BlogStudentsExam TipsDon’t Trip Over the Terms in Your A-levels Chemistry and Biology Questions

Don’t Trip Over the Terms in Your A-levels Chemistry and Biology Questions


Singapore’s education system is often lauded for having one of the best science programs in the world. Students are prepared early to become proficient in science, especially during their A-Levels since the sciences – from biology to chemistry – are crucial subjects to consider when picking a course for the university.

Since the sciences are important in A-levels, there are a lot of A-level tuition schools and tutors in Singapore offering Chemistry tuition or Biology tuition to help out students having problems studying for their exams. Some of these tutors or schools would even assist in customizing a special study or exam technique that would work for the student’s needs. They even do mock exams to prepare students before their chemistry or biology exams.

Aside from getting A-Level tuition from a tutor specializing in Biology tuition or Chemistry tuition, there are several steps you can add to your preparations if you have an exam coming up.

Rigor of Expression

Normally, in regular exams, examiners would give points even if your answer is not straight to the point. If they see that you understood the question and you put it in your own words, they will give you a good grade.

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However, when you do A-Levels, the grading system for exams are different and you need to be precise in how you answer your exams. Before you take on your exams, it is important to remember that examiners tend to deduct points on your answers if you failed to be precise in giving the right answer.

Now that the marking process for A-Levels is more standardized and precise, generous examiners would find it difficult to give examinees points to answers that show a proper understanding of the question but does not correspond to the mark scheme provided.

If your answers do not come with the right keywords listed in the mark scheme, it will be a deduction on your part and you may even end up with zero points on that question even if you got the gist right.

While you prepare for your exams for A-levels, check the mark scheme for past exams to see how you can reframe your answers close to the mark scheme. You can check online to study the mark scheme used for A-levels or ask your tutor or tuition school if they are familiar with the mark scheme.

You can also take time to check additional guides to see what alternate words you can use and what you can’t use for A-levels and cross-reference it with the past exams and mark schemes. When you discover a trend, ask your tutor to help you get used to using acceptable terms for your answers.

Of course, you need to make sure that the mark scheme you are studying is up-to-date because A-levels are also revised to match the current educational standards.

If you are taking your A-level exams in Chemistry and Biology, here are the terms you need to watch out for and remember:

Accuracy – This term pertains to the estimate on how close the acquired value is to the correct value. It can be computed through calculation on the percentage error or use an apparatus that determines a value’s precision or accuracy. It can also be evaluated by commenting on how close the trend line is based on the theoretical trend line available in the study.

Reliability – this term is the degree of a factor’s trustworthiness which can be determined through measurements or specifications of the given data. The reliability of data may influence how a study can proceed depending on its major arguments.

Precision – this term alludes to the number of decimal places that be recorded for a specific measurement. The exact decimal value or precise measurement of a certain value can be determined with a use of an apparatus, usually a measuring scale or a calculator.

Limitations – This term pertains to the factors which influenced the scope of the study greatly and prevented further study to proceed. These factors are often uncontrolled or those which were taken into account during the planning of the study but are noted to be factors that will not be discussed throughout the study. Some consider limitations as ‘design faults’ of the procedure used by the study, and it can influence how the investigation can replicate a certain result or support a hypothesis.

Error pertains to a trend that can be seen in one or more instances during a study or computation which conflicts to the desired result or data by the study. As a result, the trend can cause random results or render an argument invalid. Error often occurs when there is a missing formula or a mistake has been made by the investigator.

The validity of an experiment or the study can be determined by a number of factors, such as the available data presented, the range and trustworthiness of the observations or computations used in the study, the assumptions made during the hypothesis, and the nature of the subject itself. The soundness of the experiment will be questioned if one of these factors presents a different position from the desired result.

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Range bar – this term refers to where you can mark where the highest and lowest data are located in a graph. The data used for the range bar is often given and would not need a computation. Meanwhile, the error bar requires the computation for the standard deviation, then it must be marked above and below the average.


The terminologies above are just some of the terms you can see in A-level Chemistry and Biology exams in Singapore. There are more of these terms that can confuse you during your test and don’t be afraid to ask your tutor to help you get used to these terms and help you formulate the right answers to get the right points.

They may sound simple at first glance; however, their scientific definitions may mean more than their dictionary meanings so be careful during your tests!

Subjects at A-levels are hard and that is why we come up with these articles to assist your studies:

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors.

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