GCSE Biology Course

Exam Board and Specification Code: Edexcel 4BI1

The Course
Biology IGCSE aims to give students knowledge and understanding of biological facts, concepts and principles. They will develop an appreciation of the importance of accurate experimental work in scientific method and reporting as well as forming hypotheses and designing experiments to test them. Students will develop an
enjoyment and an interest in the study of living organisms.

The subject is broken down into five sections. Section 1 (The Nature and Variety of Living organisms) will
introduce you to the diversity of life by looking at plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, protoctists and viruses and their features. Section 2 (Structures and Functions in Living Organisms) looks at  the differences between plant and animal cells. The similarities and differences between diffusion, osmosis and active transport will be
explained. Details of the human digestive system will be given, with the functions of the different parts. The experimental evidence showing what a plant needs for photosynthesis will be discussed. 

In Section 3 (Reproduction and Inheritance) adaptations of wind-pollinated and insect-pollinated flowers will be introduced. The functions of the main parts of the human reproductive systems will be discussed and the
hormones involved in the menstrual cycle shown by means of graphs. Patterns of inheritance will be shown via working out genetics problems. In Section 4 (Ecology and the Environment), technical terms used in ecology will be defined. The carbon, water and nitrogen cycles will be explained. The effects of humans on the environment will be considered (eg pollution). In Section 5 (Use of Biological Resources), you will look at how knowledge of biology can be used to increase the production of food for people. Biotechnology such as genetic engineering and cloning will be explained.

What skills do I need?

You need an interest in science and the living world. You need to have good mathematical skills too.

How is the course assessed?

The course is assessed by two written papers. Both papers cover all five sections and include questions about experimental work. Paper 1 lasts two hours and is worth 61% of the total marks. Paper 2 lasts one hour and 15 minutes and is worth 39% of the total marks.


Biology for Edexcel International GCSE (2nd edition) By Erika Larkcom and Roger Delpech, ISBN 978-1510405196

Edexcel International GCSE Biology Workbook: Erica Larkcom, Roger Delpech & Kathy Evans
(Hodder Education: ISBN 978-1510405653)


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