IB Biology HL - 2024

IB Higher Level (HL) Biology is the study of biology is an exploration of living organisms and their interactions with each other and the environment. This course allows students 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 HL Biology investigate 11 topics and one additional topic from the Options. A foundation in biology is developed through the Core topics of Cells, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Ecology, Evolution & Biodiversity, and Human Physiology. The additional Higher Level topics are DNA (structure, replication, and protein synthesis), Metabolism, Cell Respiration, Photosynthesis, Plant Biology, Genetics, Evolution, and Animal Physiology (including the kidney, muscles, sexual reproduction, and the immune response.) In addition to these 11 topics, one additional topic is selected and explored - Neurobiology and Behaviour (Option A), Biotechnology and Informatics (Option B), Ecology and Conservation (Option C), or further studies in Human Physiology (Option D).

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 three examinations: Paper 1 (multiple choice), Paper 2 (structured questions based on data interpretation, short answer questions, and extended answer questions covering big ideas), and Paper 3 (experimental questions and short answer questions on the selected Option.)

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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Frequently Asked Questions

IB Biology Higher Level (HL) is one of the science courses introduced in the current IB Science curriculum (2016 - 2024). The Biology HL course is a traditional science course, whereby students develop a deep understanding of scientific concepts and solve both real and theoretical problems, with and without technology. The Biology HL course should be considered by students who are moderate to strong at science, and are interested in pursuing courses and pathways involving medicine, science, or engineering after their IB Diploma Program.

The IB Biology HL course consists of four assessment items that contribute to a student’s overall score for the course. There are three exam papers and an internally assessed independent investigation. Paper 1 consists of multiple-choice questions, Paper 2 consists of short-answer, extended response, and data-based questions, and Paper 3 consists of short-answer questions on practical experimentation, and short-answer questions from one option. The use of a calculator is prohibited for Paper 1, but permitted for Papers 2 and 3.

There are two phases students progress through in their two-year IB Biology HL course: the learning phase and the revision phase. The learning phase occurs in class, with their teacher and textbooks, where students first encounter and explore scientific concepts and consolidate their understanding by solving questions specific to that concept. The revision phase, which is what Revision Village is specifically designed for, is when students consolidate their understanding of all of the concepts in the Bio HL course and appreciate how the concepts are connected. In the revision phase, the most effective strategy is to practice lots of IB Biology HL exam questions to build confidence, reach mastery, and be prepared for the Biology HL examinations.

Revision Village is specifically designed to support IB students in the revision phase of their IB Biology Higher Level course. Revision Village has four main sections, each for different revision purposes: 1) Questionbank: a large library of IB Biology HL exam questions categorised by topic and ordered by difficulty, 2) Practice Exams: a carefully designed set of quizzes and mock papers for students to use in their final phase of revision, 3) Past Paper Video Solutions: step-by-step video tutorials of past Bio HL exam questions, taught by experienced IB Teachers, and 4) Key Concepts: short concise videos that recap the important theory in the Biology HL course. Revision Village is the perfect place for IB Students to learn, practice and prepare for their IB Biology exam stress-free, with all of the resources they need in one place.