Advanced Practical Biology

Advanced Practical Biology

Evening course for the MATSEC Advanced Practical Biology Component

This course will provide candidates with the required number of practicals forming the practical workbook which will be certified by qualified tutors, in fulfillment to sit for the MATSEC Biology Advanced Paper IV Examination as listed in the syllabus.

Candidates will also gain knowledge about different practical techniques, compilation, analysis and discussion of results, and biological drawings. This will help candidates undertake successfully the MATSEC Advanced Biology examination papers III and IV.

Practicals that will be covered are the following:

  1. Observing and Recording Biological Material
  2. Plant Diversity
  3. Floral Dissection, Floral Diagrams and Floral Formulae
  4. Animal Diversity 
  5. Use of the Light Microscope
  6. Low Power Plans
  7. Plant Histology
  8. Animal Histology 
  9. Measurements taken under the Light Microscope and Stomatal Counts
  10. Transpiration
  11. Food Tests
  12. Determination of an unknown Glucose Concentration 
  13. Rate of an Enzyme Catalysed Reaction vs Enzyme
  14. Rate of Enzyme Catalysed Reaction vs Substrate
  15. Rate of Enzyme Catalysed Reaction vs pH
  16. Rate of Enzyme Catalysed Reaction vs Temperature
  17. Preparation of Temporary Slides
  18. Finding the Solute Potential of Leaf Epidermal Cells
  19. Finding the Water Potential of a Plant Tissue
  20. Investigation of the Selective Permeability of Membranes
  21. Determination of the Rates of Fermentation of Yeast on different Sugars
  22. Separation of Photosynthetic Pigments using Chromatography
  23. Rate of Photosynthesis vs Light
  24. Rate of Photosynthesis vs Carbon Dioxide Concentration
  25. Preparation of a Root Tip Squash to show Stages of Mitosis 
  26. Meiosis
  27. DNA Extraction
  28. Restriction Mapping of Plasmid DNA
  29. Fieldwork

Will commence on Wednesday 22 January 2020.

Weekly 3-hour session every Wednesday from 17:00 to 20:00.

Candidates are expected to have at least First Year Advanced Level Biology knowledge or equivalent. This course will focus on the practical aspects and will assume that candidates are familiar with the theory component.

Candidates cannot register for this course if they are full-time students registered with an educational institution.  This programme is intended mainly at 18+ applicants.

Each practical will be allotted 10 marks.

Marks will be awarded on questions in the follow-up part of the schedule, drawings, plotting of graphs and other practical techniques.

A certificate, which must be presented to MATSEC along with the practical write-ups for eligibility to sit for paper IV of the Biology Advanced MATSEC Examination, will be issued if the following requirements are met:

  • candidates must attend all sessions.
  • candidates fulfilled a minimum of 25 practical write-ups.

The following is stated on the MATSEC Biology Advanced Syllabus:
Paper IV - 1.5 hours

Candidates will be allowed to proceed with this paper only if they submit to the examiners their original laboratory and practical reports which have been properly certified by their tutors (See section on Practical Work below). These practical reports will be marked by MATSEC examiners so that a 10 mark allocation is given according to the quality of the practical workbook(s) as described below.

This practical hands-on part of this paper will involve experimental work and observations to be carried out in laboratory. It will consist of one question – involving an experiment to test the ability to follow laboratory instructions, to design experiments, to make accurate observations, to record their observations in an appropriate manner and to interpret and analyze experimental data.

Candidates are expected to bring their dissection kit, watch and calculator to the examination.

Both laboratory and field work should form the basis of the course. Candidates are required to submit their original practical reports (workbook(s)), properly certified by their tutors, to be examined by the MATSEC examiners, to the MATSEC Office or as instructed by a given date. They will not be allowed to proceed with Paper IV if they fail to do so, or if they fail to satisfy the examiners that these practical reports are their own original work. 10/50 marks will be allotted to the quality of the practical workbooks (consisting of a minimum of 25 practicals) in the following manner:

  • 10 marks: Good Practical book(s), a record completely covering all sections of the syllabus but with a considerable amount of additional material, i.e. critical appreciation of physiological exercises is expected and fieldwork, if carried out, must be more than just an account of a field course.
  • 8 marks: Above average practical book(s), a record completely covering all sections of the syllabus but showing evidence of additional effort extra notes, drawings, experiments or fieldwork. 
  • 6 marks: Average Practical book(s), a virtually complete record covering all sections of the syllabus. Labels complete and physiological exercises written up.
  • 4 marks: Below average Practical book(s), a virtually complete record covering all sections of the syllabus but lacking in quality, care, labels or corrections.
  • 2 marks: Poor Practical book(s), incomplete (i.e. does not cover all sections of the syllabus).

Private candidates should make arrangements with a school to gain the practical experience required.

  1. Biological Science (1997) Taylor, Green, Stout
  2. A-Z Biology Handbook (2003) Bill Indge

The price for the course is EUR 450. Full payment must be carried out upon registration.

For further details or any queries send an email to Ms Petra Spiteri.