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A Level Biology

Hi all
My son is doing biology ,Maths and Chemistry for A level. In the very recent parents meeting the biology teacher spoke of his performance in end of topic exams since the start of year 12 as poor achieving grades C-D.
The Maths and chemistry teachers praised him heavily predicted him A* in their respective subjects. I had a concern about his approach of studying biology which is very much based on flashcards so does not use the cornel method for example and never saw him with pen and paper on his desk. He appears to me studying for the grade not to learn. I can not stop feeling a bit concerned going forward with end of year 12 in April. He must achieve predicted grades of at least AAA to apply for dentistry course. what you suggest he needs to do ASAP to improve from the C & D grades in Biology for the coming 4 months. Must he achieve the A grade ASAP or can he evolve from here and the predicted grades will be decided based on his year 12 exams.?
kind regards
The issue with a level biology is essentially you do need to study for the grade instead of to learn.
You could know the actual biology so incredibly well, but if you don’t use the very specific words the markscheme wants then you will get no marks.

Flash cards are useful to a limited extent. The best thing he can do is a million and one past paper questions, the structure remains very similar and so do the key words they look for. A level biology is not about who understand biology the best or who understands the content the most, it’s about who can memorise markschemes and master the answering of questions to the exact standard they want.

AQA for example has an essay in paper 3, this essay is negatively marked. Meaning that you start with 25marks and for everything mistake you make marks are deducted and your marks even capped. Eg if you state ‘active transport doesn’t require energy’ for whatever reason in the stress of the moment your marks will automatically be capped at say 18, the rest of your essay could be flawless but because of that one mistake you’ve had over a quarter of your marks stripped and you won’t ever achieve them.

Chemistry is similar in regard to the markschemes are very specific however I would argue chemistry does require actual understanding (for things like mechanisms etc) whereas biology is mainly mere regurgitation. So if he’s predicted A* in chemistry he’s done the hard bit although it’s early days and year 13 content is where chemistry really does get difficult.
Original post by mass63
Hi all
My son is doing biology ,Maths and Chemistry for A level. In the very recent parents meeting the biology teacher spoke of his performance in end of topic exams since the start of year 12 as poor achieving grades C-D.
The Maths and chemistry teachers praised him heavily predicted him A* in their respective subjects. I had a concern about his approach of studying biology which is very much based on flashcards so does not use the cornel method for example and never saw him with pen and paper on his desk. He appears to me studying for the grade not to learn. I can not stop feeling a bit concerned going forward with end of year 12 in April. He must achieve predicted grades of at least AAA to apply for dentistry course. what you suggest he needs to do ASAP to improve from the C & D grades in Biology for the coming 4 months. Must he achieve the A grade ASAP or can he evolve from here and the predicted grades will be decided based on his year 12 exams.?
kind regards

I am currently in year 12 studying biology. For me the most important thing is to practise exam technique (the way it is taught at my school we do a lot of this in lesson and for homework), and becoming familiar with mark schemes in order to get the top marks as they are so specific. I am doing Edexcel A, and I did Edexcel at GCSE and the types of questions you get are quite similar but with more specific mark schemes. I also use flashcards and they are most useful when used with past questions and mark schemes so you can get the marks in the exams.
Original post by mass63
Hi all
My son is doing biology ,Maths and Chemistry for A level. In the very recent parents meeting the biology teacher spoke of his performance in end of topic exams since the start of year 12 as poor achieving grades C-D.
The Maths and chemistry teachers praised him heavily predicted him A* in their respective subjects. I had a concern about his approach of studying biology which is very much based on flashcards so does not use the cornel method for example and never saw him with pen and paper on his desk. He appears to me studying for the grade not to learn. I can not stop feeling a bit concerned going forward with end of year 12 in April. He must achieve predicted grades of at least AAA to apply for dentistry course. what you suggest he needs to do ASAP to improve from the C & D grades in Biology for the coming 4 months. Must he achieve the A grade ASAP or can he evolve from here and the predicted grades will be decided based on his year 12 exams.?
kind regards

Heya!
It seems like the flashcard method isn't the most effective way for your son to study. Perhaps he should try using a different method. Personally, I would do revision notes and mind maps. When I'm done covering the topic, I would practice questions by topic to ensure that I have understood the material :h: Practicing answering questions is one of the best ways to get ready, especially when done by topic! Study mind offers tons of free chem and bio practice questions by topic if it helps.
There are also tons of YT resources. perhaps he could check out some and see which one is the best for him :smile:

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind

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