much, it’s just Iv used aqa textbooks for my notes and now that iv had a look at the CGP ones they seem to be more understandable. I had my specification when I was making notes so I didn’t miss much out and everything was within the book but I’m not sure about other topics.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by Post-16-student)
Thank you very much, it’s just Iv used aqa textbooks for my notes and now that iv had a look at the CGP ones they seem to be more understandable. I had my specification when I was making notes so I didn’t miss much out and everything was within the book but I’m not sure about other topics.
Sorry but I don't understand what you mean by "i'm not sure about other topics".
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
Sorry but I don't understand what you mean by "i'm not sure about other topics".
Iv had a look at one topic using the CGP book and compared it to the specification, this was the start to chapter 4 and everything within the spec was included in the CGP book. I’m not sure wether the rest of the book contains this much detail and contains everything from the spec.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by Post-16-student)
Iv had a look at one topic using the CGP book and compared it to the specification, this was the start to chapter 4 and everything within the spec was included in the CGP book. I’m not sure wether the rest of the book contains this much detail and contains everything from the spec.
The specification is very broad about A-Level Biology; students complain every year that some exam questions required knowledge that wasn't stated in the specification, so just basing your notes on the spec won't do you any good.
The CGP book only covers what's absolutely necessary- therefore it sacrifices detail. Learning the content from just the CGP guide will not get you above a grade B in A-Level Biology. A-Level Biology differs from GCSE as you are required to have a thorough understanding of each topic and not just know the content alone. This is why the textbook is recommended for Biology.

Take it from me: In my first Y12 exam, I only used the CGP guide to study because I thought i'd be able to learn the content quickly because of how short the chapters were in this book- I scored a D in that exam. After talking to students who achieved A* & A grades, I changed up my technique and did what I told you in my initial reply. I haven't dropped below an A grade in a while now
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
The specification is very broad about A-Level Biology; students complain every year that some exam questions required knowledge that wasn't stated in the specification, so just basing your notes on the spec won't do you any good.
The CGP book only covers what's absolutely necessary- therefore it sacrifices detail. Learning the content from just the CGP guide will not get you above a grade B in A-Level Biology. A-Level Biology differs from GCSE as you are required to have a thorough understanding of each topic and not just know the content alone. This is why the textbook is recommended for Biology.

Take it from me: In my first Y12 exam, I only used the CGP guide to study because I thought i'd be able to learn the content quickly because of how short the chapters were in this book- I scored a D in that exam. After talking to students who achieved A* & A grades, I changed up my technique and did what I told you in my initial reply. I haven't dropped below an A grade in a while now
Thats really good thank you, how much textbook notes would you recommend after using the module notes you’ve sent me. Iv had a look and they seem to be quite detailed so what other notes would you recommend me to use?
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(Original post by Post-16-student)
Thats really good thank you, how much textbook notes would you recommend after using the module notes you’ve sent me. Iv had a look and they seem to be quite detailed so what other notes would you recommend me to use?
Before you learn the module notes, add a bit more to them using just the AQA textbook
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
Before you learn the module notes, add a bit more to them using just the AQA textbook
Thank you very much, you have literally helped me a lot. I have notes I made from AQA textbook previously so il use them along with the module notes for the first few chapters and for the remaining two chapters il make notes with the AQA textbook and then make the flash cards using module notes.
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Hi I came across this forum, were the module notes the best approach in revising and ignorance I learn these alongside practice questions, will I achieve an a?
(Original post by Infinite Series)
Before you learn the module notes, add a bit more to them using just the AQA textbook
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(Original post by Anonymous_000)
Hijab camel across this forum, were the module notes the best approach in revising and ignorance I learn these alongside practice questions, will I achieve an a?
Before using the module notes, I think it's best to add a bit to them using your textbook. This is because the new exams require more detail and can ask you questions from parts of the textbook that have never appeared on any previous exams. Using only module notes and past paper questions was a brilliant technique for the old spec, but it's no longer very effective.

