GCSE Biology

Students follow the AQA Biology courses which consists of 4 separate units; each worth 25%. Units 1, 2 and 3 are examined by a 1 hour written paper, consisting of structured and closed questions. There is at least one longer response question assessing Quality of Written Communication in a science context on each exam paper. Unit 4 is an Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA) for which pupils complete a practical task and are then tested on their data processing, analysis and evaluation skills.

In unit 1 the topics are:

  • Keeping healthy
  • Nerves and hormones
  • The use and abuse of drugs
  • Interdependence and adaptation
  • Energy and biomass in food chains
  • Waste materials from plants and animals
  • Genetic variation and its control
  • Evolution

In unit 2 the topics are:

  • Cells and simple cell transport
  • Tissues, organs and organ systems
  • Photosynthesis
  • Organisms and their environment
  • Proteins – their functions and uses
  • Aerobic and anaerobic respiration
  • Cell division and inheritance
  • Speciation

In unit 3 the topics are:

  • Movement of molecules in and out of cells
  • Transport systems in plants and animals
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans and their environment

For the Unit 4 Investigative Skills Assignment pupils plan practical ways to develop and test their own scientific ideas, including assessing and managing risks associated with practical work. All students will collect and process primary and secondary data, make observations, present their results in an appropriate way, analyse the data by looking for patterns and draw conclusions using scientific ideas.

Further specification information can be obtained from: