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Thread: My Guide to HSC Biology

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    Supreme Member Flop21's Avatar
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    My Guide to HSC Biology

    Number one main tip: you need to know your content.

    http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au...tg6_syl_03.pdf

    From page 36, the relevant syllabus starts. You have 3 main topics: Maintaining a Balance, Blueprint of Life, and The Search for Better Health. You also have an additional Option topic, in class you will study ONE of these 5 option topics: Communication, Biotechnology, Genetics, The Human Story, Biochemistry.

    You will also need to know ‘Biology Skills’ as these are tested as well. These are just your science skills that are common among all 3 HSC sciences. You can see them in the syllabus (pg. 36). Basically you need to know how to correctly draw a graph (particularly a line graph), a table, and be able to know the difference between validity, accuracy, and reliability (link to pdf on this). You should also be able to judge if an experiment is valid, reliable or accurate. All practicals (in the right hand column) can be tested as well, so have a rough idea of all the practicals in the syllabus.

    Knowing your content is the most important thing in Biology. I cannot stress this enough. Knowing your content back to front will enable you to handle anything they throw at you during the HSC. Past papers will only prepare you for questions that have already been asked, and are more suitable to test your knowledge.

    How to learn the content?


    1. Find a great set of notes. My tip for finding a great set of notes is using the keywords in Google, “HSC state ranking [insert subject here] notes”. Sellfy are an online document marketplace where people sell their notes (note prices are in USD).

    These notes will be your bible (and you will most likely memorising them). Because they are good notes they will have every single syllabus point in them, AND relevant information underneath each dot point.

    I can link you the notes I used, I sent a PM to the seller and they haven’t replied so I’m not going to advertise them here (they’re a tutoring centre and I wanted to make sure they are not selling them without the author’s permission or anything). They are very good notes though.


    2. Read the notes. Don’t go highlighting every sentence, just have a read through. Maybe even just one topic, depending on what term you’re in. I suggest once you finish one topic, heavily go over your notes and study that topic.

    To study, again, read through the notes. Go from the 1st syllabus point to the last. You need to make sure you actually understand each dot point.


    3. If you don’t understand a dot point, watch a video. Videos helped me so much during my HSC for biology. There are a lot of concepts you need to wrap your head around, and visually being taught this concept helps.

    Letslearnscience: https://www.youtube.com/user/Letslearnscience/playlists

    This guy has a video for every single dot point in the syllabus. I love his videos because each video is specific to the dot point, so you know the information he’s teaching is relevant to you.

    Amoeba Sisters: https://www.youtube.com/user/AmoebaSisters/videos

    I found these videos extremely useful when I had very little idea for the concept (e.g. translation and transcription). The animations make it very easy to understand and to remember.

    If you need more visual help, type the concept into youtube’s search bar. You’ll always have tonnes of visual resources there, since Biology is obviously a universal topic.


    4. Memorising. Once you understand the concepts and understand what you’re reading, it’s time to memorise (also known as rote).

    I strongly suggest you use digital flash cards for the things you need to memorise. I used a program called Anki (http://ankisrs.net/). It uses spaced repetition. Computer program is free, IOS app is not.

    Reason I used it over simple apps like Quizlet was because Anki is ‘smarter’. It will show you cards that you are about to forget, and won’t show you cards that you know well. Thus, it’s efficient.

    Take a read of this when creating your flash cards:

    http://www.supermemo.com/articles/20rules.htm

    If you’re going to use flashcards, make them now. Do not leave them till a month before trials. Get them out of the way so you can be studying them during that month before trials, HSC etc.

    My flash cards were pretty simple, just had front saying “what is homeostasis” and the answer on the back. I used bolding and colour a lot to help memorise. Inserting images also helped a lot (whether it be the front to help jog the memory, or the back to further explain an answer).



    5. Practice questions. Leave this till you know your content well. You can use practice questions as a way to identify weak spots. HSC past papers are obviously the main source of good questions. I went topic by topic (the index topic guide in the inside cover of the Success One book / past paper book), which I found was effective. I read over my notes for a topic, and then did say 5 years’ worth of Blueprint of Life HSC questions. Repeat for the other topics.

    Save more recent papers for closer to the HSC. Start with the older ones. You can also use trial papers to find more practice questions. I actually did quite a lot of trial past papers (after trials, so I used the latest ones 2015 for me, 2016 for you) before the HSC, I suggest you do them as well.

