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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Tips for SPM Biology and ICT

For my SPM in year 2012, I got A+ for both Biology and Information And Communication Technology (ICT). Do you want to know how to score in SPM for these 2 subjects? Here, I am posting the complete tips for SPM Biology and ICT. These tips are intended for Form 4 and Form 5 students this year who are taking SPM 2017 or SPM 2018.

Tips for other SPM subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/06/complete-tips-for-spm-examination-first.html


SPM BIOLOGY:

1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need a reference book because the textbook and practical book are not enough. I recommend you to use the Success Biology SPM reference book by Oxford Fajar.
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in school.
- You should be actively involved in all experiments carried out in school because this can help improve your practical skills which are essential for Paper 3.
- You also need to read through all the experiments and activities in the reference book. You have to understand the Aim, Problem Statement, Hypothesis, Variables, Technique, List of Materials & Apparatus, Procedure, Tabulation of Data and Conclusion for all experiments. This is essential for Paper 3. For the Procedure, read through it step by step. Make sure that you truly understand each step before moving on to the next step. To help you understand, try to imagine that you are carrying out the experiment. Understanding the Procedure will make it very easy for you to remember the List of Materials & Apparatus.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in the book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and scientific terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- For the calculations, you need to know how to apply what you have learnt to solve the questions. Go through all the example questions in the revision book. Make sure that you understand how every question is solved.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation, facts and examples for calculation questions in the book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- Then, you have to do exercises. Buy exercise books from the bookshop. You can start by doing topical questions topic by topic. When you have understood all topics, proceed with doing SPM model test papers, past year SPM trial questions and past year actual SPM questions. They should be available from bookshops. After doing the exercises, refer to the suggested answer or mark scheme and do self marking.
- You should sometimes refer to the mark scheme of past year SPM trial papers to find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers for every question. Usually, the same types of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.

2. Paper 1
- Read the question and all the options carefully. Write any rough workings on the question paper if you need to. Cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the 4 options.

3. Paper 2 Section A & B
- Section A consists of 5 structured questions where you must answer all questions while Section B consists of 4 essay questions where you can choose any 2 of them. You can answer extra questions in Section B if you have time. The examiner will mark all questions and choose the questions where you score the highest marks.
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in Biology. Certain questions may test you on more than one topics. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in Biology in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in Biology or give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Biological terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Biological terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other non-Biological terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form or other suitable forms. In suitable cases, you can also use diagrams, equations or graphs in your answer. However, you are not advised to answer in point form. There is not penalty for answering in point form, but some inexperienced examiners may deduct your marks if you do so.
- When answering questions on calculation, you must show all workings. You should not skip any important steps, otherwise marks may be deducted. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the amount of working needed. 1 mark will be given for each important step and the final answer. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. For a calculation question which requires you to use your answer from the previous question, even if your answer for the previous question is wrong and you use it for this question causing your answer for this question to be wrong, usually you will still get full marks for this question as long as your calculation for this question is correct. This is known as 'error carried forward'.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the points, even if one of them is correct. You are advised to write extra points if you are not completely sure of what the question is asking for.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. If the question states the number of answers you have to write, then you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. If the question does not state the number of answers you have to write, you are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write answers that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the answers, even if one of them is correct.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis. Plot all points on the graph accurately. Then, if it is possible to draw a curve or straight line that passes through all points on the graph, you should do so. If it is not possible, you can just use straight lines to join them point-to-point. The graph should cover at least half of the graph paper.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.

