International GCSE Biology

GCSE Biology

This international GCSE qualification prepares students for further study in biological sciences and provides a thorough grounding in the practical skills needed to be a working scientist.

The new addition of Behaviour will engage all of your students and enrich their study of biology – by introducing students to the complex behavioural systems employed by humans and how these compare with other mammals.

Practicals in this specification include investigating how difference in temperature and pH affect the rate of digestion and investigating the effects of exercise on the human body. Exam questions will be asked on the practicals, but there is no coursework or practical exam.

This qualification is available for teaching now in Bahrain, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.


Paper 1: Any part of the specification may be assessed.

Paper 2: Any part of the specification may be assessed.


  • Linear specification; individual components may not be re-sat.
  • Candidates can re-take the whole qualification as many times as they wish.

Syllabus summary


  • Cell structure
  • Principles of organisation
  • Animal tissues, organs and organ systems
  • Plant tissues, organs and systems
  • Transport in cells


  • Photosynthesis
  • Exchange and transport in plants
  • Circulation
  • Digestion
  • Breathing
  • Respiration


  • Energy transferred in ecosystems
  • Adaptations, interdependence and competition
  • Decay and the carbon cycle
  • The effect of human interaction on ecosystems and biodiversity

Organisms' interaction with the environment

  • The human nervous and hormonal systems
  • Principles of homeostasis
  • Control of water and ion content of the body
  • Temperature control
  • Control of blood glucose
  • Behaviour
  • Infection and response


  • Reproduction
  • Cell division
  • Genetic variation
  • Genetic disorders
  • Genetic manipulation

Variation and Evolution

  • Variation
  • Natural selection

Download the complete Oxford AQA International GCSE Biology specification (PDF, 1.4 MB).

Resources available with this specification

Oxford International AQA Examinations provides the resources and advice you need to teach the International GCSE Biology specification effectively.

Scheme of Work

Plan your course with the help of a suggested pathway through the syllabus so you can be sure you are covering the essential content.

Classroom Activity Sheets

Access worksheets developed by teachers for teachers, providing a useful set of practical resources to use in the classroom.

Subject specific vocabulary

Ensure that everyone is using scientific language correctly with this list of word definitions used in our international GCSE science specifications and exam papers (based on ‘The Language of Measurement’ produced by the Association of Science Education).

Practical Handbook

Get all the help you need to undertake practicals with your class. This guide harmonises the rules and guidance for International GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics and includes teachers’ notes, technical guidance and student sheets.

Key Stage 3 AQA science syllabus

The AQA approach to teaching the NCfE Key Stage 3 programme of study provides excellent preparation for the Oxford AQA International GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Combined Sciences.

Specimen Papers and Mark Schemes

See how the International GCSE Biology specification will be assessed, so you can help your students prepare to sit their exams.

Command Words

Help students prepare for their exams by accessing definitions to command words used in exams and other assessed tasks.

Marked Exemplars

Prepare your students in exam technique with the help of exemplar student answers and examiner commentaries that show how examiners interpret the mark scheme. Marked Exemplars for International GCSE Biology will be available from the first teaching day of the 2018/19 academic year.


Exampro is an online database of AQA past paper questions mapped to the new international qualifications, enabling teachers to create their own resources and assessments.

Schools will be given an Exampro username and password when they are approved to teach our qualifications. If you have these credentials you can log in now. If your school is approved to teach our qualifications and you do not know your school’s log-in credentials, contact us.

Enhanced Results Analysis™ tool

Our free Enhanced Results Analysis tool (ERA) gives you instant analysis of your students’ results. You’ll see how students performed in each unit, topic and marks they received for each question. This allows you to see which questions proved the most challenging, or how different classes performed, so you know what areas to focus on in following years. The tool will be available following published results from the first cohort of International GCSE Biology students in 2018.

Download this specification

(PDF, 1.4 MB)

Contact us

Have a question about offering Oxford International AQA Examinations qualifications?

Contact us and one of our regional consultants will respond to you shortly.

If you have a question about a particular point of subject or assessment detail in this International GCSE Biology specification, you can email our UK-based team of subject experts at