Should i bother making notes/flashcards in biology and jump straight to past papers?

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CA_5713
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#1
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#1
I have AQA A-level biology resits starting 11th October 2021 and I'm more or less familiar with the first 3 topics but not with the rest. Taking notes and flashcards is very time-consuming so should I jump straight to past papers and try and learn content through that?
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etohin
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read over your notes/watch videos etc just so you understand the content & then focus on the topics. there's no point in doing questions on topics you don't understand!
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CA_5713
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(Original post by etohin)
read over your notes/watch videos etc just so you understand the content & then focus on the topics. there's no point in doing questions on topics you don't understand!
Problem is i used to be a serious mess-about up until this point so i only have notes on 1-3. so u definitely recommend i just keep going and finish the notes?
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WTSBLG
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(Original post by CA_5713)
I have AQA A-level biology resits starting 11th October 2021 and I'm more or less familiar with the first 3 topics but not with the rest. Taking notes and flashcards is very time-consuming so should I jump straight to past papers and try and learn content through that?
I think you should do a mixture of both. Don't spend too long on making notes, key stuff only, then go through questions on that specific topic and you'll start to realise concepts that come up more frequently that you'll eventually get used to.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by CA_5713)
I have AQA A-level biology resits starting 11th October 2021 and I'm more or less familiar with the first 3 topics but not with the rest. Taking notes and flashcards is very time-consuming so should I jump straight to past papers and try and learn content through that?
You don't 'learn content' through doing past papers. You learn how to answer questions by doing past papers, and that's a very different thing. How much more content have you got to cover?
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CA_5713
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(Original post by WTSBLG)
I think you should do a mixture of both. Don't spend too long on making notes, key stuff only, then go through questions on that specific topic and you'll start to realise concepts that come up more frequently that you'll eventually get used to.
Sweet, that makes sense. Thank you!
Last edited by CA_5713; 9 months ago
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CA_5713
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You don't 'learn content' through doing past papers. You learn how to answer questions by doing past papers, and that's a very different thing. How much more content have you got to cover?
Ahh I do see what you mean there. I’m halfway through topic 4 so I more or less have notes on half of the syllabus. Do you reckon it’s too late to get an A at the very least?
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CaptainDuckie
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(Original post by CA_5713)
Problem is i used to be a serious mess-about up until this point so i only have notes on 1-3. so u definitely recommend i just keep going and finish the notes?

With the limited time you have, I would highly suggest you prioritise past papers and quickly identify where you’re weak on.

Repeat this cycle with each paper until you fill in all the gaps in your knowledge.
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Reality Check
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#9
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(Original post by CA_5713)
Ahh I do see what you mean there. I’m halfway through topic 4 so I more or less have notes on half of the syllabus. Do you reckon it’s too late to get an A at the very least?
No idea about the grade, because I don't know your current level, ability or work ethic. It's not possible for anyone on TSR to say, I'm afraid.

I'd crack on with using a condensed book like a CGP one to get as much content under your belt as possible. At this late stage, you're not going to realistically be able to cover all the specification, so I'd try to concentrate on the big areas. Yes, you need to do question papers, but there's no point doing tons of them when you don't even have the bare knowledge to answer them, so I'd try staggering content and exam practice to get the best results. In other words, as an example

Day 1 - topic 1 - first half
Day 2 - topic 1 - second half
Day 3 - topic 2 - first half. Exam questions on topic 1
Day 3 - topic 2 - second half. Exam questions on topic 1

...and so on.

Staggering learning and testing like this allows you to see what you've forgotten basically, so you can go back and revisit just the stuff you need to. It's also a good idea to do topic 1 exam questions (as in my example above) on day 10 and day 20.

Finally, as well as doing exam questions, you need to sit down and do at least one complete paper in timed, examination conditions. Closed book, no distractions.
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