How to use this site for Scholarship

At the bottom of each L3 Topic I will be starting to add relevant readings. If you scroll down you should see them attached. Read the text below to get a basic understanding of what the examiner is looking for. I have attached an excellent Powerpoint at the bottom of this page from Alison Campbell from Waikato University.  Also make sure you go to the bio-blog of hers and read as many articles and discussion pieces as you can. They will all help with your critical thinking skills. 

Key links

NZQA's Scholarship info page.

Previous Scholarship exams and mark schedules can be found here.

Scholarship criteria (modified from an Dr Alison Campbell presentation)

The student will use biological knowledge and skills to analyse biological situations and integrate ideas into a coherent response.  For “outstanding performance”, the student will demonstrate perception and insight in the analysis and integration.
(Biology Scholarship standard, Ministry of Education)

Scholarship students are expected to demonstrate high level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.
(Scholarship Performance Reference Group)

Key ideas of Scholarship

Critical thinking means seeking reliable knowledge. Many students fail to assess the reliability of information to which they are exposed in everyday life, let alone pursue the dissection of scientific literature. And many people are deceived and defrauded by pseudoscience. Practice in critical thinking prompts thoughtful examination of the role of science in society.

Key points looked at during the assessment

Analysis and critical thinking involves considering the biological evidence and integration, synthesis and application of highly developed knowledge, skills and making well reasoned, justified judgements.

Understanding to complex situations involves selecting, organising and applying relevant biological concepts to develop reasoned responses to a wide range of biological contexts.

Logical development, precision and clarity of ideas involves organising relevant evidence into a coherent answer presented as a well written discussion using 

• perception and insight involves using independent thought drawing from both the 

• sophisticated integration and abstraction involves planning, processing, discussion. 

Independent reflection and extrapolation involves identification and analysis of information from both material provided and beyond to make an informed biological terms appropriately.

Biological material provided and beyond to provide an in-depth response.  linking, and applying relevant biological concepts to present a comprehensive judgement about a biological context with consideration of possible consequences.

convincing communication involves planning and presenting a fully integrated, fluent, coherent, relevant discussion.

Online readings 

Critical thinking

Biology Scholarship Reading 

List (author unknown)

Online Readings - Tony Cairns has produced an excellent list of online resources suitable for schol students. It can be found here.





Attenborough, David

The Private Life of Plants

A good book to surf

OK, not a ‘gripping’ read

Atwood, Margaret

Oryx and Crake

Fantasy read GM gone mad

Holiday reading(an extra)makes you think

Aul, Jean

Clan of the Cavebear Trilogy

Great story, big read

Yes, for a holiday read

Bellamy, David

Moa’s Ark 

Another good surf about NZ evolution


Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Really fantastic – read it like a website, rather than cover to cover

Definitely essential reading for Scholarship

Burnham, Terry

Mean Genes



Capbell, Hamish and Gerard Hutching

In Search of Ancient New Zealand

Microscopic look at NZ evolutionary past from a geological perspective

Controversial, challenges usual theories, awesome photos, a good surf

Cole Catley, Christine

Bright Star



Cook, Robin

Chromosome 6



Cordy, Michael

The Miracle Strain



Courtney, Bryce

April Fool’s Day

A very sad book about a sufferer of AIDS

Good read – of limited use for Level 3

Darwin, Charles

Origin of Species

Interesting and sets out to disprove creationism

No, repetitive and pregenetics – lots about pigeons!

Diamond, Jared

Guns, Germs and Steel



Flannery, Tim

The Weather Makers



Fletcher, Raffaella

Dangerous Candy -A true story about drug addiction



Gibbs, George

Ghosts of Gondwana

The History of Life in New Zealand

Essential, awesome for NZ evolution

Grice- Garlic, Trevor

The Great Brain Drain



Jared Diamond

Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee

Somewhat outdated but models thinking to solve problems rather than waiting for fossil finds

It’s OK, surfing book

Jay Gould, Stephen

Wonderful Life

An awesome summary of the Burgess Shale finds

Bill Bryson does it better

Lovelock, J. E.


A teleological and anthropomorphical view of selection pressures


Picoult, Jodi

My sister’s keeper

Bioethical view of applications of gene technology


Richard Dawkins

The Blind Watchmaker

Tears apart intelligent design

Not that great, too critical, not enough fact.

Sacks, Oliver

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Case studies by a neurologist, a really awesome guy

Yes, but a fringe read, investigates proprioception and defines empathy

Shreeve, James

The Neanderthal Enigma



Steve Jones

The Language of the Genes

A great tour of the entire NCEA level 3 syllabus

Essential reading for Schol – also available on tape

Sykes, Bryan

The Seven Daughters of Eve

The science is ‘dumbed’ down, but the ideas are informative

Worth reading – but surf to find what you want to read in it.

Tammet, Daniel

Born on a Blue Day

An investigation of an aspect of Autism – seeing numbers as shapes

Good read but not entirely relevant to Schol

Weiner, Jonathan

His Brother’s Keeper



Whitaker, Robert

The Mapmaker's Wife




Human Body Systems

Electronic book - informative

Good to surf

Winston, Robert

Human Instinct



Subpages (1): Readings
Mike Wilson,
Sep 9, 2013, 6:58 PM
Mike Wilson,
Mar 31, 2015, 11:41 PM