Upcoming biology IB exams may cause many sleepless nights. Trust me, Ive been there too. The good news is: it does not need to be this way! There is a vast amount of learning resources available and going through them all would be close to impossible, especially with the already busy schedule of an IB Diploma student. The key is thus to select the most useful exam-tailored resources, preferably written by the IB examiners themselves. Here are some truly life saving tips that will make your exam preparation better structured and significantly less stressful.
Make friends with the exam syllabus
Many of you may think that that exam syllabi merely provide an overview of the examinable areas of the subject. The syllabus is much more than that and I would not hesitate to say that it should be everyones starting point of revision. It specifies in detail, what exactly you need to know for the exam. Fact of the day: if its not in the syllabus, you can rest assured that it will not appear on the examination paper. Additionally, some sections of the syllabus explicitly say: the student should know that (). So here you go, you might have just learned the answer to one of the multiple choice questions.
Use the Study Guide
Study guide consists of a set of key points and summaries of every topic. It is a useful resource to read as a complement to your lectures and as a knowledge reinforcement. It also provides some multiple choice and long answer questions at the end of each chapter so that you can check your knowledge and understanding as you go. You should not however rely on the Study Guide as your only source of knowledge it assumes that you have some prior understanding of the subject and does not contain all the examinable information.
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When in doubt use your biology handbook
There are some topics in biology that are very straightforward and after leaving your classroom, reading the syllabus requirements and completing some study guide exercises, you can feel that you understand everything. However there are some areas of biology that can be more challenging and require a bit more commitment from you. This is when the big, usually couple of hundred pages long handbooks become useful. Dont panic, you dont have to read the whole book in one go. Whenever you feel unsure, just head to the specific section of interest to you and read it thoroughly. These chapters are very well written and provide a detailed account of everything that you should know for your exams.
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