biology learning resources

Read this if you have just finished year 12 and are worried about your grade

So, you’ve just about done a year of A level Biology.  The end of term is approaching fast or maybe you’re already on holiday.  But – maybe you’ve had an end of term exam, and maybe you didn’t get the grade you wanted.  You’re looking at university options and thinking “I need an A or a B in Biology and not sure if I’m going to get one”.  What can you do next?

First of all – don’t panic.  There’s still nearly a year to go until your exams.  There’s time to improve your exam technique.  Also – you need to have a break over the summer.  However if you wanted to spend a bit of time consolidating this year’s knowledge, here’s a few suggestions.

If you are an AQA student – download the “year 12 checklist” from the bottom of this page:  Sorry I have not made one for OCR / Edexcel but it would not be too hard for you to copy the format and use the topics from your own specification.

It’s a list of the topics that you will have studied, with some tickboxes.  First task is to make sure that you have notes or access to information for each topic.  You can reference to the checklists for each topic, they are at the top of the A level worksheets page.  If you have a file, it’s worth sorting it out now.  Get some dividers, put all your worksheets and notes in the relevant section and use the checklist as an introduction.

If you have missing notes there is probably no need to write some out, unless you really want to, as long as you have access to the information in a textbook or revision guide.

The next columns in the checklist ask you to read textbook chapter and complete summary and end of chapter questions.  This will depend on your access to a textbook – some schools give online access which is fine.  If you have nothing, it would really be worth buying at least a revision guide.

The next column asks you to “complete exam questions”.  This is very important – as you will no doubt have realised by now, the learning of knowledge for Biology A level is only half the picture – application of knowledge is very important.  The more past paper questions you attempt, the better you will get at it.

Unfortunately with a new course there are a limited number of specific past papers available.  For AQA – on their website you will find a set of specimen papers for A level, it’s also worth looking at the AS ones as the material is the same.  There are also the 2016 AS papers available.  You can also find relevant questions in the old specification material.

The final column for each section is for a “comment”.  I’m thinking you could put things in here like “I am happy with this section now”, or “I understand this but need to revise it again” or “I am very confused by this topic and will ask my teacher about it in September”.

As always – there are lots of links on here to relevant sites for each topic, sometimes watching a video or completing a quick quiz can be helpful.

If you have any other suggestions or questions please do leave a comment below.