Waec Biology Syllabus: This is an examination syllabus drawn up from the curricula of the member countries of the West African Examinations Council (Waec). It should be used alongside the appropriate teaching syllabus(es) of the country where the candidates are domiciled.
This examination syllabus is divided into three sections: Sections A, B and C. Section A is for all candidates, Section B is for candidates in Ghana only and Section C is for candidates in Nigeria, Sierra Leone The Gambia and Liberia.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This syllabus is designed to assess candidates’
1 . understanding of the structure and functions of living organisms as well as appreciation of nature;
2. acquisition of adequate laboratory and field skills in order to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in Biology;
3. acquisition of necessary scientific skills for example observing, classifying and interpreting biological data;
4. acquisition of the basic relevant knowledge in Biology needed for future advanced studies in biological sciences;
5. acquisition of scientific attitudes for problem solving;
6. ability to apply biological principles in everyday life in matters that affect personal, social, environmental, community health and economic problems;
7. awareness of the existence of interrelationships between biology and other scientific disciplines.
SCHEME OF EXAMINATION (Waec Biology syllabus)
There will be three papers: Papers 1, 2 and 3, all of which must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be a composite paper to be taken at one sitting.
PAPER 1: Will consist of fifty multiple-choice objective questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus (the section of the syllabus which is common to all countries). It will carry 50 marks and last for 50 minutes.
PAPER 2: Will consist of six essay questions drawn from the entire syllabus. The paper will be put into three sections, Sections A, B and C.
Section A: Will consist of four questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus.
Section B: Will be for candidates in Ghana only and will be drawn from Section B of the syllabus (ie the section of the syllabus perculiar to Ghana). It will consist of short-structured questions.
Section C: Will be for candidates in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia and will be drawn from Section C of the syllabus (ie the section of the syllabus containing material for those countries only). It will also consist of short-structured questions.
Candidates will be expected to answer two questions from Section A and all the short-structured questions from either Section B or Section C.
Each question in Section A will carry 20 marks while the compulsory short-structured questions in Sections B and C will carry 30 marks. The total score will be 70 marks. The paper shall take 1 hour 40 minutes.
PAPER 3: Will be a practical test (for school candidates) or a test of practical work (for private candidates) lasting 2 hours and consisting of three sections: Sections A, B and C.
Section A: This will consist of two compulsory questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus, each carrying 25 marks.
Section B: This will be for candidates in Ghana only. It will consist of one question drawn from Section B of the syllabus and will carry 30 marks.
Section C: This will be for candidates in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia. It will consist of one question drawn from Section C of the syllabus and will carry 30 marks.
Candidates will be expected to answer all the questions in Section A and one question in either Section B or C. The paper will carry a total score of 80 marks.
DETAILED SYLLABUS SECTION A
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A. Concept of Living
- a) Living and non-living things
- b) Classification of living things into Kingdoms
(c) Differences between plants and animals.
2. Organization of life
(a) Levels of organization
(i) cell (single-celled organisms): Amoeba, Euglena, Paramecium
(ii) Tissue: Hydra
(iii) Organ (storage organ) bulb, rhizome and heart.
(iv) System/Organ System: In mammals, flowering plants – reproductive system, excretory system etc.
(b) Complexity of organization in higher organisms: advantages and disadvantages.
3. Forms in which living cells exist:
a) Single and free-living: Amoeba, Paramecium, Euglena, and Chlamydomonas
b) Colony: Volvox
c) Filament: Spirogyra
d) Part of a living organism: Cheek cells, onion root tip cells and epidermis of fleshy leaves.
4. (a) Cell structure and functions of cell components.
(b) Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells.
5. The Cell and its environment:
Physical and Biophysical processes.
6. Properties and functions of the living cell
(i) Autotrophic (photosynthesis)
(ii) Heterotrophic (holozoic)
(b) Cellular respiration
Definition and processes of:
(i) aerobic respiration
(ii) anaerobic respiration
(iii) energy release
(i) Excretion in single-celled aquatic organisms. Diffusion by body surface and by contractile vacuole.
(ii) Waste products of metabolism.
(i) Basis of growth – cell division (mitosis), enlargement and differentiation.
(ii) Aspects of growth:
Increase in dry weight, irreversible increase in size and length and increase in number of cells.
