WAEC Syllabus for Biology & Recommended Textbooks 2024/2025

The WAEC syllabus for Biology is the topic you must study to sit for the examination. It contains the aims, objectives, notes and format for the Biology exam.

Studying the Biology syllabus is necessary for your exam preparation. It will serve as a guide for you to know the topics to read. There are also notes on concepts you should pay attention to learning.

Exam preparations without using the Biology syllabus are like going to the farm without your agricultural tools. You will end up not being productive.

Ensure you begin your exam preparations using the syllabus.

This post contains the Biology syllabus and recommended West African Examination Council (WAEC) textbooks.

Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions. I will love to hear from you.

WAEC Biology Syllabus

Here is the WAEC Biology syllabus for Science students;


This examination syllabus is divided into three sections:

  1. Sections A
  2. Section B
  3. Section C
  • 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.

Aims and Objectives

This syllabus is designed to assess candidates’

  1. Understanding the structure and functions of living organisms and an appreciation of nature.
  2. Acquisition of adequate laboratory and field skills to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in Biology.
  3. Acquisition of necessary scientific skills, for example, observing, classifying and interpreting biological data.
  4. Acquisition of the basic relevant knowledge in Biology needed for future advanced studies in biological sciences.
  5. Acquisition of scientific attitudes for problem-solving.
  6. Ability to apply biological principles in everyday life in matters that affect.
    personal, social, environmental, community health and economic problems.
  7.  Awareness of the existence of interrelationships between biology and other scientific disciplines.

Scheme of Examination

There will be three papers:

  1. Paper 1
  2. Paper 2
  3. Paper 3

All papers must be taken.  Papers 1 and 2 will be composite papers to 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 which 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.

The paper 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 be drawn from Section C of the syllabus (i.e. the section of the syllabus containing material for those countries only). 

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 Syllabus Topics

Section A

Concept of Living

  1. Living and non-living things
  2. Classification of living things into Kingdoms: Monera, Protoctista (Protista), Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.
  3. Differences between plants and animals
Organization of Life
  1. Cell (single-celled organisms): Amoeba, Euglena, Paramecium
  2. Tissue: Hydra
  3. Organ (storage
  4. organ) bulb, rhizome and heart.
  5. System/Organ System: In mammals, flowering plants – reproductive, excretory systems, etc.
  6. The complexity of organization in higher organisms: advantages and disadvantages.
Forms in which living cells exist
  1. Single and free-living: Amoeba, Paramecium, Euglena, and Chlamydomonas
  2. Colony: Volvox
  3. Filament: Spirogyra
  4. Part of a living organism: Cheek cells, onion root tip cells and epidermis of fleshy leaves.
  1. Cell structure and functions of cell components
  2. Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells
  3. The Cell and its environment: Physical and Biophysical processes; (a) diffusion (b) osmosis (c) active transport
  4. Properties and functions of the living cell; (a) Nutrition (i) Autotrophic (photosynthesis) (ii) Heterotrophic (holozoic)
Cellular Respiration

Definition and processes of:

  • aerobic respiration
  • anaerobic respiration
  • energy release
  1. Excretion in single-celled aquatic organisms. Diffusion by body surface and by the contractile vacuole.
  2. Waste products of metabolism
  1. Basis of growth – cell division (mitosis), enlargement and differentiation.
  2. Aspects of growth: Increase in dry weight, irreversible increase in size and length and increase in the number of cells
  3. Regions of the fastest growth in plants
  4. Influence of growth hormones and auxins
  5. Growth curvatures (Tropisms)
  6. Development: Enlargement and differentiation
  7. Movement
    • Organelles for movement: cilia and flagella
    • Cyclosis
  8. Reproduction: Types of reproduction.
    • Asexual: fission, budding and vegetative propagation.
  9. Sexual: Conjugation, formation of male and female gametes (gametogenesis), a fusion of gametes fertilization)
Skeleton and supporting systems in animals

Biological significance.

