Whether this is your first or your last year of NCEA, it is always a good idea to improve your skills and expand your revision tactics. Biology is a fascinating, complex, and innovative subject to study. If you have seen the movie Avatar, the innovative way in which all living things were interconnected, is not an idea pulled out of nowhere. Indigenous communities around the globe have known for generations about the interconnectivity of the world around us. More recently, researchers have been developing different techniques to understand how some trees are able to talk to each other through their roots. It is an amazing time to be studying science. There are many career possibilities opening up as more and more countries and companies look to change how they interact with the natural world.

Here is a complete guide to NCEA Biology

The best Biology tutors available
Sabai
5
5 (14 reviews)
Sabai
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Prisca
5
5 (2 reviews)
Prisca
$24
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Heshani
5
5 (6 reviews)
Heshani
$45
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Connor
Connor
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Surya
5
5 (1 reviews)
Surya
$45
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Zoe
5
5 (1 reviews)
Zoe
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Om
Om
$15
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sathvik
5
5 (2 reviews)
Sathvik
$35
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sabai
5
5 (14 reviews)
Sabai
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Prisca
5
5 (2 reviews)
Prisca
$24
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Heshani
5
5 (6 reviews)
Heshani
$45
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Connor
Connor
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Surya
5
5 (1 reviews)
Surya
$45
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Zoe
5
5 (1 reviews)
Zoe
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Om
Om
$15
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sathvik
5
5 (2 reviews)
Sathvik
$35
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Sorting out your exam revision time

When it comes to studying, the best place to start is by allocating your time effectively. This means being realistic about how you function. If you struggle to get out of your bed in the morning, then early study sessions will be difficult for you. Work with what you know, some people need to do something physical before they sit to revise, if that is you then organise a run or a walk into your schedule. Another thing to consider is the duration of how long you study. Studying for hours on end isn’t effective or productive.

Be realistic, for example, set an alarm for 30 minutes and put your phone in a different room. Adjust the study time to what works for you with a minimum of 25 minutes and a maximum of around one hour.  When the alarm goes off, go take a five-minute break in a different space. Finding out what works for you may take a bit of time so play around with it. The NCEA exam timetable is available long before the exams so if you are a super planner, have a look around during September for it. Once you have your timetable, organise your revision schedule accordingly. You should be studying feeling well-rested, so try to maintain a decent sleeping schedule so you don’t throw your body completely out of whack.

You can read about NCEA biology scholarship guide here.

timetables and schedules
Organise your biology exam revision time to suit your rhythm of life.

Setting up a revision space

Where you study is as important as the duration of your study sessions. As tempting as it is, do not study in your bed. Our minds are complex machines and it doesn’t like the mixing of sleep and focus space. Ever try to study or pay attention to something while in bed and catch yourself drifting off? That is because your bed is a registered place of sleep in your mind. What can also start to happen is if you spend too much time in it, it can become difficult for you to fall asleep which leads to you feeling tired.

If you have the space, having a dedicated study area is ideal. You want this space to be relatively clutter-free, well lit, and your phone on silent and out of your eyesight. Ideally, you want to start studying most days for a couple of hours, at least three or four weeks before your exam, six weeks if you are also doing a scholarship exam. Studying for weeks isn’t really most people’s idea of fun, so move!

You read that correctly, move your study space. Your local library is a great place to go with revision books, free internet, computers, warmth, collaborative working spaces, and spaces for quiet. It has something for everyone. Organise a day during the week you meet up with classmates and friends in a communal space. It will really help ease the repetition of studying. A study has found that moving spaces actually helps with your retention of information. If you find that a certain place really works for you though, stay there. You know you best.

Find out revision tips on how to tackle biology questions here.

practise makes perfect

Studying for your biology exam in different spaces can help with your retention of information.

Planning and practising for the biology exam

Now you have your time sorted out, it is time to work on the revising part. There are many different approaches you can take and again it is about what works for you. Due to biology being a science subject, learning important terminology and key concepts is a good place to start. Read through your notes and look for the most important parts. If you are an extra studious person, you may have highlighted your notes already, if not, no need to panic, just do it now. Read through your work and organise by colour. How you organise is up to you but a suggestion is by key terms, key concepts, and relevant examples. Once you have the important parts highlighted, separate the information into different revision tools.

For terminology, flashcards are a good place to start. You can create them by hand or use apps. A good technique particularly for Level 3 and scholarship is called the Leitner system. You create 4-5 boxes and in box 1 you have a range of flashcards with different terminology, concepts, and equations written down. You start with box 1. If you get the flashcard correct, you move it to the next box. If you get it wrong, it stays in box 1 or goes down a box (so from box 3 to box 2). The aim is to get all the flashcards into box 5. This helps to identify strengths and areas to work on.

Another revision tool is mindmaps. You write a topic in the centre, for example, the word bacteria, then you create branches and roads, also known as subtopics. These branches focus on a certain area such as anaerobic and aerobic, you then add more branches for reproduction, respiration, digestion, needs etc. It will very quickly start to look like a road map.  You then add to these branches with smaller offshoots that contain bullet-point information that relates to this particular sub-topic.  For example the formula for respiration in Anaerobic bacteria. Draw a practice mindmap first. Once you are happy with it, on a big A3 piece of paper, draw out your practice version. Add in and use bright colours, pictures, whatever helps to hold your attention. For example, write the information about anaerobic bacteria in blue pen and aerobic in black. Whatever works for you. There are many more revision tools out there so have a look and ask others what works for them.

People using micropscopes
Biology can be difficult to learn, but with the right tutor, you can achieve your goals. ( Source: Unsplash)

Past biology exam papers

Once you have the knowledge stored in the memory banks, time to test it out. There are past exam papers you can use to help with studying. They are great tools to help with planning. For level 2, level 3, and scholarship NCEA, the exam is quite heavily geared towards written responses. You will have three hours to complete three papers. Creating a plan for your writing will help you use your time and knowledge effectively. Written responses require structure and integrated examples. The exam format has changed over the years so use the ones within the past three years. Re-doing the past exam papers is not the most effective use of your time. Use them to plan your answer. Practice breaking down the question and organising your response with bullet points instead of full sentences. Past papers can also be helpful for identifying any areas you may need to revise more on. While the questions change every year, the exam topics rarely do. For more information on how to use them check out the NCEA biology revision guide on past papers.

Getting a helping hand with your biology exam

A lot of students have difficulties with preparing for exams, so if you feel like you need extra support it is very normal. A great way to study is with other people. It gives you someone to bounce ideas off of and to help explain information that is giving you a bit of trouble. Superprof gives you access to a wide range of tutors that are knowledgeable about NCEA and their chosen subject field. They can help you break down questions and create revision activities for your exams. With their wide range of expertise, they can help you identify particular areas for you to focus on. So have a look for your tutor today with Superprof.

>

The platform that connects tutors and students

First Lesson Free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating.

5.00 (1 rating(s))
Loading...