GCSE Biology provides a broad, coherent and practical course that develops confidence in and a positive view of science. It encourages learners to appreciate the value of Science in their lives and in the wider world around them.
It encourages students to: • develop their knowledge and understanding of biology;
• develop their understanding of the effects of biology on society;
• develop an understanding of the importance of scale in biology;
• develop and apply their knowledge and understanding of the nature of science and of the scientific process;
• develop their understanding of the relationships between hypotheses, evidence, theories and explanations
The following are important features of this specification.
The GCSE Biology specification is divided into three units.
Units 1 and 2 each contain six prescribed Practicals in the specification; students carry out a total of 12 Practicals over the two years of this course.
Students carry out these investigations to develop their skills and knowledge of practical science.
Units 1 and 2 are each assessed by a written examination either at Foundation Tier (grades C–G) or Higher Tier (grades A*–D/E).
Unit 3 is an externally assessed Practical Skills unit in two parts: Booklet A and Booklet B.
Booklet A has two Practicals from the prescribed practical list. We send a Materials and Apparatus list in December. We send a copy of Booklet A for each student to schools in January. All students must carry these out by May. These are marked externally.
In March of Year 11, a number of Biology students have an opportunity to compete in ‘The Biology Challenge.’ This is an online competition organized by The Institute of Biology.
The table below summarises the structure of this GCSE course:
|Unit 1:Cells, Living Processes and Biodiversity||An externally assessed written examination consisting of a number of compulsory structured questions that provide opportunities for short answers, extended writing and calculations. Foundation Tier: 1 hour 15 mins. Higher Tier: 1 hour 30 mins.||35%||Every Summer
(beginning in 2012)
|Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Micro-organisms and Health||An externally assessed written examination consisting of a number of compulsory structured questions that provide opportunities for short answers, extended writing and calculations. Foundation Tier: 1 hour 30 min. Higher Tier: 1 hour 45 mins.||40%||Every Summer (beginning in 2013)|
|Unit 3:PracticalSkills||Controlled assessment. Students complete one controlled assessment task from a choice of two. Teachers mark the task and we moderate the results.||25%||From September (beginning in 2011) (submitted every May beginning 2013)|