Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9 - 1) in Biology (1BI0) Paper 2 & Edexcel GCSE Combined Science (1SC0) Paper 2 Biology 2

Syllabus-specification CONTENT INDEX (NEW for Y10 starting September 2016, first exams from 2018 onwards)

'Old' Edexcel GCSE science courses for Y11 finishing Y11 2016-2017

INDEX for all links

Everything below is based on the NEW 2016 official syllabus-specifications for Y10 2016 onwards AND NOTE ...

(HT only) means higher tier only (NOT FT), (B means Edexcel GCSE biology only, NOT for Combined Science biology

 The Google [SEARCH] box at the bottom of the page should also prove useful


Revision summaries for Paper 1 Edexcel GCSE Biology and Combined Science Paper 1 Biology 1 (separate page)

What's assessed in this paper?

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology  (Topic 1 Combined Science Biology paper 1)

SUMMARY Topic 2 – Cells and control  (Topic 2 Combined Science Biology 1)

SUMMARY Topic 3 – Genetics  (Topic 3 Combined Science Biology 1)

SUMMARY Topic 4 – Natural selection and genetic modification  (Topic 4 Combined Science Biology 1)

SUMMARY Topic 5 – Health, disease and development of medicines  (Topic 5 Combined Science Biology 1)


Revision summaries for Paper 2 Edexcel GCSE Biology and Combined Science Paper 2 Biology 2 (this page)

What's assessed in this paper?

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology  (Topic 1 Combined Science Biology paper 2)

SUMMARY Topic 6 – Plant structures and their functions  (Topic 6 Combined Science Biology 2)

SUMMARY Topic 7 – Animal coordination, control and homeostasis  (Topic 7 Combined Science Biology 2)

SUMMARY Topic 8 – Exchange and transport in animals  (Topic 8 Combined Science Biology 2)

SUMMARY Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles  (Topic 9 Combined Science Paper 2)


SUBJECT CONTENT of the syllabus-specification:

TOPICS for Paper 2 Edexcel GCSE Biology and Combined Science Paper 2 Biology 2

Note: a B after the learning objective indicates it is for Edexcel GCSE Biology ONLY, NOT for Combined Science


Topic 1 – Overarching concepts in biology  (Topic 1 content is common to all biology papers)

You should be able to ....

1.1 Explain how the sub-cellular structures of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells are related to their functions, including:

(a) animal cells - nucleus, cell membrane, mitochondria and ribosomes

(b) plant cells - nucleus, cell membrane, cell wall, chloroplasts, mitochondria, vacuole and ribosomes

(c) bacteria - chromosomal DNA, plasmid DNA, cell membrane, ribosomes and flagella.

Introduction to plant and animal cell structure and function

1.2 Describe how specialised cells are adapted to their function, including:

(a) sperm cells – acrosome, haploid nucleus, mitochondria and tail

(b) egg cells – nutrients in the cytoplasm, haploid nucleus and changes in the cell membrane after fertilisation

(c) ciliated epithelial cells

1.3 Explain how changes in microscope technology, including electron microscopy, have enabled us to see cell structures with more clarity and detail than in the past

1.4 Demonstrate an understanding of size and scale in relation to microscopy, including magnification calculations.

1.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between quantitative units in relation to cells, including:

a milli (10-3),  micro (10-6),  nano (10-9),  pico (10-12)

(HT only) Do calculations with numbers written in standard form

1.6 Core Practical: You should have investigated biological specimens using microscopes, including magnification calculations and labelled scientific drawings from observations.

1.7 Be able to explain the mechanism of enzyme action including the active site and enzyme specificity

1.8 Be able to explain how enzymes can be denatured due to changes in the shape of the active site

1.9 Be able to explain the effects of temperature, substrate concentration and pH on enzyme.

1.10 Core Practical: You should have investigated the effect of pH on enzyme activity

1.11 (HT only) Be able to demonstrate an understanding of rate calculations for enzyme activity

1.12 (HT only) Be able to explain the importance of enzymes as biological catalysts in the synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids and their breakdown into sugars, amino acids and fatty acids and glycerol

1.13B Investigating the use of chemical reagents to identify starch, reducing sugars, proteins and fats

1.14B Be able to explain how the energy contained in food can be measured using calorimetry

1.15 (HT only) Be able to explain how substances are transported by diffusion, osmosis and active transport

1.16 Core practical: You should have investigated osmosis in potatoes

1.17(HT only) Be able to calculate percentage gain and loss of mass in osmosis

Practicals you may have encountered

Investigate the effect of different concentrations of digestive enzymes, using and evaluating models of the alimentary canal.

Investigate plant and animal cells with a light microscope.

Investigate the effect of concentration on rate of diffusion.


Topic 6 – Plant structures and their functions

You should be able to ....