  1. Skeletal materials, e.g. bone
  2. Cartilage and chitin
  3. Types of skeleton
  4. The exoskeleton, endoskeleton and hydrostatic skeleton.
  5. Bones of the vertebral
  6. Column, girdles and long bones of the appendicular skeleton.
  7. Mechanism of support in animals.
  8. Functions of the skeleton in animals: Protection, support, locomotion and respiratory movement.
Different types of supporting tissues in plants
  1. Main features of supporting tissues in plants
  2. Functions of supporting tissues in plants: strength, rigidity (resistance against the forces of the wind and water), flexibility and resilience
Transport System
  1. Need for transport
    • surface area/volume ratio
    • substances have to move greater distances.
  2. Transport in animals
    • Structure of the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries.
    • Composition and function of blood and lymph.
    • Materials for transport: excretory products, gases, digested food, and other nutrients
  3. Transport in plants
    • Uptake and movement of water and mineral salts in plants.
  4. Movement of water to the apex of trees and herbs
Respiratory System
  1. Body surface: cutaneous, gills and lungs
  2. Mechanisms of gaseous exchange in fish, toads, mammals and plants
Excretory Systems
  1. Excretory Systems and Mechanisms
  2. Types of excretory systems: Kidney, stomata and lenticels
  3. Characteristics of excretory organs in these systems should be studied.
  4. Candidates should observe, draw and label the excretory organs of a small mammal (e.g. rat).
  5. Explanation of the concept of excretion in plants. Plant excretory products (water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, alkaloids, tannins, gums, resins and acids) should be mentioned.
Regulation of Internal Environment (Homeostasis)
  1. Kidney: Structure and functions
  2. Liver
  3. Functions of the liver
  4. The skin: Structure and function
Hormonal Coordination
  1. Animal hormones: Site of secretion, functions and effects of over and under-secretion
  2. Plant hormones
Nervous Coordination
  1. The central nervous system
    • Components of the central nervous system
    • Parts of the brain and their functions; cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, hypothalamus and their functions
    • Structure and function of the Spinal Cord.
  2. Peripheral Nervous System.
    • Somatic Nervous System
    • Autonomic nervous system
    • Structure and functions of the neurone
    • Classification of neurones
  3. Types of nervous actions
    • The reflex arc
    • Reflex and voluntary actions
    • Differences between reflex and voluntary actions.
    • Conditioned reflex and its role in the behaviour
Sense Organs
  1. Structure and function of the
    • Eye
    • Ear
The reproductive system of mammals

(iv) Kinds of placentation: axile, marginal
and parietal.

  1. The reproductive system of mammals
    • Structure and function of male and female reproductive systems.
    • Differences between male and female reproductive organs.
    • Structure of the gametes (sperm and ovum)
    • Fertilization, development of the embryo and birth.
    • Birth control
  2. Metamorphosis in insects, life histories of butterfly and cockroach
  3. Comparison of reproduction in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammal
  4. Reproduction in flowering plants
    • Arrangements of floral parts of a named insect-pollinated flower and a named wind-pollinated flower.
    • Structure and function of the male and female parts of a flower.
  5. Pollination in Plants
    • Types of pollination
    • Features of cross-pollinated and self-pollinated flowers
    • Agents of Pollination
  6. Process of development of zygote in flowering plants
    • Fertilization
    • Types of fruits (classification).
    • Structure of fruits
  7. Dispersal of fruits and seeds: Agents of dispersal

Plant and Animal Nutrition

Plant Nutrition
  1. Photosynthesis:
    • Process of photosynthesis and its chemical equation
    • Light and dark reactions
    • Materials and conditions necessary for photosynthesis
    • Evidence of photosynthesis
  2. Mineral requirement of plants
    • Mineral nutrition: Macro and micro-nutrients
    • Soil and atmosphere as sources of mineral elements
  3. Animal Nutrition
  4. Food substances; classes and sources
  5. A balanced diet and its importance
  6. Digestive enzymes: Classes, characteristics and functions
  7. Modes of Nutrition
    • Autotrophic: Photosynthesis,
    • Heterotrophic: holozoic, parasitic, symbiotic and saprophytic
  8. Alimentary System: Alimentary tract of different animals
  9. Dental Formula
  10. Feeding in protozoa and mammals

