A-Level Biology is now a two year linear course. The one year AS course can be studied independently, but no longer counts towards the full A-Level qualification.
Biology A-Level is highly regarded by both universities and potential employers. It can lead to careers in Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Biomedical Sciences, Research, Law, Forensics and many more. Taking Biology at A-Level will certainly not limit your options!
Enrichment opportunities in Biology include lunchtime and after school support sessions. The Biology field trip to Cranedale Centre to develop ecological knowledge and the opportunity to get hands on practical experience. A nationally award winning academic experience offering students the chance to participate in a recreated post mortem experience conducted on VIVIT – the worlds only semi-synthetic human cadaver. A trip to see Dr Gunther von Hagens’ renowned exhibition of real human bodies where students will journey through the human body and discover the magic and mysteries that lie underneath the skin.
5 GCSEs 9 – 5 including English and Mathematics. Grade 6 in Biology or 7/6 in Combined Science.
The AS course will cover four topics:
• Biological Molecules
• Organisms Exchange Substances with their Environment
• Genetic Information, Variation and Relationships between Organisms
The four units are assessed through two 1½ hour exams, Paper 1 and Paper 2 and each one is worth 50% of the overall grade. The total mark for each paper is 75. Paper 1 consists of short answer questions plus one 10 mark comprehension question. Paper 2 consists of short answer questions plus one 10 mark extended response question.
The A2 course will be built on content taught in AS and will introduce the following four topics:
• Energy Transfers in and between Organisms
• Organisms Respond to Changes in their Environment
• Genetics, Populations, Evolution and Ecosystems
• The Control of Gene Expression
A2 is assessed through three papers:
• Paper 1: Includes short and long answer questions, plus a 15 mark extended response question. Covers content from topics 1 – 4 (AS topics, 2 hours, 91 marks, 35% of grade).
• Paper 2: Includes short and long answer questions, plus a 15 mark comprehension question. Covers content from topics 5 – 8 (A2 topic, 2 hours, 91 marks, 35% of grade).
• Paper 3: Includes structured questions including critical analysis task of experimental data and a 25 mark essay. Covers content from topics 1 – 8, (2 hours, 78 marks, 30% of grade).
There is no longer any coursework in Biology that counts towards the overall grade. Instead, students will be assessed on their ability to carry out a number of practical techniques over the two year period. This is reported as ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ alongside their A2 Level grade.
The Examination Board for this course is AQA.
At both AS and A2 level, the course comprises five hours of taught lessons including practical work to support student learning. Both years of the course are supplemented by support/ revision sessions to enhance student progression and to support student learning.