What is the subject about? 

Biology is the study of life. It involves the study of the cell, genetics, food, ecology, human and plant physiology and anatomy. The Leaving Certificate course is quite detailed and requires the completion of 22 mandatory experiments. Students are provided with the knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue further education, training and employment in biology-related fields, and to make judgements on contemporary issues in biology and science that impact on their daily lives and on society. The syllabus consists of approximately 70% biological knowledge, understanding and skills. The remaining 30% deals with the technological, political, social and economic aspects of biology. As biology is a practical subject, the course can include field trips. Many of the areas studied in Leaving Certificate Biology may be familiar to you from Junior Cycle Science. We build further on this knowledge during the 2-year course on areas such as: human nutrition, ecology, the human body, plants and microorganisms. There are also opportunities to investigate arising issues such as Virology and Vaccine development. 

How is the subject assessed? 

I. Written Examination (100%) 

Biology is assessed fully by examination. There is a large amount of choice on the paper. 

There is an examination at both Higher Level and Ordinary Level, and they are both three hours duration. The exam paper is divided into three units. 

  • Section A – Six short questions (answer five) 100 marks. 
  • Section B – Three questions on practical activities (answer two) 60 marks. 
  • Section C – Six long questions (answer four) 240 marks. 

Questions on the paper range from topics of: 

– The study of life (ecology and food science) 

– The cell (genetics, photosynthesis, respiration and enzymes) 

– The organism (a study of body systems, plant biology and microbiology) 


Additional Comments 

– Biology proved to be a very popular subject choice in Clonturk last year with a high number of students opting for it 

– It is recommended that a student taking Leaving Certificate Biology had a good interest in Junior Cycle Science. 

– It is a practical subject with 22 mandatory experiments to be carried out, an interest in lab work is desirable. 

– Biology is an excellent subject for those wishing to pursue a career or course in science. 

– A considerable amount of learning and study is necessary to do well in this subject. 


Career Opportunities 

– Veterinary 

– Dentistry 

– Beautician 

– Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Applied Biology 

– Botany 

– Ecology 

– Earth Science and Environmental Science 

– Genetics 

– Marine Science and Aquaculture 

– Microbiology and Zoology 

– Psychologist 

– Astronomer 

– Teacher 

– Dietician