What does it take to get a H1 in Higher Level Biology?
Alison Bell, a past pupil from The Institute of Education who achieved a H1 in Leaving Cert higher level biology, shares her top revision tips.
Make a study timetable
A well-structured timetable is a must. It’s important not to overload your timetable for each evening. Taking 3 subjects, for an hour each is plenty. I found studying the subjects I struggled with first helped, and then the ones I enjoyed at the end. Setting these routines is so useful and you’ll be surprised how easy it comes after a week or two of commitment.
Flashcards were my thing. I used them for definitions, cycles, experiments, and anything I was struggling to remember. Test yourself by reading them in your free time. It doesn’t have to count as ‘intense study’, but the repetition helps a lot.
Use exam papers and the marking scheme
Both of these are very important as they contain the answers to questions that WILL be on your exam in June. The exams are repetitive from year to year. If you can tighten up your answers in accordance with the marking schemes, all those marks that you could have missed out on add up. It’s the attention to detail that makes the higher grade.
Reaction to 2023 Biology Paper
Each year, our exceptional teachers give their take on the Leaving Certificate Higher Level exam papers.
See what Wesley Hammond, biology teacher at The Institute of Education, had to say about the 2023 Higher Level exam paper in this short video.
To read teacher reactions to previous year’s biology exam papers check out our blog>>
Mona Murray, former biology teacher at The Institute of Education, shares her secrets to exam success.
Preparing for the exam
- Revise all the Practicals.
- There are 3 major topics that everyone should cover: 1. Scientific Method. 2. Biomolecules. 3. Ecology. If you study these topics well you are guaranteed 2 questions from Section A and 1 question from Section C.
- Look over the following individual topics, as they are examined almost every year: 1. Respiration. 2. Photosynthesis. 3. Genetics & DNA. 4. Human Reproduction
During the exam
- Answer the paper in the order it is presented, i.e. Section A first, then Section B and finally Section C.
- Re-read Section A answers at the very end of the exam. You may find one or two silly mistakes due to anxiety at the start.
- If you are asked for a definition of a word or idea, always give an example after your explanation.
- Underline the items required when reading a question. Stick to these in your answer.
- Use clear handwriting.
- Use simple, clear, labelled diagrams. Begin an answer with a suitable diagram and then refer the examiner to it in the course of your answer.
- Use examples as often as possible.