BIOLOGY A LEVEL
Examination Board: AQA
Course tutors: Mrs Ulyatt, Dr Whelband
Biology A level goes into much more detail than you will have covered at GCSE. It will give you the skills to make connections and associations with all living things around you. Biology literally means the study of life and if that’s not important, what is? Being such a broad topic, you’re bound to find a specific area of interest, plus it opens the door to a fantastic range of interesting careers.
Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, Biology is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, as well as providing the skill set desired by non-science based courses, and serving as useful preparation for employment. Students with Biology have gone onto to study Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and many other health related courses, Law, Toxicology, English Literature, Marine Biology, History, Psychology, Pathology and Business.
Teaching and Learning Styles
An integrated programme of theory and laboratory work. Information will be presented by lecture, whole class discussion, group work, experimental investigations, fieldwork and data analysis. A variety of media are used to deliver the content including extensive ICT..
AS Biology is one year long, with exams at the end. A-level Biology lasts two years, with exams at the end of the second year. This list shows the topics you will study in each year.
AS and first year of A-Level
Biological molecules, Cells, Organisms exchange substances with their environment and Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
Second year of A-Level
Energy transfers in and between organisms, Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments, Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems and The control of gene expression
Biology, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course you will carry out practical activities that will give you the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way living things behave and work. It will also ensure that if you choose to study a Biology-based subject at university, you’ll have the practical skills needed to carry out successful experiments during your degree
There is no coursework on this course. However, your performance during practicals will be
The AS has two equally weighted, 1 hour 30 minutes long, written examinations at the end of the year. Both papers are based on any content from all topics, including relevant practical skills.
Paper 1 contains short answer questions and a comprehension question
Paper 2 contains short answer and extended response questions
There are three examinations at the end of the two years for A-level, all of which are two hours long. At least 15% of the marks for A-level Biology are based on what you learned in your practicals.
Paper 1 contains short and long answer and extended response questions based on content from the first year of the course, including relevant practical skills.
Paper 2 contains short and long answer questions and a comprehension question based on content from the second year of the course, including relevant practical skills.
Paper 3 contains structured questions, including practical techniques, critical analysis of given experimental data and one essay from a choice of two titles.
IB: Group 4: Experimental Sciences
Biology SL / HL
Biology is the study of life in all of its various forms ranging from simple viruses and bacteria to more complex animals and plants. The scientific exploration of the world around us has immediate relevance to our lives today and the diversity of life that has been and is still being discovered ensures that the field of Biology will continue to grow with infinite potential.
The aim of the Biology course is to develop a broad and thorough understanding of the principles of living organisms. To do this, the course aims to integrate theory and knowledge with student investigation and inquiry. There are four basic biological concepts that run throughout the course; Structure and function, Universality versus diversity, Equilibrium within systems and Evolution. In addition, a large emphasis is placed on the development of investigative, analytical and application skills and it is hoped that students will develop the skills to collaborate and communicate their findings as other scientists do.
Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, Biology is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, as well as providing the skill set desired by non-science based courses, and serving as useful preparation for employment. Students with IB Biology have gone onto to study Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and many other health related courses, Law, English Literature, Marine Biology, History and Business.
Core topics include:
Cell biology, Molecular biology, Genetics, Ecology, Evolution and biodiversity and Human physiology
Additional Higher Level topics include:
Nucleic acids, Metabolism, cell respiration and photosynthesis, Plant Biology, Genetics and evolution and Animal physiology.
All students will also study one optional topic from Neurobiology and behaviour, Biotechnology and bioinformatics, Ecology and conservation or Human physiology. This will be decided at the start of Yr13.
As part of the course all students spend a significant amount of time doing experimental work in the laboratory (40 hours for SL and 60 hours for HL) which includes seven prescribed labs. An important and extremely enjoyable part of this is the Group 4 project, which involves the exchange of ideas with other science students on a project of the students’ choice.
External 80% from 3 examinations
Paper 1 – Multiple choice questions
Paper 2 – Data Analysis, short answer questions and one extended response question.
Paper 3 –Short answer questions on core experimental skills and short answer and extended response questions on the option topic.
Internal 20% from one individual investigation, This is a single extended piece of work (10 hours), the subject of which is chosen by the student.