Preliminary Biology Exam, Old HSC Questions

47 marks – 1 hour and 30 mins

HSC Questions for preliminary content

All Questions are from old HSC exams, 2001-2005, and cover year 11 new syllabus content.


Question 1.

Question 2.

Question 3.

Question 4.

Question 5.

Question 6.

Question 7.

Question 8.

Question 9.

Question 10.

Question 11.

Question 12.

Question 13.

Question 14.

Question 15.

Question 16.

Question 17.

Question 18. 

Question 19.

Question 20.

Question 21.


  1. b
  2. a
  3. d
  4. b
  5. c
  6. c
  7. d
  8. b
  9. b
  10. c
  11. b
  12. d
  13. a
  14. b
  15. d

Question 16.

  1. The risk overweighed the benefit of growing GM
  2. The sample technique for the survey – was it random? This is important since non random sampling can introduce bias, for example asking elderly people can result in greater concervitive viewpoints, hence skewing results from what is true for the whole population. Additionally, sample size is sufficiently large.

Question 17.


Identifies the source/sink model1
Explain companion cells create high concentration by active transport of sucrose creating source1
Describe the movement of sucrose through the phloem from area of high concentration to low concentration1

Question 18.

  • Light microscope
  • Slide
  • Dissecting needle
  • Grid for slide
  • Sample containing red blood cells
  • Gloves
Risk/ hazardRisk managementSeverity
Developing a disease from contact with the red blood cellsWear gloves while handling, dispose of safely, clean up any broken glass immediatelyMedium

Place sample on slide, lowering a coverslip onto the sample, place it underneath the light microscope and clip in place with the stage clips. Adjust the light so it it ⅞ field of view when eyepieces are removed. Use the coarse and fine focus knobs to get the blood cells into view.

The diagram should be drawn, with a scale, showing red blood cell as 8 um at diameter.

Question 19.


The process of evolution of rapid change, evolutionarily speaking, followed by long intervals of little change.


Identifies gradualism as more in line with Darwin’s theory of natural selection1
Describe process proposed by darwinReiterative processIndividual has many offspring → change in environment → new selective pressure → most suited survive and reproduce → repeat1
Outline the link between this to punctuated equilibrium, whereby, same process but much faster with large change and less repetition 1

Question 20.


High concentration of CO2 can not be used by cells1/2
Identify toxic since is causes1/2


  • 75% CO2 on red blood 
  • 25% CO2 in the plasma

Question 21.


‘Hair’ underside of a fig leaf


The hair act to create a humid environment around stomates, hence reducing water loss. This helps to minimize water loss in dry environments.


  • Independent variable: The type of plant being tested each time
  • Dependent variable: Potometer to determine the amount of water loss
  • Control: A group without any treatment
  • Controlled variable: The location, light,  same number of leaves, amount of water for each

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