Why To Read Around The Subject at A Level Biology

Welcome back to the BioSnip blog, in a few minutes of reading we are going to show you a few of the reasons and benefits of reading around the subject - Not going to be as obvious as you think!

Reading around the subject is an important part of studying biology at any level. At the same time, it is an issue that is rarely done and if it is done, it is often done poorly. Not only can reading around the subject help you learn your syllabus or course information more effectively but it can increase motivation, enthusiasm and even shape a career.

We are going to take a quick look at a few different reasons and incentives to reading around the subject as well as a brief section on some ways of actually doing it!


Essays and Extended Answers

Essays and extended answer questions are present in almost every exam board and every syllabus that is taught at all levels of biology. Whilst the majority of information will be course taught topics, having read around the subject on the topic can help for a few reasons:

  1. Having read an article on a similar topic will have helped you better understand the topic allowing a more detailed answer which will be significantly more impressive to examiners.

  2. Mentioning an advanced idea or concept that was discussed in the article will further add to the strength of your answer and again impress the examiner.

Here we have included the top band mark for just one A Level biology specification. This clearly shows the importance of reading around the mark scheme if you want to be able to get the best out of A Level biology.


The Motivation Loop

This is one of the lesser thought about side benefits of reading around the subject however is arguably more important than any other reason.

Biology can often be a hard subject to "get into" and get passionate about for a few reasons, one being the amount of content is often overwhelming.

Reading around the subject, such as through a weekly newsletter, is a great way of becoming interested in Biology as a whole. Through reading about the environmental effects of potty training cows such as the ammonia/ nitrogen issue knock on effects into climate change interest may grow as will enthusiasm. If you are enthusiastic about the subject then you are more likely to want to do A Level notes, questions or homework. As we all know if you are motivated to do something then you are significantly more likely to enjoy it. Seeing the real life applications of some of the topics learn can be huge in terms of enjoyment, linking the immunology topic which includes helper T Cells to the COVID pandemic outside is just one example of how enthusiasm and motivation can grow.


Realising Interest and A Potential Career

Following on from this topic in is a growth in enthusiasm into a degree in the area. Should reading around the area lead to a high level of involvement in biology with high enthusiasm for the subject then you may want to pursue a degree in Biology and following career. Ultimately you may have a love of biology that was "hidden" by the A Level course and only discovered through a little extra effort or reading every week.


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Our Newsletter

Some of the main barriers preventing reading around the subject are locating literature, quality and relevancy as well as arguably the biggest barrier; consistency.

We have solved this issue by creating a weekly newsletter with relevant reading around the subject; summarised into nice, easy to read formats as well as links to more information relevant to your studies with a picture gallery to keep you interested.

Want to read an issue? Click here.