Making syllabus available to candidates is another way of examination helping them to prepare adequately for external examination. Syllabus comprises all the topics that will be look into when constructing questions for the examination. So as candidates, it is pertinent for you to have and use these syllabus to study. Below is the WAEC Syllabus for biology as regards the 2023/2024 WAEC examination. Endeavor to digest every content in it.
This is an examination syllabus drawn up from the curricula of the member countries of the West African Examinations Council. It should be used alongside the appropriate
teaching syllabus(es) of the country where the candidates are domiciled.
NOTE: 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.
BIOLOGY | SCHEME OF EXAMINATION
NOTE: In this examination, 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
Section B: This will be for candidates in Ghana only and will be drawn
from Section B of the syllabus (i.e 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 (i.e 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
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.
NOTE: 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.
A. Concept of Living
(a) Living and non-living things
Point to Note: Classification of objects into living and non-living, giving examples of each group.
Viruses should be mentioned as a link
between living and non living things.
(b) Classification of living things into Kingdoms:
Monera, Protoctista (Protista), Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.
Points to Note here:
Kingdom Monera (Prokaryotes), single-celled, motile or non-motile organisms without definite nucleus e.g. bacteria and blue-green algae.
Major characteristics of the major phyla of Kingdoms Protoctista and Fungi.
Kingdom Protista (Eukaryotes), single-celled, motile or non-motile organisms. Cell structure complex with definite nucleus e.g.
Major phyla of Kingdom Protoctista include: Rhizopoda, Zoomastigina, Apicomplexa, Ciliophora, Euglenophyta, Oomycota, Chlorophyta, Rhodophyta and Phaeophyta.
Kingdom Fungi (Eukaryotes), mainly non-motile organisms composed of hyphae containing nuclei e.g. moulds, mushrooms and Rhizopus.
Major phyla of Kingdom Fungi include: Zygomycota, Ascomycota and
Kingdom Plantae (Eukaryotes), mainlymulticellular non-motile organisms which contain chlorophyll that enable them to photosynthesize e.g. mosses, ferns, pines, oil palms and yam plants.
Characteristics of the major divisions and classes: Bryophyta (Hepaticae, Musci), Lycopodophyta, Filicinophyta, Coniferophyta, Cycadophyta and Angiospermophyta (Monocotyledoneae and Dicotyledoneae).
Kingdom Animalia (Eukaryotes),
multicellular motile organisms that feed on other organisms e.g. corals, worms, insects, snails, fishes, frogs, snakes, monkeys cows.
Characteristics of the major phyla and classes of Kingdom Animalia.
The external features of the following
organisms should be mentioned: cockroach, butterfly, Tilapia, toad/frog, lizard, domestic fowl/pigeon
c. Differences between plants and
2. ORGANIZATION OF LIFE
(a) Levels of organization
(i) cell (single-celled organisms):
Amoeba, Euglena, Paramecium
Points to Note here: The examples should be used to illustrate
differentiation and specialization in
(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.
Point to Note here: The significance of different levels of organization including volume/surface area
ratio should be mentioned.
3. FORMS IN WHICH LIVING CELLS EXIST:
(a) Single and free-living:
Amoeba, Paramecium, Euglena, and Chlamydomonas.
Point to Note here: The structure of these organisms in relation to the forms of existence should be studied to illustrate dependence and interdependence.
(b) Colony: Volvox
(c) Filament: Spirogyra
(d) Part of a living organism:
Cheek cells, onion root tip
cells and epidermis of fleshy
Point to Note here: Distinguish groups of cells that form tissues
from those that form colonies or filaments.
4. (a) Cell structure and functions of cell components.
Points to Note here:
Cell structure should include: Cell wall, cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, cytoplasmic organelles: mitochondria, lysosomes, chloroplasts, endoplasmic reticulum,
ribosomes, centrosomes, Golgi bodies,
chromosomes. The function performed by organelles should be known.
(b) Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells.
5. The Cell and its environment: Physical and
(c) active transport
Points to Note here: The significance of these processes should be
mentioned as factors that affect cell activities in its environment.
Haemolysis, plasmolysis, turgidity and crenation should be mentioned.
6. Properties and functions of the living cell.
These should be mentioned as processes occurring within living cells.
Point to Note here: Nutrition in Euglena, Chlamydomonas and
Spirogyra should be mentioned.
(ii) Heterotrophic (holozoic): Nutrition in Amoeba and Paramecium should be mentioned.
(b) Cellular respiration
A simplified outline of the chemical
processes involved in glycolysis and Kreb’s cycle; Reference should be made to the role of ATP.
Definition and processes of:
(i) aerobic respiration
(ii) anaerobic respiration: The importance of anaerobic respiration in food processing should be mentioned.
(iii) energy release
(i) Excretion in single-celled aquatic
organisms. Diffusion by body surface
and by contractile vacuole.
(ii) Waste products of metabolism: Reference should be made to carbon dioxide, water and ammonia as examples of waste products.
(i) Basis of growth – cell division
(mitosis), enlargement and
(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: Observation of root tip and shoot tip are required.
(iv) Influence of growth hormones and auxins: Regulation of growth by hormones should be mentioned.
(v) Growth curvatures (Tropisms): Types of tropisms should be demonstrated.
Microscopic examination of the different regions of growth and development: region of cell division, elongation, differentiation and
(e) Development: Enlargement
and differentiation. Processes that result in primary and secondary
(i) Organelles for movement: cilia and
Types of reproduction.
(i) Asexual: fission, budding and
Point to Note here: Prepared slides of:
(a) fission in Paramecium
(b) budding in yeast and Chlamydomonas; should be observed and drawn.
(ii) Sexual: Conjugation, formation of
male and female gametes
(gametogenesis), fusion of gametes
7. (a) Tissues and supporting systems: Skeleton and supporting systems in animals:
Point to Note here:
The location and arrangement of skeletal and supporting tissues in animals should be mentioned. Candidates should be familiar with
the general plan of mammalian skeleton and the different types of joints. They should be able to
identify, draw, label and state the functions of the individual bones listed in the content column. Detailed structure of the skull will not be required. Histological structure of bones and cartilages will also not be required.
(i) Biological significance.
(ii) Skeletal materials, e.g. bone,
cartilage and chitin.
(iii) Types of skeleton:
exoskeleton, endoskeleton and
(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. Point to Note here: Candidates should be able to explain how these functions are performed. The relationship of
skeleton and muscles during movement should be used to illustrate the different functions of the skeleton.
(b) Different types of supporting tissues in plants: The different types of supporting tissues: turgid
parenchyma, collenchyma, xylem (wood) sclerenchyma should be studied.
(i) Main features of supporting tissues
in plants: Candidates should be able to cut and draw the low power of the T.S. of stem and root of a herbaceous plant and label the different tissues;
epidermis, cortex and stele.
(ii) Functions of supporting tissues in
plants: strength, rigidity (resistance
against the forces of the wind and
water), flexibility and resilience.
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