Each year, the main exam boards make a public document which is written by the examiners called the “Examiners Report”.
In this report, they tell you what the common errors were, where many students missed marks, what surprised them about the paper, examples of how best to answer questions and past topics. This is different to a mark scheme because it gives you personal insights rather than just the correct answer, which often, can mean a lot more!
These are incredibly useful resources which give you the most valid and up-to-date information, straight from the people who decide on awarding the mark. You should use the Examiner’s Report as much as you possibly can! Print it off and stick it above your desk or next to your bed. Knowing what examiners have consistently awarded marks for in the past 5 years can make the difference between an A and A* – do not underestimate the power of knowledge!
This article examines (you see what we did there?) the AQA Biology June 2017 Past Paper.
General Statements from Biology AQA Examiners
This AQA Biology past paper covered topics 1-4 from the syllabus, along with the practice skills involved. Although many topics are shared with AS level Biology, the questions are at an A-level standard. This paper, along with other science A-level subjects, has had the difficulty and weighting of maths questions raised. This means a solid knowledge of Maths will gain you Biology marks!
A minority of students only just had enough time to complete the paper, and some ran out of time completely. Although the paper is tight of time, the examiners suggest that students should carefully read the “command” word (think: evaluate, explain, describe) before answering longer form questions so that you focus on the answer rather than “fluff”.
Finally, the “list rule” came into effect on this paper. The rule states that if, for example 3 answers for 3 marks, are required and the students gives 5 answers (3 correct and 2 incorrect), they will be negatively marked for the incorrect answers resulting in a mark of 1. Watch out for this when sitting your exam – don’t splurge if you are unsure!