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April 23, 2021, 08:28:03 pm

Author Topic: Biology Exam Answer Structure  (Read 483 times)  Share 

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Maroon and Gold Never Fold

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Biology Exam Answer Structure
« on: February 01, 2021, 04:22:14 pm »
0
Hi,
Does anyone have an ideal structure for exam answers as my answers never have any structure and I feel I am just writing of my head.

Mod Edit: Accidently posted inside this question
« Last Edit: February 01, 2021, 09:08:44 pm by Coolmate »

Coolmate

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Re: Biology Exam Answer Structure
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2021, 09:09:10 pm »
+2
Hi,
Does anyone have an ideal structure for exam answers as my answers never have any structure and I feel I am just writing of my head.

Mod Edit: Accidently posted inside this question

Hey Maroon and Gold Never Fold! :)
My thoughts are below

Generally, when I approach HSC Biology questions, I always try to use an effective structure that covers all bases whilst answering the question. Firstly, I would recommend defining any important keywords in the question that may appear;

For Example, "Explain how cell division and fertilisation could lead to the production of this karyotype". (2019 HSC, 25b)
Within the first or second sentence you should define what cell division and fertilisation is.

Next, I would recommend having a second sentence that provides some more information toward the question, for example, beginning to explain how exactly cell division and fertilisation lead to the production of the karyotype.

The third and/ or fourth sentence should either get right into the meat of the question (including examples, details or statistics) or begin to sum up what it is you're explaining.

This is a structure I used (also depends on how many marks a question is worth) and can be moulded and adjusted to suit any question type.

A final tip:
If you look at the "Marking Criteria" part of the marking guidelines document (Past Papers), it should suggest what markers are looking for and what things are most important to include in your answer.

I hope this helps and goodluck!
Coolmate 8)
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bambii

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Re: Biology Exam Answer Structure
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2021, 08:48:36 pm »
+2
Signposting is a big one that not many people use.

Paragraph everything, underline the key part of your point and make it evident what part of the question you're addressing.

You don't want a disgruntled marker who's sick of their job and marking the 500th paper at 9pm at night to take a mark off because your answer is unclear - make everything as obvious as possible.
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Pearlmilktea

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Re: Biology Exam Answer Structure
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 04:21:40 pm »
+3
Hi,
Does anyone have an ideal structure for exam answers as my answers never have any structure and I feel I am just writing of my head.

Mod Edit: Accidently posted inside this question

Hiya!

I agree with everything described above by the other contributors! I usually tell my students for Biology answers to follow the basic structure of:

  • Topic sentence - including responding to particular verbs - this means that if you have a Justify or Assess question for example, you'll include your judgement straight away (if it's not in the first sentence, you lose at least one mark).
  • Definitions - define all key terms in the question and continue to define related terms throughout your answer. As Bambii said please signpost everything!Make it super easy for your marker to understand and feel free to create a definitions paragraph if you'd like to below your intro (for long response Qs).
  • General elaboration on questions and other info in the intro. Feel free to link to other syllabus points (actually I would highly recommend this - think why does this concept matter to this module and Biology in general).

The rest of your answer
  • Cause and effect - thing why is something a certain way and describe concepts succinctly
  • Processes!!! Should be introduced at the beginning but definitely described throughout - depth depends on marks but don't be afraid to do a numbered list (e.g. transcription + translation)
  • Anything to expand on an argument or push your point (think about the justify verb)
  • Examples!! Give plenty - nothing worse than when I see an amazing answer with great theoretical knowledge but not enough examples!
  • Data!!! Include data always in data analysis - if you have any info provided in the exam (e.g. a graph, paragraph with stats) refer to this at least once for every two marks!

And then of course there are cute lil things you can add to spruce up your answer such as:
- Subheadings - highly highly recommend adding these - even if it's only 4 marks for example
- Diagrams - make sure to label them and refer to them in your answer (it's not enough to just draw a diagram of a leaf and not describe why it's there).
- Examples!!! Processes!!!
- Bullet points - don't be scared of them aha - Band 6 students use them a lot too!
- Flowcharts, tables (especially for compare!) etc. Get creative a make sure to show the marker why those things are there!!!

Remember to include an intro and conclusion for 5+ mark questions (can be a sentence for the conclusion) and make your answer super clear! Best of luck and remember to put everything relevant on the page and leave nothing in your head aha.

You'll smash it!!!
Gracie :D
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