4. Paper 3 (Old format for SPM 2017 and earlier)
a) For Question 1,
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given and know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on the experiment and its observations and results. You may need to apply your Biology experimental skills to answer some questions. Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Biology to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct Biological and experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all Biological and experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula.
- When answering parts of the question on calculation, you must show all workings. You should not skip any important steps, otherwise marks can be deducted. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted.
- When answering parts of the question that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for each part of the question is always 3. The marks are given based on the quality of your answer, so it does actually depend on the number of points in your answer. However, you should not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points with wrong facts or points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable but does not contain wrong facts, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contain wrong facts or points that contradict one another, marks may be deducted.
- When answering parts of the question that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of
them is wrong, marks can be deducted. For the Constant Variable, you only need to write one answer, although there may be many.
- When recording numerical data from an instrument used in the experiment, the number of decimal places used should be equal to the smallest division of scale of the instrument, unless if there is special instruction in the question. (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the data to the nearest 0.1, which is 1 decimal place.) Do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis. Plot all points on the graph accurately. Then, if it is possible to draw a curve or straight line that passes through all points on the graph, you should do so. If it is not possible, you can just use straight lines to join them point-to-point. The graph should cover at least half of the graph paper.
b) For Question 2,
- When answering, read the question given carefully. You have to design a suitable experiment based on the question. Your answer must include all the necessary details stated in the question. When writing the Aim, Problem Statement, Hypothesis, Variables, Technique and List of Materials & Apparatus, give the answer based on the experiment. You need not answer in complete sentences.
- When writing the procedure, you must include all the steps to set up the apparatus, steps to handle the manipulated, responding & fixed variable and the precautionary steps. You should state the amount and concentration of the substances used. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. You do not need to draw the diagram of set-up apparatus.
- When tabulating the data of experiment, you should include all the manipulated variables and the header for the manipulated & responding variable, and you can leave blank for the results of the experiment (responding variable).
- You can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. You are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted. For the Constant Variable, you only need to write one answer, even though there may be many.
- You should use the correct experimental terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula.

Note: The examination format for Biology Paper 3 will be changed starting from SPM 2018 onwards. In the new format, Paper 3 will be a practical test unlike the old format where it was a written practical test. I have written the tips for Paper 3 based on the new format. However, I currently do not know how the questions for the new format will be set, so the tips shown here are only provisional. I will update the tips when I have more information about the questions for the new format.

5. Paper 3 (New format from SPM 2018 onwards) (Provisional tips)
- During the test, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you understand the experiment given. Certain parts of the question require you to record the readings from the experiment in a table. You should draw the tables before carrying out the experiment so that you can record your readings in the table straight away during the experiment. Then, carry out the experiment by following the steps given in the question exactly. You need to apply your Biology practical skills when carrying out the experiment.
- Certain questions may require your knowledge and understanding in Biology to answer them. You may also need to give your own opinions. Your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- When recording readings from an measuring instrument, the number of decimal places used should be equal to half of the smallest division of scale of the instrument (For example, if the instrument's smallest division of scale is 0.1, you should record the reading to the nearest 0.05, which is 2 decimal places.) For digital instruments (except digital stopwatch), the number of decimal places used should be the same as that shown on the display. The reading should be recorded to the nearest 1s for stopwatch (both analogue and digital). In all cases, do not give more or less number of decimal places. You must also write the correct units.
- When plotting graph, draw both the horizontal and vertical axis on the graph paper correctly. You should plot the independent variable on the x-axis and dependent variable on the y-axis. Label both axis correctly and state the unit (if any). Use a suitable scale for both axis and do not use any odd scales such as 3:10. Both the x-axis and y-axis need not start from 0 (unless otherwise stated by the question). The scales should be chosen such that the graph cover at least half of the graph paper. For line graphs, the markings on the scales should be 2cm apart, plot all points on the graph accurate to half a small square and the diameter of each point should not be larger than half a small square, then draw a curve or straight line that passes through all points on the graph if it is possible to do so, or if it is not possible, you can just use straight lines to join them point-to-point, and in all cases never extrapolate the line. For bar charts, draw blocks with equal width accurate to half a small square, where there must be space between the blocks and the distance between adjacent blocks should be equal, then label every block.
- For questions on microscopy, you will be required to draw plan diagrams (low power drawings) and high power drawings. For all drawings, use pencil to draw, draw as big as possible without drawing over the text of the question and leave enough space for labels, ensure that the lines you draw are thin, single, unbroken, clear & continuous and never shade or colour. When drawing plan diagrams (low power drawings), use low power objective lens of the microscope, show the outlines of the tissues, ensure that the proportions of tissues in the diagram you draw is the same as what you see and do not include drawings of cells. When drawing high power drawings, use high power objective lens of the microscope, draw only what the question asks, show the outlines of the cells, ensure that the proportions of cells in the diagram you draw is the same as what you see, show the cell walls of plant cells as double lines and where plant cells touch there should be 3 lines and show any contents of cells that you can see which may be nucleus, chloroplasts, vacuoles or others. Label your diagram if required by the question. Use a ruler to draw the labelling lines.
- For any questions involving calculation, you should show all workings and do not skip any important steps. You must also write the correct unit for the final answer if it is not provided. You are not allowed to write extra solutions or answers. If you do so and any of the answers or solutions is wrong, marks will be deducted. For a calculation question which requires you to use your answer from the previous question, even if your answer for the previous question is wrong and you use it for this question causing your answer for this question to be wrong, usually you will still get full marks for this question as long as your calculation for this question is correct. This is known as 'error carried forward'.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the points, even if one of them is correct. You are advised to write extra points if you are not completely sure of what the question is asking for.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. You are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write answers that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the answers, even if one of them is correct.
- When drawing diagrams, make sure that all important details are included in the diagram you draw. You have to label correctly all parts in the diagram. Your diagram should be clear and neat.
- For all questions, you should use the correct experimental and biological terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all biological and experimental terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, except when writing units for quantities. For all chemical substances, you should write the complete name and do not write only the chemical formula.



