Examination Board: AQA
Topics Year 12:
Foundations in biology (Cell structure, biological molecules, nucleic acids and enzymes, cell division protein synthesis and cellular organisation)
Energy transfer between organisms (Photosynthesis, respiration and ecosystems)
The immune system (Communication disease, disease prevention, the immune system and HIV)
Topics Year 13:
Exchange and transport (Gas exchanges in different organisms and mass transport of blood in animals and sugars/water in plants
Communications, homeostasis and energy (Human nervous and hormonal systems, excretion, plant and animal responses, and respiration)
Genetics, evolution and ecosystems (Cellular control, patterns of inheritance, manipulating genomes, cloning, biotechnology, ecosystems, populations and sustainability)
Assessment: (ALL in summer 2021)
Paper 1 – 2hrs (35%) Biological molecules, Cells, Organisms and exchange, genetic information, variation and exchange with the environment. Practical skills.
Paper 2 — 2hrs (35%) Energy transfer, Organisms responding to the environment, Genetic populations, evolution and ecosystems, the control of gene expression. Practical skills.
Paper 3 – 2hrs (30%) Synoptic.
Practical endorsement: All of the topics are combined with practical skills and these skills will be developed throughout the course. Students will be required to complete a portfolio of a minimum of 12 practical tasks during the 2 year course for which they will be awarded a pass or fail. Examples of tasks include: microscopy, dissection, sampling techniques, using a colorimeter, chromatography, microbiological techniques, and measuring animal responses.
15% of the marks at A-level will awarded through practical task based questions in the examination papers in summer 2023.
What kinds of students are most suited to this course?
What other courses often combine successfully with this?
Chemistry, Physics, Physical Education, Psychology, Geography and Mathematics.
The Russell Group universities regard Biology highly and favour applications with these keystone subjects.
What career or higher education options might this course lead to?
Agriculture, Environment, Microbiology, Animal Science, Food & Brewing, Nature Reserves/Parks, Biochemistry, Forensic Science, Pharmacology, Biotechnology, Forestry, Pharmacy, Genetics, Psychology, Conservation, Health, Sports Science, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary/Zoology, Nutrition/Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Scientific Journalism.
What extra-curricular activities support this course?
Residential field trip to the field centre in Surrey (practicals, wellies and cake!)
Quotations from students:
“There is more to living things than meets the eye!”
“Almost half of UK employers surveyed by the CBI reported that they were looking for employees with strong qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
“I may look like I am doing nothing, but at a cellular level I am really rather busy”.