Generally biology is a subject which involves remembering more terms than physics or chemistry. Students usually get confused between terms such as ovum, ova, ovary and ovule. Others mis-spell terms which are very similar, such as ‘uterus’, ‘ureter’ and ‘urethra’. Since all these biological terms refer to different structures, using the wrong term doesn’t allow the student to get a mark. At Penciltutor’s biology tuition classes we also focus on sentence structure. We always advise our biology students to use short sentences as examiners have reported difficulties in finding a correct answer in long and disorderly sentences. Furthermore biology students also have a tendency to overwrite. They usually waste a lot of time in writing a long, elaborate answer for a question that awards only one mark. A common misconception that many biology students have is that the more they write, the more marks they can get. For an example, if a question asks a student to ‘State two ways in which an artery’s structure is adapted to its function’ and the student answers that an artery has thick walls, a large lumen and no valves, the student only gets one mark instead of two. This is because the first answer and the third answer are correct but the second answer that an artery has a large lumen is incorrect. Thus, the third answer will not be marked as the question clearly asks for ONLY two ways and the student is penalised for the incorrect second answer.
The answers (including teacher’s comments) to the 2016 O level Biology papers will be posted below. All solutions/ answers are provided by teachers of Penciltutor School and the Singapore MOE or UCLES bears no responsibility for these suggested solutions/ answers. As usual, if you find any errors in our solutions or if you need an explanation, kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.