Candidates will be assumed to have knowledge and understanding of O Level Biology, as a single subject or as part of a balanced science course.
The syllabus has been arranged in the form of Core and Applications content to be studied by all candidates.
Experimental work is an important component and should underpin the teaching and learning of Biology.
The syllabus places emphasis on the applications of Biology and the impact of recent developments on the needs of contemporary society.
All candidates following this syllabus should be encouraged to:
• use secondary sources of information
• use information technology (I.T.) to analyse, store and retrieve data and to model biological phenomena
• communicate biological information orally, as well as in writing.
It is intended to keep the syllabus under frequent review, to ensure that it keeps abreast of knowledge in the biological sciences and other needs.



The syllabus aims to:
1. provide, through well-designed studies of experimental and practical biological science, a worthwhile
educational experience for all students, whether or not they go on to study Biology beyond this level
and, in particular, to enable them to acquire sufficient understanding and knowledge to:
1.1 become confident citizens in a technological world, able to take or develop an informed interest in
matters of scientific import
1.2 recognise the usefulness, and limitations, of scientific method and to appreciate its applicability in
other disciplines and in everyday life
1.3 be suitably prepared for studies beyond A Level in biological sciences and in further education.

2. stimulate students, create and sustain their interest in Biology, and understand its relevance to society.

3. develop abilities and skills that:
3.1 are relevant to the study and practice of biological science
3.2 are useful in everyday life
3.3 encourage efficient and safe practice
3.4 encourage effective communication.

4. develop attitudes relevant to Biology such as:
4.1 concern for accuracy and precision
4.2 objectivity
4.3 integrity.

5. assist the development of:
5.1 the skills of scientific inquiry
5.2 initiative
5.3 inventiveness.

6. stimulate interest in and care for the local and global environment, and understand the need for

7. promote an awareness:
7.1 that scientific theories and methods have developed, and continue to do so, as a result of
co-operative activities of groups and individuals
7.2 that the study and practice of biological science is subject to social, economic, technological,
ethical and cultural influences and limitations
7.3 that the applications of biological science may be both beneficial and detrimental to the individual,
the community and the environment
7.4 that biological science transcends national boundaries and that the language of science, correctly
and rigorously applied, is universal
7.5 of the importance of the use of I.T. for communication, as an aid to experiments and as a tool for
the interpretation of experimental and theoretical results.



These describe the knowledge, skills and abilities which candidates are expected to demonstrate at the end
of the course. They reflect those aspects of the aims which will be assessed.

A Knowledge with understanding
Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in relation to:
1. biological phenomena, facts, laws, definitions, concepts, theories
2. biological vocabulary, terminology, conventions (including symbols, quantities and units)
3. scientific instruments and apparatus used in biology, including techniques of operation and aspects of
4. scientific quantities and their determination
5. biological and technological applications with their social, economic and environmental implications.
The syllabus content, examples and elaborations define the factual materials that candidates need to recall
and explain. Examiners will assume that candidates have studied these and questions may refer to content,
examples and elaborations. Questions testing the objectives above will often begin with one of the following
words: define, state, name, describe, explain or outline. (See the Glossary of Terms.)

B Handling information and solving problems
Students should be able – using written, symbolic, graphical and numerical material – to:
1. locate, select, organise and present information from a variety of sources
2. translate information from one form to another
3. manipulate numerical and other data
4. use information to identify patterns, report trends, draw inferences and report conclusions
5. present reasoned explanations for phenomena, patterns and relationships
6. make predictions and propose hypotheses
7. apply knowledge, including principles, to novel situations
8. solve problems.

The assessment objectives above cannot be precisely specified in the syllabus content because questions
testing such skills are often based on information which is unfamiliar to the candidate. In answering such
questions, candidates are required to use principles and concepts that are within the syllabus and apply them
in a logical, deductive manner. Questions testing these objectives may begin with one of the following words:
discuss, predict, suggest, calculate or determine. (See the Glossary of Terms.)



Type of Paper Duration Marks Weighting (%)
Multiple choice 1 hour 30 33
Structured and free-response 2 hours 60 67

Paper 1 (1 hour, 30 marks)
This paper consists of 30 compulsory multiple choice questions. All questions will be of the direct choice type
with four options.

Paper 2 (2 hours, 60 marks)
This paper comprises two sections.

Section A will consist of a variable number of structured questions including at least one data-based or
comprehension-type question, all compulsory. These include questions which require candidates to integrate
knowledge and understanding from different areas of the syllabus.

Section B will consist of two free-response questions of 20 marks each from which candidates will choose
one. The question requires candidates to integrate knowledge and understanding from different areas of the



This is given in the following Assessment Grid.

Assessment Objective Weighting (%) Assessment
Knowledge with understanding 55 Papers 1, 2
Handling information and solving problems 45 Papers 1, 2

Fifteen percent of the total marks will be awarded for awareness of the social, economic, environmental and
technological implications and applications of Biology. These will be awarded within the ‘Knowledge with
understanding’ and the ‘Handling information and solving problems’ categories.


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