Secondary Biology Tutors share the 5 most effective ways to prepare for O & N Level Biology!
Secondary Biology Tutors: Know the subject well!
Here at MindFlex Home Tuition, we have been receiving many requests for Secondary Biology tutors. Biology tutors have been on a rising demand, as students need more help getting a grasp of this subject. On top of mastering content, the O Level Biology exam questions are no longer straight-forward and now require students to be able to apply their concepts well, in order to answer questions correctly. The first step that Biology tutors have reemphasised (before even deciding that Biology is the subject for you) is for students to know what the syllabus entails, and to know it well. In Secondary 3, students can opt to take either Pure Biology, or Combined Biology.
Pure Biology vs Combined Biology
Pure Biology tests students on Cell Structure and Organisation, Movement of Substances, Biological Molecules, Nutrition in Human, Nutrition in Plants, Transport in Flowering Plants, Transport in Humans, Respiration in Humans, Excretion in Humans, Homeostasis, Co-ordination and Response in Humans, Reproduction, Cell Division, Molecular Genetics, Inheritance, Organisms and their Environment. Combined Biology tests students on Cell Structure and Organisation, Movement of Substances, Biological Molecules, Animal Nutrition, Plant Nutrition, Transport in Flowering Plants, Transport in Humans, Respiration, Co-ordination and Response, Reproduction, Molecular Genetics, Inheritance, Organisms and their Environment. Comparing the above, Pure Biology entails more topics, such as Excretion in Humans, Homeostasis and Cell Division. The format of the O/N Level Biology examination papers is also different for Pure and Combined Biology, and the questions asked in the former are also not as straight-forward as the latter. Therefore, students who intend to take Pure Biology would expect not only to spend more time studying a larger number of topics, but also to expect more difficult questions during the examination. The 3 main objectives of Biology O/N Levels Examination is to firstly test students on their knowledge and understanding, secondly to test their ability to handle information and solve the problems provided, and lastly, to test students on their experimental skills and investigations. So how are you going to ensure that you can hit the mark on all 3 objectives? Here are 5 effective ways to do so!
1. Understanding Of All Topics, Memorising Of Terminology & Definitions For Your O/N Level Biology
It is widely known that Biology consists of a wide variety of terminology and definitions to memorise. With so many different terms and definitions, how are students supposed to memorise them? Our Secondary Biology tutors have shared a few ways with us that you can try to make learning and memorising more interesting.
Students can make use of other forms of learning such as using Mind Maps. Many students find this method very useful in helping them break down the different topics which then helps them understand the different processes involved.
Another form of learning is by making your own study notes. The process of making your study notes is an active way of studying instead of reading, which is a more passive way. Writing notes actually helps students process the information and understand it which then goes a long way in helping students memorise and remember the content.
Another form of learning is that students can make use of flashcards. Students can get a study buddy and test each other, reenforcing concepts. In the process of group discussions and quizzing, students get to revise as well as learn from others’ misconceptions.
Another form of memorising and understanding the topics is that students can describe the processes out loud. Secondary Biology tutors realised that this method is essential as many students are not able to process the definitions and processes in proper sentences. Students often understand the concepts, but are unable to articulate their thoughts well. With this, students are then able to process their words properly and state the processes step by step. Some students are auditory learners who learn better with this method rather than just reading the information from their books.
2. Maximising Your Time In School!
Now, this may seem like an obvious no-brainer. However, it does make a big difference for students to pay attention in their classes, rather than just listening. When students actively pay attention in their classes, they can learn key concepts and tips that teachers tend to share during lessons. Students consciously listen to important points and do note-taking in class are more likely able to remember the information that they learn in school. This is also the best time to ask their teachers any queries that they may have. As there is a practical component in the Biology examination, lab sessions are also more valuable to students than they think. Not only do the students hone their practical skills in the lab, the experiments they conduct also help to keep them engaged and stimulated and this helps to reinforce their theory concepts. In carrying out hands-on lab experiments, students can retain more information as they are able to visualise what they learn in their textbooks. This would appeal to the more visual and kinesthetic learners.
