WAEC Biology Syllabus 2023/2024 (SSCE & GCE) Read & Download PDF

The WAEC Biology Syllabus 2023/2024 SSCE and GCE examinations is designed to help you explore the fascinating world of living organisms and their interactions with the environment.

Biology is a subject that encompasses the study of life in all its forms, from the smallest bacteria to the largest mammals. It helps us to understand how living things function, interact with each other, and adapt to their environment.

In this syllabus, you will learn about the basic principles of biology, including the structure and function of cells, genetics, evolution, ecology, and human biology. You will also explore the diversity of life on earth and the interdependence of living organisms with their environment.

Throughout this course, you will develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will prepare you for further studies in the biological sciences or related fields.

This syllabus is designed to be interactive and engaging, with a focus on hands-on activities and experiments to help you apply what you learn in real-world situations. You will also have access to a range of resources, including textbooks, videos, and online learning platforms, to support your studies.

We encourage you to download the PDF version of this syllabus and read it thoroughly to understand the expectations and requirements for the examination. We wish you all the best in your studies and look forward to seeing you excel in the fascinating world of biology!

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WAEC Biology Syllabus 2023/2024

Biology is a subject that is relevant to our daily lives, as it helps us understand how living organisms function and how we can interact with and manipulate them to our advantage. For instance, knowledge of biology is essential in fields such as medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and conservation.

This syllabus is structured to give you a broad understanding of biology, with topics that cut across different areas of the subject. You will learn about the fundamentals of life, such as the characteristics of living organisms, cellular structure and function, and metabolic processes.

You will also learn about genetics, including the principles of inheritance, genetic variation, and the role of genetics in evolution. You will explore the diversity of living organisms, including their classification, structure, and adaptations to different environments.

Another essential aspect of biology that you will cover in this syllabus is ecology, which focuses on the interactions between living organisms and their environment. You will learn about ecosystems, food chains and webs, and biogeochemical cycles. You will also learn about human biology, including the structure and function of the human body, homeostasis, and health.

WAEC Biology Syllabus PDF Download NOW

To excel in this subject, you need to develop skills such as observation, data analysis, critical thinking, and communication. You will have opportunities to practice these skills.

Aims and Objectives

Here is a list of the key learning outcomes that the WAEC Biology Syllabus for the 2023/2024 SSCE and GCE examinations aims to achieve:

  • Understanding the structure and functions of living organisms and an appreciation of nature.
  • Acquisition of adequate laboratory and field skills to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in Biology.
  • Acquisition of necessary scientific skills, for example, observing, classifying, and interpreting biological data.
  • Acquisition of the basic relevant knowledge in Biology needed for future advanced studies in biological sciences.
  • Acquisition of scientific attitudes for problem-solving.
  • Ability to apply biological principles in everyday life in matters that affect personal, social, environmental, community health, and economic problems.
  • Awareness of the existence of interrelationships between biology and other scientific disciplines.

These learning outcomes are essential for developing a solid foundation in biology, preparing you for future studies or careers in the biological sciences, and enabling you to make informed decisions about personal and societal issues related to biology.

Scheme of Examination

The WAEC Biology examination for the 2023/2024 SSCE and GCE will consist of two papers: Paper 1 (Objective) and Paper 2 (Theory/Practical). Here is the scheme of examination for each paper:

Paper 1: This paper will be a multiple-choice test of 50 questions worth 50 marks. The duration of the paper will be 1 hour. The questions will be drawn from the entire syllabus and will test candidates’ knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

Paper 2: This paper will be divided into two parts: Part A (Theory) and Part B (Practical). The duration of the paper will be 3 hours and it will be worth 100 marks.

Part A (Theory): This section will consist of short-answer and essay questions drawn from the entire syllabus. Candidates will be required to answer six questions in total, choosing two questions from each of the three sections. The questions will be designed to test candidates’ knowledge, understanding, and application of biological principles.

Part B (Practical): This section will consist of three practical experiments, each worth 10 marks, for a total of 30 marks. Candidates will be required to carry out the experiments and record their observations and results in a practical notebook. They will also be required to answer questions based on their practical work.

  • Section A is for all candidates
  • Section B is for candidates in Ghana only
  • Section C is for candidates in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia.

