May 092015
 
Benefits of exercise after study

Benefits of exercise after study

Exercise may help cement new facts in your mind. Regular exercise boosts brain health, and a fit brain is generally able to learn, think and remember better. Recent studies suggest that to maximise retention of information you have just learned you need to time workouts for just after your study session. The exercise doesn’t even have to be too intense. In a variety of experiments, people who cycled, did leg presses or even simply squeezed a handgrip shortly after or before learning did better on tests of recall in the hours, days or weeks that followed.

Nov 182014
 
Additional Science Revision timetable poster

This post has a link to my revision timetable for AQA Additional science (biology unit 2, chemistry unit 2, physics unit 2 and How Science Works). Before downloading you should read this article so you understand the stages I’ve built into your timetable. There is a post here for separate sciences (pupils studying B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3, P1, P2, P3 and How Science Works) and a post here for science (pupils studying B1, C1, P1).

I think of  being successful in exams as being like building a house.

Foundations

You need to start by digging strong foundations. To make decent foundations it takes the effort to dig a big hole and the more work you’ve put in the easier it is to then build a strong house. The strongest foundations you can build for your GCSE are by focusing in class and making sure you understand all the new ideas. Homework helps you to combine your knowledge (binding new ideas together) and revising fully for tests will help to move new ideas from your short to long-term memory.

As you start revising for the mocks and main exams you’re starting to pour your foundations. This is the basic work and doesn’t need much skill. You need to revise keywords and definitions for all the topics (if you want some free keyword cards for Biology add your email at the end of this post).

Wall

The next stage is to build your walls and roof. You need to make revision notes in an active way. There are many types of notes you can make and I will discuss them in other posts. At GCSE I recommend using my Q notes. A lot of people stop here. The problem with this is that making the notes doesn’t mean you can remember the information. A lot of the time because our brain recognises the information as we write notes this  fools us into thinking we remember it. To remember it you really need to go on to the next stage. This had become even more important with the move to linear exams. I devised my Q note system to revise effectively for this type of exam. Students using the system have gained excellent GCSE results.

Wallpapaer

Now you get to put up some wallpaper. To remember information you need to revise it. Keep testing yourself. Can you remember the definitions for the keywords? Can you remember all the information in your notes? You also need to work on your exam technique. Do lots of exam questions and look carefully at the mark schemes. Make sure you have your timing sorted. As you start a question look at how many marks it is worth, check your watch and make sure you answer it in the same number of minutes as there are marks. Many of the people who don’t get at least a C in Biology exams didn’t finish the paper. Make sure you find the command word in the question as lots of people who drop grades failed to answer the question fully e.g. a question asked them to describe and explain and they only described. Concentrate on improving your skills in the questions about experiments.

Finishing touches

Now it’s time for the finishing touches. All the things that make a house a home. In exam terms the things that push you from an A to an A*. Make sure you know all the detail in your notes. Keep revising. Keep doing exam papers. Keep calm. Aiming high is great but you need to take care of yourself so that you give your best performance in the exams. I have made two versions of each revision timetable- a colourful poster

Additional Science Revision timetable poster

and a more basic version

Separate science revision timetable (biology, chemistry, physics) by Dr Nicholls timetable basicRevision Timetable downloads

Ideally you want to start revising as early as you can and distributing it evenly across the year. The later you start the tougher it is and intensive revision over holidays only could lead yo you getting very tired by the exams so you don’t do your best. In the end you need to decide which strategy works best for you!

When revision starts

November 2014

December 2014

Easter 2015

 Type of revision

Distributed little & often across year

Intensive over winter and spring break

Intensive from Spring break onwards

Nov 172014
 

This post has a link to my revision timetable for AQA science (biology unit 1, chemistry unit 1, physics unit 1 and How Science Works). Before downloading you should read this article so you understand the stages I’ve built into your timetable. There is a post here with the revision timetable for separate sciences (pupils studying B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3, P1, P2, P3 and How Science Works) and a post with the revision timetable for Additional Science here.

I think of  being successful in exams as being like building a house.

Foundations

You need to start by digging strong foundations. To make decent foundations it takes the effort to dig a big hole and the more work you’ve put in the easier it is to then build a strong house. The strongest foundations you can build for your GCSE are by focusing in class and making sure you understand all the new ideas. Homework helps you to combine your knowledge (binding new ideas together) and revising fully for tests will help to move new ideas from your short to long-term memory.

As you start revising for the mocks and main exams you’re starting to pour your foundations. This is the basic work and doesn’t need much skill. You need to revise keywords and definitions for all the topics (if you want some free keyword cards for Biology add your email at the end of this post).

