Course Outline


Cambridge AS and A level Syllabus at GEMS Wesgreen International School aims to provide the students an opportunity to develop attitudes relevant to biology such as; concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity and inquiry. Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics helps learners develop the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for successful university study.

Learning Outcomes

Students should be helped to understand how, through the ideas of biology, the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described in terms of a number of key ideas which are of universal application and which can be illustrated in the separate topics set out below. These ideas include:

• Cells as the units of life

A cell is the basic unit of life and all organisms are composed of one or more cells. There are two fundamental types of cell: prokaryotic and eukaryotic.

• Biochemical processes

Cells are dynamic: biochemistry and molecular biology help to explain how and why cells function as they do.

• DNA, the molecule of heredity

Cells contain the molecule of heredity, DNA. Heredity is based on the inheritance of genes.

• Natural selection

Natural selection is the major mechanism to explain the theory of evolution.

• Organisms in their environment

All organisms interact with their biotic and abiotic environment.

• Observation and experiment

The different fields of biology are intertwined and cannot be studied in isolation: observation and enquiry, experimentation and fieldwork are fundamental 

Ongoing Objectives

Throughout each unit, the students are given the opportunity to build on the objectives below:

  • provide an enjoyable and worthwhile educational experience for all learners, whether or not they go on to study science beyond this level
  • enable learners to acquire sufficient knowledge and understanding to:
  • become confident citizens in a technological world and develop an informed interest in scientific matters
  • be suitably prepared for studies beyond Cambridge AS
  • allow learners to recognise that biology is evidence-based and understand the usefulness, and the limitations, of scientific method
  • develop skills that:
  • are relevant to the study and practice of biology
  • are useful in everyday life
  • encourage a systematic approach to problem-solving
  • encourage efficient and safe practice
  • encourage effective communication through the language of science
  • develop attitudes relevant to biology such as:
  • concern for accuracy and precision
  • vobjectivity
  • integrity
  • enquiry
  • Initiative

Unit Overviews

Term 1

Approximate length: 12 weeks 

For blended learning we will provide video links, live demonstrations of practical investigation as well as access to the relevant worksheets and resources that all students will need.

1 Cell structure

2 Biological molecules

3 Enzymes

4 Cell membranes and transport

5 The mitotic cell cycle

6 Nucleic acids and protein synthesis

7 Transport in plants

Specific National Curriculum Objectives Covered:


•    the cell theory is a unifying concept in biology.

•    prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells can be distinguished on the basis of their structure and ultrastructure.

•    in complex multicellular organisms cells are organised into tissues, tissues into organs and organs into systems.

•    during the cell cycle genetic information is copied and passed to daughter cells.

•    daughter cells formed during mitosis have identical copies of genes while cells formed during meiosis are not genetically identical.

Biological molecules

•    biological molecules are often polymers and are based on a small number of chemical elements.

•    in living organisms nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, inorganic ions and water all have important roles and functions related to their properties.

•    the sequence of bases in the DNA molecule determines the structure of proteins, including enzymes.

•    enzymes catalyse the reactions that determine structures and functions from cellular to whole-organism level.

•    enzymes are proteins with a mechanism of action and other properties determined by their tertiary structure.

•    enzymes catalyse a wide range of intracellular reactions as well as extracellular ones.

•   ATP provides the immediate source of energy for biological processes.

Term 2

Programme of Study


Formative: Throughout the units, the children will complete graded work, quizzes and investigation activities, which allows the teacher to assess the students’ attainment and inform their planning.

For each unit the students complete a pre and posttest. This allows us to see progress across the units and to inform our planning.

Summative: At the end of each term, we complete internal tests. This allows us to measure the students’ progress throughout the term and year.

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