Three days to go…..

For those students following the EdExcel IGCSE Biology course there are now just three days to go until the paper 1.  This is the two hour exam covering all the specification (with the exception of the handful of content points in bold).  If you started revision early enough, you should know be feeling confident that you have the knowledge and understanding needed for whatever challenge the examiner might throw at you.  So how best to use your time in the final few days…?  It is a tricky question as the answer will vary for different people – you must always do what you think is best for you and your chances.

But if it were me, I would be trying to do the following:

  1. Have a go at as many past paper questions as possible over the weekend.  Answer the questions under exam conditions, then mark them yourselves using the mark schemes available online.  Pay particular attention to marks lost due to poor reading/interpretation of the question or poor-exam technique.
  2. Prepare yourself for the questions that you “know” will come up on Tuesday.  It is almost certain that there will be a genetics question to make sure you remember how to set out genetic crosses correctly.  There is always a graph to plot and questions asking you to describe the pattern in a set of results.  How can you ensure you always get full marks on these questions which require no biological understanding to answer?
  3. Look at the experimental design questions and continue to practise them.  Check over all the required practicals mentioned in the specification and ensure you understand how they work.

Finally on Monday night, please get an early night so you are refreshed and ready for a 2 hour paper.  There is no point doing hours and hours of last minute cramming as it simply doesn’t work.  If the Biology exam were like a Spanish vocab test then I would encourage you to spend four hours before the paper going over and over the material….. But your exam is going to require you to interpret data, to make suggestions and come up with explanations for things you haven’t seen before.    You cannot think clearly or concentrate fully on reading the question when you are exhausted.  So if you decide to cram, the chances are that many more marks will be lost through tiredness than will be gained by any short-term memory gains.

Please go to bed at a normal time on Monday night and wake up at a normal time on Tuesday morning.

And the very best of luck to you all!

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