The aims of the syllabus are the same for all students. These are set out below and describe the educational purposes of a course in biology for the IGCSE examination. They are not listed in order of priority.
The aims are to:
Provide, through well designed studies of experimental and practical science, a worthwhile educational experience for all students, whether or not they go on to study science beyond this level and, in particular, to enable them to acquire sufficient understanding and knowledge to
become confident citizens in a technological world, to take or develop an informed interest in matters of scientific import;
recognise the usefulness, and limitations, of scientific method and to appreciate its applicability in other disciplines and in everyday life;
be suitably prepared for studies beyond the IGCSE level in pure sciences, in applied sciences or in science-dependent vocational courses.
2. Develop abilities and skills that
- are relevant to the study and practice of Biology;
- are useful in everyday life;
- encourage efficient and safe practice;
- encourage effective communication.
3. Develop attitudes relevant to Biology such as concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity, enquiry, initiative and inventiveness.
4. Stimulate interest in, and care for, the environment.
5. Promote awareness that
scientific theories and methods have developed, and continue to do so, as a result of the co-operative activities of groups and individuals;
the study and practice of science is subject to social, economic, technological, ethical and cultural influences and limitations;
the applications of science may be both beneficial and detrimental to the individual, the community and the environment;
science transcends national boundaries and that the language of science, correctly and rigorously applied, is universal.
IGCSE Biology places considerable emphasis on understanding and use of scientific ideas and principles in a variety of situations, including those which are well-known to the learner and those which are new to them. It is anticipated that programmes of study based on this syllabus will feature a variety of learning experiences designed to enhance the development of skill and comprehension.
This approach will focus teachers and learners on development of transferable life-long skills relevant to the increasingly technological environment in which people find themselves. It will also prepare candidates for an assessment that will, within familiar and unfamiliar contexts, test expertise, understanding and insight.
The three assessment objectives in Biology are:
- Knowledge with understanding
- Handling information and solving problems
- Experimental skills and investigations
A description of each Assessment Objective follows.
A. Knowledge with understanding
Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in relation to:
Scientific phenomena, facts, laws, definitions, concepts, theories;
Scientific vocabulary, terminology, conventions (including symbols, quantities and units);
Scientific instruments and apparatus, including techniques of operation and aspects of safety;
Scientific quantities and their determination;
Scientific and technological applications with their social, economic and environmental implications.
B. Handling information and solving problems
Students should be able, using oral, written, symbolic, graphical and numerical forms of presentation, to:
Locate, select, organise and present information from a variety of sources;
Translate information from one form to another;
Manipulate numerical and other data;
Use information to identify patterns, report trends and draw inferences;
Present reasoned explanations of phenomena, patterns and relationships;
Make predictions and propose hypotheses;
Solve problems, including some of a quantitative nature.
C. Experimental skills and investigations
Students should be able to:
Use techniques, apparatus, and materials (including the following of a sequence of instructions, where appropriate);
Make and record observations and measurements;
Interpret and evaluate experimental observations and data;
Plan and carry out investigations, evaluate methods and suggest possible improvements (including the selection of techniques, apparatus and materials).
Biology GCSE & IGCSE Question Bank
Self-assessment questions with exercises and discussions
Cambridge Students : IGCSE Biology
A section containing a variety of resources for students studying IGCSE Biology, including past papers and model answers