Intermediate Biology Olympiad Syllabus - Core topics consistent with AQA, Edexcel, OCR AS/A level || Syllabus and Past Papers

The competition is open to students in the first year of post-16 education anywhere in the world. The competition consists of a one-hour multiple choice paper to be taken online. Questions are set on topics students are likely to have covered at GCSE and in their first year of A level. Some additional ideas will be introduced requiring their problem solving skills and understanding of core principals. Students who take part in the Intermediate Biology Olympiad are encouraged to reference their participation in their further/higher education applications.

Intermediate Biology Olympiad Syllabus Past Papers 2020-2021-2022

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Intermediate Biology Olympiad Core topics consistent with AQA, Edexcel, OCR AS/A level syllabus

1. Biological Molecules

• Concepts of monomers, polymers, condensation & hydrolysis reactions

• Monosaccharides, e.g.  and  glucose, galactose, fructose, ribose

• Di-/polysaccharides, e.g. sucrose, maltose, lactose, cellulose, starch (amylose, amylopectin)

• Quantitative Benedict’s test, iodine test for starch

• Glycerol, fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated), triglycerides, ester bond formation, phospholipids, emulsion test

• Amino acids, levels of protein structure (including types of non-covalent bonds involved), peptide bond formation, Biuret test

• Haemoglobin and collagen as examples of globular and fibrous proteins (detailed structure of collagen often omitted)

• DNA and RNA structure and formation of phosphodiester bonds between nucleotides

• Semi-conservative replication of DNA

• Structure of ATP and basic role in cells

• Enzymes: lock and key and induced fit models of action; effect of pH, temperature,

enzyme/substrate concentration, inhibitors (competitive and non-competitive)

(cofactors/coenzymes sometimes included)

• Role of inorganic ions

• Biologically important properties of water

2. Cell Structure

• Structure of eukaryotic cells, including:

o cell-surface membrane

o nucleus (containing chromosomes, consisting of protein-bound, linear DNA, and one or

more nucleoli)

o mitochondria

o chloroplasts

o Golgi apparatus and Golgi vesicles

o lysosomes

o ribosomes

o rough endoplasmic reticulum and smooth endoplasmic reticulum

o cell wall

o cell vacuole

• Structure of prokaryotic cells

• Cytoskeleton sometimes included – usually just actin and tubulin

• Manipulating magnification for light and electron micrographs (usually including use of graticules)

• Use of stains in light microscopy

• Characteristics of light and electron microscopes

• Cell cycle – the main stages of mitosis and meiosis

• Structure of the cell membrane, including phospholipids, glycoproteins, glycolipids, membrane proteins, cholesterol in the fluid mosaic model

Membrane transport: active transport, facilitated diffusion, carrier and channel proteins, diffusion, osmosis (using water potential terminology)

3. Immune System

• Definition of antigen and structure and function of antibodies

• Phagocytosis

• Antigen presentation, stimulation of B cells, clonal selection and expansion, plasma cells

• Role of T cells (normally highly simplified and restricted to helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells

• Primary and secondary immune responses

• Passive and active immunity

• HIV as an example of a pathogen (other syllabuses may include other diseases such as cholera, measles, TB, flu)

• Uses of monoclonal antibodies

4. a. Exchange Surfaces

• SA:Vol relationships for cells and organisms, features of exchange surfaces and the need for circulatory systems

• Examples of gas exchange systems: human always included, often fish gills or insect trachea

• Gas exchange in plants

• Mechanism of ventilation in humans and structure of trachea epithelium

• COPD and smoking

4. b. Circulatory Systems

• Structure of single and double circulatory systems (sometimes also open/closed)

• Structure and function of haemoglobin, including Bohr effect and transport of CO2 (sometimes

also fetal haemoglobin and myoglobin)

• Structure of arteries, veins, capillaries

• Structure of the mammalian heart, including valves

• Electrical activity of the heart and role of AVN, SAN (sometimes ECG included)

• Formation and composition of tissue fluid

• CHD is on most syllabuses

4. c. Plant Transport

• Structure of xylem

• Cohesion-tension theory

• Structure of phloem

• Mass flow hypothesis

5. Molecular Genetics

• Structure of chromosomes, DNA and genes

• Role and structure of mRNA, tRNA and ribosomes

• The genetic code, transcription and translation

• Exons and introns and splicing of pre-mRNA

• Mutations and the effect on proteins

• Mutations as a source of genetic variation for natural selection

6. Biodiversity

• Hierarchical nature of taxonomic systems

• Three domains versus 5 kingdom classifications

• Idea of a phylogenetic classification

• Random and systematic sampling

• Simpson’s diversity index

Refer : Biology Notes  | Exam Syllabus | Biology Videos

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