The IGCSE Biology course
is designed to facilitate development of a broad understanding of biological principles and concepts and also includes relevant biological investigative skill development. Students will also learn how to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of scientific developments and advances.
This course can be used in preparation for progressing to higher level study in relevant biological subjects (for example AS and A2) or as a
vehicle for career development or to fulfil entry requirements to
The course is designed to be accessible for those with limited scientific backgrounds, and as such is an excellent starting point for students wishing to learn more about biological science.
There is no practical coursework associated with the course but science skills and knowledge are integral elements of the core topics, so are embedded within independent learning activities, evaluation of practical based components within the material and will prepare students for similar components within the written examinations.
The IGCSE Biology course includes aspects of science that are relevant
to everyday life and therefore appropriate for distance and adult learning.
Each unit has an associated extended TMA (Tutor Marked Assessment) which students are encouraged to complete so that they can utilise comprehensive feedback from their tutor and use this to identify strengths and weaknesses in knowledge and understanding
The course is formally assessed by external examination (two papers).
Examination sessions are January and June depending (January depending on centre registration policies).
The expectation is that the course will take a full academic year to complete depending on existing knowledge and available study time as well as individual progress through the course. Therefore each student will progress at a different pace.
The course follows the specification and requires students to be proactive in their independent learning and evaluation of material.
Unit 1: Nature and variety of living organisms:
• Common features and characteristics of organisms
• Differences between animals and plants
• Diffusion and osmosis
• Active transport
• Respiration and enzymes
• Investigative skills in biology
Unit 2: Structures and functions in living organisms Part 1
• Human nutrition: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids
• Processes of ingestion, digestion, absorption and assimilation
• Production, storage and action of bile
• The structure of villi and their role in absorption and digestion
• Structure of the alimentary canal and functions of each component
• Transport systems in humans and plants
• Gas exchange in plants and animals
• Investigative skills in biology
Unit 3: Structures and functions in living organisms Part 2
• Excretion and homeostasis: oxygen, carbon dioxide; organs of excretion; homeostatic maintenance
• The human nervous system: structure and functions: responding to changes in environment (internal and external); sense organs
• Hormone production and action in plants and animals
• Human reproduction: sexual and asexual reproduction; fertilization
• Reproduction in plants: asexual and artificial reproduction; pollination in plants; fruit formation; germination
Unit 4: Inheritance
• Chromosomes, genes and DNA: variation and mutation
• Cell division: mitosis and meiosis
• Genes and inheritance: genetic diagrams and pedigree charts; monohybrid inheritance; inheritance in human beings; co dominance
• Natural and artificial selection; evolutionary processes; resistance and bacterial populations; selective breeding
• Genetic engineering and cloning: applications; micro propagation in plants; processes of cloning; organ transplant
Unit 5: Ecology and the environment
• Understanding ecosystems and energy transfer (trophic levels, biomass, energy transfer), eco cycles
• Human impact on the environment; biological consequences of pollution; effects of deforestation; global warming concerns; eutrophication
• Food production: crops: pest control: yields: fish farming: use of microorganisms and fermentation
Your course is delivered online via the Oxford Learning On Campus website.