Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

October 22, 2019, 03:06:22 am

Author Topic: Advice for VCE Biology  (Read 20183 times)  Share 

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Yacoubb

  • Guest
Advice for VCE Biology
« on: December 23, 2013, 02:59:44 pm »
+46
Hey guys :) I've received a lot of emails asking for advice for VCE Biology, what I did over the summer as a head start and other areas that I'll attach to this. Please feel free to read this instead of PMing me.

Introduction:
I completed Biology units 3 and 4 in 2013, the first year that the exam for Biology was held with no mid-year exam. I scored A+ for Unit 3 SACs, A+ for Unit 4 SACs and an A+ for the Biology exam, and scored a 47. In many ways I felt like VCAA's guinea pig. I had no idea what to expect for the exams, and it was a bit daunting. But nevertheless, I kept telling myself that I needed to do everything I could in my power to do as well as I could. This guide will provide you with my personal tips for VCE Biology.

Biology 3/4:
Biology is by far one of the most fascinating subjects. I personally found that it was so interesting because it was so easy to relate to, and I find it so fascinating how all our millions of cells can work in unison for us to be able to function. There is a lot of content that you must go over throughout your journey of 3/4 Biology, in addition to the 10 SACs that you will be studying for. To make things helpful, I strongly recommend you find a way to link all of the concepts together.

Biomacromolecules --> proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and carbohydrates.
When studying enzymes, you extend your knowledge of proteins.
When studying the cell membrane constituents, you extend your knowledge of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.
When studying photosynthesis, you extend your knowledge of carbohydrates.
When studying DNA manipulation, you extend your knowledge of nucleic acids.

It is very important to find that link. This especially helps to continuously replenish your understanding of the concepts and not forget it. I found that studying transcription and translation during Unit 4 was the perfect way for me to be able to review my understanding of the protein secretory pathway (nucleus, ribosome, rough endoplasmic reticulum, golgi complex, secretory vesicle). By finding this link, you'll make your learning experience much more efficient.

Holidays:
Everyone is different. I am a type of person who does not feel comfortable doing minimal work over the holidays. As long as you don't force yourself, study as much as you can. Over the summer of 2012 to 2013, I studied the whole unit 3 course. 8 chapters of the Nature of Biology textbook were completed. This included me reading the chapter, collating notes and completing the Quick Check questions. By doing so, you'll be able to have a solid understanding of unit 3 before you enter the classroom. If this is too much for you, finish chapters 1 to 3 very thoroughly. This should cover term 1, and then start with the second area of study around mid term 1.

In the holidays, I found that going over unit 3 gave me a general idea of what to expect, and I was well equipped going into my classes.

TSFX Lectures and Resources:
Without these notes, I don't think I would have scored a 47. There were about 5 questions on that exam I knew how to answer properly because of these notes. They are invaluable. The actual lectures are long and tiring, but if you get hold of the notes, this is the most important thing.

I attended the Summer Headstart, Unit 3 Revision, Winter Headstart and End of year exam revision lectures for Biology. You get the same notes for unit 3 and unit 4 at all the lectures, and the advice they give is also great. Ian Macdonell and Veronica Parsons are both great. They told us great ways of learning concepts, and Veronica had great acronyms and ways of learning various concepts (e.g. RUDD for fossils).

Resources I recommend:
- TSFX lecture notes
- A+ Unit 3 BIOL notes
- A+ Unit 4 BIOL notes
- Nature of Biology 2 textbook

Watch BozemannBiology YouTube clips. He is a great teacher, and I used to watch his videos to strenghten my knowledge of various concepts explored in the course.

SACs:
The one thing I hated about Biology was SACs. We had 10 SACs and it became never-ending. I yelped in joy this year when my Physics teacher said we only had 5 SACs, while everyone else thought it was a lot. It'll feel useless after a while, but this is your chance to increase the gap between you and your cohort. Everyone slacks off SACs studying for the exam, so you should make sure you recover from a bad position or further strengthen your good ranking.

I was ranked 1st in my cohort and received A+ for both exams with the following SAC scores:
#1 - 14/16
#2 - 16/18
#3 - 16/16
#4 - 23/25
#5 - 24/25
#6 - 14/16
#7 - 17/18
#8 - 15/16
#9 - 23.5/25
#10 - 24/25

For SACs, the best way to do well is to:
* Learn the theory behind the SAC properly (e.g. if your SAC is on photosynthesis, you should study the theory behind photosynthesis and clarify your understanding).
* Learn experimental design, if application (i.e. if your SAC is a prac on photosynthesis, know your basic experimental design, as well as experimental analysis including controls, variables to control, how to strengthen the credibility of your experimental findings/results, etc)/
* Tailor the theory you learn to your specific SAC (e.g. our osmosis SAC was about beetroot; my teacher asked us to place beetroot slices in sucrose solution and watch plasmolysis occur. The first question was what was happening to the beetroot under the light microscope. You needed to know about plasmolysis and apply it to beetroot in saying that plasmolysis, or the pinching of the cell membrane from the cell wall of the beetroot cells could be seen, and this was made possible because of the pinkish pigment of the beetroot).
* Aim rank 1. Rank 1, you're in a safe position. Aim top 5 if you can!

