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WAEC Biology Syllabus

Ace your WAEC Biology exam when you study with this approved WAEC syllabus. Stop studying without directions. Study smart!

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Writing Biology in WAEC Exams

This WAEC Biology syllabus is an excellent material for all who are preparing for the WAEC exam and will be writing Biology. 

It states the key topics you should read for your exams as well as the main areas of focus that will be covered in the exam, like the basic concept of living, adaptation and evolution, animal supporting systems, and heredity. 

Aside from a list of topics and their objectives, you also get a list of recommended textbooks and other resources that will help you prepare for your exam. 

Download, study, and read this syllabus and when you are done, test just how prepared you are by solving past questions and see how prepared you are for your exams.

Good luck!

Marking Guide

This examination syllabus is divided into three sections:

Section A is for all candidates

Section B is for candidates in Ghana only

Section C is for candidates in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Liberia.

There will also be three papers:Paper 1, Paper 2, and Paper 3

All papers must be taken. Papers 1 and 2 will be taken in one sitting.

Paper 1

It will consist 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

Will consist of six essay questions drawn from the entire syllabus and 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.e. 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. 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

Will be a 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.

Biology for WAEC Exams


i. Living and non-living things

ii. Classification of living things into Kingdoms: Monera, Protoctista (Protista), Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.

iii. Differences between plants and animals


i. Cell (single-celled organisms): Amoeba, Euglena, Paramecium

ii. Tissue: Hydra

iii. Organ (storage organ) bulb, rhizome and heart.

iv. System/Organ System: In mammals, flowering plants – reproductive, excretory systems, etc.

v. The complexity of organization in higher organisms: advantages and disadvantages.



i. Single and free-living: Amoeba, Paramecium, Euglena, and 

ii. Colony: Volvox

iii. Filament: Spirogyra

iv. Part of a living organism: Cheek cells, onion root tip cells and epidermis of fleshy leaves.


 i. Cell structure and functions of cell components

ii. Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells

iii. The Cell and its environment: Physical and Biophysical processes; 
(a) diffusion 
(b) osmosis 
(c) active transport

iv. Properties and functions of the living cell; 
(a) Nutrition 
(i) Autotrophic (photosynthesis) 
(ii) Heterotrophic (holozoic)


Definition and processes of:

i. aerobic respiration

ii. anaerobic respiration

iii. energy release



i. Excretion in single-celled aquatic organisms. Diffusion by body surface and by the contractile vacuole.

ii. Waste products of metabolism


i. Basis of growth – cell division (mitosis), enlargement and differentiation.

ii. Aspects of growth: Increase in dry weight, irreversible increase in size and length and increase in the number of cells

iii. Regions of the fastest growth in plants

iv. Influence of growth hormones and auxins

v. Growth curvatures (Tropisms)

vi. Development: Enlargement and differentiation

vii. Movement

a) Organelles for movement: cilia and flagella

b) Cyclosis


Types of reproduction.

i. Asexual: fission, budding and vegetative propagation.

ii. Sexual: Conjugation, formation of male and female gametes (gametogenesis), a fusion of gametes fertilization)


Biological significance.

i. Skeletal materials, e.g. bone

ii. Cartilage and chitin

iii. Types of skeleton

iv. The exoskeleton, endoskeleton and hydrostatic skeleton.

v. Bones of the vertebral

vi. Column, girdles and long bones of the appendicular skeleton.

vii. Mechanism of support in animals.

viii. Functions of the skeleton in animals:
Protection, support, locomotion and respiratory movement.


i. Main features of supporting tissues in plants

ii. Functions of supporting tissues in plants: strength, rigidity (resistance against the forces of the wind and water), flexibility and resilience


i. Need for transport

a) surface area/volume ratio

b) substances have to move greater distances.

ii. Transport in animals

a) Structure of the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries.

b) Composition and function of blood and lymph.

c) Materials for transport: excretory products, gases, digested food, and other nutrients

iii. Transport in plants

a) Uptake and movement of water and mineral salts in plants.

iv. Movement of water to the apex of trees and herbs


i. Body surface: cutaneous, gills and lungs

ii. Mechanisms of gaseous exchange in fish, toads, mammals and plants.


i. Excretory Systems and Mechanisms

ii. Types of excretory systems: Kidney, stomata and lenticels

iii. Characteristics of excretory organs in these systems should be studied.

iv. Candidates should observe, draw and label the excretory organs of a small mammal (e.g. rat)

v. Explanation of the concept of excretion in plants. Plant excretory products (water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, alkaloids, tannins, gums, resins and acids) should be mentioned.


i. Kidney: Structure and functions

ii. Liver

iii. Functions of the liver

iv. The skin: Structure and function


 i. Animal hormones: Site of secretion, functions and effects of over and under-secretion

ii. Plant hormones


i. The central nervous system

a) Components of the central nervous system

b) Parts of the brain and their functions; cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, hypothalamus and their functions

c) Structure and function of the Spinal Cord.

ii. Peripheral Nervous System.

a) Somatic Nervous System

b) Autonomic nervous system

c) Structure and functions of the neurone

d) Classification of neurones

iii. Types of nervous actions

a) The reflex arc

b) Reflex and voluntary actions

c) Differences between reflex and voluntary actions.

d) Conditioned reflex and its role in the behaviour


i. Structure and function of the

a) Eye

b) Ear


 i. The reproductive system of mammals
a) Structure and function of male and female reproductive systems.
b) Differences between male and female reproductive organs.
c) Structure of the gametes (sperm and ovum)
d) Fertilization, development of the embryo and birth.
e) Birth control

ii. Metamorphosis in insects, life histories of butterfly and cockroach

iii. Comparison of reproduction in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammal

iv. Reproduction in flowering plants
a) Arrangements of floral parts of a named insect-pollinated flower and a named wind-pollinated flower.
b) Structure and function of the male and female parts of a flower.

