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A Level Biology

Planning on taking A Level Biology, any tips/advice? I know the subject is a lot of stress and requires a lot of hours of studying.
Original post by shanice m
Planning on taking A Level Biology, any tips/advice? I know the subject is a lot of stress and requires a lot of hours of studying.

Hi! I have just finished A level bio and my tips would be make sure you take notes in lessons but don’t worry if you don’t understand them the first time you write them! Be prepared to come away from lessons and practise what you have learned with exam questions as they are the best way to get your head around how you will be asked the content..which can sometimes be confusing in itself.😂 Other than that enjoy it and it has always been my favourite subject!
There's a lot of content detail to learn so how you make notes that make the content accessible when you revise for exams is very important. Stay on top of the work as you cover it.
Agree 100% with @Soph1308 that preparing for exams by practicing with past paper questions and carefully studying the mark scheme to understand what the examiner was actually looking for is critical to a good performance in Biology. You might even want to look at examiner reports to get even more insight into the questions. I can't even guess how many times people have claimed they wrote a good answer to a question but they missed out on loads of marks because they didn't provide the detail the examiner was looking for.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by gdunne42
There's a lot of content detail to learn so how you make notes that make the content accessible when you revise for exams is very important. Stay on top of the work as you cover it.
Agree 100% with @Soph1308 that preparing for exams by practicing with past paper questions and carefully studying the mark scheme to understand what the examiner was actually looking for is critical to a good performance in Biology. You might even want to look at examiner reports to get even more insight into the questions. I can't even guess how many times people have claimed they wrote a good answer to a question but they missed out on loads of marks because they didn't provide the detail the examiner was looking for.

Spot on :smile:
Original post by shanice m
Planning on taking A Level Biology, any tips/advice? I know the subject is a lot of stress and requires a lot of hours of studying.


Hi, I’ve just finished my a levels and took bio, chem and PE. I found bio much easier than chem because it’s more content-based rather than calculation-based. While there is a lot of content, if you have a good system, it’s not too bad! I probably found bio the least stressful of my subjects. I recommend making notes form the textbook ahead of the lesson. This means your lesson time is free for making further notes and asking questions to make sure you understand, rather than about learning the content for the first time. After lessons, I always made a summary of my notes, and then I copied the summary into a spaced repetition app I had, which gave me a notification to review it every so often. This was I was effectively going over each lesson’s content 3x, and then reviewing it constantly with spaced repetition. Exam questions are also important, you can ask your teacher for some on the topic you’re currently doing. And also ask your teacher if you need help!
Reply 5
Original post by shanice m
Planning on taking A Level Biology, any tips/advice? I know the subject is a lot of stress and requires a lot of hours of studying.


Mark schemes are much harsher compared to other subjects. Understanding and learning the content is the first step, but knowing how to word it in order to get the marks in an exam is really difficult. You need to allocate a lot of time to doing questions and analysing mark schemes. For the longer questions (i.e 3 or more marks) this method usually ensured full marks:

1 - Read the question and identify what topic(s) is involved
2 - Look at how many marks the question has and estimate how much you'll have to write
2 - Recall any KEY WORDS OR PHRASES linked to that topic that would apply to the question
3 - Structure your answer in a concise way, containing the key phrases and words

Got me from a B to an A*, so practice really helps.
Reply 6
Original post by Soph1308
Hi! I have just finished A level bio and my tips would be make sure you take notes in lessons but don’t worry if you don’t understand them the first time you write them! Be prepared to come away from lessons and practise what you have learned with exam questions as they are the best way to get your head around how you will be asked the content..which can sometimes be confusing in itself.😂 Other than that enjoy it and it has always been my favourite subject!

Thank you so much! You’ve calmed my nerves down immensely! One more thing, I got a 7-7 at GCSE in combined science, do you think that is essentially good enough and will I struggle?
Reply 7
Original post by bea_murray0
Hi, I’ve just finished my a levels and took bio, chem and PE. I found bio much easier than chem because it’s more content-based rather than calculation-based. While there is a lot of content, if you have a good system, it’s not too bad! I probably found bio the least stressful of my subjects. I recommend making notes form the textbook ahead of the lesson. This means your lesson time is free for making further notes and asking questions to make sure you understand, rather than about learning the content for the first time. After lessons, I always made a summary of my notes, and then I copied the summary into a spaced repetition app I had, which gave me a notification to review it every so often. This was I was effectively going over each lesson’s content 3x, and then reviewing it constantly with spaced repetition. Exam questions are also important, you can ask your teacher for some on the topic you’re currently doing. And also ask your teacher if you need help!


Thank you so much for the advice! What spaced repetition app did you use?
Original post by shanice m
Thank you so much for the advice! What spaced repetition app did you use?

It was called never forget, I did have to pay for a premium version but I think it was only about £4 a year or something?
Original post by shanice m
Thank you so much! You’ve calmed my nerves down immensely! One more thing, I got a 7-7 at GCSE in combined science, do you think that is essentially good enough and will I struggle?

My school only let students on the course with a 6 or above and I think most schools are the sane so a 7 is well within that. To get that grade at GCSE shows that you are capable as long as willing to put the work in!

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