Biology

Examination Board: AQA

 

The A-level Biology syllabus has an emphasis on the way in which scientists work and the contributions of science to modern society.  The specification builds on GCSE Science and presents Biology is an exciting, relevant and challenging way.  A-level sciences are considered hugely important to the UK economy.  For example, the NHS is the largest employer in the UK.  Biology allows you to broaden your understanding of the living world.  It enables you to understand the science behind current issues and give you some of the skills to approach and develop your own arguments about an issue in a reasoned way.  It may enable you to have an influence in the way these issues are solved.

 

AS Biology

 

Content

Unit 1 – Biology and Disease

The digestive and gas exchange systems are examples of systems in which humans and other mammals exchange substances with their environment.  Students require an understanding of the principles of transport of substances and the biochemistry of enzymes.  These systems may be affected by disease.  Some communicable and non-communicable diseases are studied and how the defence system functions to limit the spread and effects of disease.  Investigative skills are developed during this unit and assessed later in unit 3.

 

Unit 2 – The Variety of Living Organisms

Species may be defined in terms of similarity, but there is variation between individuals based on DNA and environmental factors.  Students learn about DNA, the information carrying molecule. The variety of life, cell structure and function and exchange surfaces will also be studied.  Students will investigate the factors that affect biodiversity within habitats.  Again, investigative skills are developed during this unit and assessed later in unit 3.

 

Unit 3 – Investigative and Practical Skills Assessment

During unit 1 and 2, students will be assessed on skills learned.  They will be expected to demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques.  They should be able to make and record observations and measure with appropriate precision and accuracy.  They should also be able to analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental activities.

 

Assessment

Unit Assessment
1 – Biology and Disease 33% – AS, 16% – A2

75 minute examination

2 – The Variety of Living Organisms 46% – AS, 23% – A2

105 minute examination

3 – Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Biology 20% – AS, 10% – A2

Assessment of practical skills by teacher.

Investigative skills assignment

 

A2 Biology

 

Content

Unit 4 – Populations and the Environment

Living things form structured communities within ecosystems.  Energy and chemicals are transferred within and between communities.  Humans are part of this balance.  Students study the cycling of nutrients, photosynthesis and respiration.  They also look at the management of the conflict between human needs and conservation.  Students will carry out field work and apply some statistical tests on the data collected.

 

Unit 5 – Control in Cells and in Organisms

This topic covers nervous control, hormones and homeostasis.  Multi cellular organisms are able to control the activities of different tissues and organs within their bodies using these control mechanisms.  Students will also study the genetic code and protein synthesis.  Gene expression, cloning technologies and genetic engineering are studied in order to better understand organism function and to design new industrial and medical processes.

 

Unit 6 – Investigative and Practical Skills in A2

Students will be assessed on skills learned during the whole of the two years.  They will be expected to demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques.  They should be able to make and record observations and measure with appropriate precision and accuracy.  They should also be able to analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental activities.

 

Assessment

Unit Assessment
4 – Populations and the environment A2 – 16% marks

90 minutes examination

5 – Control in cells and in organisms A2 – 23% marks

135 minutes examination

6 – Investigative and practical skills in A2 A2 – 10% marks

Assessment of practical skills by teacher.  Investigative skills assignment marks

 

Entry Requirements:

A minimum of a B Grade at GCSE in Science plus 4 other GCSEs minimum grade C including English and Maths

 

Contact: Mrs J Clymo