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GCSE Biology Course

Exam board: WJEC
Exam code: 3400QS

Studying GCSE Biology provides the foundations for understanding the material world. Scientific understanding is changing our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity, and all learners should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of science. Biology is a useful stepping-stone towards a variety of careers including medicine, veterinary science, physiotherapy or other biological disciplines. However, many study biology because they enjoy the subject and then pursue careers in other areas. Biology is about being curious and imaginative. It involves practical work including use of the microscope, microbiology and working with enzymes.

Biology is an extremely popular Science subject at GCSE level. It is an important source of knowledge and training for those whose Science schooling will end at this level and additionally, it is a firm basis for students wishing to continue with a scientific career.

They should be helped to appreciate how the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described in terms of a small number of key ideas relating to the sciences which are both inter-linked, and are of universal application.

These key ideas include:

  • the use of conceptual models and theories to make sense of the observed diversity of natural phenomena
  • the assumption that every effect has one or more cause
  • that change is driven by differences between different objects and systems when they interact
  • that many such interactions occur over a distance without direct contact
  • that science progresses through a cycle of hypothesis, practical experimentation, observation, theory development and review
  • that quantitative analysis is a central element both of many theories and of scientific methods of inquiry.

Curriculum

Unit 1 CELLS, ORGAN SYSTEMS and ECOSYSTEMS

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes 45% of qualification

This unit includes the following topics:

  • 1.1 Cells and movement across membranes
  • 1.2 Respiration and the respiratory system in humans
  • 1.3 Digestion and the digestive system in humans
  • 1.4 Circulatory system in humans
  • 1.5 Plants and photosynthesis
  • 1.6 Ecosystems, nutrient cycles and human impact on the environment

Unit 2 VARIATION, HOMEOSTASIS and MICRO-ORGANISMS

Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes 45% of qualification

This unit includes the following topics:

  • 2.1 Classification and biodiversity
  • 2.2 Cell division and stem cells
  • 2.3 DNA and inheritance
  • 2.4 Variation and evolution
  • 2.5 Response and regulation
  • 2.6 Kidneys and homeostasis
  • 2.7 Micro-organisms and their applications
  • 2.8 Disease, defence and treatment

Unit 3 PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT

10% of qualification

Each task comprises two sections:

Section A – Obtaining results (6 marks)

Learners will be permitted to work in groups of no more than three, to obtain results from a given experimental method. This will be carried out under a limited level of control i.e. learners may work with others to obtain results but they must provide their own responses to the questions set. Teacher assistance should not normally be required, but may be given if equipment failure occurs. Section A will be completed in one session of 60 minutes duration.

Section B – Analysing and evaluating results (24 marks)

Learners will be assessed on their ability to analyse and evaluate the data obtained in section A. They will require access to their section A assessment in order to complete this. Section B will be carried out under a high level of control i.e. learners must work individually. This section is to be completed with no teacher feedback or assistance allowed and under formal supervision. Section B will be completed in one session of 60 minutes duration

Assessment

This is a unitised qualification which allows for an element of staged assessment

There are two tiers of entry available for this qualification: Higher Tier (Grades A* – D)

Foundation Tier (Grades C – G). Unit 3 (practical assessment) is untiered.

In most cases, we would expect candidates to be assessed within the same tier. Exceptionally, it may be appropriate to enter some candidates for a combination of higher and foundation tier units.

Unit 1: Cells, Organ Systems and Ecosystems (Higher Tier) – 3400UA

Unit 2: Variation, Homeostasis and Micro-organisms (Higher Tier) – 3400UB

Unit 3: Practical Assessment – 3400U3

Access Arrangements

Access Arrangements allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the demands of the assessment.
For example, readers, scribes and Braille question papers. In this way, Awarding Bodies will comply with the duty of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.

We can arrange access arrangements and assess you with our special assessor.  The deadline for application to the exam board is the February of the year the learner sits exams.

To find out more about exam access arrangements  click here

Study Options

You can choose from the following study options:

  • Online classes only
  • Blended learning – Classes at the campus and online
  • Distance learning course

FAQs

We offer a range of study options, we are flexible, offer tutor support, and interest-free payment plans make it easy to shape learning around your life.

We are registered with Estyn, our aims to give each student a complete education in which they achieve their academic potential and grow as an individual. As well as studying with us, you can sit your exams with us too.


Straight away! There’s no need to wait until September to enrol, you can begin your course at any time. Once you enrol, you’ll be able to log in to your course and get started by the next working day.

You’ll sit the same GCSE exams at the same time as all the other students in the UK, and you’ll receive the same results, transcript and qualification. Your GCSE course will be accepted by colleges, universities and employers worldwide.

You can study GCSE courses through a range of study options; our blended learning which consists of online live classes and in person teaching in class, Online live classes only or Distant learning course.

IGCSE qualifications are ideal for those wanting to study for national qualifications by distance learning. Without all the administrative problems that encumber GCSE course work.

We offer a range of IGCSE Courses; see our Distance learning course page.


Choosing a tier isn’t always easy, particularly for languages, we can help you make a decision. Nobody is a better judge of a student’s ability than their teacher. Regular assessments and mock exams are a key part of our decision making.

If you are studying a distance learning course, we can assess you through the year through a range of assessments.


  • We offer subject support tutorials every month
  • 1:1 support from your subject tutor, online or by email
  • 24/7 access to the your online learning platform
  • Interactive online learning broken down into easy-to-follow units
  • Practice tests and mock exams marked by your tutor
  • Friendly student services team, so you’re never more than a message or phone call away from a helping hand

Of course, you can study this course part time, making sure you have said in your enrolment.

GCSE’s are usually a two year course, studying this in one year – would be an intensive course.
You may be able to complete this in one year as an intensive course, you need to show a strong understanding of the subject.

We offer GCSEs – part time in the evenings to adult learners.


We offer interest-free payment plans, you can pay monthly, termly or annually.

Choose the subject you would like to study, add to courses, complete our application form and you can choose to pay online.

If you’d like to set up an interest-free payment plan, get in touch with our Student Advisors on 01792 535 000.

If you have any disabilities which you think might affect your studies or assessments, please let us know before you enrol so we can advise you on whether reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate your needs.

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