N4/5 Biology

Course Overview



Course Outline

The course consists of three Units whose contents are briefly described below.

1. Cell Biology – structure of cells, diffusion and osmosis, mitosis, DNA and protein structure, enzymes, genetic engineering, photosynthesis and respiration.

2. Multicellular organisms – stem cells and specialisation of cells, nervous system, reproduction, genetics,

plant and animal transport systems,

3. Life on Earth – biodiversity, ecosystems, sampling techniques used in ecology, adaptation, natural selection, evolution and human impact on the environment.

Studying each Unit will allow pupils to develop their biological knowledge as well as their problem solving and practical skills. 


At the end of each Unit pupils sit a test which assesses their knowledge and understanding and their problem solving ability. Any pupil who fails the test will be given the opportunity to take another test after appropriate revision.

 In addition pupils must complete an assignment in which they research and write up a report on a biological topic that they are interested in. The assignment is worth 20 marks and comprises 20% of the total marks. The exam in this subject is worth 80 marks and consists of one 2 hour paper.

Questions in the final exam are based on the work covered in all three Units. The final grade awarded is based on candidate performance in both this exam and the assignment.

All pupils will sit a prelim exam in February as preparation for the final exam. 


Pupils will be given regular homework. 

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for fifth and sixth year pupils who have obtained either a C or D pass at National 5 Biology or who comfortably passed National 4 Biology in fourth year.

The course is also suitable for pupils who have studied Physics or Chemistry in fourth or fifth year and who want to get another science pass.


Pupils who achieve at least a B pass in National 5 Biology may progress to Higher Biology or Higher Human Biology within the school.

A pass in National 5 Biology can also lead to courses in Biology at College or University. 

For further information contact Mr L. Forbes, PT of Biology.



Mr Forbes




Mrs Kennedy

Mr Martin

Mrs McMinn


 Please complete the entire 2016 past paper for homework over the Easter 2017 holiday.

Click here to download the pdf file.

Mrs Valsinger






Life on Earth unit 

 1.  Biodiversity and the distribution of life, Sampling techniques.


Sampling - revise here.

Effects of Humans on Biodiversity

2.  Energy in Ecosystems

Energy transfer

 Food chains

Food Pyramids video  and revision and more revision

Nitrogen cycle 

Nitrogen cycle on Bitesize

3.  Adaptation, natural selection and the evolution of species 

4.  Human Impact on the Environment

 Growing human population - here and here.

Overpopulation and pollution

Types of pollution and indicator species

Endangered Species

Population and Pollution, indicator species

GM Foods



a) Biodiversity

Ecosystems Homework

Sampling Techniques Homework 1

Sampling Techniques Homework 2

Biological Keys Homework

Biodiversity Homework

b) Energy in Ecosystems

Energy Homework 1

Nitrogen cycle homework

Competition in Foxes homework

c) Adaptation, Natural Selection, Evolution

Adaptations homework

Adaptation Homework 2


Cell Biology Unit

1.  Cell structure and function

 Simple cell structure

 Detailed cell structure

Cell Structure

 Bacterial cell structure

 Yeast cell structure

2.  Transport across membranes

Diffusion video

Diffusion 2


Active Transport

Sodium potassium pump 

3.  Producing new cells


Cell Culture

4.  DNA and Protein Synthesis


DNA double helix video

Fantastic revision resource for learning about DNA, genes and Inheritance.  This draws on lots of areas of your Nat 5 course and includes quizzes and questions.

5.  Proteins and Enzymes

Proteins and their uses

Enzyme Action



Effect of Temperature and pH on enzyme action

6.  Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering

7.  Photosynthesis

Crash course in Photosynthesis - video clip

Photosynthesis 1

Photosynthesis 2

Video clip 1 

Video clip 2

Leaf starch test

 Elodea pondweed experiment on limiting factors

Limiting factors - Video clip

8.  Respiration

 What is respiration?

Fermentation (also known as anaerobic respiration)

 Click this link to download an Adobe Acrobat file which has many exam style questions on the whole Cells Biology unit - Cell Biology revision questions


Multicellular Organisms Unit

1.  Cells, tissues and organs - mind map

2.  Stem cells and Meristems - mind map 

Useful resource on Stem cells and their uses.

 You can find lots of revision notes, animations, diagrams and tests at the BBC Bitesize website here.

Those of you looking for some help on genetics can explore the resources here

Click here for a fab resource that links Diabetes and blood glucose control with genetically-engineered insulin.

3.  Control and Communication - mind map

4.  Reproduction - mind map

5.  Variation and Inheritance - mind map

6.  The need for Transport - mind map 1, mind map 2, mind map 3

Mrs Kennedy's revision planner is here


Stem Cells and Meristems homework

 Control and Communication homework

 Fertilisation Jeopardy

Reproduction homework



The following links will take you to online revision resources for the Cell Biology topic, full of useful links that will assist you in your revision.

Nat 5 E-textbook

Nat 4 E-textbook


Summary sheets

Nat 4 Multicellular Organisms summary sheets

Nat 5 Multiceullar Organisms summary sheets

Nat 4 Cells summary sheets

Nat 5 Cells summary sheets

Nat 4 Life on Earth summary sheets

Nat 5 Life on Earth summary sheets