If you have just started an A Level 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 biology tuition, then you might be interested in finding out where to source the best revision guides and online materials for this subject. After all, it is nearly impossible to pass the test with a notable grade on just knowledge alone!
Below is some information on where to find such resources and how to use them to improve your technique during the exams. You may also benefit from some of our helpful tips, designed to help you to get organised before the assessment.
Dont be fooled into thinking that if you’ve completed past papers in other subjects, then you’ve acquired all the experience and techniques you need – a top Biology response will have very different criteria than an English question, for example.
Don’t get too comfy just because you have done some past papers for other subjects already – Biology revision and past papers won’t be the same as them. Photo on Visualhunt.com
Learning doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Remember also that, even if some of your classmates seem to breeze through the syllabus, they might be battling their very own demons deep down, whether that be dealing with insecurity, health problems, issues at home or anything that might cause them yo feel anxious on top of their studies. However grave your concerns, the main thing to remember is to not suffer in silence.
If it is keeping up with the content that causing you to get distressed, then you can tackle this head on by hiring a tutor to provide you with some additional help.
A tutor who specialises in the Sciences and who has relevant experience in getting students to pass or even excel in areas of the Biology A Level syllabus could be just what you need to calm your nerves and build up confidence ahead of the culmination of the course.
What’s more, your peers don’t even need to know that you are falling behind! Privately hired tutors can help in a range of ways – find more information on this below.
Aside from getting direct help with your studies, there are many other ways that you can make life easier for yourself when studying towards your A Levels, and the great thing is that many of these are actually free.
The key to learning success is to plan, so 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.
The key to good revision is planning, so make sure you think ahead about how you tackle exam revision. Photo on VisualHunt.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t feel that you have to wait until your next scheduled lesson either – most teachers have a school email address that they can be contacted on or are available to chat to during break times by knocking on the staff room door.
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! Moreover, if you vocalise your query, you might find that you get an even more detailed response than you could have found elsewhere which will stick in your brain for the duration of the course.
However, don’t forget that there are many others ways to get answers nowadays too if you missed your chance in class or if you are still searching for more expansive answers. 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 eachother, share their concerns, offer advice or simply to vent frustration about their education.
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. Past papers not only give you an idea of the types of questions you can expect come your exam, but they also help you to develop a good exam-writing style.
To pass the exam with flying colours, you really need to tick all of the boxes that the examiners are looking out for, some of which might not be things that come naturally to you (for instance, repeating all of the keywords from the question asked as your construct your response – these small but easily forgotten details are sometimes the key to getting the correct focus in a given question and therefore achieve a better mark).
Other equally helpful resources can be found on each of the exam boards’ websites as well, including information about the grading system.
For example, the Eduqas website has a Question Bank tool which enables pupils to create custom question papers in just a few clicks from a catalogue of past papers,
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.
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.
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, as mentioned above, why not download a revision app which has been developed in line with your specification for a really convenient revision solution?
Revision apps are handy because you can be sent alerts or revise whilst on the go. Photo on Visual hunt
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. If they aren’t free of charge, then you may have to pay a small sign up fee or just register your details to receive alerts and updates by email or SMS.
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.
Furthermore, although it requires a little more financial dedication than looking for help at school, in books or on online forums, you might find it useful to hire a tutor to help you to improve your level of understanding of the topics in Biology. No matter your ability or level, Superprof has hundreds of teachers offering support from a biology tutor A level to science tutors at KS1.
If you choose to go down this road, you are better off finding a tutor earlier on rather than getting close to the exam and realising that there are large gaps in your learning. That said, tutors are normally happy to schedule in sessions to help specifically with exam revision, helping you to tackle your exam in a logical and organised way.
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.