Explore What Changed in IBDP 2023 New Biology Syllabus

The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum undergoes a scheduled reassessment every seven years, leading to modifications in the syllabi across different subjects. As we draw closer to the year 2023, the updated syllabus for IBDP Biology is on the horizon. The prospect of a fresh syllabus can evoke apprehension and spark a range of inquiries and uncertainties among both students and educators.

Blen has compiled a comprehensive resource encompassing all the essential details regarding the forthcoming IBDP Biology syllabus for 2023. This endeavor aims to equip you with the knowledge you need, ensuring that you approach the changes with confidence and ample preparation.

When will the new syllabus be first assessed?

The new IBDP Biology syllabus will be first taught in August or September of 2023, with the assessment taking place in May of 2025.

The revised course has been developed through a long process of consultation, formulation and collective creation in accordance with the IB's mission to provide a rigorous and challenging education to students.

What are the changes in the course content?

Overall, the new syllabus for IBDP Biology is not a complete overhaul of the existing content, but rather an addition to it. It represents a shift towards more modernized and practical content, as well as an emphasis on the development of practical and critical thinking skills.

The syllabus is listed in 4 themes:

  • Unity and diversity
  • Form and function
  • Interaction and interdependence
  • Continuity and change

In addition, the syllabus structure now includes four levels of organization:

  • Molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms
  • and Ecosystems

You can explore the official subject guide for IBDP Biology FE2025 here.

What concepts that are no more there?

The following no longer need to be learned.

These include specific option topics such as neurobiology and behavior, biotechnology and informatics, ecology and conservation, and human physiology.

What are some new concepts that are introduced here?

  • Last Universal Common Ancestor: The revised curriculum introduces the concept of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (A2.1.7), which delves into the study of the shared ancestry of all life forms on Earth and the evolutionary connections between different organisms.
  • Viral Structure and Diversity: The syllabus now encompasses the structural traits common to viruses (A2.3.1) as well as the diverse range of viral structures (A2.3.2). These subjects provide insights into the intriguing world of viruses and their effects on living entities.
  • Triglycerides and Adipose Tissues: The updated syllabus incorporates the examination of triglycerides within adipose tissues for purposes of energy storage and thermal insulation (B1.1.11). This topic explores how adipose tissues store energy as triglycerides and contribute to temperature regulation in organisms.
  • Stem Cell Niches: Students will now gain understanding about stem cell niches (B2.3.3). This subject zeroes in on the microenvironments where stem cells reside and the factors that shape their actions and differentiation.
  • Adaptations for Swimming in Marine Mammals: The new curriculum includes the investigation of adaptations enabling marine mammals to swim (B3.3.10). This area of study explores the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations that empower marine mammals to thrive in aquatic surroundings.
  • Mechanism-Based Inhibition and Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Experiments: The syllabus encompasses the concept of mechanism-based inhibition via irreversible inhibitor binding (C1.1.17) and experiments involving carbon dioxide enrichment (C1.3.8). These topics delve into the mechanisms behind enzyme inhibition and the effects of elevated carbon dioxide levels on biological systems.
  • Consciousness in Relation to Anesthetics: The revised curriculum delves into the impact of anesthetics on consciousness (C2.2.16). This area of study investigates the effects of anesthetics on consciousness and the underlying mechanisms of anesthesia.
  • Zoonoses: The syllabus now covers zoonoses (C3.2.15), focusing on diseases transferable between animals and humans. It explores the factors contributing to the emergence and spread of such diseases.
  • CRISPR Sequences and Cas9 in Gene Editing: Students will now explore the utilization of CRISPR sequences and the enzyme Cas9 in gene editing (D1.3.9). This topic delves into the groundbreaking gene editing technology and its potential applications across diverse domains.
  • Monozygotic Twin Studies and Increases in Insect Life Cycles: The updated syllabus addresses monozygotic twin studies (D2.2.10) and the effects of climate change on the number of insect life cycles within a year (D4.3.11). These subjects delve into the intriguing realm of genetics and the influence of environmental shifts on species.

What is changing in the assessment pattern?

There will only be two external exams given to all students. Here are the subject briefs, SL and HL.

Paper 1:

  • In Paper 1A, there are multiple-choice questions from the curriculum.
  • In Paper 1B, there are questions about data analysis. These publications offer the chance to evaluate some of the experimental methods and methods.

Paper 2:

  • Paper 2 has both short-answer and extended-response questions that integrate knowledge, concepts, and skills into a relevant Biology environment.
  • The choice subjects have also been removed, among other adjustment. Some of the content from the four available options was included to the course at either a standard or higher level. Hence, no more Paper 3.

Internal Assessment

  • The "scientific investigation" (internal assessment) will change as well, giving students the chance to work together and help one another in small groups. If the independent or dependent variables are different and the data acquired is specific to each student, then students may share similar approaches when appropriate.
  • The number of words in each student's report will remain at a maximum of 3,000.
  • With 50% of the marks allotted for Conclusion and Evaluation, the revised criteria will place a stronger focus on higher-order thinking abilities.

And finally…

At Blen, we understand that a new syllabus can be intimidating, but we're here to help. We offer comprehensive content, concepts, questions and mock tests to help you prepare for your IBDP Biology exams. We wish you all the best for tackling the new IBDP Biology syllabus in 2023!

 Get started with Blen and practice real exam-like questions before you sit for your IB exam.