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International Baccalaureate - Biology - Higher & Standard Level at The Rochester Grammar School

Course description

Saving threatened species, studying microbes, growing organic plants for food, curing diseases? The 21st Century offers many challenges to biologists. Which ones are you interested in? New knowledge in areas such as genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, the environment and marine science have profound effects on human society and its environment. The world moves quickly and in order to move with it and participate fully people need to be ‘in the know’. Studying Biology gives you the skills and opportunities to advance human knowledge and understanding in today’s world, in order to make a difference to tomorrow’s.

Course content

Biology can be studied at Standard or Higher level and comprises three parts:

The core - This comprises of a number of topics, including Cells; The Chemistry of Life; Gentics, Ecology and Evolution and Human health and physiology. This body of knowledge together with scientific methods and techniques allows you to analyse, evaluate, and generate scientific information.

Additional Higher Level (AHL) - The material extends on the ideas encountered in the core topics and includes Nucleic acids, Metabolism, Cell respiration and photosynthesis; Plant biology, Genetics and evolutiion, Animal Physiology.

Options – One option topic is studied, with AHL content for the higher level students. We currently study Human Physiology at SL and Neurobiology and behaviour at HL.

A. Neurobiology and behaviour

B. Biotechnology and bioinformatics

C. Ecology and conservation

D. Human physiology


Entry requirements

Standard:  The minimum entry requirement is a grade A in Biology at GCSE or Core and Additional Science at A/A.

Higher: The entry requirement is Biology GCSE at High A/A* or Core and Additional Science at A*/A*.


In order to gain access to The RGS Sixth Form, students must obtain grades at A*-B (5+) including English Language and Mathematics.


Internal Assessment
(a) Investigations
(b) The group 4 project

This work is internally assessed by the teaching staff and externally moderated by the IBO.

(a) Investigations
There are 8 assessment criteria:
- planning (a) (such as hypothesising)
- planning (b) (such as designing)
- data collection
- data processing and presentation
- conclusion and evaluation
- manipulative skills
- personal skills (a) (such as team work)
- personal skills (b) (environmental impacts)

(b) Group 4 Project
This allows the student to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science.

Students analyse a topic or problem, set ina local, national or international context, which can be investigated. The project is divided into 4 stages for a total duration of 10 hours:
- Planning
- Definition of activities
- Action
- Evaluation

External Assessment
There are three externally assessed written papers. The interdisciplinary project will appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications of science. This exercise is collaborative and interdisciplinary, where you will analyse a topic or problem which can be investigated in each of the science disciplines offered (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). It is also an opportunity for you to explore scientific solutions to global questions.

Future opportunities

Whether deciding on a career in psychology, medicine, genetics, forensics, pharmacy, vetinary medicine, biochemistry or journalism, a biological qualification gives you many skills and increases your career options so you can adapt and contribute to the changing world around you.

Further information

The I.B.O.s mission statement:

'The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.'

IB learners are:

- Enquirers
- Knowledgeable
- Risk-takers
- Thinkers
- Good communicators
- Principled
- Open-minded
- Reflective

The ideal IB student will also have acquired a sense of caring and compassion, and will recognise the importance of a balance between his/her intellectual, physical and emotional needs.

If you require any further information please contact Miss Hemming at The Rochester Grammar School.

If you wish to study at The Rochester Grammar School, please apply directly to the school.

Application forms and further details can be found on the school website

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Rochester Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 02 December 2016
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