Biology is the study of life. Through the study of biology students employ the processes of science in their investigations and explore the diversity of life and the inter-relationship between organisms and their environment. It is a 2 year course with a maximum of 24 students per class.
Biology is examined at two levels – ordinary and higher level, which are differentiated on the basis of range of topics (an extended range is topics is required at higher level) and depth of treatment (at higher level a deeper and more quantitative treatment of biology is required). Higher level students are expected to have a good scientific literacy and use biological terminology fluently. Answers are expected to be clear, detailed, logical and concise.
The subject is divided into three units:
Unit one – The study of life
· The scientific method
· Characteristics of life
· General principles of ecology
· Study of an ecosystem
Unit two – The cell
· Cell structure
· Cell metabolism
· Cell continuity
· Cell diversity
Unit three – The organism
· Diversity of organisms
· Organisation and the vascular structures
· Transport and nutrition
· Breathing system and excretion
· Responses to stimuli
· Reproduction and growth
Requirements to study Biology at Leaving Certificate
- Students should have a genuine interest in and aptitude for science.
- It is preferable for students to have studied science at higher level for their Junior Certificate.
- Students must have an inquisitive mind and a desire to know why things work as they do.
The examination consists of a 3 hour written paper (worth 100%) and is divided into three sections.
- Section A is worth 25% of the marks. It contains mainly shorter style questions. Students must answer 5 questions from 6 in this section.
- Section B is based on the 22 mandatory experiments and is worth 15%. Students answer 2 questions from 3. Note: Students must maintain a written report of all experiments. The reports must be available for inspection at all times. The State Examinations Commission has the authority to prevent a student from sitting the written paper if they fail to produce a complete set of laboratory reports.
- Section C (60%) consists of long questions where a lot of detail is required in student answers. Students will be asked to draw and label anatomical diagrams.
Careers in Biology
- Occupational therapy
- Genetic engineering
- Health and fitness
- Food science
Is Biology for you?
- You are good at junior certificate science.
- You have an interest in the study of life and the inter-relationship between organisms and their environment.
- You require a science subject for entry to a third level course.
- You enjoy practical work and are good at writing projects and reports.