What is Biology?

GCSE Biology is the study of living organisms and their structure, life-cycles, adaptations and environment. You will study both animal and physical biology.

What will I study?

Key topics include:

1. Cell biology

2. Organisation

3. Infection and response

4. Bioenergetics

5. Homeostasis and response

6. Inheritance, variation and evolution

7. Ecology

What will I gain from studying the subject?

GCSE Biology is an essential foundation for studying science at university and for careers in medicine, health care and ecology. Biology is a key subject for lots of STEM careers, particularly in healthcare, medicine and jobs involving plants or animals. The list is pretty long and includes: nursing, dentistry, forensic science, psychology, physiotherapy, botany, environmental science, zoology, geology, oceanography, pharmaceuticals, energy, teaching, science writing, genetics and research.

How is it assessed?

Paper 1

Topics 1–4: Cell biology; Organisation;

Infection and response; and Bioenergetics.

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

50% of GCSE


Paper 2

Topics 5–7: Homeostasis and response;

Inheritance, variation and evolution; and


How it’s assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

50% of GCSE

Exam board : AQA 8461 GCSE (9-1)  Biology  

What do I need?

You should have studied Science and Maths before. You should be curious about how the world works and ready to make connections between what you can observe about the world and scientific principles. You need to be willing to work hard and be challenged. You need to be willing to take part in regular practical sessions.

All students studying the GCSE programme are required to have an English language level of IELTS 5.0 or equivalent.


When is this exam available?

This exam is available in May/June every year.