Try to be as thorough with the content as you can. Ensure you read and understand every page of your textbook.
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
Before using the module notes, I think it's best to add a bit to them using your textbook. This is because the new exams require more detail and can ask you questions from parts of the textbook that have never appeared on any previous exams. Using only module notes and past paper questions was a brilliant technique for the old spec, but it's no longer very effective.

Try to be as thorough with the content as you can. Ensure you read and understand every page of your textbook.
I mean Iv been told that it’s all about exam technique, also arnt these for the mean spec. I made notes on them and everything within these notes aren’t included in the spec, some points were missing in which I added on.
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(Original post by Anonymous_000)
I mean Iv been told that it’s all about exam technique, also arnt these for the mean spec. I made notes on them and everything within these notes aren’t included in the spec, some points were missing in which I added on.
Exam technique is useful, but trust me I was told this and did the 2019 exams to sadly find most questions were new even though I did soo many past papers and exam questions. So doing practice questions is useful, but I would spend more time understanding the content.
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
Exam technique is useful, but trust me I was told this and did the 2019 exams to sadly find most questions were new even though I did soo many past papers and exam questions. So doing practice questions is useful, but I would spend more time understanding the content.
Oh ok thanks, did u do aqa? If so, what did paper three consist of? Was it questions based on the practicals?
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meme259
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CGP + past papers (+chemrevise) is more than enough for a*s in both a level bio and chem. I didn't even own the official textbook for chemistry and for biology I never took it out from under my bed. the textbook is poorly written, doesn't follow the spec to to the point like the cgp does, and doesn't even include the mark scheme terminology that you need to know so really its just pointless.
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(Original post by meme259)
CGP + past papers (+chemrevise) is more than enough for a*s in both a level bio and chem. I didn't even own the official textbook for chemistry and for biology I never took it out from under my bed. the textbook is poorly written, doesn't follow the spec to to the point like the cgp does, and doesn't even include the mark scheme terminology that you need to know so really its just pointless.
Thanks, For bio I use the module notes on tsr and added some from the bio textbook and for chem I use chemrevise only. Iv started practicing questions topic by topic and hope to do some past papers too this holiday before I get back to school.
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(Original post by Anonymous_000)
Oh ok thanks, did u do aqa? If so, what did paper three consist of? Was it questions based on the practicals?
Yes, AQA was my exam board. Paper 3 was a mix of mostly practicals and some paper 1/2 content. There was also an essay.
You can see in more detail what each paper consists of by reading the specification.
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(Original post by Infinite Series)
Yes, AQA was my exam board. Paper 3 was a mix of mostly practicals and some paper 1/2 content. There was also an essay.
You can see in more detail what each paper consists of by reading the specification.
Oh ok thanks, was the content in paper 3 based on the topics which the practicals Came from?
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Untamed-child
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(Original post by Post-16-student)
I am currently studying a level biology AQA board and I am really confused with revision. I have no clue what sources are better to use in comparison to others. I have both the AQA textbook and CGP revision guide. I use my textbook for notes as the CGP has quite brief descriptions. Can I have advice from anyone who has studied AQA biology or has knowledge on how to revise for it. What book would you recommend? How did you make your notes? How do you get the top grades using the notes, question papers and mark schemes? Thank you
i did my exams in this summer, i would say is use them both for example you know the purple parts those are going to help you to write the essay and get the 24/25 mark , most of biology i would say like most of the a2 content are facts and recall but understanding is very important so if you dont get it in the lesson book a time with your teacher ( if you have 2 the one you like the most) always go to them if you don't fully understand the topic thats their job to help you. i personally use both and with the AQA textbook pick out the explanations for the big mark questions thats was it then the CGP book then make summary sheets then past papers I guess oh and you dont have to feel like you know all of the content before doing the past paper. i did one first as a benchmark test then analysed it then did the same paper again. so by all means try this but find out what works best for you

and chem i didnt use the aqa textbook i found it pointless to be honest
chemrevise and cgp and past papers thats was it
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(Original post by Anonymous_000)
Oh ok thanks, was the content in paper 3 based on the topics which the practicals Came from?
38 marks: structured questions, including practical techniques. But not all the questions were associated with practicals
15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data
25 marks: one essay from a choice of two titles
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