Study Resources

Online Christmas Revision Course 2020

Biology is one of the many subjects available on our Christmas Revision Course, that takes place from December 28th – 31st.

This 4-day live and interactive online course provides students from 1st – 6th year with expert tuition and exam focused notes delivered straight to their door. Pre-recorded tutorials, and all classes, will also be available for students to re-watch until the end of June.

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.

Use flashcards

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.

Sample Notes

Students who attend The Institute of Education are provided with exclusive, exam-focussed study notes to support their home study and revision. Below are a sample of the high-quality biology notes they receive.

Reaction to 2019 Biology Exam

Each year, our exceptional teachers give their take on the Leaving Certificate higher level exam papers. Read what Susan Silke, biology teacher at The Institute of Education, had to say about the 2019 exam below.

Reaction to Leaving Certificate 2019 Higher Level Biology paper by Susan Silke, biology teacher at The Institute of Education.

A broad but fair paper. Language used was nice and clear. There were questions on large sections of the course. Some of the tougher questions on plant reproduction and protein synthesis would have given stronger students the opportunity to show their knowledge.

Section A | Short Questions

  • Overall, the short questions were nice and straight-forward.
  • The photographs of the stages of cell division in Question 4 may have confused some students.

Section B | Experiments

  • A very nice selection of questions here.
  • Question 7: Continuing the trend of the last few years, five different practical experiments appeared within the one question.
  • Question 8: A straight-forward question on the production of alcohol by yeast.
  • Question 9- Part B (iii): Students would normally be asked one safety precaution here, but this year they were asked for two. This might have caught some students out. The questions were straight forward other than that.

Section C | Long Questions (4 out of 6)

  • Question 10, Part B was on ecology and invasive mammal species. Part B (iv) was an unusual question , which some students would have found challenging to answer.
  • Question 11 was on genetics. In Part B it was nice to see a whole question appear on protein synthesis. This is not an easy topic and students who had spent the time preparing it will be pleased. It was also nice to see, in Part C, a question on sex linkage, presented as a pedigree diagram.
  • Students who enjoy biochemistry will have liked Question 12 on metabolism, enzymes and photosynthesis.
  • Human reproduction made an appearance again this year in Question 13, after not appearing in 2018.
  • The question on the brain in Question 14 was very manageable, with a nice clear diagram.
  • It was nice to see a question on the development of the embryo sac in Question 15. This was a tough question, but well prepared students would have been well able for it.

Top Tips

Mona Murray, 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. Bio Molecules. 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.

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