SPM INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT):

Note:
- Starting from SPM 2018 onwards, ICT will be replaced by Sains Komputer. The tips here may not be applicable for Sains Komputer as it has a different syllabus and examination format.
- It is more difficult to get A+ for SPM ICT compared to other SPM subjects. In SPM 2010 especially, no one in the whole Malaysia got A+ for ICT. In SPM 2011 and SPM 2012, only 3 candidates in my school got A+ for ICT. The minimum marks to get A+ for SPM ICT is very high, usually 95. If you aim to get A+ for ICT, you need to understand it very well and master the answering techniques.

1. Studying tips
- When your teacher is teaching in class, pay attention to what your teacher says. Make sure you understand everything taught by your teacher. If you do not understand anything, ask your teacher or friends.
- You need a reference book because there is no textbook. I recommend you to use the ICT Score A reference book by Ismail bin Shaari. You can either buy it through your school or through online at http://www.ictscoreaplus.com/
- When studying a chapter, read through all the explanations in the reference book sentence by sentence. Make sure that you truly understand each sentence before moving on to the next sentence. Certain topics may require understanding of earlier topics, so make sure you understand those topics. You should also try to relate them to what your teacher had taught in school.
- Then, you have to remember everything that you understood. You can memorise the sentences in the book, or you can also create your own sentences that have the same meaning and memorise them. If you create your own sentences, make sure that you do not change the original meaning, do not leave out any important points and do not change the important keywords and ICT terms. However, do not just memorise without understanding. Once you have understood, it will be quite easy to remember and you will be unlikely to forget any of the points.
- For certain facts, there may be no explanation for them so it is not possible to understand them. In that case, you have to remember and memorise those facts.
- You have to regularly revise every topics again and again. When revising, go through all the explanation and facts in the book. Make sure that you do not forget anything that you have understood previously. Regular and repeated revision will help you to remember all the explanation and facts for a long time.
- Then, you have to do exercises. You can buy some ICT exercise books online at http://www.skygt.net/v3/news.php . You can start by doing topical questions topic by topic. When you have understood all topics, proceed with doing past year SPM trial questions and past year actual SPM questions. They should be available from your teacher or through the internet. After doing the exercises, refer to the suggested answer or mark scheme and do self marking.
- You should sometimes refer to the mark scheme of past year SPM trial papers to find out how every question is marked and which points need to be included in the answers for every question. Usually, the same types of questions will have similar mark scheme, so this can help you when answering exam questions.
- When doing revision before exam, you should first go through the subtopics that you think is more difficult or that you may have forgotten. Then, go through other topics as well if possible.

