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The best way to prepare yourself for the exam is to devise an effective revision plan and practice writing timed essays from past papers to ensure that as little as possible takes you by surprise on the day. Your supervisor may have worked on exam essay questions with you already, however, it is still useful to look at past papers which are available in the library. Don't go too far back because the exam content and structure are subject to periodic reviews and you need to focus on current arrangements.


Read this Biology of Cells theory paper (pdf) from June 2008 closely, paying particular attention to the instructions you are given on the front page. Note the guidance on mark allocation and how many questions you need to answer within the three hours.

Draft an exam 'plan' indicating how you would divide up the three hours as effectively as possible. Decide which questions you would answer and make sure you are clear on what each one is asking. Refer to the Academic Writing package for guidance on understanding essay questions if necessary.

Please note: this is an activity you should do in advance as part of your preparation and not during the exam itself!


After you have made your plan, click here to view a highlighted version of the exam paper, drawing attention to information which should have influenced your plan.  Make sure you notice and act upon any additional advice you are given.

Click here to view an example plan and compare with your own.