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Want H2 BIOLOGY but din study it at O levels

    As a H2 biology tutor, I frequently get these questions from prospective students: I don’t take biology at O levels. OR I take combine science but not pure biology. Is it suitable for me to take H2 biology in JC?

    Can I take H2 Biology without any foundation?

    Why yes of course!

    H2 biology does not have strict pre-requisite requirements. Consequently, you will find many compatriots who may be taking H2 Biology without by foundation in JC.

    However, it is one of the harder subjects to do really well because of the bell curve and cohort quality.

    Many want to gain entry into either medicine, dentistry, biomedical science, pharmacy and these are some of the most competitive courses in university to gain admissions.

    Most importantly for students these courses, H2 Biology is a pre-requisite.

    What are the chances of doing well in H2 Biology without any foundation?

    Let me start with this quote from Sylvester Stallone: I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going.

    Success at JC level is not about whether there is foundation or not. Because of the depth and width of coverage, only the most gritty will find success.

    In fact, at times, students who have not done the subject may find that they have a slight advantage.

    They look at H2 Biology with a fresh pair of eyes.

    Many students who study the subject before JC may have certain pre-conceptions.

    And these they carry over into JC which may impact how they do.

    Let me give you an example. Students in lower levels routinely do experiments to show semi-permeability. They do this using iodine, starch solutions and a visking tube.

    So in A levels H2 Biology, I keep seeing students mention semi-permeable cell membranes.

    Which unfortunately is incorrect because these membranes are highly selective. Semi-permeability refers to the size differentiation. But when it comes to membranes, they don’t care for the size if they are not usable by the cell.

    Meaning, if the molecule is small enough, it still will not enter a cell if the cell has no specialised way of transporting it in.

    A non-biology student will likely not make this mistake!

    H2 Biology is really interesting!

    Sometimes, it will help if the subject is interesting to begin with.

    This will make it easier for the student to study it for exams.

    Many times, the students only need to look inwards to their body to be able to appreciate what they are studying. Sometimes, it even helps them to hack their body so as to improve biological performance.

    Therefore, they are hardly if any abstract concepts. Making it correspondingly easier to ‘get it’.

    H2 Biology is not for everyone

    It is also one of the most ‘arty farty’ of all the science subjects.

    One of the most distinguishing features of H2 Biology is that there are many areas which are grey (no definite yes/no).

    For some people this is highly unsettling.

    This is because they have a formulaic mind and are looking for the ‘model’ answer.

    If in your mind, everything exists in a series of steps and is either this or that, then H2 biology may not be for you.


    I hope I am able to shed some light and make it easier to come to a conclusion on whether to take up the subject despite having no biology foundation.

    Having said that, it is not easy as well as a subject. And challenges abound (just like any other JC subject).

    Having dedicated my life tutoring students in this subject, I still find tremendous joy everytime I approach the subject. And hopefully, I can spread this joy to you. Finally, let me know if this has been useful.

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