Biology Syllabus 2023


Section A

Concept of Living

  1. Living and non-living things
  2. Classification of living things into Kingdoms: Monera, Protoctista (Protista), Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.
  3. Differences between plants and animals
Organization of Life
  1. Cell (single-celled organisms): Amoeba, Euglena, Paramecium
  2. Tissue: Hydra
  3. Organ (storage
  4. organ) bulb, rhizome and heart.
  5. System/Organ System: In mammals, flowering plants – reproductive system, excretory system etc.
  6. The complexity of organization in higher organisms: advantages and disadvantages.
Forms in which living cells exist
  1. Single and free-living: Amoeba, Paramecium, Euglena, and Chlamydomonas
  2. Colony: Volvox
  3. Filament: Spirogyra
  4. Part of a living organism: Cheek cells, onion root tip cells and epidermis of fleshy leaves.
  1. Cell structure and functions of cell components
  2. Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells
  3. The Cell and its environment: Physical and Biophysical processes; (a) diffusion (b) osmosis (c) active transport
  4. Properties and functions of the living cell; (a) Nutrition (i) Autotrophic (photosynthesis) (ii) Heterotrophic (holozoic)
Cellular Respiration

Definition and processes of:

  • aerobic respiration
  • anaerobic respiration
  • energy release
  1. Excretion in single-celled aquatic organisms. Diffusion by body surface and by the contractile vacuole.
  2. Waste products of metabolism
  1. Basis of growth – cell division (mitosis), enlargement and differentiation.
  2. Aspects of growth: Increase in dry weight, irreversible increase in size and length and increase in the number of cells
  3. Regions of the fastest growth in plants
  4. Influence of growth hormones and auxins
  5. Growth curvatures (Tropisms)
  6. Development: Enlargement and differentiation
  7. Movement
    • Organelles for movement: cilia and flagella
    • Cyclosis
  8. Reproduction: Types of reproduction.
    • Asexual: fission, budding and vegetative propagation.
  9. Sexual: Conjugation, formation of male and female gametes (gametogenesis), a fusion of gametes fertilization)
Skeleton and supporting systems in animals

Biological significance.

  1. Skeletal materials, e.g. bone
  2. Cartilage and chitin
  3. Types of skeleton
  4. The exoskeleton, endoskeleton and hydrostatic skeleton.
  5. Bones of the vertebral
  6. Column, girdles and long bones of the appendicular skeleton.
  7. Mechanism of support in animals.
  8. Functions of the skeleton in animals: Protection, support, locomotion and respiratory movement.
Different types of supporting tissues in plants
  1. Main features of supporting tissues in plants
  2. Functions of supporting tissues in plants: strength, rigidity (resistance against the forces of the wind and water), flexibility and resilience
Transport System
  1. Need for transport
    • surface area/volume ratio
    • substances have to move greater distances.
  2. 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
  3. Transport in plants
    • Uptake and movement of water and mineral salts in plants.
  4. Movement of water to the apex of trees and herbs
Respiratory System
  1. Body surface: cutaneous, gills and lungs
  2. Mechanisms of gaseous exchange in fish, toads, mammals and plants
Excretory Systems
  1. Excretory Systems and Mechanisms
  2. Types of excretory systems: Kidney, stomata and lenticels
  3. Characteristics of excretory organs in these systems should be studied.
  4. Candidates should observe, draw and label the excretory organs of a small mammal (e.g. rat).
  5. Explanation of the concept of excretion in plants. Excretory products of plants (water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, alkaloids, tannins, gums, resins and acids) should be mentioned.
Regulation of Internal Environment (Homeostasis)
  1. Kidney: Structure and functions
  2. Liver
  3. Functions of the liver
  4. The skin: Structure and function
Hormonal Coordination
  1. Animal hormones: Site of secretion, functions and effects of over and under-secretion
  2. Plant hormones
Nervous Coordination
  1. The central nervous system
    • Components of the central nervous system
    • Parts of the brain and their functions; cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, hypothalamus and their functions
    • Structure and function of the Spinal Cord.
  2. Peripheral Nervous System.
    • Somatic Nervous System
    • Autonomic nervous system
    • Structure and functions of the neurone
    • Classification of neurones
  3. Types of nervous actions
    • The reflex arc
    • Reflex and voluntary actions
    • Differences between reflex and voluntary actions.
    • Conditioned reflex and its role in the behaviour
Sense Organs
  1. Structure and function of the
    • Eye
    • Ear
The reproductive system of mammals

(iv) Kinds of placentation: axile, marginal
and parietal.

  1. The reproductive system of mammals
    • Structure and function of male and female reproductive systems.
    • Differences between male and female reproductive organs.
    • Structure of the gametes (sperm and ovum)
    • Fertilization, development of the embryo and birth.
    • Birth control
  2. Metamorphosis in insects, life histories of butterfly and cockroach
  3. Comparison of reproduction in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammal
  4. Reproduction in flowering plants
    • Arrangements of floral parts of a named insect-pollinated flower and a named wind-pollinated flower.
    • Structure and function of the male and female parts of a flower.
  5. Pollination in Plants
    • Types of pollination
    • Features of cross-pollinated and self-pollinated flowers
    • Agents of Pollination
  6. Process of development of zygote in flowering plants
    • Fertilization
    • Types of fruits (classification).
    • Structure of fruits
  7. Dispersal of fruits and seeds: Agents of dispersal

