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VCE Biology


Biology is the study of living organisms, of life processes, and of the different levels of organization from molecule to biosphere. It includes the study of interactions within living communities and between organisms and their environments.  Biology also considers the unity and continuity of life as well as diversity and change.

Prior Learning: No prerequisites for Units 1, 2 and 3; but students must undertake Unit 3 prior to Unit 4.


Units 1 and 2: Levels of achievement is based on a combination of topic tests, assignments, oral presentation and examination.

Units 3:  School-assessed Coursework (16%)

Units 4:  School-assessed Coursework (24%)

End-of-year Examination (60%)

UNIT 1:  How do organisms regulate their functions? 

UNIT 2:   How does inheritance impact on diversity? 

In this unit students examine the cell as the structural and functional unit of life, from the single celled to the multicellular organism, including the requirements for sustaining cellular processes. They explore how systems function through cell specialisation in vascular plants and animals, and consider the role homeostatic mechanisms play in maintaining an animal’s internal environment. 


In this unit students explore reproduction and the transmission of biological information from generation to generation and the impact this has on species diversity. They explain the process of meiosis, the inheritance of characteristics and interpret pedigree charts. 

Students analyse the advantages and disadvantages of asexual and sexual reproductive strategies. Students explore interdependences between species. They also consider the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and perspectives in understanding the survival of organisms in Australian ecosystems. 

UNIT 3:  How do cells maintain life?  

UNIT 4: How does life change and respond to challenges? 

In this unit students explore the relationship between nucleic acids and proteins. Students analyse the structure and function of nucleic acids as information molecules, gene structure and expression, proteins as a diverse group of functional molecules.  

Students explore the structure, regulation and rate of biochemical pathways, with reference to photosynthesis and cellular respiration. They explore how the application of biotechnologies to biochemical pathways could lead to improvements in agricultural practices. 



In this unit students consider the continual change and challenges to which life on Earth has been, and continues to be, subjected to. They study the human immune system and the interactions between its components to provide immunity to a specific pathogen.  

Students investigate the impact of various change events on a population’s gene pool and the biological consequences of changes in allele frequencies. Students examine the evidence for relatedness between species and change in life forms over time using evidence. Students examine the evidence for structural trends in the human fossil record, recognising that interpretations can be contested. 


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