If you want to get ahead, read a book.

If you are interested in science (and since you are doing at least one A level in science, I presume you are), then you really need to start looking beyond what you have to do as a part of the course and read around your subject. This doesn’t have to mean looking at textbooks; popular science books are very good at informing and entertaining. There is also a rich tradition of fiction that has its roots in science (you think it’s an accident that physicists all like Star Trek?). While TV and fiction cannot replace understanding and knowledge when it comes to exams, get reading over the summer. Ask for a book for Christmas (yes, it is legal, you’re allowed!). Visit the LRC, the you’ll find many of these books there for free. Apart from the possibility of being asked about your wider understanding of a subject in a university interview, it’s worth it to broaden your mind.

Some suggestions:
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

An entertaining guide to most of the big ideas of science; biology, chemistry and physics. Gives the background to discoveries, including some interesting biographical information of scientists.

The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

Getting old now, this book is still a classic in how it introduced genetic ideas to a wider audience. Dawkins’ other books are worth a look, such as Climbing Mount Improbable and  The Greatest Show on Earth.

Genome, Matt Ridley

Looks at the human genome through the idea of looking at one gene per chromosome. A good outline of this exciting area of biology. Some other good stuff by Matt Ridley as well.

Power, sex, suicide:mitochondria and the meaning of life, Nick Lane

You know you want to read a book with a title like that.

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Author: Mr Whellan's science

Nomadic science teacher

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