Blog Students Exam Tips Master O Level Biology Practical Exams: Top Resources & Tips

Master O Level Biology Practical Exams: Top Resources & Tips

O Level Biology Practical: Resources & Tips

Feeling anxious about the upcoming O Level Biology practical exam? Don’t sweat it!  While theoretical knowledge is crucial, practical skills hold immense weight in your final assessment. 

15-20% of your overall grade to be exact! 

This article is designed to be your one-stop shop for mastering essential lab techniques. We have compiled a list of resources, spanning from ‘How-to’ guides to Past Year Biology practical exams (complete with answers) and many more! 

Let’s begin by breaking down the GCE O Level Biology practical syllabus. This will help us in better understanding the essential skills required to ace the GCE O-level science practical

A Breakdown of the O Level Biology Practical Syllabus 

In this section, we will be breaking down the 3 main skills required to complete an O Level Biology practical exam

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These 3 skills, derived from summarizing SEAB 2024 GCE O-Level Syllabus (page 53), are as follows: 

Using Laboratory Equipment 

Throughout the practical exam, you’ll be expected to demonstrate proficiency in using common laboratory tools. This includes 

  • microscopes for examining biological specimens
  • balances for measuring mass accurately
  • and pipettes for transferring precise volumes of liquids.  

Ensure you can handle these instruments with care and operate them according to proper techniques.

Following Protocols

Closely adhering to the instructions provided in each experiment is paramount. This involves carefully reading and understanding the steps outlined in the protocol.  Pay close attention to details such as 

  • quantities of materials needed
  • specific procedures to follow
  • and safety precautions 

to ensure the experiment runs smoothly and yields accurate results.

Recording Observations 

Skilled observation and meticulous recording of your findings are essential aspects of the practical exam.  Strive to document your observations in a clear and concise manner. This includes

  • creating detailed drawings with proper labelling
  • maintaining accurate data tables to record measurements and observations
  • and taking thorough notes throughout the experiment

Remember, clear and well-organized records will play a vital role in effectively communicating your findings during the assessment.

Test Your Knowledge! O-Level Biology Practical Guide

O Level Biology Practical Guide

Now that we have a better understanding of the core skills required for the O Level Biology practical, let’s look into ways we can practice and develop the necessary skills. 

Here is a pdf compiled by Sharon Kwok, titled: “Practical Guide – Biology for ‘O’ Level Practical assessment”. 

This guide features a complete exam question that is centered around movement of substances, with a key focus on osmosis and diffusion

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Here is a quick overview of the biology practical guide:

  • Definitions of Osmosis and Diffusion 
  • Factors affecting Diffusion
  • Effects of osmosis on cells 
  • Practical Tips for skinning a potato 
  • Biology practical planning sample questions
  • Glucose solution effects on potato tissue answer key

By reading through the guide and attempting to solve the question, you can test your knowledge and readiness for the O Level Bio Practical Exam!

Crucial Tips for O Level Biology Practical Examination

Apart from doing and practicing past year papers, it’s also super important to know what are the ins and outs, tips and techniques for scoring well in your practical examinations for O-level biology.

In this section, we will be sharing with you articles that contain the most crucial tips on how to do well in the O Level Biology exam. Let’s dive in! 

Mastering Biology Practicals: Tips for Success (Genie Book)

By going through this article, you’ll learn how to prepare for your biology practical exams, which is to understand the theory and to make use of diagrams.

Also, the guide above includes things to keep in mind on the day of the exam, which are:

  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Visualize each step of the experiment
  • Identify what could go wrong
  • Note each step of the experiment
  • Create a table to record the data

How To Score A Distinction For O-Level Pure Biology (Zenith Education Studio)

A common question we get asked frequently by O-level students preparing for the Biology practical exam is, “Which topics should we focus on ah?” 

Well, in section 3 of the article, it highlights a few common experiments that pop up in the O-Level Bio practical. They include photosynthesis, respiration, food tests, and the movements of substances to name a few.  

By focusing on these few experiments and familiarizing yourself with these topics, especially with the experimental setup, procedure, and common forms of errors, you will be more than ready to tackle your Biology practical examination. 

How To Ace The O-Level Science Practical Exam (The Learning Lab)

In this article, it gives an overview of actionable tips that, if applied correctly, would ensure that you ace your O-Level Biology practical exam. 

It stresses the importance of not just memorizing the answers but actually putting in work to really understand the concepts at work within the bio practical experiments itself. By applying this tip, you can be assured that whatever topic is thrown your way, even in the other bio papers, you will be more than capable of answering all of them. 

This last tip is pretty much a no-brainer but still, some students do not pay heed to it. Yes, we understand that you are busy and do not want to attend all the practical classes after hours. BUT, it is during these bio practical mock exams, that you get hands-on practice and experience. Plus, your teachers do leave TIPS or HINTS. 

