Skip to content ↓

Biology

Biology is the study of life. The vast diversity of species makes biology both an endless source of fascination and a considerable challenge. Biologists attempt to understand the living world at all levels from the micro to the macro using many different approaches and techniques.

Biology is still a young science and great progress is expected in the 21st century. This progress is important at a time of growing pressure on the human population and the environment. By studying biology students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the sciences.

Biology is an intellectually demanding subject at IB and is a big step up from the demands of GCSE. We require students to have obtained at GCSE level a grade 7 overall in the Additional Science Award or grade 7 in the Biology Separate Science Award. The course builds upon the GCSE curriculum in terms of both depth and breadth. Students particularly notice the large quantity of material to be covered. Successful students are self-motivated and take responsibility for their learning.

The main aim of this course is to provide opportunities for scientific study and creativity within a global context which will stimulate and challenge students.

Course structure

IB Biology falls within group 4.

You will be externally assessed at the end of the course on the following theory topics (standard = core + one option. Higher = core + AHL + one option):

Core

1. Cell biology

2. Molecular biology

3. Genetics

4. Ecology

5. Evolution and biodiversity

6. Human physiology

Higher

7. Nucleic acids

8. Metabolism, cell respiration and photosynthesis

9. Plant biology

10. Genetics and evolution

11. Animal physiology

 

Option

A. Neurobiology and behaviour

B. Biotechnology and bioinformatics

C. Ecology and conservation

D. Human physiology

Assessment Outline

Component

Weighting (%)

Description

Paper 1

20

¾ hr paper - 30 multiple choice questions on core material

1 hr paper - 40 multiple-choice questions on core and AHL material, about 15 of which are common with SL.

• The use of calculators is not permitted.

• No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.

Paper 2

40 (36 higher)

1 ¼ hr paper Data-based question. Short-answer and extended-response questions on core material. One out of two extended response questions to be attempted by candidates. The use of calculators is permitted.

2 ¼ hr paper Data-based question. Short-answer and extended-response questions on core and AHL material. Two out of three extended response questions to be attempted by candidates. The use of calculators is permitted.

Paper 3

20 (24 higher)

1 hr paper – This paper will have questions on core and SL option material.

1 ¼ paper

Section A: candidates answer all questions, two to three short-answer questions based on experimental skills and techniques, analysis and evaluation, using unseen data linked to the core material.

Section B: short-answer and extended response questions from one option.

The use of calculators is permitted.

Internal assessment

20

The internal assessment, worth 20% of the final assessment, consists of one scientific investigation.

Practical Skills

The IB has a strong focus on practical skills.

Students at standard level are required to spend 40 hours, and students at higher level are required to spend 60 hours, on practical activities.

Students are assessed on an individual investigation which they design, carry out and evaluate.

We aim to take students on a field trip in year 13 to support the ecology modules and as an opportunity to carry out coursework.