CIE A Level Biology (9700) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

15.1.8 The Role of Synapses

The Role of Synapses

  • Synapses slow down the rate of transmission of a nerve impulse that has to travel along two or more neurones
  • Responses to a stimulus would be much quicker if action potentials generated in a receptor travelled along an unbroken neuronal pathway from receptor to effector, rather than having to cross synapses on the way
  • Although this seems disadvantageous or sub-optimal, synapses are very important for several reasons:

The advantages of synapses table

The advantages of synapses, downloadable AS & A Level Biology revision notes


Alistair graduated from Oxford University in 2014 with a degree in Biological Sciences. He has taught GCSE/IGCSE Biology, as well as Biology and Environmental Systems & Societies for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. While teaching in Oxford, Alistair completed his MA Education as Head of Department for Environmental Systems and Societies.

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