3. Plan A Study System, Don’t Cram Last Minute!
Biology is a subject that is filled with a wide variety of terminologies, definitions and processes, and there is no way the subject can be studied overnight. Biology tutors have repeatedly told students to start early! Cramming all this information at the last-minute will not help students to comprehend, let alone memorise the needful. By planning a study system and schedule, students can allocate adequate time to studying the various topics, especially the more complex ones which require more time. By having a proper study system, students can avoid overwhelming themselves with too much information at one point in time. Another thing that students should do is to file their notes and homework, categorised by topic. By doing this, students later can easily find their materials for that specific topic when they need it during revision. This prevents students from wasting valuable time that they could be spending more efficiently. When students have any doubts that they wish to clarify with their Secondary Biology tutors or teachers, this then gives them easier access to their materials too. Having a proper filing system also trains students to be organised and is also a form of discipline.
4. Practising A Variety of Questions And Past Year Papers With Secondary Biology Tutors & Teachers
The Ten-year Series – a series of papers that Sec 4/5 students need to complete before the O Levels. Why do Secondary Biology tutors and teachers emphasise the importance of completing this series? This is because by practising on a variety of questions from these papers, students are exposed to the various questions formats and thus would know what to expect when they take the actual O/N Level Biology Examination papers. By practising these questions, students can test their answering methods and abilities to answer these questions, and ensure that they are ready for the final O Level Biology paper. Doing the official past year O/N level papers as well as other schools’ past papers would provide students the extra practice they need. Biology is a subject that requires the various definitions and processes to be described and elaborated with the correct terms and keywords. If the processes are described in an incorrect / incomplete order, students are not able to prove their knowledge and understanding well to the examiner. Students will not be able to score the full mark if any process step / keyword is missing, causing them to lose valuable marks unnecessarily.
Practising with Secondary Biology Tutors & Teachers
By having extra lessons, consultations and discussions with your Biology teacher or private tutor, one will be able to clear their doubts and misconceptions immediately, and at their own pace outside of classroom time. As they are very experienced with the way questions are asked, these Secondary Biology tutors and teachers are aware of how to answer them accordingly to score for your O/N Level Biology Examination and will be able to guide you well. If you would like more practice, you may choose to attempt this paper from Cambridge that has a provided answer-key for both Pure and Combined Biology.
5. Clarify Your Learning Gaps With Your Secondary Biology Tutors & Teachers
Everyone makes mistakes. While it is only human to make errors, once must learn from them. Understanding why one made those mistakes and the need to learn from them is the process that all students have to go through. Ensuring that you do not repeat the same mistakes again is the key to acing your O/N Levels Biology. Whenever you have a doubt or you are unsure of what you are learning, ask questions! Ask your Secondary Biology teachers, Secondary Biology tutors or even your friends. Clarifying your doubts or what you do not understand as soon as possible is essential as it may affect your understanding of subsequent topics, resulting in a domino effect. In school, once you do not understand a concept, approach your teacher to explain it again after class if possible. If you are still unsure and do not understand, approach your Secondary Biology tutor for assistance. Secondary Biology tutors are able to clarify your doubts and help you catch up with your peers if you are falling behind. They will be able to teach you exactly on what keywords and phrases are required in your answers. Engaging in Biology tuition is nothing to be ashamed of as these Secondary Biology tutors are experts in helping you to score in your O/N Level Biology Examination. If you know for a fact that you require extra help, having a tutor should be something to seriously consider. Looking for a Secondary Biology tutor? You may contact us here!
Students should not just rely on their textbooks. Find other ways to optimise your learning! As some students are more visual learners, take the initiative to search up for videos or animations which explain the different processes and the steps of the systems. Before your O/N Level Biology Examination, make a checklist. Look through the topic list and ensure that you understand all the different processes in each topic. Students should ensure that they have memorised all terms and their definitions as well. Students can play this game to test them on their definitions. As mentioned above, making mistakes is fine, but learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them. Don’t be too hard on yourself! It is through mistakes that you are able to learn. Biology is a subject that cannot be stalled if you do not understand a certain topic. Please seek help immediately! Students often require a mentor to explain and elaborate on the different processes and the steps, by breaking them down into bite-size pieces. Some students study on their own and misinterpret the processes, so always asks questions and double-check if you understand the processes correctly with your teachers and tutors. Lastly, the most important this getting enough rest before the examination! Without proper rest, students are not able to function properly during their examinations which can be fatal to acing their O/N Level Biology Examination. So ensure that you allocate your time efficiently between studying and resting before your O/N Level Biology Examination. If you require help for Science Tuition or Secondary School Tuition, do not hesitate to contact us today!