If you’re studying for your A-levels, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the mugging season has quickly come into full force as the ‘big day’ draws closer. Students from all over Singapore are taking their revision intensity to the next level as they make their final stretch, and you should be doing just the same – especially if your goal is to ace your A-level Biology paper.
As always, Science is one of the subject areas that has kept many students on their toes. With the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s efforts to promote higher-order thinking and real-world problem-solving skills that students will find essential during their careers in our modern, knowledge-based economy, the Science curriculums for Biology are constantly evolving. Of course, this constant raising of standards means that preparing for your A-level Biology paper isn’t as simple as it may seem – it’ll probably take more than just a few cramming sessions to score high. Achieving a good result will require a balanced combination of resources, consistency, active learning and comprehension, and not forgetting, tuition.
A closer look into our Biology curriculum framework
Biology is more than just memorisation, and the current framework in Singapore truly reflects that. Rather than relying on rote memorisation, students are encouraged to engage in authentic investigations stimulated by the natural environment. This will not only allow students to understand the topics on a deeper level, but also turn learning into a more purposeful journey.
But while the curriculum framework is commendable, there’s no denying that Biology is a challenging subject to tackle. Dubbed as one of the most dynamic fields of study, Biology is one of those subjects that require an intricate blend of theoretical understanding and practical work. So how can students better prepare themselves for the impending A-Level examination paper?
1. Getting the right resources
There are no two ways about it. A-level Biology has a lot of content to cover, and when you first take a glance at that chunky Biology textbook, it can get really overwhelming. To help yourself feel less anxious, try crafting a study plan that breaks the textbook down into sections.
Plus, you don’t necessarily have to stick with just the textbook as a learning material (although it would definitely be a big mistake to disregard it completely). There are plenty of extra learning resources you can use in conjunction with your textbook to help you revise. From mock papers and quizzes to tried and tested revision guides, there are multiple options available at your fingertips. Not to mention, most of these materials also come with checkbox lists to help you stay on top of what you’ve covered.
2. Learn actively
Retaining information isn’t the end of learning. You also need to understand what you’ve studied and be able to apply it. Learning actively means engaging with the subject matter on a deeper level. Rather than rote learning keywords and topics, go further to unearth what those terms entail and how they might connect to other topics in your materials. A great way to do this is to strike up conversations about these subjects with fellow students and classmates in school or during your A-level Biology tuition. If you’re studying solo, you can also investigate further through experiments.
Also, one good habit to adopt is to never copy out things word-for-word when making revision notes. Frame them in a way that you will remember best – be it in the form of detailed mind maps or visual cards – and go the extra mile to test yourself right after revising a particular topic.
3. Understand the key skills required
Being able to draw and read graphs and diagrams is an integral part of Biology. Both are common in presenting processes and cycle shifts. You should practice turning key term definitions into visual representations. This will not only help you to revise, but also make it much easier for you to create graphs and diagrams when you’re asked to, in your A-level Biology paper. Remember to pay close attention to scale and conversion – magnification calculation can be tricky.
4. Consistency is key
As the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect”. Whether is it through personal study, one-to-one tuition, or a combination of both, you need to revise and revisit topics over and over again to ensure that you understand them entirely. Revisiting topics helps to commit them to your long-term memory – so you wouldn’t have to start from zero again just before your examination.
5. Put your skills to the test
Hands-on experience is a great way to learn, and A-level Biology really lends itself to that. Don’t be afraid to step into the laboratory and explore a particular hypothesis. It doesn’t matter if you fail. After all, “99 per cent of success is built on failure”. It’s what you learn from the experience that matters the most.
6. Sign up for A-level Biology tuition
Finding a one-to-one tuition provider in Singapore isn’t difficult. There are plenty of tutors offering A-level Biology tuition – it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. While schools allow you to get a grasp of the overall subject matter, tutors engage their students in “deliberate practice” and “systematic self-explanation”, explicitly targeting your trouble areas in an evaluative manner. Believe it or not, tuition can make all the difference in forming a productive study strategy. Find out more about one-to-one tuition in Singapore.
You’ve Got This!
No matter your learning style, there’s always a technique that suits your needs. Don’t be pressured or bothered by other’s progress; just get your head in the game.
Lastly, there’s nothing to fear when it comes to A-levels. As long as you put the work in and do the necessary preparations, you’ll be able to get through it. And if you’re encountering any issues along the way, you can always rely on ChampionTutor to be there for you every step of the way. Good luck!