Tips and Practice Questions for the Practical component of the Theory papers - A-level Biology

15 % of the June 2017 A-level Biology examinations will be examining practical skills. Here are some excellent practical exam questions which will challenge you to think about the nature of experimental design, independent and dependent variables. 

Statistical analysis and graph plotting are also in the questions.


  • Never write "amount" you mean mass, volume or concentration. 
  • Refer to "a control experiment" or "a variable that I will control (and then name the value and method of control)" but never to "a control variable"
  • Independent variable is what you change.
  • Dependent variable is what you actually measure in the experiment (not rate).
  • Organisms vary from each other unless they are clones !
  • When you suggest improvements think about improving the method rather than the equipment (e.g. control a variable that wasn't previously)
  • Validity means does the experiment actually test what it set out to test
  • Reliable is an outdated term - Repeatable or Repeatablity is now preferred

Here is some advice on tables and graphs. And here on measurement and language.

Here are 13 pages of practical based questions in pdf form.

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