by Diane Walsh
The higher-level biology paper was very balanced paper with a wide range of topics, giving good choice for all students.
The short questions in section A covered a range of topics, the questions were detailed and would require a good knowledge of all aspects of the course. The only question which may have posed a problem for students would have been question 4, the use of the photographs showing the stages of mitosis may have looked unusual to students who would be used to seeing this in a diagram form.
Section B, which focuses on the mandatory experiments on the biology course were all very straight forward and the well-prepared student would have had no issues with these three experiments.
Section C covered a nice mix of topics, from the more straightforward chapters to those that are more difficult. Question 10 focused on Ecology and had an extract on invasive species, which some students may have found unusual and difficult to answer, however this was balanced out in part c which was based on the ecosystem study, this was very student friendly. Question 11 was based on genetics and would have been welcomed by the prepared student, it contained sex linkage and pedigree diagram, which would not have been a big surprise for most students. Question 13 focused solely on human reproduction, it used very simple and straight forward language which made this question ideal for students. Question 15 was a little trickery with topics such as Rhizopus reproduction coming up in part a and sexual reproduction in the flowering plant coming up in part c, these questions looked for detailed answers which students may have struggled with.