Beginner’s Guide to Year 12 Biology

In our Year 12 Biology Guide, we explain they key syllabus points for each Module so your marks don't fall victim to natural selection.

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Are you struggling with HSC biology? This Beginner’s Guide to Year 12 Biology will give you the confidence to stay ahead of the pack.


All about the Beginner’s Guide to Year 12 Biology

In Year 12 Biology you will build on the concepts you learned in Year 11, expanding your understanding to cover genetics and how we use biotechnology to manipulate biological systems for our own benefit.

The syllabus covers the application of biotechnology to agriculture, industry and medicine. You will also look at the impact of these technologies on biodiversity and the ethical implications of their use.

At the end of Year 12, you will sit the final HSC exam that covers all the material learned during the year. This Beginner’s Guide provides a handy outline of what will be covered in year 12 Biology.


What’s in this Guide

This guide will go through each of the four core modules of Year 12 Biology:

  1. Heredity
    1. Reproduction and Cell Replication
    2. DNA and Polypeptide Synthesis
    3. Genetic Variation and Inheritance Patterns in a Population
  2.  Genetic Change
    1. Mutation
    2. Biotechnology
    3. Genetic Technologies
  3. Infectious Disease
    1. Causes of Infectious Disease
    2. Responses to Pathogens and Immunity
    3. Prevention, Treatment and Control
  4. Non-infectious Disease and Disorders
    1. Homeostasis
    2. Causes and Effects
    3. Epidemiology and Prevention
    4. Technologies and Disorders


What type of questions can I expect in the HSC?

The HSC will test your knowledge of the subject material particularly in the multiple-choice questions. Other types of questions will ask you to evaluate a statement or position based on evidence that is provided to you. You will also need to be able to interpret graphs and analyse trends in data.

Some questions will cover subject matter from multiple modules at once or ask you to apply your understanding of concepts to novel situations not covered by the syllabus.

Too see what types of questions you might get, have a look at the sample questions provided for the new syllabus and the questions from the 2019 biology HSC exam (You can find our solutions for this here).


What are some common student issues?

There are some common mistakes that students make in the HSC exam every year:

  • Students don’t understand the keyword for the question e.g. identify, explain, analyse, justify or outline.
  • Students don’t read the question carefully before answering or struggle to recognise which part of the syllabus the question relates to.
  • Students describe a process instead of using scientific terminology.
  • Students fail to relate cause and effect.
  • Students struggle to apply the knowledge they have to a new situation. For example, lactose intolerance and Alzheimer’s disease are not specifically mentioned in the syllabus, but they relate to gene expression, transcription and translation, mutation, evolution, viruses, dominant and recessive alleles which are all covered by the syllabus!
  • Students cannot successfully interpret graphs or analyse data trends.

If you haven’t already, check out this Matrix Blog post about 6 difficult biology concepts that students often struggle with.


Boost your Biology marks now

Gain confidence in all of your Biology core topics with our HSC Prep Course. Our HSC experts will revise and break down each topic and provide you with plenty of questions and mock exams to help you boost your HSC marks. Learn more about our HSC Prep Course. 

Don't just memorise. Understand.

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