"Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done." -Robert A. Heinlein

Do the academic disciplines that touch on science topics such as physics, chemistry, and biology baffle you? Do you struggle to comprehend complex topics of scientific matter? If so, you're not alone. Science and maths tend to be school subjects that various students struggle with in school centres around the United Kingdom.

Nonetheless, through careful revision, guidance, and the introduction of engaging study methods, topics such as biology can successfully be studied at a GCSE or A-Level, and students can actually enjoy themselves.

Without further delay, in today's article, we're going to analyse the ins and outs of reviewing biology at a GCSE stage and how a fantastic result can be achieved on final exams.

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Why Studying Biology is Important

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Through a comprehensive and extensive study of biology, students appreciate the natural world around them. (Source: Unsplash)

How does life work? 

If you've ever had the previously mentioned question, studying the topic of biology at a GCSE level will equip you with some of the fundamental details and knowledge that is necessary to contemplate some of life's biggest questions about nature and how the world functions around us.

With a focus on human biology, organisms, and the environment, the topics encompassed in the study of biology are taught with everyday relevance so students will learn about the role of life science and how it affects their daily lives and everyday activities.

Because it is known as the science of life, biology is relevant to all students and is a key transferrable subject taught at a primary and secondary school level.  Unlike topics such as School English or history, for example, which are taught in the context of the country where the student is located, biology is a universal subject that can be taught regardless of the language and culture.

No matter the age and the cultural differences that shape a person's education, biology instructs all of us about the basics of our environment.

So, no matter which country you end up living in or in which climate, through a comprehensive study of the fundamentals of biology, a reasonable understanding of how the nature around you works, how people react with natural elements and how individuals can do their best to tend and nurture the big, blue planet we live on.

Also, by studying biology, we better understand our bodies and the unique elements that make them special. 

Since multiple tests and experiments are waiting for biology students at a GCSE or A-Level stage, students can benefit from acquiring a wide range of practical skills through hands-on work. For example, experiments in the lab allow students to see how organic matter reacts to other natural elements and vice versa.

Biology is important to all, even if a career in the sciences is not the end goal, because students are encouraged to study how Biology works and how elements of science are utilised to solve problems. In addition, hypothesizing and reviewing whether or not your initial conclusions were correct or not is fantastic for honing skills such as perseverance and logical thinking.

Additionally, when exploring biology, other academic disciplines are improved, such as the following:

  • Mathematics,
  • Physics,
  • Chemistry. 

No matter how good you are at the previously mentioned topics, biology courses at a GCSE stage are designed to bring out your best and provide you with the foundations for a profession related to the sciences. For example, if you aspire to work in medicine as a nurse or doctor, biology is a great subject to have under your belt.

So, if you agree with the previous paragraphs that highlight the importance of learning biology and you aren't participating in biology courses at a GCSE stage, we highly recommend starting your revision process. It won't be difficult to find biology classes at your secondary school; all of the primary exam boards in the UK offer GCSE life-science-related programmes.

The Structure of the Current Biology Curriculum in the UK

For some, biology courses at a GCSE level may be their last formal study of scientific disciplines before they embark on a career path or learn something completely different during university. However, on the other hand, for others, it could be the start of continued studies within the field, leading the way to a profession within the sector of life sciences.

Either way, biology provides the foundations for understanding the natural world and how science is continuously changing our lives. The way it is currently structured in the UK contributes to a thorough understanding. 

Due to changes in the biology curriculum in recent years, GCSE students now can study two separate scientific subjects that are graded individually. This is a massive change compared to the former Double or Triple Science Awards that involved studying all three scientific disciplines and receiving the equivalent of two or three GCSEs at the end; this was obviously based on performance skills.

Pupils now choose one science topic to focus their academic attention on, and another taught as a more vocational subject.

GCSE Biology courses have been carefully put together to be informative whilst encouraging curiosity. The curriculum aims to develop the scientific knowledge of all students, apply quickly apply new techniques to what they observe,  and hone problem-solving abilities.

Based on the changes and the amount of information considered in the Biology GCSE topic, there is little room for boredom amongst students!

