The course is organised into eight topics: Cell biology; Organisation; Infection and response; Bioenergetics; Homeostasis and response; Inheritance; Variation and Evolution and Ecology. The Biology content of the new specification covers many exciting and relevant topics including cloning, monoclonal antibodies, stem cells, plant diseases, the brain, selective breeding, and maintaining biodiversity. Practical activities include testing the effects of antibiotics on bacterial growth and measuring populations of organisms in a habitat.
The scientific content will be assessed in two papers each worth 50% of the overall marks. Each paper will assess knowledge and understanding from the different topics. The topics will be assessed in two external paper examinations at the end of the course, each lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. The examinations cover both foundation and higher tier levels. The questions include multiple choice, structured closed short answer, and open response questions.
The practical skills and techniques will be developed through the completion of eight practical activities which will be integrated into class teaching time. Assessment of practical work will be made by reporting that all activities have been completed and by examination questions that draw on students’ practical science experience.