Greensteds International School
Mar 24, 2018


Starting in the final term of Year 9 the students start studying the syllabus. This is divided up into four main sections as indicated below with a brief outline of what each involves:

Characteristics and classification of living organisms

This includes studying representatives from all the 5 kingdoms as well as viruses

Organisation and the maintenance of the organism

This major section covers cells, cellular processes, nutrition and transport in plants and animals as well as excretion coupled with coordination & response (nerves and hormones)

Development of the organism and the continuity of life

Inheritance and genetics are key topics, including a look at genetic engineering. Here we also look at plant and human reproduction.

Relationships of organisms with one another and their environment

This is the ecology bit and has some overlap with geography in terms of populations and human impact on the environment.

Scheme of Assessment


Paper Number


Question Type and maximum mark



Multiple Choice 40


1h 15m

Compulsory Structured 80


1h 15m

Compulsory Structured 80



Two practical questions 40

Assessment is at two levels; core where you sit papers 1, 2 & 5 or extended with papers 1, 3 & 5. A grade C or better is advisable to continue with this subject at "A" level.

In this subject you will learn about yourself as a living organism along with all the others on the planet and the way they relate to each other and the rest of the world. As this is a science practical work is a big part of the way we study the subject.

At A level we again follow the CIE specification. All lessons are taught by myself. The course is outlined below along with the mode of assessment.

 AS & A2 Biology

Syllabus Content
At AS level the following topics are covered in the syllabus:

Cell Structure, Biological Molecules, Enzymes, Cell Membranes/Transport, Cell/Nuclear Division, Genetic Control, Transport, Gas Exchange, Infectious Disease, Immunity and Ecology.

At A2 level the following topics are covered:

Energy/respiration, Photosynthesis, Regulation/control, Inherited Change, Selection and Evolution, Biodiversity, Gene Technology, Biotechnology, Crop Plants,  Aspects of Human Reproduction.


The table below outlines the scheme of assessment


Paper number and Type




Paper 1 MCQ


40 questions choose from A, B, C, or D


Paper 2

1h 15m

Short structured questions


Paper 3 Practical


Recording and analysing data


Paper 4


Short structured questions and one free response


Paper 5

1h 15m

Planning, analysis and evaluation of experiments. Two compulsory questions.

Studying AS/A2 Biology

At both levels the students build up a file from their course that is based on practical work in the laboratory and theory that is obtained through research projects, tutorial and lecture style learning. A wide variety of resources are available for the students use from ICT, Standard CIE endorsed A level Biology textbooks, Biological Sciences Review and New Scientist magazines. The former is specifically aimed at students studying the subject at this level.

Studying the subject at this level is extremely useful for students wishing to pursue a wide range of biologically orientated University degrees such as Medicine, Dentistry, Environmental Science, Optometry, Pharmacy, Vetenary Science and Biotechnology. Experience has shown that it provides an advantage in terms of knowledge for the first year of undergraduate study. It is also a good choice of a third or forth AS/A2 for non-science students.

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