Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

GCSE Biology

For first teaching from September 2017
A guide to changes in GCSE Grading

Our GCSE Biology specification encourages students to develop practical skills and knowledge of science. It improves their understanding of the relationship between hypotheses, evidence, theories and explanation. It also gives students opportunities to apply their knowledge and understanding of the nature of science and the scientific process.

Students carry out nine prescribed practicals over the two year course, giving them opportunities to develop their observational, practical, enquiry and problem-solving skills. They also learn to evaluate claims based on science, both qualitatively and quantitatively, by critically analysing the methodology, evidence and conclusions.

Our GCSE science specifications are the only ones to directly examine practical work, an important element of the subject, as part of a unit titled Practical Skills. There is also a written exam for each of the three units in the specification.

All parts of the assessment are externally marked.

Specification and Specimen Assessment Materials

Our GCSE in Biology is unitised, so itís possible to take part of the assessment before the end of the course.

The specification has three units:

  • Unit 1: Cells, Living Processes and Biodiversity
  • Unit 2: Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health
  • Unit 3: Practical Skills.

Specification
(PDF), Last Updated: 16 June 2017

Related Circulars

S/IF/59/18 - October 2018 - Apparatus and Materials Lists and Confidential Instructions for the Practical Skills Assessment Unit (Booklet A)
(PDF), Last Updated: 13 November 2018

S-IF-56-17 GCSE Sciences (New)
(PDF), Last Updated: 24 October 2017

GCSE Assessment Arrangements
(PDF), Last Updated: 20 September 2017

Specimen Assessment Materials

Specimen Assessment Materials
(PDF), Last Updated: 28 June 2017

Practical Skills Assessment

Unit 3: Practical Skills includes a practical skills assessment (Booklet A) and a practical theory exam (Booklet B). For Booklet A, students carry out two practical tasks in the laboratory. Booklet B is a written exam, with questions based on any of the nine prescribed practical tasks and any other practical tasks from the specification.

Support

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Past Papers


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CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19