Biology

Board:  AQA

Course Aims

Biology is fundamentally an experimental subject. This specification provides numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality, and equip students with the essential practical skills they need.

At AS students will cover the following topics:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

At A-level students will build on these topics with a more in depth focus on the following:

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression

Course details

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all the AS exams at the end of their AS course and all the A-level exams at the end of their A-level course.

Assessments

At AS all content is assessed in two written papers.

What’s assessed?

How is it assessed?

Type of questions

Any content, including relevant practical skills (topics 1-4)

50% of AS

Paper 1: Written exam

1 hour 30 minutes

75 marks

 

65 marks: short answer questions

10 marks: comprehension question

Any content, including relevant practical skills

(topics 1-4)

50% of AS

Paper 2:Written exam

1 hour 30 minutes

75 marks

65 marks: short answer questions

10 marks: comprehension question

At A-level all the content is assessed in three written papers at the end of Year 13.

What’s assessed?

How is it assessed?

Type of questions

Any content, including relevant practical skills (topics 1-4)

35% of A-Level

Paper 1: Written exam

2 hours

91 marks

 

76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

15 marks: extended response questions

Any content, including relevant practical skills

(topics 5-8)

35% of A-Level

Paper 2:Written exam

2 Hours

91 marks

 

76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

15 marks: comprehension question

Any content, including relevant practical skills

(topics 1-8)

30% of A-Level

Paper 3:Written exam

2 Hours

78 marks

 

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

Entry Requirements

iGCSE Biology  Grade B (minimum requirement)

Students that have attained grade A in Additional Science GCSE are not barred from the AS level but will be considered independently.  There will be more learning required by these students.

 Teaching Approaches

The course is generally taught by two teachers.

The teachers will expect the students to:

  • interpret and analyse data;
  • problem solve;
  • communicate information effectively;
  • apply knowledge to a situation that is drawn from a wide range of contexts;
  • evaluate the value of information and data;
  • carry out practical work individually and in groups; 
  • learn and use numerical skills;
  • learn and use ICT skills when appropriate; 
  • be capable of independent learning;
  • take responsibility for their own learning.