Plant and Animal Nutrition

Plant Nutrition
  1. Photosynthesis:
    • Process of photosynthesis and its chemical equation
    • Light and dark reactions
    • Materials and conditions necessary for photosynthesis
    • Evidence of photosynthesis
  2. Mineral requirement of plants
    • Mineral nutrition: Macro and micro-nutrients
    • Soil and atmosphere as sources of mineral elements
  3. Animal Nutrition
  4. Food substances; classes and sources
  5. A balanced diet and its importance
  6. Digestive enzymes: Classes, characteristics and functions
  7. Modes of Nutrition
    • Autotrophic: Photosynthesis,
    • Heterotrophic: holozoic, parasitic, symbiotic and saprophytic
  8. Alimentary System: Alimentary tract of different animals
  9. Dental Formula
  10. Feeding in protozoa and mammals

Basic Ecological Concepts

  1. Ecosystem: Components of the ecosystem and sizes
    • Ecological components: environment, biosphere, habitat, population, biotic community and ecosystem
    • Components of the ecosystem: Biotic and abiotic
  2. Ecological factors: Ecological factors in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  3. Simple Measurement of Ecological Factors.
    • Physical factors: Climatic, topographic and gaseous.
    • Edaphic factors: Chemical and physical composition, moisture content and soil texture
  4. Food webs and trophic levels
    • Autotrophs and Heterotrophs
      • Producers: autotrophs
      • Consumers: heterotrophs
      • Decomposers
    • The trophic levels energy relationship
      • Food chain
      • Food web
  5. Energy flow
    • Food/Energy relationship in the aquatic and terrestrial environment.
    • Pyramid of energy and the Pyramid of numbers.
  6. Decomposition in nature
    • Decomposers: (micro and macro-decomposers)
    • Gaseous products
    • Role of decomposers
  7. Ecological Management:
    • Biological Associations
    • Type of associations: Parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism and saprophytism.
    • Adaptation of organisms to habitats.
  8. Pollution of the atmosphere
    • Nature, names, sources and effects of air pollutants
    • Effect of noise
  9. Water and Soil Pollution
    • Type and effects of pollutants
  10. Ecology of population
    • Ecological succession
      • Structural changes in species composition, variety or diversity and increase in numbers.
      • General characteristics and outcomes of succession
    • Primary succession
    • Succession in terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
    • Secondary succession, the climax of the succession: characteristic of a stable ecosystem
  11. Factors that affect the population size: natality, mortality, emigration, immigration, food shortage, predation, competition and diseases.
  12. Preservation and storage of foods
  13. The life of selected insects;
    • Weevils and cotton strainers
    • Control of pests
  14. Microorganisms: Man and health
    • Carriers of microorganisms
    • Microorganisms in action
      • Beneficial effects in nature, medicine and industries.
      • Harmful effects of micro-organisms, diseases caused by microorganisms: cholera, measles, malaria and ringworm.
    • Towards Better Health
      • Methods of .controlling harmful microorganisms: high temperature, antibiotics, antiseptics, high salinity and dehydration.
      • Ways of controlling the vectors
    • Public Health: The importance of the following towards the maintenance of good health practices:
      • Refuse and sewage disposal.
      • Immunization, vaccination and inoculation (control of diseases)

Conservation of Natural Resources

  1. . Resources to be conserved: soil, water, wildlife, forest and minerals.
  2. Ways of ensuring conservation

Variation in Population

  • Morphological variations in the physical appearance of individuals
    • size, height and weight
    • colour (skin, eye, hair coat of animals)
    • fingerprints
  • Physiological Variations
    • Ability to roll tongue
    • Ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC)
    • Blood groups (ABO) classification)

Biology of Heredity (Genetics)

  1. Genetic terminologies
  2. Transmission and expression of characteristics in organisms.
    • Hereditary variation
    • Mendel’s work in genetics
      • Mendel’s experiments
      • Mendelian traits
      • Mendelian laws
  3. Chromosomes: The basis of heredity
    • Structure
    • 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:
    • Agriculture
    • Medicine

Adaptation for Survival and Evolution

  1. Behavioural Adaptations in Social Animals.
    • Termites
    • Bees
  2. Evolution
    • Evidence of evolution
    • Theories of evolution

WAEC Biology Recommended Textbooks 2023

Ndu, F.O.C. Ndu, Abun A. Aina J.O.Senior Secondary School Biology: Books 1-3Longman2001
Odunfa, S.A.Essentials of BiologyHeinemann2001
Ogunniyi M.B., Adebisi A.A. and Okojie J.A.Biology for Senior Secondary Schools: Books 1-3Macmillan2000
Ramalingam, S.T.Modern Biology, SS Science Series. New EditionAFP2005
StanBiology for Senior Secondary Schools. Revised EditionHeinemann2004
Stone R.H. and Cozens, A.B.C.Biology for West African SchoolsLongman1982
Usua, E.J.Handbook of practical Biology 2nd EditionUniversity Press
WAEC Biology Recommended Textbooks 2023

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