The key concepts on which this syllabus is built are set out below. These key concepts can help teachers think about how to approach each syllabus topic in order to encourage learners to make links between topics and develop a deep overall understanding of the subject. The teaching support package gives teachers guidance on integrating the key concepts into their teaching. See page 7 for more information on our teacher support.
As a teacher, you will refer to these concepts again and again to help unify the subject and make sense of it. If mastered, learners can use the concepts to solve problems or to understand unfamiliar subject-related material.
• Cells as the units of life A cell is the basic unit of life and all organisms are composed of one or more cells. There are two fundamental types of cell: prokaryotic and eukaryotic.
• Biochemical processes Cells are dynamic: biochemistry and molecular biology help to explain how and why cells function as they do.
• DNA, the molecule of heredity Cells contain the molecule of heredity, DNA. Heredity is based on the inheritance of genes.
• Natural selection Natural selection is the major mechanism to explain the theory of evolution.
• Organisms in their environment All organisms interact with their biotic and abiotic environment.
• Observation and experiment The different fields of biology are intertwined and cannot be studied in isolation: observation and enquiry, experimentation and fieldwork are fundamental to biology.
Candidates for Cambridge International AS Level Biology study the following topics:
1 Cell structure
2 Biological molecules
4 Cell membranes and transport
5 The mitotic cell cycle
6 Nucleic acids and protein synthesis
7 Transport in plants
8 Transport in mammals
9 Gas exchange and smoking
10 Infectious disease
Candidates for Cambridge International A2 Level Biology study the following topics:
12 Energy and respiration
15 Control and co-ordination
16 Inherited change
17 Selection and evolution
18 Biodiversity, classification and conservation
19 Genetic technology
Paper 1 – Multiple Choice – 40 Marks
Paper 2 – AS Structured Questions – 60 Marks
Paper 3 – Practical – 40 Marks
Paper 4 – A2 Structured Questions – 100 Marks
Paper 5 – Planning, Analysis, & Experimental Design – 30 Marks