Revision of Advanced Higher Biology

This page is for the existing National Qualification Revised Advanced Higher Biology Course.

Access information on the new NQ (CfE) Advanced Higher Courses.


Revised Higher Biology

The current National Course provision at Advanced Higher Level in the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) was first used by centres during session 2000/2001. Since then, only relatively minor amendments have been made to the Qualifications arrangements.

Although uptake of the sciences remains strong, stakeholder views of the existing qualification arrangements suggested that a de-cluttering and updating of subject content was required, as well as a move towards an assessment process with more emphasis on skills.

A modern, engaging National Course framework for the Sciences is seen as a key contributor to the development of a greater scientific knowledge and skills base, which is critical to the ongoing development of the Scottish economy, in line with Curriculum for Excellence.

Given the above, and in order that Advanced Higher provision in the Sciences continues to remain “fit for purpose”, meets the principles of Curriculum for Excellence and serves the needs of the young people of Scotland, SQA has been developing Advanced Higher Qualification Arrangements in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The proposals for the Revised Advanced Higher in Biology formed part of a national engagement through February and March 2011, and since then the Qualifications Design Team (QDT) has been working on the documents, taking on board stakeholder feedback.

Centres who wish to early adopt the revised arrangements documents can do so in session 2012/2013, with the first external examination in summer 2013. The revised arrangements will dual run with the current arrangements.


Key Milestone Date Date Completed
Summary of response to engagement feedback October 2011  GRAPHIC: Tick.
Arrangements Documents (563 KB) December 2011  GRAPHIC: Tick.
Teacher Guidance Advanced Higher Investigation  August 2012 GRAPHIC: Tick.
Candidate Guidance Advanced Higher Investigation  August 2012 GRAPHIC: Tick.
Specimen Question Paper (1.54 MB) August 2012  GRAPHIC: Tick.
Available for implementation for early adopters June 2012  GRAPHIC: Tick.
NABS produced October 2012  GRAPHIC: Tick.
First examination for early adopters Summer 2013