This discussion is dedicated for the prospective Biologists at Imperial. Here is what you are going to have in a Biology exam at Imperial. We have four modules during the first year and each module will have an exam eventually. So there are four exams each year. In every exam, there will be three sections.
1> 40 Multiple (5) choices questions:
Negative marking system is something you should be aware of. Don’t guess the answers and only answer what you are most confident with is the whole point of this system. (And I’m not a big fan of this tbh :P) Most multiple choice questions in the mock paper (only a mock paper provided for each term) of the first two modules (BCM and OB) are unchanged for the last two years, so there really isn’t much you can get from the MCQ in mock paper. Getting familiarized with the exam paper format seems to be the only purpose 😛 It is still a good practice to some extant.
You will be given a question booklet and answer sheet. Use HB pencil to mark answers on the worksheet 😛 Mark the cancel on the answer below if you wish to change the answer in the first time. Avoid using erasers as the machine is sensitive enough to detect even the slightest trace of lead.
2> Data interpretation question: You will be given a set of data or diagrams or graphs… and followed by some short answer questions. Use short and concise languages (I can’t seem to emphasis more on the importance of using concise and accurate scientific languages:P) to answer them. For OB, this year we had a question about the phylogeny of aminiotes, grouping turtles into the tree depending on whether it’s diapsid or anapsid. You will observe the picture of the turtle skull and group it into the phylogeny tree accordingly. You would then make justifications based on your observations and critical evaluation skills. (So Cliche) For BCM, this year we had a question on drug resistance and bacterial mutation (an evolutionary race between the mutations in bacteria and new antibiotics development essentially). Some short answer questions follows and that’s it. Answer the question straightforward is necessary. 😛
3> Essay question: You will be given five essay questions and you are allowed to choose one of them and begin your essay. Before actually writing the essay, write a general plan with some keywords jotted down. This allows a better coherence and cohesion of the essay in general. Drawing diagrams to facilitate your words is encouraged and make sure to draw them LARGE. And double-spaced writing is always a good habit 😛 Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style: This book might help you with academic writing 😛
That would be all. As always, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you over the next post 😛