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Author Topic: My Tips for Getting 45+ in Biology  (Read 11438 times)  Share 

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My Tips for Getting 45+ in Biology
« on: December 29, 2018, 07:09:05 pm »
Hi everyone!

So I've never posted on here before, but I recently wrote a huge list of tips for my friends doing biology so I thought I'd share it with the world! I achieved a raw 48 this year in biology as a year 11, so hopefully someone might appreciate my two cents on the topic. Here we go:

1. Use edrolo! Itís actually quite good for biology, the lecturer is amazing. Some of my personal favourites are the mitochondrial DNA and monoclonal antibodies videos. Lots of the diagrams found in the videos are great summarised visuals of huge chunks of content. The immune cells diagram is a great one to print out.

2. If you were to do anything on the holidays, start working through biozones. Theyíre very useful for introducing topics before you learn them in class, because the information provided at the top of each sheet is very concise. It guides you through a few questions which usually arenít too difficult, which is why itís great when youíre just starting to learn the content and arenít super confident yet. Lots of people I know neglected them, but I think they were great. Clearly doing them worked for me. Especially for those of you in year 12 this year, if you have a teacher which requires you to submit them, youíll get very stressed if you have 50 to do in 2 days. Do them in advance, do them as you go.

3. Please make sure you fully know and understand Unit 3 Outcome 1. If you understand this, everything else in the course will be so much easier. The rest of the course heavily builds on this topic. Donít be discouraged if you find it difficult in the first month or so! I struggled so much at the beginning, and was seriously regretting choosing the subject. It turned out alright for me :í)

4. In the Evolution outcome, lots of the short answer questions are extremely formulaic. Learn these formulas and youíll get easy marks. Just make sure you watch out for any variations where they change the situation slightly. EXAMPLE(Allopatric speciation): Two groups of a population are separated by by a physical barrier (1). As they are in different environments, they are subject to different selection pressures (1). Over time, the two groups will accumulate different mutations (1). Eventually, if the barrier is removed, members of the two populations will not be able to interbreed to produce viable offspring (1). ó That would be your basic answer, which youíd adapt to each individual question.

5. Time isnít an issue in biology. At least it wasnít for me. One regret I have is not properly checking through my SACís with me extra time. I missed so many silly mistakes. Use spare time to thoroughly check through your answers. Re-read the question. Highlight the stems.

6. If you ever have to draw a diagram, make sure your arrow exactly touches the thing itís pointing to. If you donít, you will lose the mark. The marking is very pedantic.

7. Revise from the study design. I think thatís the most efficient and effective way to do it. They actually arenít allowed to test you on anything thatís not on it, so if you use it you know you wonít be missing anything. My advice would be to go through each dot point and make a set of notes on it and/or write everything you know so that you can find gaps in your knowledge.

8. I donít recommend the classic memorisation study techniques e.g. flashcards. I think because biology is notorious for being Ďcontent-heavyí, itís assumed that all you need to do is memorise all the content. What youíll realise as you go through the course is that everything is connected, therefore you have to understand it. If you only know each piece of information in isolation which arises from memorisation, you wonít have the ability to apply it to other parts of the course. Practice questions, practice SACís, practice exams. Theyíre the way to go. They do take the most effort, but doing them will be so beneficial to you. At the end of the day, the exam (which is worth a whopping 60% of your study score) not only measures your proficiency content-wise, but tests how well you can answer questions. You wonít have everything you need if you learn the content via memorisation. Knowing how to answer questions is a skill!

9. Exam markers look for specific terms in your answers. As a general rule, short answer questions requires as many sentences as there are marks allocated. Further though, to ensure you get the marks, there should be a Ďbuzzí term in every sentence. Donít just describe the process, name the process! If you write an elaborate answer about the Krebs Cycle, but donít say itís the Krebs Cycle, you probably wonít get the mark. There are no half marks in VCE.

