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«SyllabuS Cambridge O level biology For examination in June and November 2017 2018 and 2019, Version 1 Cambridge Secondary 2 Changes to syllabus for ...»

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Cambridge O level


For examination in June and November 2017 2018 and 2019


Version 1

Cambridge Secondary 2

Changes to syllabus for 2017, 2018 and 2019

This syllabus has been updated, but there are no significant changes.

you are advised to read the whole syllabus before planning your teaching programme.

Cambridge International Examinations retains the copyright on all its publications. Registered Centres are

permitted to copy material from this booklet for their own internal use. However, we cannot give permission to Centres to photocopy any material that is acknowledged to a third party even for internal use within a Centre.

® IGCSE is the registered trademark of Cambridge International Examinations © Cambridge International Examinations 2015 Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 Why choose Cambridge?

1.2 Why choose Cambridge O Level?

1.3 Why choose Cambridge O Level Biology?

1.4 How can I find out more?

2. Teacher support

2.1 Support materials

2.2 Endorsed resources

2.3 Training

3. Assessment at a glance

4. Syllabus aims and assessment objectives

4.1 Syllabus aims

4.2 Assessment objectives

4.3 Weighting of assessment objectives

4.4 Nomenclature, units and significant figures

5. Syllabus content

6. Practical assessment

6.1 Paper 3 and Paper 6

6.2 Laboratory conditions

6.3 Laboratory equipment

6.4 Paper 3: Practical Test

6.5 Paper 6: Alternative to Practical

7. Appendix

7.1 Glossary of terms used in science papers

8. Other information


1. Introduction

1.1 Why choose Cambridge?

Cambridge International Examinations is part of the University of Cambridge. We prepare school students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. Our international qualifications are recognised by the world’s best universities and employers, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career. As a not-for-profit organisation, we devote our resources to delivering high-quality educational programmes that can unlock learners’ potential.

Our programmes set the global standard for international education. They are created by subject experts, are rooted in academic rigour, and provide a strong platform for progression. Over 10 000 schools in 160 countries work with us to prepare nearly a million learners for their future with an international education from Cambridge.

Cambridge learners Cambridge programmes and qualifications develop not only subject knowledge but also skills. We

encourage Cambridge learners to be:

• confident in working with information and ideas – their own and those of others • responsible for themselves, responsive to and respectful of others • reflective as learners, developing their ability to learn • innovative and equipped for new and future challenges • engaged intellectually and socially, ready to make a difference.

Recognition Cambridge O Level is internationally recognised by schools, universities and employers as equivalent in demand to Cambridge IGCSE® (International General Certificate of Secondary Education). There are over 700 000 entries a year in nearly 70 countries. Learn more at www.cie.org.uk/recognition Support for teachers A wide range of materials and resources is available to support teachers and learners in Cambridge schools.

Resources suit a variety of teaching methods in different international contexts. Through subject discussion forums and training, teachers can access the expert advice they need for teaching our qualifications. More details can be found in Section 2 of this syllabus and at www.cie.org.uk/teachers Support for exams officers Exams officers can trust in reliable, efficient administration of exams entries and excellent personal support from our customer services. Learn more at www.cie.org.uk/examsofficers Our systems for managing the provision of international qualifications and education programmes for learners aged 5 to 19 are certified as meeting the internationally recognised standard for quality management, ISO 9001:2008. Learn more at www.cie.org.uk/ISO9001

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1.2 Why choose Cambridge O Level?

Cambridge O Levels have been designed for an international audience and are sensitive to the needs of different countries. These qualifications are designed for learners whose first language may not be English and this is acknowledged throughout the examination process. The Cambridge O Level syllabus also allows teaching to be placed in a localised context, making it relevant in varying regions.

Our aim is to balance knowledge, understanding and skills in our programmes and qualifications to enable students to become effective learners and to provide a solid foundation for their continuing educational journey.

Through our professional development courses and our support materials for Cambridge O Levels, we provide the tools to enable teachers to prepare learners to the best of their ability and work with us in the pursuit of excellence in education.

Cambridge O Levels are considered to be an excellent preparation for Cambridge International AS and A Levels, the Cambridge AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education) Group Award, Cambridge Pre-U, and other education programmes, such as the US Advanced Placement program and the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. Learn more about Cambridge O Levels at www.cie.org.uk/cambridgesecondary2 Guided learning hours Cambridge O Level syllabuses are designed on the assumption that learners have about 130 guided learning hours per subject over the duration of the course, but this is for guidance only. The number of hours required to gain the qualification may vary according to local curricular practice and the learners’ prior experience of the subject.

1.3 Why choose Cambridge O Level Biology?

Cambridge O Levels are established qualifications that keep pace with educational developments and trends. The Cambridge O Level curriculum places emphasis on broad and balanced study across a wide range of subject areas. The curriculum is structured so that students attain both practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

Cambridge O Level Biology is recognised by universities and employers throughout the world as proof of knowledge and understanding. Successful Cambridge O Level Biology candidates gain lifelong skills,


• a better understanding of the technological world, with an informed interest in scientific matters • the ability to recognise the usefulness (and limitations) of scientific method, and how to apply this to other disciplines and in everyday life • the development of relevant attitudes, such as a concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity, enquiry, initiative and inventiveness • further interest in, and care for, the environment • a better understanding of the influence and limitations placed on scientific study by society, economy, technology, ethics, the community and the environment • the development of an understanding of the scientific skills essential for both further study at Cambridge International A Level and in everyday life.

