Memorise the vocabulary - there is no way around that. Biology is a very vocabulary-intense course and you need to know key terms to get to understanding processes. For me, the most efficient way to do this was by noting down and then defining all terms that were newly discussed in class in my notes. I wrote hand-written notes and dedicated half of each page to definitions of all new terms (the other half was usually an image or a step-by-step procedure of a biological process.)
Also, in preparation for exams, I made a few vocabulary quizlets, which are available for those that become patrons via Patreon. My “Biology Key Terms” quizlet covers: Unit 1 (Cell Biology), Unit 2 (Molecular Biology), Unit 3 (Genetics), Unit 5 (Evolution), Unit 7 (Replication, Transcription, Translation), Unit 8 (Metabolism), and Unit 10 (Genetics & Evolution). My “Biology Ecology” quizlet covers unit 4 (Ecology), and My “Biology Option C” quizlet covers the Ecology Option.
Understand the procedures - Biology is also a very procedure-based course, in the sense that there are a lot of step-by-step biological processes. Whether it be exocytosis, or DNA replication, or digestion, or even biological experiments, many of the biological processes need to be understood, rather than memorised. When taking notes, I would really recommend writing steps out almost like writing a recipe. This will allow you to categorise the process into simple steps that you can understand.
I usually wrote down my notes by hand very quickly (and roughly) in class, and then took the time to re-write them at home. About half of each page was dedicated to writing out the biological process and the other half was dedicated to defining vocabulary. Remember that Paper 2 Section B (which earns you the bulk of your marks) often asks very procedural-based questions for 6-8 mark questions - so it may be worth the effort to understand processes.
If you want to look at a specific unit from my notes, Patreons can write to me requesting a particular unit (as this will require me to take the trouble to scan and send my hand-written notes..
Apply your knowledge and understanding - Though this seems like a page straight out of an IB brochure, let me explain. There is only so much time you can dedicate to studying, because let’s face it - unless you’re that one kid that’s genuinely fascinated by Biology, you probably find Biology less attractive than let’s say YouTube videos. This was kind of similar for me, but I really enjoyed watching clips from David Attenborough’s documentaries, as well as reading about evolution. Apply your learning, because you find Biology everywhere in your life.
Also, this is useful in finding a good Experiment topic. I heard of a Korean kid that did an IA on osmosis (I mean come on - Osmosis is probably the most boring experiment) - but really made it his own by talking about how his mother removes water from the cabbages using salt before making Kimchi. My own IA was inspired by the corn vender outside my apartment, when I considered where the optimum temperature for respiration for corn and rice might be. I also linked my IA to climate change, suggesting that with increases in temperature, denaturation of respiration enzymes may occur.
So keep your eyes peeled, and hopefully you can find a suitable IA topic, and really make Biology feel relevant to your own life.
“The Blind Watchmaker” by Emeritus Professor Richard Dawkins (Oxford) is a brilliant book in all accounts, and is certainly worth the read. He explains evolution by natural selection stunningly, so the book is really useful when studying for chapter 3, 5, and 10. Also, he explores the more molecular Biological processes involved in evolution, such as replication, transcription, and translation (though not in as much detail as the evolutionary processes), so in some way, chapters 2, 7, and 8 are covered. The level of English is not too bad, though I wouldn’t recommend for those struggling with English.