Tag Archives: exam

Unit 3 Exam Revision

By now, students should be well immersed in study for the Unit 3 exam in less than two weeks time. It is essential to create a study timetable that allows time for school, work, sport and study for each subject. Make sure you understand the key terms and definitions and can apply the various concepts included in “Biological Macromolecules” and “Detecting and Responding“.
Many students find that creating Flashcards helps them to remember key terms and concepts. You can do this online at Flashcardsdb and Quizlet and use the cards for revision.
Another great way to study concepts is to create concept maps, such as these hand-drawn ones at this site. You can also create concept maps online using FreeMind, Inspiration or Bubbl.us.
Quiz Revolution (previously called My Studiyo) is another online tool you can use for exam revision. Use this site to create multiple choice questions, with or without images, to test student knowledge.

Before your examination, make sure you:

  • get enough rest and sleep
  • eat sensibly, don’t skip meals or try to fill up on snacks – active brains need a balanced diet
  • check on the starting time and allow plenty of time to get to your examination centre
  • check that you have everything you need – make yourself a list

The materials you should take into the examination room with you include:

  • one or two highlighters – you can use these to highlight action words that guide you in how to answer each question; key information and data in each question and questions that you know you may want to come back to during your 5 minutes checking time
  • clear (transparent) ruler
  • two pencils (with extra lead or a sharpener)
  • eraser
  • scientific calculator (either with new batteries or a back up scientific calculator)

Tips for during the examination

Using your reading time: One strategy that works for many students during the 15 minutes of reading time is to:

  • Spend the first minute or two simply ‘flicking through’ the examination paper to gain a snapshot of the length of the paper, layout of questions, occurrence of figures such as graphs, tables and drawings.
  • Check all pages and questions are present as described on the front cover of the examination booklet
  • Follow this up with scanning each question very briefly to determine its focus; for example, is the question related to biological macromolecules, homeostasis or signalling molecules and ask yourself whether the question requires a definition, analysis of data, evaluation with evidence or is another type of question. (This may only require 6-8 seconds per question, and sometimes less.) It is not necessary at this stage to begin solving for the answers but simply allow your brain to begin processing the information.
  • This will leave you with about five minutes to carefully read particular questions, during which time you may like to start mentally outlining your answers.

Once writing time begins, try to stay calm. You might like to start with a question that you feel is straightforward to answer. Use your highlighter to identify the ‘action words’ (such as name/nominate, describe, outline) to help keep you on-track as you respond to each question.

Students are warned against listing or describing more examples than asked for in a particular question, if you think of a better quality response than you first wrote, it is recommended that you clearly identify (by highlighting, underlining or circling) the examples you wish the examiner to assess.

If you find yourself writing much more than the lines and space provide for in a particular question, then it is possible that you are writing too much and you should consider using dot points. It is important that you allow yourself sufficient time. Attempt all questions, even if you are not entirely confident of your answers – examiners cannot award marks to empty spaces.

(This post was adapted from an article by Hayley Bridgewood and Gerry Healy, VCE Examiners).

Exam Revision


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Next Wednesday afternoon you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of all the work we have covered during first semester. You will have 15 minutes reading time and 90 minutes writing time to answer 20 multiple choice questions and about 8 short answer questions. The following tips may assist you during your revision period:

Use flashcards to study definitions of key terms, vocabulary and concepts – there is an online program called flashcardsdb which can assist.

You may like to try creating mind maps, using lists of related terms to identify the links between different words and concepts.

Re-read your text, taking notes and highlighting key terms in your notes. Create revision notes by taking down the headings of each chapter and adding key words and concepts under each heading.

Visit the assessment guide online for lists of key concepts.

Look after yourself – don’t stay up late, eating junk food and studying all night. Try to get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods and get some fresh air. If your body is functioning at 100%, your brain will be working better too!

Do lots of past exam papers – at least two or three as timed exams under test conditions. Identify concepts you find difficult and spend more time revising those areas.

Read the questions carefully – make sure you understand the key words ‘identify’, ‘describe’, ‘compare’, etc and look out for negatives and exceptions.

Biology Exam Revision




The two revision quizzes above were created using My Studiyo with multiple choice questions from past exams. You could create your own, using the questions from your Activity Manual. Check your email for a summary of Unit 1. You could also create Flashcards, like the ones below:

Photosynthesis Flashcards

Cell Biology Flashcards

Cardiovascular System

Digestive System

Meiosis Flashcards

Revision for Exams

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All around the world students have examinations to test and assess their learning. How well you do will depend on your attitude as well as your knowledge and preparation. The following tips may assist you to succeed:

  • Top students study for between 2 and 5 hours on week nights and 3 to 6 hours a day on weekends.
  • Turn off your mobile phone and minimize other distractions (magazines, games, TV).
  • Make a list of deadlines and exam dates and plan your week ahead.
  • Try using earplugs and listen to music only when doing undemanding work.
  • Consider studying at the library where there are fewer distractions.
  • Find study-buddies for sharing notes and discussing ideas.
  • Get help from a teacher or consider a tutor – they can force you to work and change your attitude to a subject.
  • Get friends or family membrs to test you before exams.
  • Remember to take breaks, get at least eight hours of sleep each night and eat healthy food.
  • Get a copy of the course syllabus as a guide to write your study notes.
  • Write brief notes and review them again immediately. Review them again 24 hours later and then twice each week until the exam.
  • Use colour to highlight important headings – sub-headings act as memory triggers.
  • Do lots of practise papers – research shows top students do a lot more practise tests.
  • Read extra material, making notes of relevant material and then refer to it in your essay.
  • Look for a unique angle – demonstrate you understand opposing opinions and then explain why you believe one argument is more correct. Evaluation is one of the higher-order thinking skills.
  • Avoid stressed people and those who speculate about what is in the exam on the day. Aim to stay calm.

On exam day, after a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast:

  • It usually takes about 10 minutes to focus on the exam – start mentally rehearsing what you are going to do before the examiner says start.
  • Check how many marks are allocated to each part of the exam question.
  • Read and re-read the questions – look for negatives eg. “Which is NOT an example of …..
  • Stay calm and keep things in perspective. Each exam is worth only a portion of your final mark.