Wall

The next stage is to build your walls and roof. You need to make revision notes in an active way. There are many types of notes you can make and I will discuss them in other posts. At GCSE I recommend using my Q notes. A lot of people stop here. The problem with this is that making the notes doesn’t mean you can remember the information. A lot of the time because our brain recognises the information as we write notes this  fools us into thinking we remember it. To remember it you really need to go on to the next stage. This had become even more important with the move to linear exams. I devised my Q note system to revise effectively for this type of exam. Students using the system have gained excellent GCSE results.

Wallpapaer

Now you get to put up some wallpaper. To remember information you need to revise it. Keep testing yourself. Can you remember the definitions for the keywords? Can you remember all the information in your notes? You also need to work on your exam technique. Do lots of exam questions and look carefully at the mark schemes. Make sure you have your timing sorted. As you start a question look at how many marks it is worth, check your watch and make sure you answer it in the same number of minutes as there are marks. Many of the people who don’t get at least a C in Biology exams didn’t finish the paper. Make sure you find the command word in the question as lots of people who drop grades failed to answer the question fully e.g. a question asked them to describe and explain and they only described. Concentrate on improving your skills in the questions about experiments.

Finishing touches

Now it’s time for the finishing touches. All the things that make a house a home. In exam terms the things that push you from an A to an A*. Make sure you know all the detail in your notes. Keep revising. Keep doing exam papers. Keep calm. Aiming high is great but you need to take care of yourself so that you give your best performance in the exams. I have made two versions of each revision timetable- a colourful poster

Science Revision timetable

and a more basic version

Separate science revision timetable (biology, chemistry, physics) by Dr Nicholls timetable basicRevision Timetable downloads

Ideally you want to start revising as early as you can and distributing it evenly across the year. The later you start the tougher it is and intensive revision over holidays only could lead yo you getting very tired by the exams so you don’t do your best. In the end you need to decide which strategy works best for you!

When revision starts

November 2014

December 2014

Easter 2015

 Type of revision

Distributed little & often across year

Intensive over winter and spring break

Intensive from Spring break onwards

Nov 122014
 
Biology Chemistry Physics Revision timetable poster

This post has a link to a revision timetable for AQA separate science (biology, chemistry and physics) year 11 pupils to download. Before downloading you should read this article so you understand the stages I’ve built into your timetable. I have a post containing the revision timetable for GCSE Science here and GCSE Additional science here.

I think of  being successful in exams as being like building a house.

Foundations

You need to start by digging strong foundations. To make decent foundations it takes the effort to dig a big hole and the more work you’ve put in the easier it is to then build a strong house. The strongest foundations you can build for your GCSE are by focusing in class and making sure you understand all the new ideas. Homework helps you to combine your knowledge (binding new ideas together) and revising fully for tests will help to move new ideas from your short to long-term memory.

As you start revising for the mocks and main exams you’re starting to pour your foundations. This is the basic work and doesn’t need much skill. You need to revise keywords and definitions for all the topics (if you want some free keyword cards for Biology add your email at the end of this post).

Wall

The next stage is to build your walls and roof. You need to make revision notes in an active way. There are many types of notes you can make and I will discuss them in other posts. At GCSE I recommend using my Q notes. A lot of people stop here. The problem with this is that making the notes doesn’t mean you can remember the information. A lot of the time because our brain recognises the information as we write notes this  fools us into thinking we remember it. To remember it you really need to go on to the next stage. This had become even more important with the move to linear exams. If you are studying separate sciences it is likely you have to learn the information taught over 2 or 3 years at school to sit 9 exams at the end of the course (B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3, P1, P2, P3). I devised my Q note system to revise effectively for this type of exam. Students using the system have gained excellent GCSE results.

Wallpapaer

Now you get to put up some wallpaper. To remember information you need to revise it. Keep testing yourself. Can you remember the definitions for the keywords? Can you remember all the information in your notes? You also need to work on your exam technique. Do lots of exam questions and look carefully at the mark schemes. Make sure you have your timing sorted. As you start a question look at how many marks it is worth, check your watch and make sure you answer it in the same number of minutes as there are marks. Many of the people who don’t get at least a C in Biology exams didn’t finish the paper. Make sure you find the command word in the question as lots of people who drop grades failed to answer the question fully e.g. a question asked them to describe and explain and they only described. Concentrate on improving your skills in the questions about experiments.