v. Pollination in Plants
a) Types of pollination
b) Features of cross-pollinated and self-pollinated flowers
c) Agents of Pollination

vi. Process of development of zygote in flowering plants
a) Fertilization
b) Types of fruits (classification).
c) Structure of fruits

vii. Dispersal of fruits and seeds: Agents of dispersal


1. Plant Nutrition

i. Photosynthesis:

Process of photosynthesis and its chemical equation

Light and dark reactions

Materials and conditions necessary for photosynthesis

Evidence of photosynthesis

ii. Mineral requirement of plants

Mineral nutrition: Macro and micro-nutrients

Soil and atmosphere as sources of mineral elements

2. Animal Nutrition

i. Food substances; classes and sources

ii. A balanced diet and its importance

iii. Digestive enzymes: Classes, characteristics and functions

iv. Modes of Nutrition

a) Autotrophic: Photosynthesis,

b) Heterotrophic: holozoic, parasitic, symbiotic and saprophytic

v. Alimentary System: Alimentary tract of different animals

vi. Dental Formula

vii. Feeding in protozoa and mammals


 i. Ecosystem: Components of the ecosystem and sizes
a) Ecological components: environment, biosphere, habitat, population, biotic community and ecosystem
b) Components of the ecosystem: Biotic and abiotic

ii. Ecological factors: Ecological factors in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems

iii. Simple Measurement of Ecological Factors.
a) Physical factors: Climatic, topographic and gaseous.
b) Edaphic factors: Chemical and physical composition, moisture content and soil texture

iv. Food webs and trophic levels
a) Autotrophs and Heterotrophs
• Producers: autotrophs
• Consumers: heterotrophs
• Decomposers
b) The trophic levels energy relationship
• Food chain
• Food web

v. Energy flow
a) Food/Energy relationship in the aquatic and terrestrial environment.
b) Pyramid of energy and the Pyramid of numbers.

vi. Decomposition in nature
a) Decomposers: (micro and macro-decomposers)
b) Gaseous products
c) Role of decomposers

vii. Ecological Management:
a) Biological Associations
b) Type of associations: Parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism and saprophytism.
c) Adaptation of organisms to habitats.

viii. Pollution of the atmosphere
a) Nature, names, sources and effects of air pollutants
b) Effect of noise

ix. Water and Soil Pollution
a) Type and effects of pollutants

x. Ecology of population
a) Ecological succession
• Structural changes in species composition, variety or diversity and increase in numbers.
• General characteristics and outcomes of succession
b) Primary succession
c) Succession in terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
d) Secondary succession, the climax of the succession: characteristic of a stable ecosystem

xi. Factors that affect the population size: natality, mortality, emigration, immigration, food shortage, predation, competition and diseases.

xii. Preservation and storage of foods

xiii. The life of selected insects;
a) Weevils and cotton strainers
b) Control of pests

xiv. Microorganisms: Man and health
a) Carriers of microorganisms
b) Microorganisms in action
• Beneficial effects in nature, medicine and industries.
• Harmful effects of micro-organisms, diseases caused by microorganisms: cholera, measles, malaria and ringworm
c) Towards Better Health
• Methods of .controlling harmful microorganisms: high temperature, antibiotics, antiseptics, high salinity and dehydration.
• Ways of controlling the vectors
d) 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)

21 CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES i. Resources to be conserved: soil, water, wildlife, forest and minerals.

ii. Ways of ensuring conservation 

Recommended WAEC Biology Textbooks

1. Ndu, F.O. C. Ndu, Abun A. and Aina J.O. (2001) Senior Secondary School Biology: Books 1 -3, Lagos: Longman.

2. Odunfa, S.A. (2001) Essential of Biology, Ibadan: Heinemann.

3. Ogunniyi M.B. Adebisi A.A. and Okojie J.A. (2000) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools: Books 1 – 3, Macmillan.

4. Ramalingam, S.T. (2005) Modern Biology, SS Science Series. New Edition, AFP

5. Stan. (2004) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools. Revised Edition, Ibadan: Heinemann

6.  Stone R.H. and Cozens, A.B.C. (1982) Biology for West African Schools. Longman

7. Usua, E.J. (1997) Handbook of practical Biology 2nd Edition, University Press, Limited

Frequently Asked Questions About WAEC Biology Exam

What are the topics covered in the WAEC Biology exam?

Some of the topics are Cells, The Skeleton and supporting systems in animals, Sense organs, plant and animal nutrition, etc. A full list of the topics and their objectives are in the syllabus outlined above.


How many questions are there in the WAEC Biology exam?

Paper 1 will consist of 50 objective questions and Paper 2 will have roughly 6 questions and you have to answer 4.


Is practical/fieldwork included in the WAEC Biology exam?

Yes, there is also a practical section which is paper 3. It will not be taken on the same day as papers 1 and 2 but it is made compulsory.


What is the duration of the WAEC Biology exam?

Paper 1 and 2 which will be taken together will last for roughly 2 hrs 30 minutes while paper 3 will last for 2 hours.

How can I create a study schedule to cover all the syllabus topics?

To create a good study schedule, I would advise you to draw up a reading timetable for all the subjects you will be taking in the WAEC exams. With this, you know the subjects you are to read for the day and the number of hours for each.

How can I prepare for the WAEC Biology exam?

Practice, practice, practice. Study the syllabus, recommended textbooks, notes, and past questions together. You can also ask your teacher or tutor questions on topics you don’t understand.

All recommended texts are outlined in the article above. You should also add your past questions booklet to it.


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