Candidates may also study for a Cambridge O Level in a number of other science subjects including physics and chemistry. In addition to Cambridge O Levels, Cambridge also offers Cambridge IGCSE and

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Cambridge International AS and A Levels for further study in biology as well as other science subjects. See www.cie.org.uk for a full list of the qualifications available.

Prior learning We recommend that candidates who are beginning this course should have previously studied a science curriculum such as the Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme or equivalent national educational frameworks. Candidates should also have adequate mathematical skills for the content contained in this syllabus.

Progression Cambridge O Levels are general qualifications that enable candidates to progress either directly to employment, or to proceed to further qualifications.

Candidates who are awarded grades C to A* in Cambridge O Level Biology are well prepared to follow courses leading to Cambridge International AS and A Level Biology, or the equivalent.

1.4 How can I find out more?

If you are already a Cambridge school You can make entries for this qualification through your usual channels. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@cie.org.uk If you are not yet a Cambridge school Learn about the benefits of becoming a Cambridge school at www.cie.org.uk/startcambridge. Email us at info@cie.org.uk to find out how your organisation can register to become a Cambridge school.

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2.1 Support materials We send Cambridge syllabuses, past question papers and examiner reports to cover the last examination series to all Cambridge schools.

You can also go to our public website at www.cie.org.uk/olevel to download current and future syllabuses together with specimen papers or past question papers and examiner reports from one series.

For teachers at registered Cambridge schools a range of additional support materials for specific syllabuses is available online from Teacher Support, our secure online support for Cambridge teachers.

Go to http://teachers.cie.org.uk (username and password required).

2.2 Endorsed resources We work with publishers providing a range of resources for our syllabuses including print and digital materials. Resources endorsed by Cambridge go through a detailed quality assurance process to ensure they provide a high level of support for teachers and learners.

We have resource lists which can be filtered to show all resources, or just those which are endorsed by Cambridge. The resource lists include further suggestions for resources to support teaching.

2.3 Training We offer a range of support activities for teachers to ensure they have the relevant knowledge and skills to deliver our qualifications. See www.cie.org.uk/events for further information.

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Availability This syllabus is examined in the June and November examination series.

This syllabus is available to private candidates. However, it is expected that private candidates learn in an environment where practical work is an integral part of the course. Candidates will not be able to perform well in this assessment or progress successfully to further study without this necessary and important aspect of science education.

Detailed timetables are available from www.cie.org.uk/examsofficers Cambridge O Levels are available to Centres in Administrative Zones 3, 4 and 5. Centres in Administrative Zones 1, 2 or 6 wishing to enter candidates for Cambridge O Level examinations should contact Cambridge Customer Services.

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Combining this with other syllabuses

Candidates can combine this syllabus in an examination series with any other Cambridge syllabus, except:

• syllabuses with the same title at the same level • 0653 Cambridge IGCSE Combined Science • 0654 Cambridge IGCSE Co-ordinated Sciences (Double) • 5129 Cambridge O Level Combined Science Please note that Cambridge O Level, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International Level 1/Level 2 Certificate syllabuses are at the same level.

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4.1 Syllabus aims The aims provide the educational purposes of following a course in this subject. Some of these aims are reflected in the assessment objectives; others are not because they cannot readily be translated into objectives that can be assessed. The aims are not listed in any order of priority.

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4.2 Assessment objectives The assessment objectives describe the knowledge, skills and abilities that candidates are expected to demonstrate at the end of the course. They reflect those aspects of the aims that are assessed.

AO1 Knowledge with understanding

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in relation to:

1. scientific phenomena, facts, laws, definitions, concepts, theories

2. scientific vocabulary, terminology and conventions (including symbols, quantities and units)

3. scientific instruments and apparatus, including techniques of operation and aspects of safety

4. scientific quantities and their determination

5. scientific and technological applications with their social, economic and environmental implications.

The syllabus content defines the factual knowledge that candidates may be required to recall and explain.

Questions testing these objectives will often begin with one of the following words: define, state, name, describe, explain (using your knowledge and understanding) or outline (see the glossary of terms in section 7.1).

AO2 Handling information and solving problems

Candidates should be able – using oral, written, symbolic, graphical and numerical forms of presentation – to:

1. locate, select, organise and present information from a variety of sources

2. translate information from one form to another

3. manipulate numerical and other data

4. use information to identify patterns, report trends and draw inferences

5. present reasoned explanations for phenomena, patterns and relationships

6. make predictions and propose hypotheses

7. solve problems.

These assessment objectives cannot be precisely specified in the syllabus content because questions testing such skills may be based on information that is unfamiliar to the candidate. In answering such questions, candidates are required to use principles and concepts that are within the syllabus and apply them in a logical, reasoned or deductive manner to a novel situation. Questions testing these objectives will often begin with one of the following words: discuss, predict, suggest, calculate, explain (give reasoned explanations and explain the processes of using information and solving problems) or determine (see the glossary of terms in section 7.1).

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