10 Tips To Ace HSC Biology

In this post, Stephanie Wong shares her top 10 tips that helped her score an ATAR of 99 and 96/100 for Biology.

Matrix graduate, Stephanie Wong graduated from North Sydney Girls High School in 2014. She achieved an overall mark of 96 for HSC Biology and a 99.90 ATAR. Stephanie shares her top tips for her favourite subject, HSC Biology.


Study Tips

1. Practice, practice, practice:

Practising how to answer questions aids the memorisation process. If you find yourself short on time, practise a variety of questions that address different sections of the Biology syllabus. Alternatively, take the 2001 – 2009 NESA (formerly BOSTES) Online Multiple Choice Tests. These are less mentally strenuous.

2. Know what the examiners like to ask:

Examiners love asking questions that combine different aspects of the syllabus into one extended response question. This differentiates those who rote-learn, from those who have a thorough understanding of the topic and are able to establish relationships between different syllabus dot points in order to answer a question thoroughly yet succinctly.

3. Make sure you prepare notes for the SKILLS (3rd column) section of the syllabus as well as the dot points.

Examiners like to ask a couple of questions on experimental procedures that have been conducted in class.

4. Make your own notes:

Writing your own notes helps you memorise and understand concepts as well as identify any gaps in your knowledge. I used around 4 different sources to grasp a comprehensive and thorough understanding of each concept when preparing my notes. Referring to a diverse range of sources greatly reduces the chance of missing out or failing to understand a specific concept that one source neglected to mention or describe.

5. Use the marking criteria:

Practise questions with a printed version of the marking criteria by your side.


Exam Tips

6. Read the question carefully:

I always make sure I read an exam question multiple times in case I misread or miss any crucial information. Breaking down the question into more simplistic concepts also helps.

7. Highlight and understand the keywords and verbs:

Underline key words and put a box around the verbs. Make sure you understand what the verbs used in the exam questions mean and what they require you to do. The usage of different verbs is deliberate, as each verb requires a specific approach, structure and level of sophistication to answering the question.

8. Plan your extended question responses:

I found it helpful to plan out my response to the question using dot points before answering them.

9. Take note of the question’s mark allocation:

The amount of marks assigned to each exam question gives you an approximate idea in regards to how much you need to write.

10. Incorporate examples:

Always incorporate examples into your response where possible, even if the question does not directly state to provide examples. Doing so supports your argument and enables you to answer the problem in a far more specific way. Marks are often dedicated to each example you use so make sure it is relevant. Include diagrams if necessary when explaining concepts in an exam response.


Need to Enhance Your Biology Marks?

The HSC is in October! So, if your not acing Biology now, you need to up your game. Don’t worry, though, Matrix Matrix has got your back!

Our HSC Exam Prep Courses cover all the subjects and syllabus dot-points you need to help you get your marks on track. Learn how to boost your HSC marks!


Written by Stephanie Wong


© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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