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Teaching and Learning resources for A-Level Biology
All the A-level biology lessons and resources have been created by an experienced biology lecturer. So, you can rest assured you’re getting high quality resources that will really help you learn, master and succeed in your A-level biology - helping you prepare for your exams and helping you with assignments and coursework.
Enjoy learning and revising A-level biology with handwritten notes videos and Topic specific work booklets (PDFs) - which provide you with the notes from the video lessons. You can test your retention and understanding with knowledge check questions and stretch your learning with application style questioning. All knowledge check work booklets have properly written answers for you to check your answers with...
...Why is this important?
Because examiners mark schemes don’t provide you with properly structured answers - just key terms that examiners look for. What you write must be in context and well written (you can get marks deducted if what you write make no sense). So, by seeing properly written answers you’re more able to start constructing your own ready for the exams - or structuring paragraphs properly for your assignment work.
Actively engaging in each biology lesson will ensure deep learning is taking place, and a complete understanding of biological concepts is embedded. Work through the content on learnbiology.net diligently and you will truly master your A-Level Biology!
Good Luck with your teaching / learning,
Frankie - learnbiology.net
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Is A-level biology hard?
Why is A-level biology so hard?
Because it’s more about the application of knowledge rather just reiteration of “facts”. Also, A-level biology relies on your written english (specifically, how well you can write and communicate new concepts using your new biological vocabulary). You’ll learn lots of new terminology and its essential you understand these new terms and can define them - and use the appropriate language in the correct context. Learning A-level biology also relies heavily on your maths skills (basic percentage calculations, statistics, data / graph interpretation and analysis etc.) So, be aware that you are going to have to be good at basic maths to do well in a-level biology!
Learning biology is actually super good for developing so many skills because of its interdisciplinary nature.
How to do well in A-level biology?
To be successful in your A-level biology (or just about anything in life!) its going to take some significant effort on your part (A-levels are only easy if you put the work in!)
Follow these steps diligently and consistently.
Take responsibility - there is no-one, NO-ONE else responsible for your learning. You may not like to hear it but you have chosen to study a-level biology… (for whatever reason). and that is going to take about 10-15 hours a week of consistent work. But it is your choice. No Excuses. There is no-one else to blame if you don’t do well. (None of this, “the teacher went over that topic too quickly”, or “I was absent when we did that”… or “we ran out of time and didn’t do that properly in class”, or “It’s boring though” “I don’t get it” bla bla bla…. if you “don’t get it”, keep going over it until you do, ask for help, use lots of different resources that go over the same thing, and don’t give up! All the information and help you need is available. A lot of it is here, your teachers will help - just ask, YouTube has tons of great resources and don’t forget your textbooks - which have all the answers! There is no shortage of information, help and guidance. So, take responsibility - take it upon yourself right now to learn, revise and succeed - no-one else is going to do it for you. So, don’t procrastinate, blame shift or give up… just crack on with it and do your best… then try again and do better! Learning anything is just like doing push ups… today you may only be able to do 3… but if you never give up, soon you’ll be able to do 50 without breaking a sweat… it really doesn’t matter what you’re learning consistency, repetition and never giving up are the keys to success.
Read your textbooks and the content on these web-pages carefully and actively. Take your time to really read and absorb the information. Actively engage - that means re-write key points in your own way, underline and highlight information. For example every time you come across a new word (of which there will be loads in biology!) Highlight it, find the definition and write it out and underline the definition.
If a video lesson is available for a topic watch it in full (the video lessons contain lots of information in a short time, key words, definitions and most importantly they are a great way of learning and reinforcing important information. So, Actively watch video lessons in full. For example, watch the videos a number of times, write out the learning outcomes yourself and use them as a check list (later turning them into questions). Pause and rewind the lessons where necessary - pause the lessons and write out key points yourself.
Download any available PDF’s. If a PDF activity or booklet is available download it and work through it. For example, the knowledge check booklets that accompany video lessons have all the notes from the lesson, so you can easily follow along with videos. Questions and answers in the PDF help you learn and revise. Answers to questions are properly written in full - this is super important as it allows you to see and practice how to construct answers in context to gain marks in an exam or assignment. (Mark schemes, for example only show the relevant ‘mark’ the ‘key words’ which the examiner is looking for - but remember, your answers are to showcase your knowledge in a succinct, well written and contextualised manner… something mark schemes (and in many cases your teachers) don’t show you! Remember, points can be void if not written in the correct context or clearly demonstrate that you understand the topic being assessed.
Start writing synoptic essays now! So many students leave this right until the end of their a-level. But, it is super super important that you can link concepts together and fully understand how connected all the topics of biology are. So start right away. If you have only just started and only know about 3 things - think about those things synoptically - compose a question of your own and write a short synoptic essay. For example, let’s say you’ve just begun your a-level biology and you have learned about some basic biochemistry, hydrolysis and condensation reactions and carbohydrates. Formulate a question based upon what you’ve done so far - “Explain the importance of condensation reactions in the formation of complex biomolecules”. Or, let’s say you’re midway though and have just covered the digestive system. Can you link the digestive system to all the other topics? Create a poster (mind map) with “digestion” in the middle and then loads of arrows coming from this topic to where it connects to all the others you’ve done so far. Then write a few essay questions and get writing! This is an excellent way to revise - and you’ll not only begin connecting concepts, revising key points and terminology but you’ll get that all important practice of writing synoptic essays and using the terminology in a contextualised way.
Draw. Create posters and biological diagrams - both illustrative (i.e. nice, big, bold colourful posters which help you revise structures and functions) and simple well illustrated, clear, annotated line diagrams - following the ‘rules’ of how to draw a biological diagram.
Exam practice. Download and go through loads of exam questions. You’ll soon recognise the same questions and answers cropping up time and time again!
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! There are No Short Cuts, so stop wasting your time looking for them - if you want to be awesome at anything, you have to embed that skill / knowledge into your subconscious mind - and that only happens though repetition. You have to repeat these steps over and over again until the topics are so well engrained answering exam questions or writing essays / assignments is second nature.