Online A-Level Biology Tutoring – Expert one-to-one tutor

Online A-level Biology Tutoring Dr John AnkersWith over 10 years experience and a PhD in biomedical sciences, I specialize in online A-level biology tutoring. My aim is to guide you through the course, while improving exam technique and exploring complex topics in a variety of ways.

I work one-to-one with |A-level biology students in the UK and with International students and expats taking International A-level Biology (IAL) exams.

My one-to-one online A-level biology tutoring offers:

  • Confidence and support from a friendly, experienced scientist and tutor
  • Tutoring sessions tailored to you and your needs
  • Support in-between sessions, too – this is very useful leading up to exams 🙂
  • Essay / long question help and/or critique in-between sessions
  • Help meeting assessment outcomes (AO) in A-level biology
  • Help towards BMAT or UCAT tests for medical students

Complementing one-to one sessions, I also run weekly A-level biology masterclasses with a small, friendly group.

My approach to online A-level biology tutoring

Every process in biology tells a story…

The A-level Biology course is a big step up from GCSE (or IGCSE). Sometimes the detail at A-level can be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s a struggle to phrase our knowledge to match the mark scheme on an A-level biology exam paper. Don’t worry if this sounds familiar – it’s very common and I can help.

My online biology tutoring sessions are designed to refresh and build on what you know towards understanding topics like those found on the AQA A-level biology specification:

  • Biological molecules (including carbohydrates, proteins, fats and DNA)
  • Cells (including cell membranes and transport)
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression (including epigenetics and cloning)

Or understanding topics on the OCR A-level biology specification:

  • Development of practical skills in biology
  • Foundations in biology
  • Exchange and transport
  • Biodiversity, evolution and disease
  • Communication, homeostasis and energy
  • Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

Online A-level biology tutoringI cater for all exams boards including AQA, OCR, Salter’s Nuffield, WJEC and Edexcel International A-levels, among others. If you or a parent/ guardian would like a chat about which exam board might be best for you, please do get in touch.

My aim is that you leave our sessions happier, with clearer ideas, and walk into the exam confident and calm. Your wellbeing during your studies is a big priority – I’m also a qualified wellbeing coach.

While our sessions are completely tailored to you and your needs, we often focus on three priorities towards the assessment outcomes (AO) of exam boards like AQA:

1) Learning the “facts” in A-level Biology

(help with AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures)

A-level Biology features a lot on new terminology and vocabulary compared to GCSE. My approach to online A-level biology tutoring is to layer the detail on top of a strong foundation of understanding. I’ve written a useful post on “how to revise for A-level biology (and everything else)“.

2) Understanding processes in A-level Biology

(help with AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures)

There are a lot of important processes in A-level Biology. Topics like photosynthesis, respiration and kidney function have many “moving parts”. The key is to understand them so we apply that knowledge in unfamiliar settings – such as application questions. I like to simplify these processes first, often using metaphors to get to the heart of what is going on. From there I work with online A-level biology tutees to put the pieces together, like steps in a story. A strong understanding is vital to applying our knowledge.

3) “Thinking like a scientist” in A-level Biology

(help with AO3: Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence)

Many of the evaluate or describe and explain questions in A-level biology exam papers require you to think like a scientist. What conclusion would you make after looking at a set of results? What are the strengths and weaknesses of someone else’s conclusions? Can you improve on a planned experiment? All of this requires you to put yourself in the scientist’s shoes. I believe my experience as a research scientist really helps here, while encouraging you to open up with your own opinions.

Getting the marks in A-level Biology exams

Improving understanding and gaining knowledge is a great start to getting top grades in A-level Biology, but often students are frustrated. They say “I just don’t know what the question is asking for”, or “I don’t get the question”. Exam technique is very important too. We will work on using the tips and tricks to spot what each type of question is asking for. For some quick tips, I’ve written blog posts on “How do I answer evaluate questions?“, “How do I answer application questions?” and planning for the paper 3 A-level Biology essays. But we can do lots of practice questions in our online tutoring sessions too!

Grade boundaries for A-level biology exams

It’s often difficult to find the A-level biology grade boundaries in one place, so I hope this is helpful 🙂

Recent top grade boundaries in AQA A-level biology, based on 2023 results
A* 69% (180/260 marks), 59%  A (153/260), 48% B (125/260), 38% C (98/260) (scores rounded up)

Recent top grade boundaries in Edexcel (Salters Nuffield) A-level biology, based on 2023 results
A* 74% (222/300 marks), 64%  A (192/300), 54% B (162/300), 44% C (132/300) (scores rounded up)

Recent top grade boundaries in OCR A-level biology, based on 2023 results
A* 68% (183/270 marks), 57%  A (155/270), 48% B (130/270), 39% C (106/270) (scores rounded up)

The practicalities of online A-level biology tutoring with John

Obviously our sessions are flexible to your needs, but during a typical session we might:

  • Online A-level biology tutoringFocus on any topics you choose – my first question is always “How can I help today?” Maybe there are some particular topics that have come up in school since the last session – we can give these priority.
  • We might look at how to apply your knowledge to exam questions. “What do they want to know?”, and learn some tips for exam technique too. We have links to recent A-level biology past papers.
  • Along the way we’ll be putting A-level Biology topics into a wider context, such as research or medicine, to help you to recall the information, based on my experience as a research scientist.
  • In-between sessions I welcome troubleshooting questions via Skype, or on our dedicated Facebook group. Students have found this especially useful in the lead up to exams!
A fresh approach to online A-level Biology tutoring

I’ve found that my PhD and background in cell biology and cancer research helps to put topics in a different light, making them more approachable. Alongside tutoring I am a professional science writer, with experience in science communication and editing undergraduate and postgraduate essays and reports. I am very good at making seemingly complex ideas clearer and more accessible.

While tutoring is a big part of what I do, often I call upon coaching and mentoring techniques – helping people with worries about recent predicted grades or test results to feel more confident and stay focussed on where they want to go.

I offer one-to-one tutoring and small group “masterclass” sessions. Learn more about my services and fees, or get in touch to discuss how we might work together.

John

John@wooltontutors.co.uk

Woolton Village, Liverpool, UK