If you have just started a GCSE Biology course in the last couple of months or you are almost a whole term (where has that time gone!) into the final year of your course, then you might be interested in finding out where to source the best revision guides and online materials for this subject.

Below is some information on where to find such resources and how to use them as well as some other helpful tips to get you organised before the assessment.

Tips For GCSE Biology Students

School isn’t easy for anybody, even those who seem so cool and confident on the outside. Some students may visibly struggle with classes whilst others might have emotional struggles to try to keep on top of… the main thing is to not suffer in silence!

This doesn't mean that your whole class needs to know that you are falling behind, but you should at least speak to your teacher and see if they can recommend any additional classes, revision sessions, TV programmes, books, websites or even Biology tutors in the area.

There are many ways that you can make life easier for yourself when studying towards your GCSEs, and the great thing is that many of them are free.

The key to learning success is to plan.

Don't leave everything until the last minute and wind up full of tension - get organised now and take inspiration from our tips below to help you with your Biology studies, including tips for revising for the Biology curriculum.

Build A Study And Revision Planner

It is never too early to start thinking about your exams, even if they are over a year away.

You can use many online tools to help you build a trusty revision planner, one of which can be found via The Student Room, but it is just as easy to create a hand-written diary if you prefer in which you can put all your school-related information.

If you opt for the paper version, you’ll need to go out and buy yourself a diary or planner, but bear in mind that this should ideally be an academic one which runs from September to September.

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Get organised well in advance and use a planner to put key dates into.
A journal or planner can help you to organise revision sessions and plan independent study. Photo credit: Irene Bonacchi via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

In this planner, be sure to write down all of your key dates, like the dates of the exams if you know them already. This will give you a goal to work towards.

Don’t forget to keep the journal up to date by putting in anything and everything linked to your Biology studies, like homework deadlines, listing revision sessions, and adding reminders (like a prompt regarding a scientific event or a suggestion to complete a past paper).

If you find it easier to create your study planner digitally, you can benefit from linking it to your mobile phone calendar and then receiving alerts without having to remember to carry around or consult your diary.

This is perfect for pupils who rely heavily on their phones as they can use the device to their advantage and to encourage learning with ease (you can even download tailored revision apps onto your phone too so you can do much of your exam preparation from your phone - see below for more details).

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout your Biology course, and don’t leave it until it is too late!

Your teacher will be more than happy to help you when you have questions about the course or the exam, by either offering you advice or by pointing you in the direction of resources to look at.

So don't sit at the back of the class wishing you had asked that question, the chances are that some of your peers are probably wondering the same thing!

However, don’t forget that there are many others ways to get answers nowadays too if you missed your chance in class. For instance, the Internet is a huge network that connects us with resources but also with people who have similar interests and who can offer helpful discussions.

Forums like the one found on The Student Room are specifically designed for students to interact with each other, share their concerns, offer advice or simply to vent frustration about their education.

You may find that pupils one year ahead of you can offer you some friendly suggestions regarding the course but do remember that your exam could be quite different to theirs due to the recent changes so don't take their word on absolutely everything.

Make Use Of Biology Past Papers

As your teacher will no doubt have told you, past papers are one of the best forms of revision that you can do in the run up to exams. But what about when your particular exam has never been set before?

Regardless of the changes to curriculums and grading system, the content of Biology remains the same. It’s not like the answers to scientific questions change from one year to the next!

While some of the structure will have changed, you can bet that many of the questions will share strong similarities with the questions you will be faced with come next year or the following year when you sit down to take your exam.

As such, don’t be put off using past papers to work on your exam technique, but just bear in mind that the exam you take won’t follow the exact same flow. Going over some of the essential Biology vocabulary is also very important as it helps to prepare you to give sophisticated answers that will impress the examiner.

Use past papers to your advantage before the exam.
Past papers are a great way to practice and improve your exam technique. Photo credit: Alex France via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

Hire A Biology Tutor

Furthermore, although it requires a little more financial dedication, you might find it useful to hire a biology tutor to help you to improve your level of understanding of the topics in Biology, rather than getting close to the exam and realising that there are large gaps in your learning.

Tutors are particularly useful if you are falling behind for any reason, if you want to ensure a better grade or if you have specific requirements to meet in order to study Biology at the next level. Visit Superprof for more information.

Find a biology tutor a level.

Guides And Resources For GCSE Biology Revision

The Boards

Helpful resources can be found on each of the exam boards’ websites.

For example, AQA’s website has a page linking to teaching resources as well as documents for students to download.

OCR, meanwhile, proposes high-quality resources which can be searched by qualification type and resource type, to help you find the right documents for you. You can also download a skills guide from their site to match your personal skills to particular qualifications. This could be a worthwhile activity for those unsure where they are heading.

Reminder: Do not miss the past papers, which as you now know can be a great help when it comes to preparing for exams.

Revision Websites

If you have not yet come across it, be sure to visit BBC Bitesize for your learning needs throughout the course.

This website, dedicated to UK students of all ages and taking a variety of exams, will help to break down the topics in an easy way and will additionally make learning that little bit more fun.

Online resources and revision guides are often readily available.
The great thing about using online resources for revision is that they are usually free. Photo credit: GoodNCrazy via Visual Hunt / CC BY

As well as BBC Bitesize, Revision World is a fantastic place for students to go during times of need. This easy to use website offers students study help, coursework assistance, essay writing tips, past papers and many more valuable resources to make revising easy and enjoyable.

Finally, for a really convenient revision solution, why not download a revision app which has been developed in line with your specification?

Apps like Memrise are recommended by teachers as they offer activities, flash cards and other useful revision tools to help students prepare for exam. And what's more, they can be installed on a mobile device and then accessed from absolutely anywhere and at any time. So if you happen to be away, you can still revise without having to take piles of textbooks away with you!

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 (bonus!).

Be cautious, however, of any resources that you find on unofficial websites as their suitability for your course cannot be guaranteed. Also, you can never know who wrote them, if they are even specialised in Biology and what their purpose for writing them is.

If you can, try to stick to official sources like educational sites and materials produced by teachers, examiners and other specialists.

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