Top tips – IB Biology Paper 1

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Top tips for IB Biology Paper 1 from IB Teachers and Examiners

The exam season is on the horizon. So, we have got our IB teachers, and examiners to give us their top tips for Paper 1 IB Biology.

Whether you are taking HL or SL IB Biology these tips will help you approach your final IB exams with confidence.

While all our IB Biology experts agreed that practice, practice, practice is the most important thing you can do.  They also had very specific tips that should help you nail this paper.

teacher and biology student

Tip 1 – Learn to recognise families of multiple-choice questions.

Paper 1 multiple-choice questions cover the whole syllabus.  However, they tend to fall into broad categories that become recognisable the more you practice.

When you have done quite a few you will recognise families of questions that are the same questions subtly rephrased.

Once you learn to recognise them you will be able to answer them with more confidence.


Tip 2 – Choose to answer the questions in the order that best suits your strengths.

Usually, the paper moves through the topics in order of the syllabus.

First questions covering topic 1 and so on.

If you know you have certain strength areas, you can answer the questions in the sequence you prefer.

In fact, therefore reading all the questions before answering is a good technique.

To book a lesson with one of our IB Biology Examiners or Teachers with TutorsPlus, get in touch HERE.

Tip 3 – Use the tactic of ruling out.

Typically, of the 4 answer options available (A, B, C and D) there are 2 you can rule out right away.

Then, the real challenge is determining which of the remaining two answers is correct.

In order to do this, you need to read the question very carefully. Always an important part of good exam technique!

Sometimes, it comes down to a subtle emphasis in the wording that can make all the difference.

ib teacher and ib student

Tip 4 – Know your drawings.

Knowing all the things you should be able to draw in the syllabus can be useful in the multiple choice paper.

Drawing (Termed Skills in the IB Biology Guide) is useful in paper 2 but can also have benefits in paper 1.

This is because you could see questions asking you to interpret a simple diagram much like the ones you draw.


Tip 5 – Know your calculations of scale.

Finally, try your very best to get your head around the calculations of scale.

This means seeing as many electron micrographs as possible. So that you know the differences between Smooth and Rough endoplasmic reticulum and can tell by looking.

If a cell has enough Golgi apparatus to suggest it will excrete lots of hormones or is crammed with mitochondria, suggesting a high energy production and consumption like muscle tissues.

For help in your multiple-choice Paper 1, or to book a lesson with us on any IB Biology topic, HERE.

To see more of our IB Biology teachers, check out our IB Biology page HERE.


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