(iii) Regions of fastest growth in plants.
(iv) Influence of growth hormones and auxins.
(v) Growth curvatures (Tropisms)
Development: Enlargement and differentiation.
(i) Organelles for movement: cilia and flagella,
Types of reproduction.
(i) Asexual: fission, budding and vegetative propagation.
(ii) Sexual: Conjugation, formation of male and female gametes (gametogenesis), fusion of gametes fertilization)
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7. (a) Tissues and supporting systems: Skeleton and supporting systems in animals:
(i) Biological significance.
(ii) Skeletal materials, e.g. bone, cartilage and chitin.
(iii) Types of skeleton: exoskeleton, endoskeleton and hydrostatic skeleton.
(iv) Bones of the vertebral column, girdles and long bones of the appendicular skeleton.
(v) Mechanism of support in animals.
(vi) Functions of skeleton in animals: Protection, support, locomotion and respiratory movement.
(b) Different types of supporting tissues in plants.
Main features of supporting tissues in plants.
Functions of supporting tissues in plants: strength, rigidity (resistance against the forces of the wind and water), flexibility and resilience.
8. Transport System:
(a) Need for transport:
(i) surface area/volume ratio.
(ii) substances have to move greater distances.
Transport in animals.
Structure of the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries.
Composition and function of blood and lymph.
Materials for transport:
excretory products, gases, digested food, and other nutrients.
Transport in plants
(i) Uptake and movement of water
and mineral salts in plants.
(iv) Movement of water to the apex of trees and herbs.
9. Respiratory System:
(a) Body surface: cutaneous, gills and lungs.
(b) Mechanisms of gaseous exchange in fish, toad, mammals and plants.
10. Excretory Systems and Mechanisms
Types of excretory systems: Kidney, stomata and lenticels
- Regulation of Internal Environment (Homeostasis)
(a) Kidney: Structure and functions
Functions of the liver.
(c) The skin:
Structure and function.
12. Hormonal Coordination
(a) Animal hormones:
Site of secretion, functions and effects of over and under-secretion.
(b) Plant hormones
13. Nervous Coordination
(a) The central nervous system
(i) Components of the central nervous system
(ii) Parts of the brain and their functions; cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, hypothalamus and their functions
(iii) Structure and function of the Spinal Cord.
(b) Peripheral Nervous System.
(i) Somatic Nervous System
(ii) Autonomic nervous system.
(iii) Structure and functions of the neurone.
(iv) Classification of neurones.
(c) Types of nervous actions
(i) The reflex arc
(ii) Reflex and voluntary actions
(iii) Differences between reflex and voluntary actions.
(iv) Conditioned reflex and its role on behaviour.
14. Sense Organs: Structure and function of the
15 (a) Reproductive system of mammals
Structure and function of male and female reproductive systems.
Differences between male and female reproductive organs.
(iii) Structure of the gametes (sperm and ovum)
(iv) Fertilization, development of the embryo and birth.
(v) Birth control
(b) Metamorphosis in insects, life histories of butterfly and cockroach.
(c) Comparison of reproduction in fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal.
(d) Reproduction in flowering plants
(i) Arrangements of floral parts of a named insect-pollinated flower and a named wind-pollinated flower.
(ii) Structure and function of the male and female parts of a flower.
(e) Pollination in Plants
(i) Types of pollination
(ii) Features of cross-pollinated and self-pollinated flowers
(iii) Agents of Pollination
(iv) Kinds of placentation: axile, marginal
Process of development of zygote in flowering plants: Fertilization.
(i) Types of fruits (classification).
(ii) Structure of fruits
(h) Dispersal of fruits and seeds: Agents of dispersal
B. Plant and Animal Nutrition (Waec Biology Syllabus)
1. Plant Nutrition
(i) Process of photosynthesis and its chemical equation
(ii) Light and dark reactions
(iii) Materials and conditions
necessary for photosynthesis
(iv) Evidence of photosynthesis
(b) Mineral requirement of plants
(i) Mineral nutrition: Macro and micro-nutrients
(ii) Soil and atmosphere as sources of mineral elements.
