The paper is in three sections.

Section A – Short Answers

How should I approach Section A – the short answers? 
100 marks [5 x 20]  - ½ hour max
  • Answer all six questions
  • Answer all parts of all questions even if it is only a guess.
  • All answers will be marked and you will be given the best combination
  • Only one answer per part as a wrong answer will cancel out a correct answer in that part
  • Don’t assume that five one word answers will be worth 5 marks each – sometimes the first two correct answers are worth 7 marks each and any other correct answers are worth two marks each.  

Section B deals with the mandatory practicals on the course. 

How should I approach this section? 
60 marks [2 x 30]     20 min max
  • Answer all parts of the two questions of your choice.
  • Once again a blank space gets no marks while a correct guess will get you three marks.
  • If for any reason you put an answer to any questions in sections A or B in your answer booklet the write “see answer booklet” in the appropriate space of the question paper.

Section C is the long answer section.

Should I approach this in a different way?
200 marks  [4 x 50] – Max 25 min
  • Answer the question asked not the question you would like to be asked.
  • Scan through all questions and put the fraction of the question you are confident of answering beside the question e.g. 1, ¾, ½, ¼, 0
  • Select the questions with the biggest fractions first – hopefully four 1’s
  • Time is valuable so do NOT repeat the question in your answer. Just write the answer.

Where should I do rough work?

  • Do all rough work at the back of your answer booklet.
  • Put the question number and part in the margin. If it is in the answer booklet it will be marked and you will be awarded the marks even though it is not in your main answer
  • but if it is on the question paper it will probably not be marked

How long should my answer be?

  • In sections A and B

The space provided gives an indication of how long it should be for a person with average sized writing

  • In section C

Each correct relevant point of information is worth 3 marks

So if a question is worth 18 marks it will normally require 6 points of information. If you are able give a couple of extra points just in case you make a mistake

Do I have to draw fancy diagrams?

  • NO
  • Simple diagrams are all hat are required.
  • A diagram and its labels are usually worth 9 marks
  • 6, 3 or 0 for the diagram and one each for three correct labels unless more are asked for
  • If one important part is missing then you will get 3 marks and if two important parts are missing the you will get no marks.
  • Labels are marked separately and usually get one mark each  

Does spelling and grammar matter? 

  • Spelling and grammar do not normally matter once it is clear that you are trying to write the correct word e.g. fotosinsisis clearly means photosynthesis
  • There are however two cases where spelling matters
  • Adenine (a base in DNA and RNA) and adenosine (in adenosine triphosphate – ATP)
  • Ureter (the tube connecting the kidney and the bladder) and urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body)  

What should I do if I discover I have missed a part of a question and have no space where I answered the question originally? 

  • No problem
  • Just put it after the last question you answered
  • Make sure you number it clearly  and it is a good idea to write “see later” in your original answer

Should I do extra questions?

  • When you have finished answering the required number of questions. Go back over the paper making sure that you have attempted all parts of each question
  • Read all your answers and make sure they make sense – you would be amazed at the things people write under exam pressure
  • You have spent the last two years preparing for this exam so keep answering until you are told to stop. Everything you write will be marked and you will be given the best combinations of marks.
  • After analysing answers over the last five years
  • About 40% of pupils do an extra question
  • Of these about 4 out of 5 improve their final mark by doing so


  • Make sure you have answered all parts of the required questions before you start on extra questions