Category Archives: Revision & Review

BioNinja: App & Website

Click to visit BioNinja

BioNinja is website and app for review in IB Biology that you might find useful. It has some summary notes, tutorials and songs and quizzes on the free app.

For other review resources for the IBBio exams:

  • This site ( has presentations, links and review sheets.
  • has good summary notes, with depth

Definedly… maybe? Get the definitions right in your review.

Nail down those definitions

Define is a ‘simple’ objective 1 command term… but you must be precise in your answers.

Definitions are also a great start to review and build into deeper explanation of the concepts.

  • Quiz yourself on the definitions, check your answers. This Sortable Syllabus might help.
  • Pay attention to the markschemes – what is the importance of the underlined terms and why can’t you get marks without them?
  • ‘Unpack’ the definition into its component parts – what is the relevance of each and how does it lead to more in-depth explanation of the concept?

Here’s a quiz for the define assessment statements in the SL Core and for the two options my class did this year. It’s a GoogleDoc – here’s the link.

IB Biology: Sortable Syllabus

I made this document to help my students review for their mock and final exams. It is the syllabus presented as a sortable Google Spreadsheet. There are tabs at the top for Paper 1 & 2: Core content, Paper 1 & 2: Core & AHL content, and for each subtopic.

  • Go to “View –> List view”.
  • Use the sort feature to target individual command terms, topics, objectives or levels.
  • It also has the ability to sort by suggested TOK connections or aims.

It does not include any images from the subject guide, as these cannot be included in cells to sort, so you will need to use your own copy or the text(s).

This could be a powerful review tool if used in response to practice papers or as a formative/ self-assessment tool. If a student is identified as weak in a particular command term, they can sort their revision and set priorities. It should allow for quick and focused differentation of exam preparation.

SortableSyllabus: IB Biology. Click to open and go to List View

Aligning IBDP Biology and SAT Biology subject tests. Any takers?

This weekend is SAT Biology subject tests, which will be fun for a handful of kids in our IBDP school. I spent some time today with some IBSL year 1 students who needed help covering the content. We had fun with the respiration, photosythesis and DNA replication, but it made me realise I don’t know how and where the two testing systems overlap.

Are you experienced in teaching both and do you want to help out? If so, please open this GoogleDoc and add the relevant SL/HL subtopics in line with the SAT Bio subject test topics. If you really want to, add the links to the relevant i-Biology pages.

Let’s see how this works!

Command Terms & Drawing Skills for IBDP Bio Exams

The 17th and 18th May are just around the corner! Here are some tips for your studies. Find more on this page: Exam Skills.

Do make sure you have a solid grasp of the command terms. Work through your syllabus, and realise that the objective three command terms (explain, etc), include those below.

You could also use the ‘draw’, ‘label’ or ‘annotate’ command terms as stimuli for organising your knowledge visually. If only there was an IB Bio version of Draw Something

Command Terms and Drawing Skills

My class need to review the definitions and the way we approach some of these command terms, so here is the Command Terms presentation as a reminder. November sessioners – your exam is in one week! Maybe these resources will help.

Get practicing with those calculators, too.

Draw the Core – exam skills presentation

Biologists need to be able to draw, but don’t confuse it with a colouring-in competition. If you look through the syllabus you will find many examples of assessment statements for draw, label or annotate, as well as others for which a diagram would be a great benefit.With limitations of time and using black pencil (no colours) in the exams, you will need to make them quick, clear and simple.

Draw the Core is a draft presentation for these syllabus items – for the Core content of the course only. This is a real work in progress and will be updated every now and then (when I get some free time). For now, you might find it useful. Later I plan to extend it for the AHL content too.

How could you use it in your revision?

  • Flash up the command term slide and race to draw the diagram – then compare it with the next slide.
  • Show up the diagrams and try to label them.
  • Annotate the diagrams to explain or outline the processes in which they are involved.
  • Think about ‘links across the curriculum’ for each of the diagrams.

You can find its permanent home on the Exam Skills page.The diagrams I have drawn in the presentation are Creative Commons, so use them if you will, but cite and link back to this site. Over time, I will add some of these to the Flickr page. I have used a simple USB graphics tablet for the diagrams and Powerpoint for the labels and annotations.

If you have a good, simple, home-made and clear diagram that you would like to donate to the presentation, please let me know in the comments.

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