Evil Homer
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It's Exam Cram 2019!

This half term we have an amazing offer for you all currently working through your exam season. Ask your exam board the questions you need to make that final push through your revision. That's right, this half term we are offering you the chance to talk to your exam board and get the help you need this half term on TSR. This thread is for the 28th of May 2019 or in other words........Biology Day!

Post below your questions and AQA will reply! Ask about specific issues you are having with your revision, topics that you are struggling with or anything about the exams and the exam format themselves! Unfortunately there are some rules so we can make this thread work for everyone

  1. No asking what is in the up and coming exam, the exam board won't answer no matter how desperate you are!
  2. No asking for low boundaries! This isn't up to how the examiners are feeling on that day. Questions around grade boundaries are fine though
  3. Keep it civil !


You can start getting your questions in now and AQA will be come through and answer them Good luck for the rest of your exams guys!
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SarcAndSpark
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Some questions about GCSE exam technique:

1) How important is spelling of key terms? Will marks be lost due to poor spelling?

2) In QWC questions, is it ok for candidates to bullet point answers? Can you get 6 marks if you use bullet points? What about using a table on e.g. evaluation questions?

3) Where does candidates exam technique most often cause them to lose marks on science papers?
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AQA Exam Board
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Marks aren't lost for poor spelling unless it is a particular specific science word like glycogen and glucagon - we accept phonic spelling most of the time
there are no QWC questions any more there are now extended response questions and yes they can write in bullet points or in a table your teacher should have told you this
exam technique - read the question carefully, look at the command word and address this and underline key words and points - any maths show your working
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by AQA Exam Board)
Yes they can write in bullet points or in a table your teacher should have told you this
I've seen things online, including from people who claim to be examiners which suggest that it would be difficult to gain full marks on e.g. a 6 mark evaluate question if the answer was given fully in bullet points.

Can you clarify this?
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AQA Exam Board
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I've seen things online, including from people who claim to be examiners which suggest that it would be difficult to gain full marks on e.g. a 6 mark evaluate question if the answer was given fully in bullet points.

Can you clarify this?
No this is not true there are lots of examples of student responses using bullets getting full marks - always be careful of people saying they are examiners , all this means is that they marked papers at some times not necessarily now , teachers have access to all our training so ask your teacher if your are not sure
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Some questions about GCSE exam technique:

1) How important is spelling of key terms? Will marks be lost due to poor spelling?

2) In QWC questions, is it ok for candidates to bullet point answers? Can you get 6 marks if you use bullet points? What about using a table on e.g. evaluation questions?

3) Where does candidates exam technique most often cause them to lose marks on science papers?
Answering your questions in turn:
1) Spelling is important, especially of scientific terminology however Examiners will try to give marks for answers that sound correct.
Be careful that the word you write cannot be confused with another word and that it is relevant to the question asked.
2)There are no QWC questions any more. Extended writing questions require that you write a sequenced, logical response to the question - bullet points are fine, as long as the sequence of the bullet points is clear, correct and answer the question asked.
3) One of the most common exam technique errors is not reading the question carefully, especially regarding the command word used and making use of information provided in the question.
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Jordan16167171
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Does the A-Level biology exam always have extended response questions at the back of the paper? Or can they be at the front/middle.
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ComicalUsername
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What does a good 25 mark essay look like in paper 3 of a-level biology
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AQA Exam Board
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(Original post by Jordan16167171)
Does the A-Level biology exam always have extended response questions at the back of the paper? Or can they be at the front/middle.
These questions will be placed at the end of A-level Biology papers. The specification states that 15 marks will be devoted to extended response/comprehension on A-level papers 1 and 2 respectively, and a 25 mark essay will be on A-level Paper 3. Those marks will always be found at the end of those respective papers - PR
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Jamessmithh
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1) What is the maximum amount of six-mark questions that could come up on a triple science gcse biology paper?
2) Is it true that some content from paper 1 may be examined in paper 2?
3) Is there a limit to how much grade boundaries can change from one year to another?

Thank you very much in advance.
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AQA Exam Board
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(Original post by ComicalUsername)
What does a good 25 mark essay look like in paper 3 of a-level biology
An essay doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ all the way through to reach 25 marks. However, your response does need to hit the following criteria to hit the top level of 21-25 marks:

Detailed and comprehensive A-level content that is relevant to the question – showing evidence of knowing/understanding the subject content beyond GCSE level is important here.
Makes clear links between several different topics (at least four) and the theme of the question ie if the essay is about ‘the importance of…’ then the examiners are looking for explanations as to why those topics of biological content you’ve written about are important.
No significant errors – by this we don’t mean a spelling mistake or slight slip in a sentence, we’re talking a reasonable chunk of written content that is biologically incorrect.
No irrelevant material – by this we don’t mean just a sentence, we mean a reasonable chuck of written content that just isn’t relevant to the title of the essay.