Please remember to review all your past bio practical papers as well. Take the time to understand your mistakes and identify what is the source of the mistake. Knowing if it’s a careless mistake or conceptual error would help you in better preparing for your bio practical examinations.

Past Year Papers for O Level Biology Practical 

O Level Biology Practical Past Year papers

One of the most common questions that students ask is, “Where can I find past year papers to prepare for my Biology O-Levels Practical exams?”

Well, fret not! I’ve compiled the best O-level Biology Practical resources here:

Here is a pdf compiled by Penciltutor. It’s titled: “Answers to 2018 O level Biology practical 6093/ Paper 3”. It features 2 questions with answers.

The first question is based around aerobic/ anaerobic respiration. It is broken down into 7 parts

  • Candidates were asked to blow into the pH indicator solution and record any changes. 
  • Candidates were given a yeast suspension, and asked to record the time it takes for the  indicator to change color 
  • Candidates were asked why the average time for the indicator to change colour (for either 34C or 38C) cannot be calculated from all the results in the previous section
  • Candidates were asked to list down 2 differences and 2 similarities between the 2 experiment setups 
  • Candidates were asked to come up with a control experiment
  • Candidates were asked to list 2 other ways to measure the rate of respiration 
  • Candidates were asked to describe a method to determine the effect of pH on the rate of respiration by yeast.

 The second question was based on a leaf and its associated structures/function. Students were asked 

  • To label the different parts of a hibiscus leaf 
  • Provide an explanation for the functionality of the large air spaces in the spongy mesophyll 

Another resource we found is a compilation of past year practical notes and questions for the Physics Practical exam. The science practical notes feature a comprehensive list of past year questions from 2014 – 2023

You can grab a copy of it from the Popular Bookstore

With all these past year bio O-Level papers, we are confident that you will be able to be more prepared to tackle this year’s biology practical exam.

Topic-Specific Resources for O-Level Bio Practical

In this final section, we will be introducing topic specific resources that are specially curated to help you in preparing for specific topics that might appear in your O-level bio examination. The 3 topics are Osmosis and Diffusion, Enzyme Activity and Cellular Respiration

Animation Website explaining Osmosis & Diffusion concepts (LabXchange)

This website by LabXchange, features an interactive animation on osmosis and diffusion.

 As you scroll down the website, you will learn concepts related to Diffusion and Osmosis through animations that simulate real life scenarios. 

For instance, it uses an example of spraying deodorant and explains how smell travels across from the bedroom to the kitchen through diffusion which is a result of air molecules moving from a high concentration region to a low concentration region.  

labxchange diffusion high concentration to low concentration
It goes further into explaining concepts like concentration gradient and equilibrium before ending with a simple test of your understanding. 

Teat your understanding of diffusion LabXchange

We highly recommend you take the time to go through this resource to truly understand the concepts of how osmosis and diffusion works as well the difference between the 2 concepts. 

Osmosis Potato Experiment Video demonstration (Manocha Academy) 

The second resource is a video by Manocha Academy that goes into detail on how to set up an osmosis experiment as well as explaining how concepts such as hypotonic and hypertonic work hand in hand. 

Osmosis Potato Experiment Video demonstration ( Manocha Academy )

Enzyme Activity Guide (BBC Bitesize)

We highly recommend taking notes as you progress through this resource. It will help you greatly in retaining information and knowledge in preparation for your Bio practical exam.

Enzyme Activity Guide (BBC Bitesize)

By going through this guide, you will learn 

  • what enzymes are
  • the factors affecting the rate of reaction
  • the effect of pH on enzyme activity 
  • enzymes and food 
  • as well as some experimental setups 

Enzyme video experiment (Dan Dubay)

This video, created by Dan Dubay, goes in depth on how temperature affects the rate of reaction for enzymes. Please take note of the explanation and concepts explained as it can be used to answer questions in your O-Level Bio practical exam. 

Enzyme video experiment (Dan Dubay)


Remember, the key to conquering the O Level Biology practical exam lies in harnessing the resources provided and actively engaging in the learning process.

We hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with the essential skills to confidently navigate the practical component, explore valuable topic-specific resources, and develop effective strategies for exam preparation.

By diligently utilizing the information presented here, actively participating in laboratory classes, and seeking guidance from your tutors, you can approach the practical exam with a sense of preparedness and confidence. So, put these resources into action, embrace the challenges, and strive for excellence!

Also, if you would like to participate in some discussions and learn from past O-Level Bio students experiences in their practical exams, please check out this reddit thread

Lastly, if you need biology tuition, we will be more than happy to speak to you today! 

Check out our guides for GCE O Level Chemistry Practical & GCE O Level Physics Practical too!



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. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.