If you are a science student preparing for this year's exam, then you need to have the for Biology to help guide you in your studies.

It's not enough to study your notes and textbooks, if you don't have an area of concentration, then you'll possibly miss vital information during your study. That is what the WAEC Syllabus does for you; it helps you study the right topics and materials.

Without wasting any of your time, we'll dive right into it.

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WAEC Syllabus for Biology (Exam Formats)

WAEC Syllabus for Biology


This waec examination format/syllabus is divided into three sections:

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

Aims and Objectives

This WAEC syllabus is designed to assess candidates'

  • 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.

Scheme of Examination

There will be three papers to write; Paper 1, Paper 2, and Paper 3. And all the three papers must be taken. 

Papers 1 and 2 will be composite papers, which will be taken in one sitting.

Paper 1

Paper 1 usually consists of fifty multiple-choice objective questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus (the section of the syllabus that is common to all countries).

It will carry 50 marks and last for 50 minutes.

Paper 2

Paper 2 usually consists of six essay questions drawn from the entire syllabus. The paper will be divided into sections A, B, and C.

Section A

It will consist of four questions drawn from Section A of the syllabus.

Section B

It will be for candidates in Ghana only and will be drawn from Section B of the syllabus (i.. the section of the syllabus peculiar to Ghana).

It will consist of short-structured questions.

Section C

It will be for Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Liberia candidates. This 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 Section C.

Section A's questions 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 and 40 minutes.

Paper 3

Paper 3 is the practical test (for school candidates) or a test of practical work (for private candidates) lasting 2 hours and consisting of 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 from Section B of the syllabus and will carry 30 marks.

Section C

This will be for Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Liberia candidates. It will consist of one question from Section C of the syllabus and will carry 30 marks.

Candidates will be expected to answer all the questions in Section A and one in either Section B or C. The paper will carry a total score of 80 marks.

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Section A: WAEC Syllabus for Biology (Subject Topics)

WAEC Syllabus for Biology
WAEC Syllabus for Biology

Concept of Living

  • Living and non-living things
  • Classification of living things into Kingdoms: Monera, Protoctista (Protista), Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.
  • 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, excretory systems, 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;

  • Skeletal materials, e.g. bone
  • Cartilage and chitin
  • Types of skeleton
  • The exoskeleton, endoskeleton and hydrostatic skeleton.
  • Bones of the vertebral
  • Column, girdles and long bones of the appendicular skeleton.
  • Mechanism of support in animals.
  • 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
  • Body surface: cutaneous, gills and lungs
  • Mechanisms of gaseous exchange in fish, toads, mammals, and plants
Excretory Systems
  • Excretory Systems and Mechanisms
  • Types of excretory systems: Kidney, stomata, and lenticels
  • Characteristics of excretory organs in these systems should be studied.
  • Candidates should observe, draw, and label the excretory organs of a small mammal (e.g. rat).
  • Explanation of the concept of excretion in plants. Plant excretory products (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 neuron
    • 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 behavior
Sense Organs
  • Structure and function of the:
    • Eye
    • Ear
The reproductive system of mammals

Kinds of placentation: axile, marginal, and parietal.

  • 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
  • Metamorphosis in insects, life histories of butterfly and cockroach
  • Comparison of reproduction in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammal
  • 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.
  • Pollination in Plants:
    • Types of pollination
    • Features of cross-pollinated and self-pollinated flowers
    • Agents of Pollination
  • Process of development of zygote in flowering plants:
    • Fertilization
    • Types of fruits (classification).
    • Structure of fruits
  • Dispersal of fruits and seeds: Agents of dispersal.

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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

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Here is the list of all recommended WAEC textbooks for Biology;

  • Ndu, F.O. C. Ndu, Abun A. and Aina J.O. (2001) Senior Secondary School Biology: Books 1 – 3, Lagos: Longman.
  • Odunfa, S.A. (2001) Essential of Biology, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  • Ogunniyi M.B. Adebisi A.A. and Okojie J.A. (2000) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools: Books 1 – 3, Macmillan.
  • Ramalingam, S.T. (2005) Modern Biology, SS Science Series. New Edition, AFP
  • Stan. (2004) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools. Revised Edition, Ibadan: Heinemann
  • Stone R.H. and Cozens, A.B.C. (1982) Biology for West African Schools. Longman
  • Usua, E.J. (1997) Handbook of practical Biology 2nd Edition, University Press, Limited

READ ALSO: How to Check JAMB Admission Status in 2024

In Summary

There you have it, everything you need to know about the WAEC Syllabus for Biology 2024 and good use of this information to pass your waec exam this year.

If you have questions, do let us know below.

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