6.1 Describe photosynthetic organisms as the main producers of food and therefore biomass

6.2 Describe photosynthesis in plants and algae as an endothermic reaction that uses light energy to react carbon dioxide and water to produce glucose and oxygen

6.3 Explain the effect of temperature, light intensity and carbon dioxide concentration as limiting factors on the rate of photosynthesis

6.4 (HT only) Explain the interactions of temperature, light intensity and carbon dioxide concentration in limiting the rate of photosynthesis

6.5 Investigate the effect of light intensity on the rate of photosynthesis

6.6 (HT only) Explain how the rate of photosynthesis is directly proportional to light intensity and inversely proportional to the distance from a light source, including the use of the inverse square law calculation

 Photosynthesis, importance explained, limiting factors affecting rate

6.7 Explain how the structure of the root hair cells is adapted to absorb water and mineral ions

6.8 Explain how the structures of the xylem and phloem are adapted to their function in the plant, including:

(a) lignified dead cells in xylem transporting water and minerals through the plant

(b) living cells in phloem using energy to transport sucrose around the plant

6.9 Describe how water and mineral ions are transported through the plant by transpiration, including the structure and function of the stomata

6.10 Describe how sucrose is transported around the plant by translocation

6.11B Explain how the structure of a leaf is adapted for photosynthesis and gas exchange

6.12 Explain the effect of environmental factors on the rate of water uptake by a plant, to include light intensity, air movement and temperature

6.13 Demonstrate an understanding of rate calculations for transpiration

6.14B Explain how plants are adapted to survive in extreme environments including the effect of leaf size and shape, the cuticle and stomata

6.15B Explain how plant hormones control and coordinate plant growth and development, including the role of auxins in phototropisms and gravitropisms

6.16B (HT only) Describe the commercial uses of auxins, gibberellins and ethene in plants including:

(a) auxins in weedkillers and rooting powders

(b) gibberellins in germination, fruit and flower formation and the production of seedless fruit

(c) ethene in fruit ripening

Suggested practicals:

Investigate the effect of pollutants on plant germination and plant growth.

Investigate the effect of light and/or gravity on plant growth.

Investigate how factors, including the effect of light intensity, CO2 concentration or temperature, affect the rate of photosynthesis.

Investigate how the structure of the leaf is adapted for photosynthesis.

Investigate how the loss of water vapour from leaves drives transpiration.

Investigate the importance of photoperiodicity in plants.


Topic 7 –Animal coordination, control and homeostasis

You should be able to ....

7.1 Describe where hormones are produced and how they are transported from endocrine glands to their target organs including the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes

7.2 (HT only) Explain that adrenalin is produced by the adrenal glands to prepare the body for fight or flight, including:

(a) increased heart rate

(b) increased blood pressure

(c) increased blood flow to the muscles

(d) raised blood sugar levels by stimulating the liver to change glycogen into glucose

7.3 (HT only) Be able to explain how thyroxine controls metabolic rate as an example of negative feedback, including:

(a) low levels of thyroxine stimulates production of TRH in hypothalamus

(b) this causes release of TSH from the pituitary gland

(c) TSH acts on the thyroid to produce thyroxine

(d) when thyroxine levels are normal thyroxine inhibits the release of TRH and the production of TSH

7.4 Be able to describe the stages of the menstrual cycle, including the roles of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, in the control of the menstrual cycle.

7.5 (HT only) Explain the interactions of oestrogen, progesterone, FSH and LH in the control of the menstrual cycle, including the repair and maintenance of the uterus wall, ovulation and menstruation

7.6 Explain how hormonal contraception influences the menstrual cycle and prevents pregnancy

7.7 Be able to compare and evaluate hormonal and barrier methods of contraception

7.8 (HT only) Explain the use of hormones in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) including IVF and clomifene therapy

7.9 Explain the importance of maintaining a constant internal environment in response to internal and external change

7.10B Explain the importance of homeostasis, including:

(a) thermoregulation - the effect on enzyme activity

(b) osmoregulation - the effect on animal cells

7.11B Explain how thermoregulation takes place, with reference to the function of the skin, including:

(a) the role of the dermis

(b) the role of the epidermis

(c) the role of the hypothalamus

7.12B Explain how thermoregulation takes place, with reference to:

(a) shivering

(b) (HT only) vasoconstriction

(c) (HT only) vasodilation

7.13 Explain how blood glucose concentration is regulated by the hormone insulin

7.14 (HT only) Explain how blood glucose concentration is regulated by glucagon

7.15 Explain the cause of type 1 diabetes and how it is controlled

7.16 Explain the cause of type 2 diabetes and how it is controlled

7.17 Evaluate the correlation between body mass and type 2 diabetes including waist : hip ratio calculations and BMI using the BMI equation:

BMI = weight (kg) χ [height (m)]2

7.18B Describe the structure of the urinary system

7.19B Explain how the structure of the nephron is related to its function in filtering the blood and forming urine including:

(a) filtration in the glomerulus and Bowman’s capsule

(b) selective reabsorption of glucose

(c) reabsorption of water

7.20B (HT only) Explain the effect of ADH on the permeability of the collecting duct in regulating the water content of the blood

7.21B Describe the treatments for kidney failure, including kidney dialysis and organ donation

7.22B State that urea is produced from the breakdown of excess amino acids in the liver

Practicals - investigation of the presence of sugar in simulated urine/body fluids.


