Biology is a beautiful and diverse discipline. Ranging from the microscopic organisms at the level of cells and bacteria, to the environmental issues facing ecosystems and biodiversity, biology takes in all manner of life on earth. If you think about it this way, it’s really quite an incredible subject.
However, incredible or not, you still have to revise for your exams. And, whilst we will insist and insist and insist that trying to enjoy your subject is the key to success in your biology course, you may not be super-interested in the joys of the subject when you are stressing over your exam.
So, let’s take a little step back and take a look at some of the key resources available to help you achieve the grades that you are striving for. For those interested, we have articles on the best biology books and textbooks for revision, on the best apps and podcasts for revising biology online, and on general biology revision advice. But here, we are focusing on websites that can see your revision through to the end.
Websites are great for revision. Not only do they rid you of the necessity of carrying around your giant biology book all day long – as all the information you need can be accessed from your mobile phone.
But, moreover, they are usually designed with the aim in mind of presenting information in the simplest, most accessible way possible. And, unlike with books, they can change up the format – giving you video, audio, slideshows, interactive quizzes, and more.
This is not to knock books, mind you. Books are the indispensable resource for young scientists and students. But if you want to change up the way that you study, combining the more traditional methods with online technologies can keep you learning in different ways.
Here are some of the best biology revision websites – for both GCSE and A Level – available.
As the name suggests, A Level Biology provides revision resources for those studying towards an A Level biology exam – whether for OCR, Edexcel, or AQA. The site is used by both teachers and students, and you’ll find heaps of cool stuff on every subject from genetics to plant physiology to molecular and cell structure.
Click through to your exam board and you’ll find tailored content specifically for you. Or else, you can go straight through to past papers, mind maps, quizzes, and PowerPoints.
Some of the content is only available to premium members of the site, but even those looking for free material will find what they need.
Rather than books, try websites for studying biology.
Seneca Learning is a new site (currently in beta mode – meaning that it is not yet fully functional) that claims to double the speed at which you revise. It’s hooking students of all subjects and now boasts over 800,000 members.
The content on offer is really striking, as glossy images are combined with clear and precise information presented in bullet points. The information is presented like an interactive slideshow that you can pace yourself.
The presentations cover A Level, GCSE, iGCSE, and International Baccalaureate courses, and diverse topics from gene mutation, protein synthesis, and cell membrane to ecosystem management and sexual reproduction. Everything you need for the biology exam will be here.
Biology Resources is an online cupboard full of incredibly helpful documents, notes, question papers, discussion prompts, videos, and ideas for experiments. It also has a load of PowerPoint presentations for biology revision too.
This is mainly an option for students and teachers of GCSEs and iGCSEs – and it is actually designed with teachers in mind – but it is a helpful resource for any level of student looking to get to grips with the basics of the subject.
With good, comprehensive information on all of the biology topics in the curriculum, Biology Resources allows you to study, in depth, the organs and tissues of animals, the principal elements of the study of life, heredity, genes, and plant reproduction.
Pass My Exams is a website specialising in revision resources for GCSE science, with significant databases of notes on physics, chemistry, and biology.
All the notes come as simple text files or as animated presentations, with cute pictures and features that make the whole revision process a little more engaging.
The thing about Pass My Exams is that the content is really comprehensive, with detailed information on literally every part of the course. So, if you are after clear, compelling, and creative notes that cover everything – from enzymes to osmosis to photosynthesis – this may well be the best place to come.
With a computer, you have access to hundreds of different biology resources online.
This is one for everyone. Study Wise is a website that hosts information relevant to both A Level students and those at GCSE level – no matter which exam board you are studying for.
Study Wise works a bit differently than the other websites, as it has a variety of contributors that upload revision worksheets, notes, and questions and answers. It’s a little more like a portal to other revision resources on the internet. Whilst this means that the information is much more widely ranging, it means that the quality is not always consistent – so keep your eyes peeled.
However, with links to past papers and mark schemes, as well as a section on general study tips, it is a handy site, for any subject you are studying.
Run by the largest broadcasting organisation in the world – the BBC – Bitesize is a go-to revision resource for thousands and thousands of students across the UK and has been for many years. No matter what you are studying, you will almost certainly have come across this website in the past, and it is as good as its reputation suggests.
Whilst Bitesize is undergoing something of a renovation, with new content being developed right now, the resources available for GCSE students (the new content for A Levellers is forthcoming) are really wonderful.
Say you want to know about cell division. You can go through and select which exam board you are studying for and find pages and pages of gorgeously designed revision materials. You’ll find here everything from a chromosome to the structure of DNA, as well as everything related to this – from cloning to the nature of the nucleus.
Understand the world around you, by studying biology.
Learn Biology is a website dedicated to GCSE biology – and it is probably the best place for online biology quizzes.
The website hosts over fifteen hundred multiple choice questions, divided into lots of different specific quizzes. You have ten minutes to complete each quiz and each one gives you feedback and helpful biological information on where you went wrong (if you went wrong!). And if you don’t do as well as you want to, you can go back and do the quiz again with different questions!
Alongside the main quiz, there are keyword questions, in which you have to pick the correct word for the given definition.
S-Cool boasts seven million users – students who have revised with the website over the years. And it claims that sixty percent of its users achieved a grade above a B. It’s not a bad record, but its revision resources would be worth a look regardless.
Split into the whole raft of different GCSE and A Level topics, S-Cool provides dedicated revision banks on each. If you register with the website, once you have read the revision material, you can test yourself on it, and then receive further guides on the material that you have just covered – to make it sink in properly.
Another perk of signing up is that you can create your own revision timetable with the tasks from the website – so you know precisely what progress you are making.
Alongside these sites, which are designed for revision, you can push your studies to the next level by reading around the subject – and there are plenty of websites that can provide you with information that will fill you in on what’s going on in the actual world of science these days.
The science pages of The Guardian, The New York Times, and the BBC, just as examples, are brilliant sources of information on contemporary discoveries in science – in genetics, evolutionary theory, or neuroscience.
Reading stories that come from outside of your textbook – or outside of your school syllabus – can make the subject just a little more interesting, something that might help you reach the end of your revision period.