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Issues in Biology Exams

Hello everyone,

I am a Year 12 student studying A Level Biology. However, I think I may have an issue with writing more than is required for Biology tests / exams. At first, I didn't think much of it because I was never told off about it. However, recently, one of my Biology teachers posted a message stated that if you used additional paper during a Biology exam, then none of it would be marked. Therefore, I realised that this would severely affect me because this is what I have to do in order to get a good grade in Biology (so far). I am unable to find a balance: I find that when I write answers which are shorter (ie within the lines), I do not get all the marks because I miss out key points. Therefore, I have to write more to get full marks on a particular question. Also, I do Eduqas Biology, and I find it slightly annoying that they only provide one extra page at the back of the paper (and arguably for 4 and 5 mark questions they do not provide sufficient lines). I am really disconcerted now because I have a Biology Mock exam next Thursday and it would virtually be impossible for me to learn how to write concisely in such a short timeframe. I do not think it is worth trying (especially as I have to revise for other subjects too).

For future Biology tests / exams I may have, do any of you have advice to write more concise answers which score all the marks without being too excessive?

Furthermore, I find Eduqas Biology a very stressful exam board. For example, for a 1 mark question, sometimes they give the command word "Explain". However, as a 1 mark question I feel that I would not have to add too much detail, but the command word "Explain" suggests the opposite. ☹️ Also, for many questions (especially for the long answer questions), I always face internal conflict about whether to add X or Y information into my answer. If I do, I may be lucky and X and Y may be a requisite to gain full marks in a particular question, yet this would come at the cost of overwriting. However, if I didn't put X or Y information, I may be within the lines and not have to go onto the back page, but I may lose marks because I needed that information.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 1
I would check eduqas's a level in exam policies, i do not think what your teacher said is right at all. The 'extra paper' in an official exam is an answer booklet on which you add all your centre and candidate info, so, as long as you clearly indicate what question you have written about, there is absolutely no reason it will not be marked. However, writing less can help you save time, so just look at your answers carefully and cut out all parts not linked to directly answering the question. It will just take practice and you will get the hang of it.

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