Topic 8 – Exchange and transport in animals

You should be able to ....

8.1 Describe the need to transport substances into and out of a range of organisms including oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, dissolved food molecules, mineral ions and urea

8.2 Explain the need for exchange surfaces and a transport system in multicellular organisms including the calculation of surface area : volume ratio

8.3 Describe how alveoli are adapted for gas exchange by diffusion between air in the lungs and blood in capillaries

8.4B Describe the factors affecting the rate of diffusion, including surface area, concentration gradient and diffusion distance

8.5B Calculate the rate of diffusion using Fick’s law:

rate of diffusion (surface area Χ concentration difference) χ thickness of membrane

8.6 Explain how the structure of the blood is related to its function:

(a) red blood cells (erythrocytes)

(b) white blood cells (phagocytes and lymphocytes)

(c) plasma

(d) platelets

8.7 Explain how the structure of the blood vessels is related to their function

8.8 Explain how the structure of the heart and circulatory system is related to its function, including the role of the major blood vessels, the valves and the relative thickness of chamber walls

8.9 Describe cellular respiration as an exothermic reaction which occurs continuously in living cells to release energy for metabolic processes, including aerobic and anaerobic respiration

8.10 Compare the process of aerobic respiration with the process of anaerobic respiration

8.11 Investigation into the rate of respiration in living organisms

8.12 Calculate heart rate, stroke volume and cardiac output, using the equation:

cardiac output = stroke volume Χ heart rate

Suggested practicals:

Investigation of the effect of glucose concentration on rate of anaerobic respiration in yeast.

Investigating the increase in heart rate and/or breathing rate with exercise.


Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles

You should be able to ....

9.1 Describe the different levels of organisation from individual organisms, populations, communities, to the whole ecosystem

9.2 Explain how communities can be affected by abiotic and biotic factors, including:

(a) temperature, light, water, pollutants

(b) competition, predation

9.3 Describe the importance of interdependence in a community

9.4 Describe how the survival of some organisms is dependent on other species, including parasitism and mutualism

9.5 Investigate the relationship between organisms and their environment using field work techniques including quadrats and belt transects

9.6 Explain how to determine the number of organisms in a given area using raw data from field-work techniques, including quadrats and belt transects

9.7B Explain how some energy is transferred to less useful forms at each trophic level and that this affects the number of organisms at each trophic level, limits the length of a food chain and determines the shape of a pyramid of biomass in an ecosystem .

9.8B Calculate the efficiency of energy transfers between trophic levels and percentage calculations of biomass 

9.9 Explain the positive and negative human interactions within ecosystems and their impacts on biodiversity, including:

(a) fish farming

(b) introduction of non-indigenous species

(c) eutrophication

9.10 Explain the benefits of maintaining local and global biodiversity including the conservation of animal species and the impact of reforestation

9.11B Describe the biological factors affecting levels of food security, including:

(a) increasing human population

(b) increasing animal farming and the increased meat and fish consumption

(c) the impact of new pests and pathogens

(d) environmental change caused by human activity

(e) sustainability issues, e.g. use of land for biofuel production and the cost of agricultural inputs

9.12 Describe how different materials cycle through the abiotic and biotic components of an ecosystem

9.13 Explain the importance of the carbon cycle including the processes involved and the role of microorganisms as decomposers

9.14 Explain the importance of the water cycle including the processes involved and the production of potable water in areas of drought including desalination

9.15 Explain how nitrates are made available for plant uptake including the use of fertilisers, crop rotation and the role of bacteria in the nitrogen cycle

9.16B (HT only) Evaluate the use of indicator species as evidence to assess the level of pollution, including:

(a) polluted water – bloodworm, sludgeworm

(b) clean water – freshwater shrimps, stonefly

(c) air quality – different species of lichen, blackspot fungus on roses

9.17B Explain the effects of temperature, water content and oxygen availability on the rate of decomposition in food preservation

9.18B Explain the effects of temperature, water content and oxygen availability on the rate of decomposition in composting

9.19B Be able to calculate rate changes in the decay of biological material

Practicals you may have encountered

Investigating tropic responses.

Investigating how indicator species can be used to assess levels of pollution in water or the atmosphere.

Investigating animal behaviour using choice chambers.


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