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GCSE Biology Course

What board do we do?    EDEXCEL international GCSE in Biology (4BI0)

What is Biology?
Biology is the study of living things and how they interact with each other and their environment. This includes how organisms obtain food (nutrition), how they get energy from food (respiration), how they get rid of waste (excretion) and how they grow and reproduce.  It also includes study of genetics, inheritance, evolution, and how organisms relate to their environment (ecology).

At GCSE the focus is on basic physiology, genetics and ecology. Students have to develop experimental capabilities and understand the importance of data analysis, correlations and causal relationships.  The students experience the subject as a mix of theory and practical work.

Applied aspects of biology are also studied, including applications in farming, the food and drinks industry, conservation and in medicine.

Many of the recent advances/issues in science have involved various aspects of biology from climate change to genetically modified foods, cloning, personalised medicine and immunotherapy for cancer. Biology is therefore both interesting and relevant to many current issues. Success in biology can open the door to careers in a variety of areas such as pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, farming, the food and drinks industry, environmental management/conservation and veterinary science.

Structure of the course:-

Section 1:  The nature and variety of living organisms

Section 2:  Structures and functions in living organisms

Section 3:  Reproduction and inheritance

Section 4:  Ecology and the environment

Section 5:  Use of biological resources

Assessment is by two externally examined papers:-

Paper 1 –

A 2-hour paper covering all sections of the course except the more advanced topics shown in bold in the specification. This paper contributes 66.7% to the final mark.

Paper 2 –

A 1-hour paper covering all sections of the course including the advanced topics shown in bold in the specification. This paper contributes 33.3% to the final mark.

Although there is no practical exam, students will need to carry out a number of practicals described in the specification. Knowledge of these practicals, and the ability to interpret the resulting data, is required for the examinations.

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