Just a few tips on how to tackle the essay best:
Before the exam:
- In addition to recapping units 1, 2 and 4 (you may wish to do some past papers), try and pick up at least one extra fact not in the course related to each unit 5 topic - you'll need it to maximise your chances in the essay!
[0:00] At the start of the exam:
- Flick forward to the essay titles and look at them. If you think you'll panic more doing this, then don't, but it can be helpful to keep the titles in the back of your mind as some of the questions in the bulk of the paper may have information useful to the essay itself.
- Don't stress yourself over the essay; the UMS boundaries are almost always low for biology unit 5 (I saw one year where you could pretty much flunk the essay completely and walk away with 90% UMS)
[1:05] With 40mins to spare:
- Stop the question you're on and move onto the essay. If you're blundering through those really hard later questions, you're probably not going to get many (if any) marks and are certainly going to get less marks for your time than if you started the essay
- PICK THE TITLE WISELY. If you can't decide in the split second which one you know more about, pick the one that sounds broader, as it'll probably have more scope for you to cram in extra topics if need be.
- MAKE A PLAN. Most, if not all, candidates who got the A's and A*'s made some sort of plan. Even if you're not aiming that high, it goes to show how a plan can boost you up. Examiners will look at your plan if your essay is unfinished. It should be a spider-like diagram with the topics you're going to cover coming off of the centre bubble, and overviews of the finer points you're going to make coming off of those. Examiners can give breadth / scientific content marks for stuff in your plan that's not in your essay.
- Order your…
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