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GCSE Biology

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Why study Biology?

Biology is the study of life and living organisms, and it has many branches, from genetics to physiology, from ecology to biotechnology. Students of Biology will learn about the structure and function of the human body, as well as studying a broad range of non-human organisms, from single-celled bacteria, protoctists, and fungi, to multicellular plants and animals. Biology can help us prevent, cure, and even eliminate disease. It can also teach us how to live healthier lives, keep fit, and maintain a balanced diet.

GCSE Biology covers a variety of topics, from cell structure and function, to ecosystems. The iGCSE course equips students with a variety of academic and practical skills, including factual knowledge, real-life applications (such as how to live healthier lives, improve conservation, and reduce human effects on the environment), relevant mathematical skills, and practical skills, giving students the opportunity to understand the research process, use a variety of apparatus, and interpret data.

The International GCSE enables successful progression to A-Level and beyond. Edexcel have consulted with International Advanced Level and GCE A-Level teachers as well as higher education professors to validate the appropriateness of the qualification, including its content, skills development and assessment structure.

What is covered by the course?

iGCSE Year 1, International (9-1) Edexcel

Topic 1 - The nature and variety of living organisms

  • Characteristics of living organisms
  • Variety of living organisms

Topic 2 - Structure and functions in living organisms

  • Level of organisation
  • Cell structure
  • Biological molecules
  • Movement of substances into and out of cells
  • Nutrition
  • Respiration
  • Gas exchange
  • Transport
  • Excretion
  • Co-ordination and response

iGCSE Year 2, International (9-1) Edexcel

Topic 3 - Reproduction and inheritance

Topic 4 - Ecology and the environment

  • The organism in the environment
  • Feeding relationships
  • Cycles within ecosystems
  • Human influences on the Environment

Topic 5 - Use of biological resources

  • Food production
  • Selective breeding
  • Genetic modification and genetic engineering
  • Cloning

How is it examined?

The Edexcel iGCSE (9-1) in Biology comprises two externally assessed papers:

Paper 1:

  •  61.1% of the total qualification, 2 hours; 110 marks, paper code 4BI1/1B
  • A mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions

Paper 2:

  • 39.9% of the total qualification, 1 hr 15 min; 70 marks, paper code 4BI1/2B
  • A mixture of different question styles, including multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions.

There is no coursework component for IGCSE Biology. All students will complete at least 8 core practical investigations over the course of two years, and the practical component of the course is assessed in the final exams (e.g. knowledge of how to set up an experiment and critically appraise results or conclusions).

Suggested reading

'Edexcel International GCSE Biology Student Book' by Phil Bradfield and Steve Potter (Pearson)

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