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Biology

Subject Description

Biology is a key subject for many STEM careers, especially healthcare & medicine, and one of the facilitating subjects for the Russel Group universities.

What will you learn?

  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the study of life itself and the systems used by different living organisms (AO1).
  • You will develop laboratory skills to practically explore and provide evidence for these principles (AO2).
  • You will appreciate the importance of the relationship between the scientific community and society (AO3).

 

What does the AQA course involve?

You will study 8 topics over the two year AQA A level biology course;

 

Biological molecules

Cells

Organisms exchange substances with their environment

Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

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

 

How will I be assessed?

You will sit three 2h papers at the end of this linear qualification, testing you on AO1, AO2 & AO3; this will include 10% of marks coming from mathematical calculations. You will also achieve a practical endorsement if you have successfully demonstrated a high standard of practical skills over the two years.

Future Destinations:

By the end of your time at TWSF you will have the competence and confidence to pursue further study and a career in any biology related career.

Apart from careers in healthcare and medicine (such as doctor, veterinarian, dentist, nurse, optometrist & physiotherapist) the list is extensive and includes; forensic science, environmental science, ecology, zoology, oceanography, genetics, microbiology & dietetics.

It can also lead to careers in research & development, teaching, scientific writing, media & journalism.

A level biology will equip you with many skills that you will be able to take with you whatever you decide to, including; research, practical skills, problem solving, analytical skills, organisation, team work & communication skills.

Qualification:

A Level

Exam Board:

AQA

Entry Requirements:

Essential: Grade 4 English, Grade 4 Maths and Grade 5 Science.

Desirable: Grade 5 English, Grade 5 Maths and  Grade 6 Science.

Content and Assessment Breakdown:

Unit One

PAPER 1

What’s assessed

  • Any content from topics 1–4, including relevant practical skills

Assessed

  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 91 marks
  • 35% of A-level

Questions

  • 76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions
  • 15 marks: extended response questions

Unit Two

PAPER 2

What’s assessed

  • Any content from topics 5–8, including relevant practical skills

Assessed

  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 91 marks
  • 35% of A-level

Questions

  • 76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions
  • 15 marks: comprehension question

Unit Three

PAPER 3

What’s assessed

  • Any content from topics 1–8, including relevant practical skills

Assessed

  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 78 marks
  • 30% of A-level

Questions

  • 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

Weighting of assessment

 Weighting of assessment objectives

AO1 – 30-35%

AO2 – 40-45%

AO3 – 25-30%

At least 15% of the overall assessment of A-level Biology will assess knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to practical work.

10% of the overall assessment of A-level Biology will contain mathematical skills equivalent to Level 2 or above.

Practical Assessment

A separate endorsement of practical skills will be taken alongside the A-level. This will be assessed by teachers and will be based on direct observation of students’ competency in a range of skills that are not assessable in written exams.

This will either be a pass or fail grade.

Many universities have added this qualification as part of their course requirements.

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