National 5 Biology
The National 5 Biology Course covers major areas of biology including cellular, whole organism and ecosystems. The key areas of biodiversity, interdependence, body systems and cells and inheritance are developed through the Course.
Updates and announcements
- May 2016 subject update (219 KB)
- October 2015 subject update (344 KB)
- August 2015 subject update (93 KB)
- May 2015 subject update (277 KB)
- January 2015 subject update - Advanced Higher (500 KB)
- August 2014 subject update (120 KB)
- Special Edition Update June 2014 (152 KB)
- January 2014 update letter (22 KB)
- September 2013 update letter
This explains the overall structure of the Course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed.
Course Assessment Specification
This explains the structure of the Course assessment; including the type and method of assessment. It also includes information on Course coverage.
- N5 Biology Course Assessment Specification session 2015/2016
- N5 Biology Course Assessment Specification session 2016/2017
- N5 Biology Course Assessment Specification session 2016/2017 comparison
The comparison document illustrates the additional information provided in the updated version compared with the previous version.
These provide an outline of what each Unit will cover within the Course and detail the Outcomes and Assessment Standards.
- Cell Biology (National 5) Unit Specification session
- Biology: Life on Earth (National 5) Unit Specification session
- Biology: Multicellular Organisms (National 5) Unit Specification session
Advice and guidance
Course and Unit Support Notes
These provide advice and guidance for teachers/lecturers on learning, teaching and assessment within the Course and its Units.
The following document contains the Course Support Notes and the Unit Support Notes for this Course. They can be printed together or separately.
Past Papers and Marking Instructions
Specimen and Exemplar Question Papers and Marking Instructions
These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.
- Biology Specimen Question Paper National 5
- Guidance on the use of past paper questions for National 5 Biology
- Question Paper Brief - National 5 Biology (210 KB)
Hodder Education have produced sets of additional model papers that include copies of our Specimen Question Papers. These are available to buy now.
The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) have also produced National 5 Revision in a Nutshell documents to help learners prepare for National 5 exams.
General assessment information provides instructions for the conduct of coursework, an overview of the assessment task, evidence to be gathered and general marking instructions.
Coursework assessment tasks provide the live assessment task, including marking instructions and instructions for candidates. Teachers/lecturers can access these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- General assessment information for National 5 Biology
Information on the production and submission of SQA-assessed coursework for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.
Unit Assessment Support
These documents contain details of Unit assessment task(s), show approaches to gathering evidence and how the evidence can be judged against the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Teachers/lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
Understanding Standards materials
We are publishing examples of candidate evidence with commentaries as part of our Understanding Standards programme. These materials are for teachers and lecturers to help them develop their understanding of the standards required for assessment. As these materials become available, they are being published in the following locations:
- Available from our secure website Materials relating to Unit assessment, internally assessed components of Course assessment, and externally assessed components of Course assessment which are subject to visiting assessment. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these materials through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- Available from our Understanding Standards website Materials relating to externally assessed components of Course assessment, with the exception of those subject to visiting assessment.
More information on our Understanding Standards programme, can be found on our Understanding Standards page.