GCSE Biology Courses at Selected Exam Boards Across the United Kingdom

It's worth mentioning that biology at a GCSE level is offered by AQA, WJEC, Eduqas and OCR exam boards across the UK.  The reformed Biology GCSE, which is now graded 9-1 instead of A*-E, started being taught in September 2016.

To understand how biology topics and subjects are taught in the traditional UK classroom, below are two of the most popular exam boards for Biology GCSE.

AQA

AQA officials have worked alongside teachers to create a specification that will stimulate and motivate students. As such, they’ve introduced a range of practical and evaluative topics that are designed to answer big questions such as, how does science work?

The biology qualification from the AQA is based on a series of topics related to the living world, which is relevant to the students. The overall goal of the AQA GCSE biology courses is to help pupils understand science topics to embark on a career in the life sciences and be better prepared to explain the world in which they live.

OCR

OCR's GCSE in Biology helps students develop their biological knowledge and deepens their scientific thinking. By studying the course, students under the jurisdiction of the OCR exam board discover how key concepts in biology make sense and different theories that are relevant to biological topics.

One thing is certain, regardless of the exam board that you are studying under, the GCSE Biology course is a slam dunk!

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Hira
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Wafaa
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Connor
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Jake
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Saif
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Dr. Mahmoud
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Effectively Using Past Papers to Review Biology

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To use past papers effectively, we highly recommend doing a mock-exam when you are studying GCSE Biology. (Source: Unsplash)

While there are many ways to review biology at a secondary school level, it's worth stating that doing past papers is probably the best form of revision when preparing for a GCSE biology exam, especially if you are new to formulating exam-style responses.

For those who don't know, past papers are exams from previous years that can be reviewed to get a feel for the questions that will be asked on your upcoming test. There are past papers for all of the major academic disciplines that are studied during the GCSEs or A-Levels. 

By using past papers properly, you can work on improving your technique while at the same time heightening your confidence. Nonetheless, to use past papers effectively, there are some suggestions that students should apply. Such as? Without further ado, the following list mentions some of the best tips and tricks to use past papers successfully:

  • Do a Mock-Exam: one of the best pieces of advice that anyone can give you when reviewing past papers is to complete a mock examination. Why's that? Using a past biology paper to organise a mock exam helps you put yourself in the examination mood. You become familiar with the exam setting, such as arriving on time, bringing only a few items to the test room with you, and not talking. You can easily go through a mock exam with classmates and ask a teacher to spare some time with your parents or private tutors. By doing a mock exam with past papers, you are preparing yourself for success when studying biology.
  • Know the Marking Scheme: to use past papers efficiently when reviewing; you should know the marking scheme. Knowing what is on the marking scheme is the same as knowing what examiners are looking for when grading biology exams.  This will help you effectively communicate your responses and enhance your ability to gain extra marks by teaching you what the examiner will give you marks for and what should be avoided.
  • Review a Variety of Questions: it is greatly suggested to familiarise yourself with the common types of questions in past papers. Knowing the structure of sentences and the vocabulary frequently utilised on past papers beforehand will save you time from having to decipher complex words come exam day. Although the questions from past papers will not be on your upcoming examination, the style of question will; therefore, the more diverse variety of questions you review, the more equipped you will be.

If you need any more suggestions about using past papers, consider talking with a private biology tutor or a trusted educator.

Guides And Resources For GCSE Biology Revision

finding online resources
By taking a look at a few helpful websites, GCSE Biology students can successfully review. (Source: Unsplash)

Other than finding past papers and utilising them, there are some additional resources available to studying biology at a GCSE stage. Such as? Let's take a look at some supplementary learning info from exam boards and other educational websites.

Exam Boards

To find reliable information that you can trust, it's always a great idea to go to the source. Therefore, to locate helpful biology resources, it's suggested to look at exam boards’ websites. For example, AQA’s website has a page linking to teaching resources and documents for students to download.

On the other hand, the OCR exam board proposes high-quality resources that can be searched by qualification type and resource type; this facilitates finding correct documents for you. You can also download a skills guide from the OCR exam site to match your personal abilities to particular qualifications. This could be a worthwhile activity for those unsure who do not know where they are heading even after studying a topic such as GCSE biology.