In addition to this, in order to achieve the top two marks (24 and 25) the response also needs to show evidence of reading beyond the specification content. This evidence also needs to be presented to a sufficient level too ie to at least an A-level standard - PR
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The_JoKeR
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Can there be questions worth 5 marks or more in A-Level paper 2? Or is that only in paper 1, at the end, and the paper 3 essay?
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(Original post by The_JoKeR)
Can there be questions worth 5 marks or more in A-Level paper 2? Or is that only in paper 1, at the end, and the paper 3 essay?
Yes, there might be questions worth 5 or more marks in either the AS or the A-level Paper 2. You can see examples of this in some of our past papers, such as the June 2018 AS Paper 2 or the June 2017 A-level Paper 2. You can download these from our website, here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/scie...ment-resources
JB
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castlel
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What would you give as advice for walking into the exam hall and opening the paper as I easily stress and then panic about how to answer questions. Normally, I go through the paper and find questions I like first. I also panic about the amount of lines you give in the paper to answer, we don't have to use all the answer space do we?
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(Original post by Jamessmithh)
1) What is the maximum amount of six-mark questions that could come up on a triple science gcse biology paper?
2) Is it true that some content from paper 1 may be examined in paper 2?
3) Is there a limit to how much grade boundaries can change from one year to another?

Thank you very much in advance.
The is a minimum of 10% of the marks on the foundation tier for the award (both papers) and a minimum of 15% of the marks on the higher tier for the award (both papers) for extended response questions . So this would look like a number of questions and the examiners try to spread them so there some on each paper .

Yes it is true that some of the content is assessed on both papers , this content is what we call the fundamental biological concepts and principles which you can find the detail about half way down page 15 of the biology spec in the subject content .

There is no limit to how much grade boundaries can change from year to year. They may fluctuate but as the papers are written by a long standing experience examining team ,who are writing question to meet the same assessment objectives , maths skills , content and practical skills, we wouldn’t expect large variations. It is impossible to tell what the grade boundaries will be till students have sat the exam and the papers have been marked as setting the grade boundaries is part of the whole awarding process.

(ER)
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(Original post by castlel)
What would you give as advice for walking into the exam hall and opening the paper as I easily stress and then panic about how to answer questions. Normally, I go through the paper and find questions I like first. I also panic about the amount of lines you give in the paper to answer, we don't have to use all the answer space do we?
Having been a teacher myself for a long time before doing this job I always told my students to take a deep breath, tell themselves ‘I’ve done my revision, I know my stuff and then open up the paper. You will see that we deliberately start the paper with easier questions which we hope will ease everyone into the exam and settle everyone down as we know this is a very stressful time for you.
Don’t worry if you can’t do a question just move on to the next bit and see if that is better, but do try to put an answer for everything as an ‘intelligent guess’ may well be the right answer.
Examiners are not trying to trick you! so use all the information they have given you to help you answer the question . You don’t have to use all the lines just what you need .
Keep calm , read the question really carefully, underline or highlight the key points and look at how many marks there are eg.make sure you put 2 points if there are 2 marks .
Good Luck
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BlueBandana
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If there is a maths question on a test and you get the answer right even without much/any working, will you get full marks?
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(Original post by BlueBandana)
If there is a maths question on a test and you get the answer right even without much/any working, will you get full marks?
Usually, if you give the correct answer to a calculation you will get the credit, even if you haven’t shown your working out.
BUT
I’d always advise students to show how you have worked out your answer. This is because if you make a mistake and somehow get the wrong answer, if you haven’t shown your working you won’t get any marks. But if you show your working the examiner will look at what you’ve done to see if there are any marks in there they can award.
Also, some questions might tell you to show your working. That is a big clue to the fact that there will be marks specifically for the working out – which means that if you don’t show your working out you won’t get full marks for just giving the answer.
(JB)
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james.relan
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The last biology paper, the 4-marker about the axoltl, did that involve talking about gills for the marks?
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username4153272
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Can topics that came up last year come up again for paper 2?
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