2. Animal Nutrition
Food substances; classes and sources
(b) Balanced diet and its importance
(c ) Food tests
(d) Digestive enzymes:
Classes, characteristics and functions
(e) Modes of Nutrition
(i) Autotrophic: Photosynthesis,
(ii) Heterotrophic: holozoic, parasitic,
symbiotic and saprophytic.
(f) Alimentary System:
Alimentary tract of different animals.
(g) Dental Formula
(h) Feeding in protozoa and mammals
C. Basic Ecological Concepts (Waec Biology Syllabus)
Components of the ecosystem and sizes
environment, biosphere, habitat, population, biotic community and ecosystem.
(b) Components of the ecosystem:
Biotic and abiotic
2. Ecological factors:
Ecological factors in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
3. Simple Measurement of Ecological Factors.
Climatic, topographic and gaseous.
Edaphic factors: Chemical and physical composition,
moisture content and soil texture.
4. Food webs and trophic levels
(a) Autotrophs and Heterotrophs
(i) Producers: autotrophs
(ii) Consumers: heterotrophs
(b) Trophic levels energy
(i) Food chain
(ii) Food web
(c) Energy flow
(i) Food/Energy relationship in aquatic and terrestrial environment.
(ii) Pyramid of energy and Pyramid of numbers.
(d) Decomposition in nature
(micro and macro-decomposers)
(ii) Gaseous products
Role of decomposers
6. Ecological Management:
(a) Biological Associations
Type of associations: Parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism and saprophytism.
(b) Adaptation of organisms to habitats.
(c) Pollution of the atmosphere
(i) Nature, names, sources and effects of air pollutants.
(ii) Effect of noise
(d) Water and Soil Pollution
Type and effects of pollutants.
7. Ecology of population
(a) Ecological succession
(i) Structural changes in species composition, variety or diversity and increase in numbers.
(ii) General characteristics and outcomes of succession
(b) Primary succession.
Succession in terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
Secondary succession, climax of the succession: characteristic of a stable ecosystem.
Factors that affect population size: natality, mortality, emigration, immigration, food shortage, predation,competition and diseases.
(e) Preservation and storage of foods
(f) The life of selected insects;
(i) Weevils and cotton strainers.
(ii) Control of pests
8. Microorganisms: Man and health
(a) Carriers of microorganisms
(b) Microorganisms in action
(i) Beneficial effects in nature, medicine and industries.
(ii) Harmful effects of microorganisms, diseases caused by microorganisms: cholera, measles, malaria and ring worm.
(c) Towards better Health
(i) Methods of .controlling harmful microorganisms: high temperature, antibiotics, antiseptics, high salinity and dehydration.
(ii) Ways of controlling the vectors.
(d) Public Health:
The importance of the following towards the maintenance of good health practices:
(i) Refuse and sewage disposal.
(ii) Immunization, vaccination and inoculation (control of diseases).
- Conservation of Natural Resources:
1. Resources to be conserved: soil, water, wildlife, forest and minerals.
- Ways of ensuring conservation
E. Variation in Population (Waec Biology Syllabus)
1. Morphological variations in the physical appearance of individuals
size, height and weight
colour (skin, eye, hair coat of animals)
2. Physiological Variations
Ability to roll tongue
Ability to taste
Blood groups (ABO)
F. Biology of Heredity (Genetics) (Waec Biology Syllabus)
1. Genetic terminologies
2. Transmission and expression of characteristics in organisms.
Mendel’s work in genetics
(i) Mendel’s experiments
(ii) Mendelian traits
(iii) Mendelian laws
3. Chromosomes: The basis of heredity
(b) Process of transmission of hereditary characters from parents to offspring.
4. Probability in genetics (Hybrid formation).
5. Linkage, sex determination and sex linked characters.
6. Application of the principles of heredity in:
G. Adaptation for survival and Evolution. (Waec Biology Syllabus)
1. Behavioural Adaptations in Social Animals.
(a) Evidence of evolution.
(b) Theories of evolution
- Biology as a science of life
- Procedure for biological work
- Importance of Biology
- Body symmetry, sectioning and orientation
- The microscope
- Biological drawings
B. Cell Biology
- Movement of substances into and out of cells: Endocytosis and Exocytosis
- Nucleic acids
- DNA structure and replication, RNA transcription.
