GCE A Level Biology

Duration: 
One year for AS, two years for A level. AS Biology is composed of four topic modules which are examined along with relevant practical skills in two written exams. A level Biology is composed of 8 topic modules which are examined along with the relevant practical skills in three written examinations. A level students will be awarded a practical endorsement if they have satisfactorily completed the required practical work over the two year course.

Specification:
AQA AS  (7401) A level (7402)

Further details are available from the AQA website

Entry Requirements/Student Suitability: 
Students are required to achieve:

Grade B or above any two of the following GCSEs

  • Core Science GCSE
  • Additional Science GCSE
  • Further Additional GCSE
  • Biology GCSE
  • Chemistry GCSE
  • Physics GCSE

In addition to these Science GCSEs you also need

  • Grade B or above in a Maths GCSE

Course Content:
AS Level

  1. Biological Molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

  • Paper 1 1 hour 30 mins 75 marks 50% AS
  • Paper 2 1 hour 30 mins 75 marks 50% AS

Papers will assess content from all 4 topics plus the 6 relevant required practicals

A2 Level

  1. Biological Molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  5. Energy transfers in and between organisms
  6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  7. Genetics, populations evolution and ecosystems
  8. The control of gene expression

  • Paper 1 2 hours Topics 1-4 91 marks 35% of A level
  • Paper 2 2 hours Topics 5-8 91 marks 35% of A level
  • Paper 3 2 hours Topics 1-8 78 marks 30% of A level
Papers 1 and 2 include short and long answer questions
Paper 3 includes structured questions including practical techniques, critical analysis of given experimental data and an essay question
 
For further information and exemplar question papers see the exam board website.

Methods of Study:
  • Class discussion
  • Note taking
  • Practical activities
  • Group work on presentations
  • Independent research
  • Modelling
  • Practice exam questions
  • Field work

Independent Study Time:
Do living things fascinate you? How does the science of genetics work? What effect does biology have on the environment?  Students are expected to have a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the subject with the willingness to put in many hours of extra study to back up the work covered in lessons.  There will be at least one piece of homework per week, including  practice exam questions.  Frequent interim tests are given to assess progress and understanding. 

Progression and the Future:
If you are considering applying to university to study biology, zoology, ecology, animal science, marine biology, life sciences, medicine, environmental science, forensic science or any other subject related to the natural world, then A-level Biology is essential.  Possible career choices that require A-level Biology include: biological testing, biotechnology, independent research, food industry jobs, nutrition, medicine, doctor, nurse, veterinarian, zoologist, zookeeper, animal care, veterinary nurse, scientist, among a huge range of others.

Subject Contacts:

Mrs K Goodwin
Curriculum Area Leader - Science

How to Apply:
The Application Process begins in February of each year.  Please contact Sarah Fisher, Sixth Form Administrator, for further information or to request an application form.

Click here for a printable version of this subject specification.

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