Basic Ecological Concepts

  1. Ecosystem: Components of the ecosystem and sizes
    • Ecological components: environment, biosphere, habitat, population, biotic community and ecosystem
    • Components of the ecosystem: Biotic and abiotic
  2. Ecological factors: Ecological factors in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  3. Simple Measurement of Ecological Factors.
    • Physical factors: Climatic, topographic and gaseous.
    • Edaphic factors: Chemical and physical composition, moisture content and soil texture
  4. Food webs and trophic levels
    • Autotrophs and Heterotrophs
      • Producers: autotrophs
      • Consumers: heterotrophs
      • Decomposers
    • The trophic levels energy relationship
      • Food chain
      • Food web
  5. Energy flow
    • Food/Energy relationship in the aquatic and terrestrial environment.
    • Pyramid of energy and the Pyramid of numbers.
  6. Decomposition in nature
    • Decomposers: (micro and macro-decomposers)
    • Gaseous products
    • Role of decomposers
  7. Ecological Management:
    • Biological Associations
    • Type of associations: Parasitism, symbiosis, commensalism and saprophytism.
    • Adaptation of organisms to habitats.
  8. Pollution of the atmosphere
    • Nature, names, sources and effects of air pollutants
    • Effect of noise
  9. Water and Soil Pollution
    • Type and effects of pollutants
  10. Ecology of population
    • Ecological succession
      • Structural changes in species composition, variety or diversity and increase in numbers.
      • General characteristics and outcomes of succession
    • Primary succession
    • Succession in terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
    • Secondary succession, the climax of the succession: characteristic of a stable ecosystem
  11. Factors that affect the population size: natality, mortality, emigration, immigration, food shortage, predation, competition and diseases.
  12. Preservation and storage of foods
  13. The life of selected insects;
    • Weevils and cotton strainers
    • Control of pests
  14. Microorganisms: Man and health
    • Carriers of microorganisms
    • Microorganisms in action
      • Beneficial effects in nature, medicine and industries.
      • Harmful effects of micro-organisms, diseases caused by microorganisms: cholera, measles, malaria and ringworm.
    • Towards Better Health
      • Methods of .controlling harmful microorganisms: high temperature, antibiotics, antiseptics, high salinity and dehydration.
      • Ways of controlling the vectors
    • 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)

Conservation of Natural Resources

  1. . Resources to be conserved: soil, water, wildlife, forest and minerals.
  2. Ways of ensuring conservation

Variation in Population

  • Morphological variations in the physical appearance of individuals
    • size, height and weight
    • colour (skin, eye, hair coat of animals)
    • fingerprints
  • Physiological Variations
    • Ability to roll tongue
    • Ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC)
    • Blood groups (ABO) classification)

Biology of Heredity (Genetics)

  1. Genetic terminologies
  2. Transmission and expression of characteristics in organisms.
    • Hereditary variation
    • Mendel’s work in genetics
      • Mendel’s experiments
      • Mendelian traits
      • Mendelian laws
  3. Chromosomes: The basis of heredity
    • Structure
    • Process of transmission of hereditary characters from parents to offspring.
  4. Probability in genetics (Hybrid formation).
  5. Linkage, sex determination and sex-linked characters.
  6. Application of the principles of heredity in:
    • Agriculture
    • Medicine

Adaptation for Survival and Evolution

  1. Behavioural Adaptations in Social Animals.
    • Termites
    • Bees
  2. Evolution
    • Evidence of evolution
    • Theories of evolution

WAEC Biology Textbooks

Here is the list of WAEC recommended textbooks for Biology;

  • Ndu, F.O. C. Ndu, Abun A. and Aina J.O. (2001) Senior Secondary School Biology: Books 1 -3, Lagos: Longman.
  • Odunfa, S.A. (2001) Essential of Biology, Ibadan: Heinemann.
  • Ogunniyi M.B. Adebisi A.A. and Okojie J.A. (2000) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools: Books 1 – 3, Macmillan.
  • Ramalingam, S.T. (2005) Modern Biology, SS Science Series. New Edition, AFP
  • Stan. (2004) Biology for Senior Secondary Schools. Revised Edition, Ibadan: Heinemann
  • Stone R.H. and Cozens, A.B.C. (1982) Biology for West African Schools. Longman
  • Usua, E.J. (1997) Handbook of practical Biology 2nd Edition, University Press, Limited

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41 thoughts on “WAEC Syllabus for Biology & Recommended Textbooks 2024/2025”

    • Not necessarily, yes.

      The JAMB and WAEC format are not the same.

      While the topics covered in the JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) and WAEC (West African Examinations Council) examinations may overlap, it is generally not advisable to rely solely on your JAMB jotting notes to prepare for the WAEC exams.

    • Not necessarily, yes.

      The JAMB and WAEC format are not the same.

      While the topics covered in the JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) and WAEC (West African Examinations Council) examinations may overlap, it is generally not advisable to rely solely on your JAMB jotting notes to prepare for the WAEC exams.

  1. Please sir I want scholarship updates for international students who want to enrol undergraduate courses(aeronautical engineering especially) in Massauchets university, University of Cambridge, Harvard university and university of California.

    • David,

      There are currently no undergraduate scholarships in the following universities.

      You may want to apply for the Mastercard foundation scholarship.

      Let me know if you have any further questions. I will love to assist you.

  2. I am a teacher at government secondary School sinkunia. Sierra Leone, l need new edition to improve myself and pupils.


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