Standard grade candidates performed better in problem-solving than knowledge and understanding, despite a "slight improvement" in the latter. Schools have been advised to tell candidates to:
- Revise thoroughly all points covered in the course learning outcomes.
- Think about exactly what is being asked.
- Use a ruler when drawing graphs and tops of bar charts.
- Ensure that scales on graphs include minimum and maximum values.
- Use descriptive information for labels on the axes of graphs - not x and y.
- Use exact information given to complete labels for graphs and keys.
The number of candidates fell from 23,201 last year to 22,787. There was a rise in Intermediate 1 (3,973 to 5,146) and Intermediate 2 (5,290 to 6,615).
Centres were congratulated for good preparation of Intermediate 1 applicants, which led to a high pass rate. But where appeals were being made for A or B grades, they were told to include extra evidence of course questions covering content not assessed in prelims.
Concern was expressed about the "significant minority" of Intermediate 2 candidates who "demonstrated a very poor knowledge of biology as well as poor communication skills".