In order to score for Pure Biology or Combined Science that comprises of Biology at the O-levels, the tips to follow through towards getting an A1 for either of the subjects are similar.
Of course for Combined Science, you will need to put in an equal amount of effort for the other half of the combination to secure the A1 for your final grade at the O-levels.
On the Biology front, here are some tips for you to follow through to guide you towards getting A1 at the O-levels:
1. Know the format and syllabus
The format of the O-level Pure Biology Paper is as follows:
Students will have to sit for 3 papers in total.
Paper 1 has 40 compulsory MCQ questions and take up 30% of your overall grade.
Paper 2 consists of 2 sections, Section A carries 50 marks and consists of a variable number of compulsory structured questions. Section B carries 30 marks which consists of three questions. The first two questions are compulsory, one of which will be a data-based question that carries 8–12 marks. The last question will be presented in an either/or form and will carry 10 marks. The Periodic Table of Elements will be provided for this paper.
As for paper 3, the School-based Science Practical Assessment (SPA), this paper will take place over a period of time while the students are still taking the subject(s) in school. For this paper, students are assessed based on their science practical skills, namely Performing and Observing, Analysing and Planning skills.
As for the syllabus, these are the topics tested:
For more details on the areas tested for each topic, do refer to the official syllabus.
As for the Combined Science for Physics, the format of the paper is as follows:
For Combined Sciences with Physics, students will be required to sit for Paper 1, Paper 4, either Papers 2 or 3 and 5.
Paper 1 will consist of 40 MCQ with approximately an equivalent weightage for each of the science. As for Paper 4, there are two sections as well. Section A will carry 45 marks and all questions here are compulsory. Section B carries 20 marks in total with an option of picking 2 out of 3 questions of equal weightage to answer.
For Paper 5, it will carry 30 marks and consist of one or two compulsory questions on each of the two Sciences.
The topics tested are as follow:
It may appear that the content covered is largely similar here, but it isn’t as so. Do refer to the official syllabus for the science that you are taking.
2. Ensure that you have a good grasp of the topics tested
As the content covered for either of the science is rather heavy and spread over a course of two years to study, do make a checklist of the topics and sub-topics that you need to cover. This checklist can come to be a helpful guide for you to plan your study schedule leading up to the O-levels.
Also, depending on the time you are reading this post, find out the amount of time you have left up to the paper and plan realistically.
You can use these free printables available online to help plan your studying schedule for Physics at the O-levels.
Having a good grasp of the topics tested is essential as the nature of the subject may bring about questions that test on multiple topics in a single question. Thus, it is important to have a good grasp of the topics in order to do well for the sciences at the O-levels.
3. Make your notes
For the sciences, making notes will help to serve as a checkpoint to revisit the concepts taught in school. Putting the content learned into notes of your own format will also be helpful for you to review everything much more easily and efficiently.
Thus, as you revise the content with the study schedule you have come up with earlier, make some notes alongside to make the most out of your revision time.
Practice is something that students cannot escape doing if they want to do well. Attempting practice papers is the best way to assess your level of understanding. It gives you the exposure to the varied types of possible questions that may be tested at the O-levels.
5. Get help if needed
Don’t ever hesitate to seek help or put any of the questions in your head to “the next day”. These questions may unknowingly build up to a significant amount of queries up to the O-levels so try not to fall into that pithole. Be it staying back for consultations after classes, forming a study group with your peers or finding a Biology tutor, be sure to start early in getting the help you need.
6. Not forgetting, rest!
It may be a really stressful period for you and you may want to maximize all the time you have up till the O-levels. But do not forget to take a break. Trying to cramp a lot of content within a short period or consecutive period of time isn’t going to be productive for your revision. Instead, taking a break may be helpful for you to assess your level of understanding as well.
Getting A1 for Biology at the O-levels is not an unattainable task if you have the discipline to stick through these tips up till the O-levels. With constant effort put in, you can be confident in achieving A1 for your Biology at the O-levels.