No 'O' Level Biology background, possible to study H2 Biology?

This query comes from a student:

Hi! I am in sec 4 this year doing my O levels. I take pure chem and physics, but not bio. Would it therefore be impossible to pursue H2 bio in JC? Thanks!

The Response:


‘O’ levels nor IP Biology from secondary school is not essential for mastering H2 Biology.

Less than 50% of biological concepts taught from secondary school ‘O’ levels Biology, are directly relevant to H2 Biology. For instance, plant and animal Nutrition have been removed from the new JC H2 Biology curriculum.

Even for the shared topics between ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels Biology (e.g. Cell Structure and Organisation; Cell Division; Molecular Genetics), not all the key words and phrasings learnt from secondary school can be applied in JC. For example, “semi-permeable” may be encouraged in some secondary schools, but fully penalized at JC (We prefer “selectively-permeable” for certain justified reasons)!

Just FYI, I did not have any ‘O’ levels Biology background, as with another contemporary of mine, but we proceeded to major in Biology at Masters and other postgraduate levels. I also have recent students without any secondary school Biology background, yet who still went on to either be one of the top Biology students in main school internal cohort examinations, or graduate with a grade of ‘A’ in the final GCE ‘A’ levels for H2 Biology. Don’t just take my word; take theirs :)

My aim for every ‘A’ Level Biology student under my care is to achieve an ‘A’ in Biology for their final ‘A’ Level grade. This is fully possible via (1) guided learning with feedback and (2) consistent hard work, leading to critical thinking, the subject mastery, and excellent answering strategies.

I sincerely wish you a truly fruitful and joyful learning experience during mastery of Biology, and beyond!

Duncan Ang

(Councilor: May 2013-Present)

Answered On 1 July 2013