Biology (H) 2015: Required a good depth of knowledge

 

Comment/ analysis on Biology (Higher Level): Susan Silke, Biology teacher at The Institute of Education.

A well balanced paper that required a good depth of knowledge. It was a long paper that would have taken quite some time for students to read. Some of the questions would need to have been read very carefully before they were answered. A lot of topics on the course were asked- very few were left out.

SECTION A: (Short Questions)
Most of the questions were students friendly.

Question 6 asked for the definition of the word Piloerection (The reflex of producing goose bumps). This would have been challenging to weaker students.

SECTION B: (Experiments)
The practical questions were all very straight forward and accessible.

Questions 7 was on the isolation of DNA and heat denaturation of an enzyme.

Question 8 was on the growth of leaf yeast and the effect of IAA.

Question 9 was on the scientific method. Some students may have found part B of this question challenging.

SECTION C: (Long Questions)
Question 10 was on genetics. Many students would have found part C of this question extremely challenging. The question mixed up general linkage with sex. In the organism they referenced in the question the female was XY and the male was XX. This is not standard and it was a very challenging question. It was an unusual question and has not been asked before. Students would need to have been very careful and very precise when answering it.

In Question 12 there was a complicated diagram on respiration, which would have tested students.

Question 11 on the dental formulae hasn’t been seen on the paper in a number of years.

Question 14, part B iii, asked for the function and how many layers are present in meninges. This is quite a small part of the course and may have caught some students out.

The graph on Dry Mass that appeared in Question 15 hasn’t appeared on the paper in nearly 10 years. It was a nice question but might have surprised some students.