How To Prepare AS Level Biology (9700) Subject From Scratch To Get The Best Grade In CAIE Exams | Tips By Sir Hunain Zia

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Studying routines can be quite stressful, especially when one is trying to get a good score on the exam. However, what can increase this stress is the excessive level of myths that exist about exam preparation. The main purpose to make this post series is to bust those myths about preparation of subjects for CAIE O Level / A Level and IGCSE. The post will be accompanied by 2 other posts: Examination Solving and Attempting Tips, and Schedules for each subject

How To Prepare: General

  • AS Level Biology requires you to solve 3 Paper: The MCQ Exam, the theory exam and the practical exam.
  • The following method is what I prefer for the preparation in most cases. Here, our focus is not on the best paper solution method. Instead, we are focusing on how to prepare for the exam.

The Prerequisites

  • The syllabus of all the components is fairly the same.
  • Remember, your course book is the best book. No notes can surpass the course book itself. Our initial preparation techniques will be from the coursebook. For the revision, you can check the high quantities of contributor resource available on this website or Sir Hunan’s resources on Educate A Change as well.
  • You will need a lab’s access for the practical’s preparation.

Time Line of Preparation

  • We are focusing on starting our preparation from scratch.
  • Remember, biology is different than chemistry and physics. Here, memorization plays a very important role.
  • We will focus first on paper 1, then paper 2 and lastly practicals.

The Method

  1. First, read all the chapters in your book (or if still you are starting with some notes, then from the notes)
    1. At this point, memorizing the content is not your priority. Instead, the focus is to just give the content a good read.
    2. Read each chapter THRICE before moving on to the next chapter.
      1. It helps to retain a good amount of points.
    3. Take your time with it. Exceed no more than 2 chapters a day.
  2. Once you are done with the initial reading, grab the topical paper 1 MCQ papers of both series i.e. May / June and October / November for the last 10 years. Concurrently, you must also have both variants i.e. 11 and 12.
  3. Read the first chapter again.
    1. This time, try to understand the content. Use any good notes to complement the reading and your understanding.
    2. Once you have read the chapter this way.
      1. Solve the topical paper 1 questions for that chapter from at least the papers of the last 10 years.
    3. Make sure you note down any mistake you make.
      1. For any difficult question, write down the reason an MCQ was correct or wrong.
      2. You must mention the question numbers when writing this down, so that when you are revising, you can easily revisit these questions and revise quickly.
  4. When you have completed this process, move on to the second chapter.
    1. After doing the same for the second chapter, revise the MISTAKES and difficult questions of the first chapter.
    2. Similarly, when you move on to, say chapter 6, then at the end of that, revise the difficult questions and mistakes of ALL the chapters done before that chapter as well.
    3. Why?
      1. Otherwise, you will forget a lot of material for the chapters you complete.
  5. Once you are done with the topical questions of Paper 1, move on to the topical questions of paper 2.
  6. Before doing the topical past papers of Paper 2 for any chapter
    1. Revise the chapter again. Don’t be over confident that you know the material perfectly.
    2. Check the difficult questions and mistakes from topical past paper of that chapter from Paper 1.
    3. Then attempt the topical past papers from Paper 2.
    4. Make sure you note down the difficult questions and your mistakes from here as well.
  7. Once done with all topical questions with this approach, opt for yearly papers if you have spare time remaining.

AS Biology (9700) Practical

  • You need access to a lab to prepare for practicals
  • However, there is a small trick to it as well.
    • Instead of waiting for the teacher to tell you how to perform each and every experiment, check the past papers (latest 10-15 ones).
      • You will notice that there are certain common types of experiments that repeat A LOT in the papers.
      • Focus on performing them physically.
  • The rest
    • Use marking scheme, guides and YouTube videos.

The Crucial Elements

  1. Always attempt the questions in the same time limit as you are attempting them in your FINAL Exam.
  2. Use the techniques mentioned in HOW TO ATTEMPT post for the same subject / component when attempting topical past papers. Also check the schedule as well for a preparation time line.
  3. Check your past papers with the marking schemes, and enlist any specific questions OR points that you felt were difficult or were skipping your mind. This way, you revision will be a lot easier.
  4. Always learn to write to the point, and relevant only.
  5. For ATP, focus on the common mistakes.

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