Biology GCSE

Home Schooling GCSE Biology – The Course

Please note that the last exam sitting for the GCSE Biology specification was 2012. If you wish to take Biology exams in 2014 (or later years), you will need to study our IGCSE Biology (or Human Biology) course.

Key Topics Covered

The GCSE course was divided into three modules. Each of these modules was linked to a 45 minute examination.

Biology 1

  • How do human bodies respond to changes inside them and to their environment?
  • What can we do to keep our bodies healthy?
  • How do we use/abuse medical and recreational drugs?
  • What causes infectious disease and how can our bodies defend themselves against them?
  • What determines where particular species live and how many of them there are?
  • Why are individuals of the same species different from each other?
  • What new methods do we have for producing plants and animals with the characteristics we prefer?

Biology 2

  • What are animals and plants built from?
  • How do dissolved substances get into and out of cells?
  • How do plants obtain the food they need to live and grow?
  • What happens to energy and biomass at each stage in a food chain?
  • What happens to the waste material produced by plants and animals?
  • What are enzymes and what are some of their functions?
  • How do our bodies keep internal conditions constant?
  • Which human characteristics show a simple pattern of inheritance?

Biology 3

  • How do dissolved substances get into and out of animals and plants?
  • How are dissolved materials transported around the body?
  • How does exercise affect the exchanges taking place within the body?
  • How do exchanges in the kidney help us to maintain the internal
  • environment in mammals and how has biology helped us to treat kidney disease?
  • How are microorganisms used to make food and drink?
  • What other useful substances can we make using microorganisms?
  • How can we be sure we are using microorganisms safely?

The Syllabus

This course prepared students for AQA GCSE Biology syllabus 4411, for exams until June 2012. Assessment was by three written papers (75%) and a practical assessment (25%). We chose this syllabus as it is the most suited to Home Schooling.

Practical Skills/Coursework

The assessment had two parts:

  1. The practical skills assessment (PSA) assesses the student’s ability to work in an organised and safe manner whilst working practically. It can be carried out at any time during the course.
  2. The investigative skills assignment (ISA) assesses the student’s ability to undertake a task and collect, process and evaluate data. The ISA can be carried out at any time during the course. Students carry out the PSA set by AQA, they then take a written test under controlled conditions. The test asks questions concerning the data collected during the practical task as well as that provided as part of the test.

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