- Protein synthesis
- Cell cycle
C. Life Processes in Living Things
- Amoeba, Paramecium, and Euglena
- Spirogyra and Rhizopus
- Mosses and ferns
D. Diversity of Living Things
- Characteristics of some of the orders of Class Insecta
- Identification of organisms using biological keys
E. Interactions in Nature Soil
F. Mammalian Anatomy and Physiology
- Dissection of a small mammal
- Transport: Structure of the mammalian heart.
- Cellular respiration
(b) Skeletal tissues
(a) Secondary sexual characteristics
(b) Prenatal/Antenatal care
- Plant Structure and Physiology
Morphology of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants.
H. Humans and their Environment
- Integrated water resources management.
- Health and hygiene
(a) Drug abuse
(b) Community health
(c) First Aid
Recombinant DNA Technology
J. Biology and Industry (Waec Biology Syllabus)
1. Biology and water industry
(a) Contamination of water
(b) Identification of polluted water
(c) Waste water treatment
2. Biology and fishing industry
(a) Fish stock management
(b) Fish farming
3. Biology and food industry:
4.Biology and agriculture
6. Biological fuel generation
K. Concept of Living (Waec Biology Syllabus)
1 .Cell theory
2. Irritability as a basic characteristic of protoplasm
(a) Types of responses: taxis and nastism
(b) Environmental factors that evoke responses; temperature, pH etc
3. Excretory Systems
(a) Diseases of the kidney:
Nephritis, kidney stone and diuresis, Their effects and remedies.
(b) Diseases of the liver: infective hepatitis, cancer of the liver and gall stones. Their effects and remedies.
4. Sense organs.
(c) The skin.
(a) Courtship behaviour in animals:
(ii) Display e.g. peacocks
(iv) Seasonal migration
associated with breeding in herrings, eels and birds.
(b) Metamorphosis and life history of housefly.
(c) Adaptive features in a
(i) Yolk in egg of fish, toad and birds for nourishment
(ii) Placenta in animals
(d) Germination of seeds
(i) Essential factors which affect developing embryo.
(ii) Types of germination
- Plant and Animal Nutrition
- Nitrogen cycle
- Modes of nutrition:
autotrophic, chemosynthetic, carnivorous plants
- Alimentary System
(a) Alimentary tracts of different animals
(b) Description and function of various parts.
- Feeding habits
(a) Categories: Carnivorous, herbivorous and omnivorous
(b) Modifications and mechanisms associated with the following habits; filter feeding, fluid feeding, feeding adaptation in insects, saprophytic feeding, parasitic feeding etc.
- Basic Ecological Concepts
1. Ecological Components:
Lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, niche
2. Population Studies by Sampling
3. Energy transformation in nature:
(a) Energy loss in the ecosystem
(b) Solar radiation: its intake and loss at
the earth’s surface.
(c ) Energy loss in the biosphere.
4. Nutrient Cycling in Nature
(a) Carbon Cycle:
(i) Process of carbon cycle
(ii) Importance of carbon in nature.
(b) Water Cycle:
(i) Importance of water cycle,
(ii) Importance of water to living organisms.
5. Ecological Management: Tolerance, Minimum and maximum range
(a) Aquatic habitat: marine, estuarine fresh water under the following headings:
(i) characteristics of habitat
(ii) distribution of plants and
animals in the habitat,
(iii) adaptive features of plants and
animals in the habitat.
(b) Terrestrial habitat: marsh, forest, grass land, arid land should be studied under the following headings:
(i) characteristics of habitat
(ii) distribution of plants and animals in habitat.
(c) Balance in Nature
Dynamic equilibrium population and
7. Relevance of Biology to Agriculture:
(a) Classification of plants based on life cycle
(b) Effects of agricultural practices on ecology
(i) Bush burning
(v) Different farming methods
8. Microorganisms: Man and His Health.
(a) Microorganisms around us
(i) Microorganisms in air and water
(ii) Groups of microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, some algae, protozoa and some fungi.
(b) Microorganisms in our bodies and food
(c) Public Health
Food hygiene and health organization.
1. Application of Variations
Determination of paternity
1. Adaptation for survival Factors that bring about competition Intra and Inter-species competition
(c) Relationship between competition and succession
2. Structural Adaptation for;
obtaining food protection and defense securing mates for reproduction regulating body temperature
3. Adaptive Colouration Plants and animals Colouration and their functions
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