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Biology

AQA A Level Biology

Biology is exciting! Its name is derived from the Greek words "bios" (life) and "logos" (study) and is often referred to as the ‘study of life.’ One of the greatest scientific feats of our era is the astonishing progress made in understanding the intricate machinery of life.

As you progress through your Biology course, you will study life from the smallest units, including genes and organelles, to whole ecosystems. You will be examining not just observations made, but the mechanisms behind them and will develop a wide range of transferrable skills including clear communication, data analysis and presentation.

Entry requirements:
Grade 6 in Biology or Grade 6,6 in Combined Science.

Grade 6 in Mathematics

Grade 5 in English

Year 13 Course Overview

Autumn and Spring terms:

  • Module 5 – Energy transfers between organisms. This module focuses on the fundamental processes of life: Photosynthesis & Respiration.
    Module 6 - Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments. This topic looks at communication, homeostasis, excretion, nerves and hormones.
    Module 7 - Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems. The foci of this topic are genetic variation and population biodiversity.
    Module 8 - The control of gene expression. Work will cover cellular control, manipulating genomes and cloning.

Summer term:

Final preparation for exams including concise scientific writing and exam technique.

Practical work: 

Practical work is assessed and carried out over the year in six additional required practical activities. This totals to 12 assessed practical activities over the two years. These contribute to a pass/fail practical endorsement and do not affect the final letter grade.

Year 13 Assessment:

Half termly testing on recent and previous work.

PPE (Mock) exam in exam conditions and final A level examination, following this format:

Paper 1 – 50%

  • Content from modules 1 to 4 plus practical skills
  • 75 marks – 1 hour 30 mins
  • 65 marks are short answer questions and 10 marks: comprehension questions

Paper 2 – 50% 

  • Content from modules 5 to 8 plus practical skills
  • 75 marks – 1 hour 30 mins
  • 65 marks are short answer questions and 10 marks: comprehension question

 

Final A Level Examinations

Paper 1 – 35%

  • Any content from modules 1 to 4 plus practical skills
  • 91 marks – 2 hours
  • 76 marks are short and long answer questions and 15 marks: extended response questions

Paper 2 – 35%

  • Any content from modules 5 to 8 plus practical skills
  • 91 marks - 2 hours
  • 76 marks are short and long answer questions and 15 marks: comprehension question

Paper 3 – 30%

  • Any content from modules 5 to 8 plus practical skills
  • 78 marks – 2 hours
  • 38 marks: structured questions, including practical techniques
  • 15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data
  • 25 marks: one essay from a choice of two titles

We expect our students to complete extra reading around the topics taught in lessons, as this deepens their understanding and gives them an edge in examinations.

Resources:

http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/biology-7401-7402

Useful Information:

This qualification is linear; students will sit all their exams at the end of their A-level course.

Further opportunities

Progression to University or modern apprenticeship:

A-level Biology is a great choice for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, including Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Forensic Science.

Many universities also offer biological science courses such as: Molecular Biology; Cell Biology; Biochemistry; Botany; Zoology; Parasitology; Marine science; Genetics; Immunology; Virology; Pharmacology; and many more.


Other employment opportunities:

Employers are looking for a science A level as an indication of analytical skills, so some Biology students choose careers in, for example, economics, business; the Civil Service; management and marketing.

 

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