Last minute stuff.

Some questions may require you to carry out calculations, so don’t forget to bring your calculator to the examination. However, you do not always need to use your calculator – you can often do the calculations in your head as they usually involve simple numbers. If your answer looks horrendous (eg. 5.66782) then it is quite possibly wrong.

Show all working in your calculations. Even if your final answer is wrong, you may still pick up marks if the working is seen to be correct. You will not be penalised if you carry forward an incorrect answer to a subsequent calculation. Are you expected to include the unit in your answer? Some questions provide the unit, but in other cases you will be expected to provide it (in this case the unit is usually worth one mark).

In some questions you may be asked to plot graphs or bar charts, and then interpret the information. When drawing graphs, lines of best fit are usually required (be careful – in Maths you are often expected to draw dot-to-dot lines. This is not a transferable skill between Maths and Science).

Some questions may actually give you graphs and bar charts with the data already plotted. You will be expected to extract information from the graphs and bar charts, and use this information in your answer.

Avoid white space. What do I mean by this? I say this to my students over and over again – YOU WILL NOT GET MARKS FOR BLANK SPACES! Simple. Even if you have to totally guess, just put something relevant down – you may get lucky and give something the examiners are looking for. If you get totally stuck then look at the question – what is it about? What keywords can you recall that may be of use? For example, if you recognise that the question is about photosynthesis then you might be thinking ….. chlorophyll, chloroplast, light, oxygen, limiting factors, glucose …. Construct a sentence using some/all of these keywords and you might get a precious point or two.

With two weeks to go you really should be consolidating your learning, and not trying to retain too much new knowledge. This is where your colourful revision notes, posters, flash cards, etc. should become really useful. You’re on the downhill stretch here – go for it!