    As you go through your past papers, if any question is difficult to you or you recognise that is a weak spot for you, write it down on a piece of paper (make a list), so you have a list of your weak areas to go over and study. Do not forget about this list, and preferably go and study them ASAP.

    Your aim is to have no weak spots and know your content back to front.


    ______________________________


    That’s my guide to HSC Biology. If you want anything further explained, let me know, I’m happy to help.
    Last edited by Flop21; 1 Nov 2015 at 9:32 AM.
    2015 HSC: English Adv, Mathematics, Business Studies, Biology, Multimedia.

    HSC Biology Flashcards

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    Supreme Member Flop21's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Added link to a pdf on reliability, validity and accuracy for primary and secondary sources.
    2015 HSC: English Adv, Mathematics, Business Studies, Biology, Multimedia.

    HSC Biology Flashcards

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    Hi Φ Green Yoda's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Amazing Guide Flop21!!
    Flop21 likes this.
    2016 Preliminary

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    Hi Φ Green Yoda's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Bump
    Flop21 likes this.
    2016 Preliminary

    Maths Extension • English Advanced • Biology • Legal Studies • Physics • PDHPE

    2017 HSC

    Maths Extension 2 • English Advanced • Biology • Physics • PDHPE

    Atar aim: 97
    Desired Course: Physiotherapy

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    Supreme Member Flop21's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    You can get my flash cards here:

    [SELLING] Biology HSC Flashcards
    2015 HSC: English Adv, Mathematics, Business Studies, Biology, Multimedia.

    HSC Biology Flashcards

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    I love trials pikachu975's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Is it actually better to buy notes rather than write your own?
    Offering tutoring for Biology, Maths, Maths Ext 1, and Maths Ext 2.

    Solar Education - CHEAP Quality Tutoring

    Buy my books/notes cheaply here!

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    2017 HSC: // English Adv // Bio // Phys // 3U Maths // 4U Maths //
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    Supreme Member Flop21's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Quote Originally Posted by pikachu975 View Post
    Is it actually better to buy notes rather than write your own?
    Depends on what you like doing I guess. It's a debatable topic.

    I know I regretted wasting time writing up bloated notes and ended up using someone else's notes in the end to properly study.

    However, you might find it beneficial to write your own notes throughout the year, using them as a medium to learn the content while you are being taught it.

    But when class is over and it's time to study, you might find someone else's better.
    2015 HSC: English Adv, Mathematics, Business Studies, Biology, Multimedia.

    HSC Biology Flashcards

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    I love trials pikachu975's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Depends on what you like doing I guess. It's a debatable topic.

    I know I regretted wasting time writing up bloated notes and ended up using someone else's notes in the end to properly study.

    However, you might find it beneficial to write your own notes throughout the year, using them as a medium to learn the content while you are being taught it.

    But when class is over and it's time to study, you might find someone else's better.
    Thanks for the clarification. Since it's year 12 now t's the first time I've actually written my own notes so it's actually pretty fun but I'll probably use some state rank notes to add to mine.

    Question:
    Did you find it easier to study using your flashcards rather than the notes?
    Offering tutoring for Biology, Maths, Maths Ext 1, and Maths Ext 2.

    Solar Education - CHEAP Quality Tutoring

    Buy my books/notes cheaply here!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2016 HSC (Accelerated): // 2U Maths (97) // SOR 1 (48) //
    2017 HSC: // English Adv // Bio // Phys // 3U Maths // 4U Maths //
    Goal: 99.8+

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    Supreme Member Flop21's Avatar
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    Re: My Guide to HSC Biology

    Quote Originally Posted by pikachu975 View Post
    Thanks for the clarification. Since it's year 12 now t's the first time I've actually written my own notes so it's actually pretty fun but I'll probably use some state rank notes to add to mine.

    Question:
    Did you find it easier to study using your flashcards rather than the notes?
    Flash cards are for when I want to etch something into my brain (rote). It's simply the most effective way to do it. Notes are for expanding your knowledge and revising close to exams (i.e. it's much easier to quickly read over a few pages of notes vs go through 300 flash cards). They're easy to find what you're looking for too. You'll use the notes to refer to throughout the whole year.

    Whereas flashcards really serve the single purpose of learning the basics of every point off by heart.

    I say keep doing what you're doing it doesn't matter too much what you do, the real important period is when you're pre trial and right up till hsc exams. Then you'll probably be able to assess what you should be doing to make the most of your time.
    2015 HSC: English Adv, Mathematics, Business Studies, Biology, Multimedia.

    HSC Biology Flashcards

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