10. Every time you get something wrong, write the correct answer somewhere. Thereís no point in marking an answer wrong if you donít learn how to do it correctly. Also keep a list of things youíre unsure about, that way you can effectively target your revision in the places you need it most. You can cross items off when you feel confident, providing a nice sense of satisfaction and accomplishment :). I recommend keeping a seperate notebook for errors and things you are unsure about. I did this during my exam revision, and I wish I had done it for SACís too.

11. There is not as much content in biology as meets the eye! I know all the information can be overwhelming at first, but once you take the time to learn it, the information all fits together like a puzzle in your mind, condensing naturally as you understand it. The main culprits of this are mutations, immune cells, and human evolution. Mutations for example. You see the list of all of them and think, yep ok Iím never learning this. Once you do learn them, theyíre simple. Lots of mutations tell you exactly what they are in their name, so you donít even  really have to know them. A block deletion mutation is exactly what youíd expect it is. A chunk of DNA thatís deleted. See, easy! But again, thatís why itís so important that you understand the content. The more you understand biology, the less space it will take up in your busy brain. ALSO, 80% of the stuff in those huge textbooks is totally irrelevant and not worth your time as they often extend beyond the study design.

12. From my experience, the best way to answer MC questions is by a process of elimination. Cross out answers which contradict your knowledge, and should only left with one or two options. I also think itís the best method to protect against silly mistakes in this section.

13. Honestly, it might sound stupid, but I believe a significant part of my success came from the fact that I appreciated the content. Biology is amazing, and will change the way you see the world. If you approach the subject wanting to learn about how things work, it will be much easier to absorb the content. Donít let the pressure of marks and VCE take away the real point of learning. Once you finish chapter 1, you should look at oils and be able to appreciate the fact that itís in a liquid state because its phospholipids are unsaturated. Transfer your knowledge and apply it to the real world, it will really take your understanding to the next level, which is really the difference when it comes to those 40+ study scores.

So those are all of my tips and tricks for biology, I really hope this makes the year easier and less stressful for you. Hereís to hoping that you achieve your dream study score, and believe me, you can do it. Someone has to be the person who gets 50, why canít it be you?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 07:17:18 pm by cheyenneparente »


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Re: My tips and tricks for biology 3/4
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 07:18:15 pm »
This is a great compilation of tips and iím certain future students will benefit greatly from this. Cheers for the contribution.
Also great to see a fellow Cory student here
2018: ATAR: 99.35
English: 44
Methods: 43
Further Maths: 50
Chemistry: 46
Legal: 40
2019: Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine @ Monash


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Re: My tips and tricks for biology 3/4
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 07:27:49 pm »
Love it! ;D
Have added it to the Useful bio resources thread.

Hope to see you around here next year! :D
2019: B. Environment and Sustainability/B. Science @ ANU
2020: Just Vibing
2021: B. Paramedicine/B. Nursing @ ACU Canberra


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Re: My Tips for Getting 45+ in Biology
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 08:06:16 pm »
great tips for biology. Love biology and try to understand not memories that is the main idea. Great tips thanks for your post.


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Re: My Tips for Getting 45+ in Biology
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 06:46:42 pm »
For the error book, did you write questions your struggles within the textbook or questions from the practice exams? I am thinking to use this technique. :)


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Re: My Tips for Getting 45+ in Biology
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2021, 12:34:35 pm »
hi thanks for the advice :)
I am actually doing bio 3/4 this year and was just wondering if you had used a tutor?


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Re: My Tips for Getting 45+ in Biology
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2022, 09:43:33 pm »
Hi,! These tips are really helpful. I'm doing 3/4 bio rn and our teachers dont disclose any information as to where we might stand in comparison to the rest of our cohort (e.g. an average). For context, I go to a selective school and for Unit 3 I've averaged about 80.5% from Sac 1 and Sac 2. Ig my question is how can I try to estimate a study score so that I'm not completely shocked when they get released?