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How to study new syllabus for Standard 12th Biology

PUBLISH DATE 7th November 2020

How to study new syllabus for Standard 12th Biology

We shall discuss them without the reduced portion because you may need to study it for competitive examination preparation and entrance tests to various premier institutes.You are all aware that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a reduction in your syllabus. In this article, we shall discuss 4 chapters from your syllabus; chapters 01, 06, 07 and


What is the purpose of this article?

All topics in biology cannot be studied in the same way, because there are differences in the content of every chapter in your biology textbook. You can bring small changes in the way you study a particular sub-topic, in order to remember what you study well. The following tips will be helpful for you in the same.

Which chapters are we going to discuss?

Three of the chapters, Reproduction in lower and higher plants, Plant water relation, Plant growth and mineral nutrition are entirely plant based while the fourth chapter Enhancement in food production is based on the application of biology in industries and businesses.

Let us begin with the first chapter, Reproduction in lower and higher plants. It has a lot of descriptions and recalling all of it can be tricky. The chapter has a weightage of 6 marks without options and 8 marks with option. Questions for 01, 02, 03 or 04 marks can be asked.

Excluded portion for board exam- 1.1- Asexual reproduction Following are the tips to study this chapter better-

  1. Draw the diagrams, label them and then describe each of the labels in 2-3 sentences. Diagrams always have a better recall value than only text.
  2. Another trick is to know the word origin and remember its meaning. It may be useful in understanding the meaning of the term for eg. Terms Autogamy, Geitonogamy and Xenogamy come from the Greek words; Autos- self, Geiton- neighbor and Xenos- stranger while Gamos- marriage/union. The term meaning can thus be obtained from the word meaning.
  1. Knowing the meaning of one term, the other contrasting term can be derived. For e.g. ‘Syn’ means fused, ‘carpy’ refers to carpels. Thus, Syngamy means fused carpels. Thereby, apocarpous are free carpels.
  2. Development of male and female gametophyte is also best understood through their diagrammatic representation.
  3. To understand the pollen-pistil interaction- Ask basic questions like what, why, where, when, how and answer them using points given in your textbook.
  4. After you finish studying the chapter, you can easily pluck a medium to large sized flower, like Hibiscus, and observe the floral whorls and other parts described. Try to open the whorls using a needle or safety pin so that the parts present deeper can also be viewed. Try and identify the gametophyte and sporophyte part of the plant.


Answer: a- petal, b- androecium, c- sepal, d- gynoecium.

Moving on to the next chapter 6, Plant- water relation, which has a weightage of 5 marks without option and 7 marks with option. This is a topic which is concept heavy. Questions for 01, 02, 03 marks can be asked.

Excluded portion for board exam- 6.4 Absorption of water by roots from soil, 6.5 Water potential,

6.6 Plasmolysis, 6.7 Path of water across the root, 6.8 Mechanism of water absorption, 6.9 Translocation of water, 6.10 Transport of mineral ions, 6.11 Transport of food, 6.12 Transpiration,

6.13 Structure of stomatal apparatus.

Please go online and look at a few good videos that explain the concepts of diffusion, osmosis, hypertonic, hypotonic, etc.

For e.g. explains osmosis while difference between diffusion, osmosis, dialysis is explained well in this video,

  1. Try to apply these in your daily life i.e. where you can observe the phenomenon. This will help you understand and hence remember.
  2. Make two columns and write differentiating/similar points between two phenomenon. For eg- passive absorption vs active absorption.
  3. Once you’ve understood the basic concepts well then go on to study the theories of water conduction, transpiration etc.
  4. Keep revising the concepts, to keep clarity. Commonly, there is confusion between hyper/hypotonic or endo/exosmosis.

The next chapter 7, Plant growth and mineral nutrition has a weightage of 5 marks without option and 7 marks with option. Questions for 01, 02, 03 marks can be asked. Overall the chapter has two parts, one is about plant growth and what factors are involved in it. This part is concept-based, hence needs understanding.

Excluded portion for board exam- 7.1 Plant growth, 7.2 Phases of growth, 7.3 Conditions of growth, 7.4 Growth rate and types of growth, 7.5 Growth curve, 7.6 Differentiation, de- differentiation, re-differentiation, 7.7 Development, 7.8 Plasticity, 7.10 Photoperiodism, 7.11 Vernalization, 7.12 Mineral nutrition, 7.13 Nitrogen cycle.

  1. Use absolute numbers as given in the Fig.7.4 in order to understand growth rate comparison between AGR and RGR.

  2. Make a comparative chart for the plant hormones, what physiological changes they bring about in the plant and their on-field applications.

  3. In order to check your understanding of photoperiodism, make a flow chart that outlines the steps in short day plants vs long day plants.

The second half is about minerals, which parts they are needed and their function, and their deficiency symptoms in the plant. This part is knowledge- based.

  1. The information about minerals is already given to you in a table format.
  2. Nitrogen cycle, the process of physical and biological nitrogen fixation will require writing the chemical reactions in a stepwise manner as they occur. This should help in memorizing them.

The last chapter we will discuss is 11, Enhancement in food production, that is based on the biological applications in industry and agro based businesses. It has a weightage of 4 marks without option and 6 marks with option. MCQ’s and very short answer (in one sentence) for 1 mark can be asked from this chapter.

Excluded portion for board exam- 11.2 Plant breeding, 11.3 Tissue culture, 11.4 Single cell protein, 11.6 Animal husbandry

  1. Use the flow chart to study the steps involved in hybridization, as in Chart 11.1.

  2. Use the diagrammatic representation given in your textbook to memorize multiple steps in a process, like Fig.11.12. Where ever such representations are not available, make them yourself. These will be very useful during last minute revision before your exams.
  3. Memorize the tables in your textbook that give all the required in formation at a glance. For eg-



Acid produced

Name of microbe


Citric acid

Aspergillus niger


Gluconic acid

Aspergillus niger


Fumaric acid

Rhizopus arrhizus


Acetic acid (vinegar)

Acetobacter aceti

Divide one chapter into smaller sub sections before you start studying. The advantage in biology is that it can be narrated in the form of a story, that some online videos do very well ( I hope that these pointers and tips will be useful for you in preparing for both the board exams as well as various entrance tests that you plan to appear for. I wish you all the best in preparing for exams and your future endeavours.

Written by- Ms.Poornima Raveendran, former Lecturer (Biology) Abasaheb Garware College, currently Senior Teaching Associate, IISER, Pune.

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