2. Section A
- When answering, read the questions carefully.
- For multiple-choice questions, cancel off the options that you consider as definitely wrong. Then, choose the most suitable answer among the 4 options.
- For true-false questions, give the answer as 'True' if the entire statement is completely correct. If any part of the statement is wrong, you should give the answer as 'False'.
- For questions on matching, you should match the statements that are most closely related to each other.
- For questions on filling in the blanks or short structured questions, give the most suitable answer according to the question. Your answer must be specific and not too general. The spelling of your answer must also be correct. Do not use any short forms in your answer. Your answer should be short and precise. Do not add in any unnecessary details in your answer.
- For all questions in Section A, you are not allowed to write extra answers. If you do so and any of them is wrong, marks can be deducted.

3. Section B & C
- When answering, read the question and all information given carefully. Make sure that you know what the question is asking for. Answer the questions based on your knowledge and understanding on the relevant topic in ICT. For some questions, you may have to apply what you have learnt in ICT in order to answer them. You have to think carefully and relate the question to what you have learnt. You may also be asked to give your own opinions.
- When writing your answer, you can use the same or similar words or sentences as those in revision books if possible. However, sometimes you may need to make some changes in order to suit the question. You can also answer in your own sentences that have the same meaning. If the question asks on something that is not in revision books (the question requires you to apply what you have learnt in ICT or to give your own opinion), then you have to answer in your own sentences. For all questions, your answer must be specific and not too general. Give the most suitable answer according to the question.
- You should use the correct ICT terms in your answer. Do not replace them with other terms that are inappropriate, even if their meaning are the same. The spelling for all ICT terms must also be correct, otherwise marks may be deducted. For other non-ICT terms, marks is not deducted for wrong spelling. If your make grammatical errors in your answer, marks will not be deducted as long as the examiner can understand what you are writing. Do not use any short forms in your answer, otherwise marks may be deducted.
- It is not compulsory to answer in continuous writing form. You are allowed to answer in table form or other suitable forms. However, you are not advised to answer in point form. There is not penalty for answering in point form, but some inexperienced examiners may deduct your marks if you do so.
- For questions that require explanation or description, your answer must be very detailed. You are advised to answer in complete sentences so that your answer can be easily understood. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of points needed in your answer. 1 mark is given for each correct point. Do not miss out any important points in your answer. You are allowed to write extra points in your answer, but you must be careful not to write any points that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct points. For points that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for points that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the points, even if one of them is correct. You are advised to write extra points if you are not completely sure of what the question is asking for.
- For questions that do not require explanation or description, write the answer straight away. You need not answer in complete sentences. The number of marks allocated for the question usually shows the number of answers needed. You are allowed to write extra answers, but you must be careful not to write answers that contradict one another. Marks will only be given for the correct answers. For answers that are not acceptable, whether they contain wrong facts or not, no mark will be given or deducted. However, for answers that contradict one another, no mark will be given for both the answers, even if one of them is correct.

If you need help in doing the ICT coursework, you can use my coursework as a guide. Download my coursework here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2011/09/ict-and-moral-folio.html


Tips for other SPM subjects can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/06/complete-tips-for-spm-examination-first.html

5 comments:

  1. Ahh bio my nightmare

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you know what the minimum mark for an A+ in biology is?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The minimum A+ mark for every SPM subject changes every year based on the graph of the candidates' performance. For Biology, the minimum A+ mark is usually around 75 to 85.

      Delete
  3. Are you agree when someone is give up on ict and don"t come in spm what i mean don't sitting in the exam? I am the one that don't really like ict subject and i planning to be accountant instead?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even if you do not like ICT, since you have registered for it, I strongly advise you to sit for the exam. If you do not sit for it, it will show up as Tidak Hadir on your SPM certificate, which may disadvantage you when you apply for universities, scholarships or jobs.

      Delete