Theory:
My biggest mistake was trying to learn concepts outside the scope of the VCE Biology study design. I wasted so much time with this, especially for concepts like photosynthesis. You are not going to be guaranteed a 50 if you know every enzyme in the Calvin-Benson cycle, and you are not guaranteed a 50 if you know about every class of immunoglobulins. You will get a 50 for learning the concepts within the scope of VCE Biology well. So, I highly recommend you learn the concepts within the scope well, and by doing so, will allow yourself more time for application in practice-exam like question.

Saying that - you must read the study design thoroughly. The study design tells you what you need to know, and accordingly, learn the theory in the required depth. No more, no less.

Practice Exams:
I did 45 unit 3 and 45 unit 4 practice exams. I started the 19th of September at 7PM. Yep, I still remember. I finished practice exams on Sunday 27th of October at 11PM.

I started off with practice exam scores of 75%. Do not worry if you are not scoring very high to begin with. You must ensure you give yourself adequate time to get through practice exams. For practice exams, make sure you:
- Complete them in the time frame.
- Use pen for Short Answer and pencil for multiple choice.
- Mark yourself harshly

I cannot stress this enough; if you mark yourself harshly, you will put yourself in the best position. If your expression is wonky, 0. Yep, thats the only way I learnt. When you finish, you need to write yourself a mini report, where your write what you got wrong, tips on how to avoid doing this again, etc. The night before the exam, I was able to read over this mini report that I made, and in doing so, was able to ensure I did what I could to avoid making those mistakes. By the time I came to finish, I was scoring 95%+ for practice exams.

ASSESSMENT REPORTS: VCAA has blessed us with these. The assessment reports were my best friends. If VCAA's definition for genetic drift is the unpredictable change in allele frequencies within a population, you write that. If the function of the cell membrane is to regulate the inputs/outputs of the cell, you write that. Study those assessment reports and tailor your written responses accordingly. I found this benefitted me in several ways. Set out your answers the way VCAA wants you to. Dot points for long extended answers, and covering main areas as specified. If you do what VCAA wants, you'll get the full marks.

Final:
Aim high! Even though I didn't get the 50 I wanted, I was so happy with my 47. Doing Biology through TAFE with very little help, working my butt off on my own and having it as my first 3/4 paid off well. I am so glad I did Biology and so should you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Good luck! :)


Yacoubb

shadows

  • Victorian
  • Forum Obsessive
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
  • Respect: +22
  • School Grad Year: 2014
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2013, 03:15:45 pm »
0
wow amazing advice!  ;D




DJA

  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
  • Literature is the question minus the answer.
  • Respect: +198
  • School Grad Year: 2014
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 03:22:38 pm »
0
This is the best. Thank you!  :)
2014 - English (50, Premier's Award)| Music Performance (50, Premier's Award) | Literature (46~47) | Biology (47) | Chemistry (41) |  MUEP Chemistry (+4.5)  ATAR: 99.70

Griffith University Gold Coast Queensland
2015 - 2017 Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSc)
2017 - 2021 Doctor of Medicine (MD)

DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
DJA's guide on the topic of English Expression (Text response)

MM1

  • Victorian
  • Forum Obsessive
  • ***
  • Posts: 213
  • Respect: 0
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 03:29:02 pm »
0
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us; and congratulations on an awesome/much deserved SS.

Did you have any particular study routine when studying Biology? Thanks in advance :)

alchemy

  • Victorian
  • Part of the furniture
  • *****
  • Posts: 1222
  • Respect: +24
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 03:34:18 pm »
0
Useful advice, I'm sure. I think your point on focusing specifically on the study design really applies to me. Need to keep that in mind, I guess.
Yacoub when did you begin tackling Checkpoints/BioZone questions? Were you up to doing that during the summer holidays having yet to start Biology for the year, or did you leave them until later?
Did you write and consolidate your own notes or did you find 'A+ notes' to be sufficient?

Once again, kudos for sharing your advice.

psyxwar

  • Victorian
  • Part of the furniture
  • *****
  • Posts: 1353
  • MBBS IV @ Monash Clayton
  • Respect: +78
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 03:38:56 pm »
+1
Great guide. I'd also like to stress the point of doing timed exams; proper 2.5 exams under the new format. Poor time management is ultimately what screwed me over on the day.

