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IB Biology HL - 2025

The study of IB Biology is an exploration of living organisms and their interactions with each other and the environment. This course provides students the opportunity to dig deep into the world of biology, and goes beyond subject matter, allowing students to study the nature of science, experimental design, and the communication of biological ideas.

Course Structure and Content

Students electing to study IB Biology at the Higher Level (HL) investigate content within four themes entitled: Unity and Diversity; Form and Function; Interaction and Interdependence; and Continuity and Change. Students develop a foundation of biology through course content from increasing levels of organisation: molecules, cells, organisms, and ecosystems. Specific topics include: biomolecules, cells, viruses, classification and diversity of organisms, evolution and speciation, ecology, enzymes, respiration, photosynthesis, DNA and protein synthesis, homeostasis, body systems, and more.

Assessment in HL Biology topics require students to demonstrate knowledge in vocabulary, facts, and concepts, biological methods and techniques, analyse data, and communicate understanding through detailed explanations of major biological concepts. At the end of the course, there are two examination papers, addressed through multiple choice, short-answer questions, as well as database and extended-response questions. Successful completion of the course requires students to develop skills to attain deep knowledge of, and a conceptual understanding of all content areas; the skills needed for success are developed throughout the two year course.

The breadth of content and depth of material covered in this course fully prepares students for advanced studies in biology in university. Over 240 hours of study is dedicated to the course; approximately 180 content hours, and 60 hours dedicated to the experimental programme, including an individual lab investigation which is planned and executed by the student.

Tips for Success

  1. Excellent mastery of key terms is critical to show understanding of course content. Make sure to continually review vocabulary through the course.
  2. To best learn details and be able to successfully explain biological processes, draw and annotate as much as you can on large paper or whiteboard without referring to other resources. When finished, use resources to fill in the blank areas needed to further content knowledge, and then explain your work verbally, out loud.
  3. Practice and review exam-type questions! There's no better preparation for sitting the IB exams than answering exactly the types of questions you will be asked on the actual examinations.

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