IB Biology: Outline for Students and Parents

Biology Overview

Minimum word course summary:

Biology is the study of life and IB biology attempts to understand the living world at the level of organic molecules up to huge systems such as ecosystems and biomes.

Main topics studied:

  • Core (SL): cells, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution and biodiversity, human physiology, neurobiology and behaviour.
  • Higher Level: plant physiology, genetics, evolution, metabolism, biochemistry

Main differences between HL and SL:

  • Mainly increased content, some areas are simply looked at in more detail e.g biochemistry, genetics, human physiology.
  • 90 hours difference between HL and SL

Skills most often seen in successful students:

Well organised, able to work independently on notes taking, reading etc. Good memory for facts and content. Genuine interest in living systems and how they work. Desire to study a biological science at university level.

Required Mathematics:

Any IB maths course is fine

Relevant university courses:

  • Medicine/Veterinary Science
  • Genetic engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • + Any of the subjects mentioned in the IB biology topics.

Other useful info for pre-IB students:

Involves far less blood and guts than you may hope/fear.

Further reading/Websites:

Official IB course summary Online IB Biology syllabus, Biology for Life, Bioninja

See also:

Holatutor guide to: IB Chemistry, IB PhysicsIB Environmental Systems and Societies.


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