A few more things:

- listen to Douchy's Biology Podcasts throughout the year
- doing tonnes of trial exams =/= success. I know people stress that doing exams helps you understand how to answer questions properly, but you don't need to feel pressured to do tonnes of exams (esp if you're doing bio in yr12). I hardly did any company papers because I didn't see the point (though ultimately this is up to you, definitely try a few first)

Robert243

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 03:51:17 pm »
0
Great post man  :)  This really helps me .
Good luck to all people doing biology in the future .
What would you recommend doing  to study for for bio in year 10 ?

« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 03:55:00 pm by Bullet »

Yacoubb

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 03:54:16 pm »
+2
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us; and congratulations on an awesome/much deserved SS.

Did you have any particular study routine when studying Biology? Thanks in advance :)

My technique was to study smart as opposed to studying hard. For instance, I'd complete practice questions whilst studying a particular concept. See the section on SACs above for what I did for SACs.

Useful advice, I'm sure. I think your point on focusing specifically on the study design really applies to me. Need to keep that in mind, I guess.
Yacoub when did you begin tackling Checkpoints/BioZone questions? Were you up to doing that during the summer holidays having yet to start Biology for the year, or did you leave them until later?
Did you write and consolidate your own notes or did you find 'A+ notes' to be sufficient?

Once again, kudos for sharing your advice.

Day 1 - start practicing your application of knowledge early & you will reap what you have sown come exam time. Once you finish a topic, do Biozone & checkpoints! For notes, I would do a bit of both. I would read through my textbook, TSFX notes, A+ notes and then write my own notes to make sure I had consolidated it. Another thing I did was purchase a big whiteboard & pretend I was teaching a class! Yep, I taught my bed Biology! :) it helped immensely.

Great guide. I'd also like to stress the point of doing timed exams; proper 2.5 exams under the new format. Poor time management is ultimately what screwed me over on the day.

A few more things:

- listen to Douchy's Biology Podcasts throughout the year
- doing tonnes of trial exams =/= success. I know people stress that doing exams helps you understand how to answer questions properly, but you don't need to feel pressured to do tonnes of exams (esp if you're doing bio in yr12). I hardly did any company papers because I didn't see the point (though ultimately this is up to you, definitely try a few first)


Perfect! There is a very very weak correlation between number of practice exams & your score. I know friends who did 70+ practice exams and scored 30 for Further Maths :)

walkec

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 07:09:44 pm »
0
This was just the motivational speech I needed  :D Thank you :)

Rachel62

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2014, 07:33:33 pm »
0
Thank you for this post; it has given me some useful advice as well as motivated me to spend more time on biology. Also, a belated congratulations on your well-deserved score!  :)

Yacoubb

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2014, 09:47:47 am »
0
Thank you for this post; it has given me some useful advice as well as motivated me to spend more time on biology. Also, a belated congratulations on your well-deserved score!  :)

No worries :)
Good luck with Biology!

Ephemera

  • Victorian
  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Respect: 0
  • School: Cranbourne Secondary College
  • School Grad Year: 2013
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 02:57:16 pm »
0
Really appreciated, will bookmark this to give it a read every so often. Unfortunately I got a 'low' on the first part of my SAC involving osmosis/diffusion with the eggs in hypotonic/hypertonic solution, due to my discussion being too lengthy and drifting from the main point of the actual practical analysis.

But after reading this I feel a lot more comfortable about enzymes and the optimum pH effect SAC tomorrow. Greatly appreciated once again!

-Brock,
Cranbourne Secondary College.
2013 - Geography [28] (Bludged).
2014 - English [] / Further Mathematics []/ Industry & Enterprise Studies [] / Biology []

Yacoubb

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 04:06:51 pm »
0
Really appreciated, will bookmark this to give it a read every so often. Unfortunately I got a 'low' on the first part of my SAC involving osmosis/diffusion with the eggs in hypotonic/hypertonic solution, due to my discussion being too lengthy and drifting from the main point of the actual practical analysis.

But after reading this I feel a lot more comfortable about enzymes and the optimum pH effect SAC tomorrow. Greatly appreciated once again!

-Brock,
Cranbourne Secondary College.

No worries. I'm sorry about the SAC! Just remember you have plenty of time to redeem yourself. Hopefully it all goes according to plan.

kpoplover

  • Victorian
  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Respect: 0
  • School: John Monash Science School
  • School Grad Year: 2017
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2014, 05:40:34 pm »
0
Such great advice :) good luck with your other subjects this year!

Yacoubb

  • Guest
Re: Advice for VCE Biology
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2014, 06:19:49 pm »
0
Such great advice :) good luck with your other subjects this year!

I'm glad you've found it helpful. Thank you :)