Check out the exam board's website of the school you are attending to learn more.

Revision Websites

With so many revision websites designed to help students of all ages master different types of academic disciplines, it can be a challenge to find the right revision resources online.

Nonetheless, to make your search more efficient, the following are some of the most highly recommended sites to revise GCSE Biology:

  • BBC Bitesize: in recent years, the BBC Bitesize website has become a shining beacon for students around the UK who need to learn more about different academic disciplines. For GCSE Biology students, the course curriculum of the exam board you are studying at is organised in "bite-sized" pieces that are easy for students to digest. So please, visit BBC Bitesize for your learning needs since it makes studying biology much more engaging.
  • Revision World: another brilliant website, Revision World is a fantastic place for students to go during times of need. The Revision World website is easy to use and offers students study help in GCSE Biology. Coursework assistance, essay writing tips, past papers and many more valuable resources are available using the Revision World site.

If you're studying GCSE Biology and need a helping hand, we are sure that the previously mentioned resources are enough to set you off on the right foot.

Getting hold of revision materials online is brilliant as most resources are easily accessible at the click of a button, plus they are usually free, which is an additional bonus.

Exam Timetables And Grading

To effectively prepare students and teachers alike, timetables for compulsory exams like GCSEs are released up to two years in advance. It's worth stating that exam timetables are accessible to you or your biology tutor but are subject to amendments until the final timetables are confirmed, usually in the 12 months before the assessment period.

It's worth that the final test schedules depend on the examination board and the topic that is being analysed. 

By becoming familiar with the date of their future GCSE Biology examination, students can set themselves up for success by creating a schedule that features planning revision sessions. Visualising how many weeks are left before the exam is a fantastic way to reduce stress and not pile everything up at the last minute.

One thing is certain, be sure to plan and do everything you want to do before reaching the exam date.

All students should remember that failing to prepare signifies preparing to fail. Therefore, use the knowledge of knowing when your exam will be as an effective way to plan. Highlight key dates in your calendar and maintain your focus during those last weeks gearing up to exams.

Hiring a Biology Tutor Using Superprof to Facilitate Revision

There is a secret to academic success that not everyone knows but should. Which is? Hiring a private tutor is a fantastic way to facilitate revision and ensure that all students going through the GCSEs, no matter the subject or age, get above-average marks on their final exams.

If you hire a private biology tutor, the list below mentions a few of the advantages:

  • Personalised instruction, 
  • Helpful learning tips that are backed by experience and that will actually work,
  • The possibility to invigorate your learning journey and have it be viewed as something fun, 
  • A flexible learning schedule that works around your availabilities, 
  • The opportunity to learn with a tutor via online or in-person lessons.

The previously mentioned benefits are only a few of the many that we could highlight. The proof is in the pudding hiring a tutor for biology GCSE help is a fantastic idea that should strongly be considered by parents and teachers alike. But, where does one find an online biology tutor or one that conducts classes in-person? The answer is simple: Superprof.

With more than 17 million instructors conducting classes in 1000+ topics of interest and academic disciplines, the Superprof tutoring community has a worldwide presence. It is a major contributor to the e-learning industry.

If GCSE Biology students take classes with a Superprof, they are assured of the following:

  • Tailormade lessons that are perfect for every student, 
  • Affordable academic tuition that fits everyone's budget, 
  • A fantastic tutor/student support staff that is ready to answer any questions,
  • An easy to use lesson booking system. 

We are certain that the positive characteristics of Superprof are enough to convince you to book a remedial biology lesson to ace your GCSE test. The Superprof site currently boasts 111 GCSE Biology tutors that offer tuition in-person or online across the UK. We highly recommend refining your search to find biology instructors in major cities such as Glasgow, London, Manchester, Belfast, and Birmingham.

In conclusion, reviewing GCSE Biology is an extensive task that can easily be accomplished by considering the advice in today's article.

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Laura

Laura is a Francophile with a passion for literature and linguistics. She also loves skiing, cooking and painting.