The exams are coming up (aren’t they always?).
This page is for some advice on how to prepare best for your exams and make the most of your time in the exam room. If you have any winning tips to share, please do so in the comments below!
Drawing in IB Biology – Calculations and Units – Extended Response
Drawing in IB Biology
This presentation is in the very early draft stages, but it might help you with some revision. Draw the Core takes the assessment statements where a drawing, diagram or graph would be needed or very useful in the answer. I have knocked up my own images using a graphics tablet, so apologies for the terrible handwriting in some slides.
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.
- Quiz yourself on the definitions, check your answers.
- 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.
Calculations and Units
You need to be able to calculate the following in the exams for the Core:
- Mean & standard deviation
- Magnification of an image
- Actual size of part of a magnified image
- Difference between two points in a set of data… [final – start]
- … which is not the same as % difference: [(final – start)/start * 100]
For now, go through your syllabus and pick out all of the assessments statements that require a calculation or a unit. Test yourself on the correct way to write each unit and its use. Know your way around your calculator and pay attention if the question asks you to show your working.
In paper 2 section B, you are required to answer one (SL) or two (HL) extended response questions. These are worth 20 marks. Content makes up 18 of those marks, with ‘quality of answer’ making up the other two. The questions are normally broken into three or four parts, with the first parts just a few marks each. There will be at least one which is 8 or 9 marks.
- Practice. Ask your teacher for example Paper 2 questions and the markschemes so you can get used to them. Complete them by yourself and check them as a group.
- Use the 5-minutes reading time at the start of the exam to go through each option and decide which will give you the best outcome.
- Highlight the command terms, pay attention to the number of marks available.
- Look for caveats in the question such as ‘…using a named example…‘ – without addressing these you will not get full marks.
- Use scientific language appropriately. If you look on the markschemes, these are often underlined, meaning that you cannot be awarded a certain mark without the correct terminology.
- Practice. You might not have written a block of text for a while, so strengthen those writing muscles!
- Use English (or your response langauge) appropriately. It is expected that two parts of the question are answered in prose style, but do not confuse this with flowery writing. Don’t overstretch your language abilities, or you may confuse the examiner. Write simply and clearly. Address the command terms.
- Write logically and check your work. One quality mark is simply for the completeness of the answer and the readability of the work – does the examiner need to skip backward and forward to understand your idea or can they read it once and get your meaning?
- If you use diagrams or charts, make sure they are clearly labeled and that you refer to them in the text. You can use pencil for these, but you must NOT use colours.
- Practice. The more you do, the more likely you are to spot patterns and go into the exam feeling confident.