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IGCSE Biology: My candidates are doing the Alternative to Practical paper, so what practical work do they need to do?
The Alternative to Practical paper is simply an alternative mode of assessment to the Practical Examination paper. It requires the same kind of practical work in preparation as the Practical Examination paper. The syllabus makes it clear, in the Aims, the Assessment Objectives and Practical Assessment sections, that the course should be taught practically and that candidates should have experience of doing (rather than merely seeing) experimental work. The Alternative to Practical paper assesses their practical skills, including both data handling and familiarity with standard laboratory equipment. Any candidates without experience of doing practical work will be disadvantaged in this paper. In addition using practical work as a teaching tool, giving students the opportunity to learn by doing practical work hands-on, is an excellent way of enabling candidates to build an understanding of specific theoretic perspectives of Biology.