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With an emphasis on human biology, the Cambridge O Level Biology syllabus enables learners to understand the technological world in which they live, and take an informed interest in science and scientific developments. Learners gain an understanding of the basic principles of biology through a mix of theoretical and practical studies. They also develop an understanding of the scientific skills essential for further study at Cambridge International A Level, skills which are useful in everyday life.
As they progress, learners understand how science is studied and practised, and become aware that the results of scientific research can have both good and bad effects on individuals, communities and the environment.
Find out more about our competition for Cambridge IGCSE students aged 14-16.
The syllabus year refers to the year in which the examination will be taken.
We provide a wide range of support so that teachers can give their learners the best possible preparation for Cambridge programmes and qualifications. For teachers at registered Cambridge schools, support materials for specific syllabuses are available from the School Support Hub (username and password required).
Sign up for updates about changes to the syllabuses you teach
We review all of our syllabuses regularly to make sure they continue to meet the needs of our schools. We are updating Cambridge O Level Biology (5090), Chemistry (5070) and Physics (5054) to improve how learners demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and application in science. Practical skills are still at the centre of our science qualifications, and we continue to make sure that students have the opportunity to showcase their practical skills in either Paper 3 or Paper 4.
We have reviewed and updated the content:
Paper titles, durations and the number of marks remain the same. We have made the following changes to the assessment model:
The assessment model will be as follows:
Paper 1 - Multiple Choice Questions
Paper 2 - Theory
Paper 3 - Practical Test
Paper 4 - Alternative to Practical
We will publish the new syllabus and specimen assessment materials in September 2020 for first assessment in 2023.
We are developing a range of materials to help you teach the updated syllabus including:
These materials will be available through our School Support Hub from July 2020 onwards (before first teaching), unless stated otherwise. Additionally, Resource Plus is already available to support the development of practical science skills in challenging topics covered in the syllabus.
Training will be available from August 2020.
Register your interest to keep up to date with changes to Cambridge O Level Biology when we publish full details in September 2020.