Finishing touches

Now it’s time for the finishing touches. All the things that make a house a home. In exam terms the things that push you from an A to an A*. Make sure you know all the detail in your notes. Keep revising. Keep doing exam papers. Keep calm. Aiming high is great but you need to take care of yourself so that you give your best performance in the exams. I have made two versions of each revision timetable- a colourful poster

Biology Chemistry Physics Revision timetable poster

and a more basic version

Separate science revision timetable (biology, chemistry, physics) by Dr Nicholls timetable basicRevision Timetable downloads

Ideally you want to start revising as early as you can and distributing it evenly across the year. The later you start the tougher it is and intensive revision over holidays only could lead yo you getting very tired by the exams so you don’t do your best. In the end you need to decide which strategy works best for you!

When revision starts

November 2014

December 2014

December 2014

January 2015

Easter 2015

 Type of revision

Distributed little & often across year

Distributed little & often across year

Intensive over winter and spring break

Distributed little & often across year

Intensive

 

Jan 022014
 

Check it out!

There have been some great TV shows on this week and I’d recommend watching them on BBC iPlayer over the next couple of days.

The third series of Nature’s Weirdest Events is available and showing how events in nature can sometimes be weirder than fiction. In episode 1 they show that golf is more dangerous than you think with sharks on a golf course in Australia. If you are squeamish you might want to avoid the frog that shoots bones through its skin.

In episode 2 there are trees oozing red blood and France making multi-coloured honey. Also is that the sound of aliens?

Alien

One of the funniest, informative nature shows I’ve seen was Penguin: Spy in the Huddle. Various penguincams were used to get amazing footage. This week Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice was repeated and is currently on iplayer. The spy cameras sound like robots in Robot Wars- Icebergcam, Blizzardcam, Snowballcam, Snowcam and Driftcam. This intelligent predator isn’t always fooled by the cameras with some amusing results. There are also some amazing moments captured such as cubs emerging for the first time from dens, play fighting and courtship behaviours. Tonight the next series starts and looks at dolphins showing the amazing behaviour of dolphins in the wild. The spy cameras in this series use other animals molluscs, sea turtle and squid to get up close and personal with the dolphins.

Penguin

The Royal Institute Christmas lectures are always worth watching and this year they were very relevant to the GCSE and A level biology specifications. The first lecture asks where do I come from? This looks at how the complex human body develops from a single fertilised egg cell. The embryonic development of a worm in shown live while we learn all about cell division and developmental biology.

The second lecture asks Am I a Mutant? This is particularly relevant to the GCSE specification as it examines Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The lecture explains how the amazing diversity in our planet has come about through mutation, adaptation and selection. Darwin makes a surprising guest appearance and gets to learn a few things himself! There is an explanation of the vital genes responsible for mapping out an animal’s body-plan. We also find out when a lizard is not a lizard….when it is a snake!

The last lecture asks Could I live Forever? The only certainty in life is death (and taxes). This lecture examines cell death (apoptosis) and whether it is possible for them to live forever. The programme also examines the ethics of intervening in evolution and modifying and manipulating genes. If we could live forever would we really want to?

 

 

Jun 022013
 

GCSE Biology

GCSE Biology in Science

This is section is very much in progress as I hope to add relevant posts the next time I teach each topic. It is well worth looking through the sections on study and revision tips. You can also check out the links on my Pinterest boards. You will mainly be interested in the boards starting with GCSE then the topic name. There are two boards for each topic, one has links to relevant theory, web sites, games, animations etc. and the other is for related experiments and how science works for the topic. If you find Biology interesting then have a look at the ‘check these out’ section of this site, look at my news boards on Pinterest and you can also follow me on twitter Virtually Tutoring @Nicholls_Dr. I try to tweet any news and studies relevant to the Biology specifications I teach.

If you are struggling to understand a particular topic you could also watch the relevant videos from mygcsesciene.com for core, additional and separate sciences.

I wrote a post explaining GCSE additional science which outlines the exams involved and what to learn. Do subscribe to my blog by email so that you get notifications when I add posts. My focus over the next year will be to add more content to help you understand and revise GCSE biology in science.

Feb 092013
 

With so much change and potential change in the UK education system it is all becoming a bit confusing! I wanted to write a post to try and make things clear for my year 11s and their families. I thought I’d have an attempt at making an infographic. It’s my first attempt so any feedback and comments are welcome. Click on it to see it at full size.

Anatomy of additional science

These statistics are from the exam board specification which can be found here.

The specification forms the basics of what you need to know for the exam. As well as telling you the subject content you need to know it also outlines the how science works concepts and skills you need to know for all three exams and the ISA.