Impossible is not a scientific term.
~ Vanna Bonta ~
If you happen to be undertaking biology studies in Years 11 and 12 in Adelaide or elsewhere in South Australia, there's a good chance you'll be preparing for your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) exam sometime in early November. In reality, though, you'll have been preparing for SACE for the previous two or three years.
That final semester, or even the final year, is a period of time where so many students suffer burnout and overwhelm. Previously easy subjects suddenly seem confusing. Assignments that were always in on time are suddenly not getting done. Some students are okay — they have the capacity to dig in and plough through. Others need help.
This is the power of tutoring in Australia — the ability to not only help with the content of lessons but also with study skills, research, time management and exam preparation.
Nothing seems impossible when you have a tutor you can trust.
So, if you're thinking of studying biology but aren't quite sure yet, or if you're already in the thick of the subject and think you might benefit from biology tutoring in Adelaide, this guide is for you. We'll discuss some of your options, have a look at the SACE biology content, let you know what you should expect from your biology teacher or tutor and have a quick look at tutoring methods and opportunities in Adelaide.
The Different Fields of Biology
Were you aware there are over 50 sub-disciplines of biology? In primary school, and the early years of high school (Years 7 to 9), you may have just been learning 'biology' — the subject. Your teacher probably drilled into you that biology is:
... the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena.
In primary school, you would have spent time classifying animals, learning about how a seed grows and investigating causes of pollution. In the first few years of high school, your teacher would have made you do more classifying, you would have looked at cells and their structure and functions, and you would have completed investigations into different ecosystems. Along the way, you would have incorporated your learning in maths, physics and chemistry to further develop your science skills.
And all of this would have just been called 'biology' — or even just 'science'.
However, as you progress through the senior years of high school and on to university, you will discover there's more to the biology experience than you thought.
If you have an interest in animals, you might want to specialise in zoology, herpetology, ichthyology, ornithology or even ethology (animal behaviour).
If you are into plants, you could consider botany, agriculture or conservation biology.
Combine your passion for chemistry and biology with biochemistry; physics and biology with biophysics; maths and biology with biomathematics; psychology and biology with psychobiology.
We could go on like this all day.
The world of biology is fascinating and there are tutors out there who would love to share their passion and knowledge with you — tutoring isn't just for students who are falling behind but also for students who want to extend their learning.
Is SACE Biology Difficult?
As with all other years, subjects in Years 11 and 12 must follow the Australian Curriculum guidelines to ensure consistency throughout Australia.
However, in Year 11 and Year 12, the emphasis in SACE biology tends to be more on inquiry and investigation —the practical application of content. Students are expected to use the biology content knowledge to inform and explore real-world issues. There is also a key practical component where students must demonstrate their competency in running an investigation and producing results for analysis and discussion. Exams often require specific content to be deeply analysed and discussed.
Some students will find the practical application component of biology at this level to be challenging — particularly if they have gaps in their subject knowledge. The inquiry approach also requires sound analytical skills, time management, organisation and research skills — all skills that require explicit teaching.
Year 11 and Year 12 students in other states of Australia can experience similar challenges — a student in Melbourne (Victoria) studying VCE biology, HSC biology students in Sydney (New South Wales), Canberra students preparing for AST biology, QCE students in Brisbane (Queensland) and Year 12 students in Perth (Western Australia) who are preparing for WACE.
It's worth considering employing a tutor early rather than leaving tutoring until it's too late.
Getting Help from a Biology Teacher or Tutor
Whether you've decided to employ a face-to-face tutor to access biology tutoring in Adelaide, or you're considering one of the many online tutors for biology, the important thing to know is what a tutor can and can't do for you.
Assuming you've checked the credentials of any tutors you consider, you can expect the following help during lessons with your biology tutor:
- Teaching — tutors can teach students new content or new skills if they are necessary to achieve student goals, or if the tutor is employed for enrichment or extension teaching.
- Revision — tutors can help students revise concepts, facts and methods in preparation for exams.
- Gap-filling — tutors with experience will be able to identify gaps in the knowledge of their students and will fill these gaps during lessons over time. Gap-filling may also include assisting the student in learning requisite background knowledge in other subject areas, such as maths, chemistry or physics.
- Review — if the student has a question that needs clarification, or an assignment due, good tutors can help by providing extra examples, and by giving feedback on the assignment.
- Study skills — if it is organisational skills, rather than content, that a student is struggling with, a good tutor will recognise this and work with the student on areas including time management, revision techniques, planning, research and exam preparation.
You should not expect the following from biology tutoring in Adelaide (or anywhere else):
- guaranteed increase in grades (this requires work from the student as well)
- help writing essays
- direct provision of answers — the job of the tutor is to guide you to find answers, not give them to you
The most important thing to remember, whether you're working with a biology tutor or seeking help from your school biology teacher, is that the effort is a team effort. You are responsible for your success, not your tutor.
Online Tutoring v Face-to-Face Tutoring
Four main factors influence whether you choose to work with a private tutor online or in a face-to-face scenario:
- personal preference.
The first three may be out of your control, however, the fourth one may be the deal-breaker. If you have a strong preference for either online or face-to-face tuition, for whatever reason, it is important you narrow your search in this way and don't compromise. A compromise will not set the right tone for learning at the outset of your tutoring experience.
To this end, we've put together a list of a few platforms or organisations that offer private biology tutoring in Adelaide via both online tutoring and face-to-face tuition.
- Superprof: has over 80,000 biology tutors with profiles on the online platform, with a large number offering private in-person tutoring in the Adelaide area. There are also tutors offering lessons in chemistry, maths, physics and engineering (among other subjects).
- Tutors SA: offer biology tuition for Year 11 and Year 12 students only.
- Adelaide Education Consultants: provide one-on-one tuition and small group classes both online and in-person to help Year 12 students prepare for their SACE biology exams and assessment requirements.
- Adelaide Tuition Centre: does things a little differently. This group focuses solely on Year 12 preparation, offering in-person seminars to review SACE biology concepts and online small group tuition sessions.
- Advanced Education: offer tutors and mentors with vast experience in Year 11 and Year 12 biology. The tutors will either go to your home for private, in-person lessons or students can book in for private online tuition.
So, as you approach your final years of compulsory education, before embarking out to pursue further studies and travel the pathway to your dream career, try not to worry about what is happening now. Take a breath. Ask for help. Be kind to yourself and trust others have your best interests at heart.
And, if nothing else, read and reread the following words from Charles Darwin:
It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
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