A Level Biology

Please note: students in Year 12 (September 2015) are now following the new specification as outlined below and Year 13 (September 2015) will be following the legacy course outlined underneath

AQA (AS: 7401, A level: 7402) 

Who should study Biology? 

Those who enjoy applying practical skills alongside understanding of concepts and principles of the study of living things. 

The Course 

AS Biology

The AS specification has 4 units of content:

1 Biological molecules

2 Cells

3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment

4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Assessments

There are two final exams which include practical skills:

Paper 1 Paper 2

What's assessed?

Any content from topics 1– 4, including

relevant practical skills

What's assessed?

Any content from topics 1– 4, including

relevant practical skills

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

75 marks

50% of AS

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

75 marks

50% of AS

Questions

65 marks: short answer questions

10 marks: comprehension question

Questions

65 marks: short answer questions

10 marks: extended response question

A Level Biology 

The A Level specification has 8 units of content:

1 Biological molecules

2 Cells

3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment

4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

5 Energy transfers in and between organisms

6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

8 The control of gene expression

Assessments

There are three final exams which include practical skills:

Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3

What's assessed?

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

What's assessed?

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

What's assessed?

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

Written exam: 2 hours

91 marks

35% of A-level

Written exam: 2 hours

91 marks

35% of A-level

Written exam: 2 hours

78 marks

30% of A-level

Questions

76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

15 marks: extended response questions

Questions

76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions

15 marks: comprehension question

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

Practical endorsement

There are 6 required practical activities for 1st year A level and AS and 12 for A level. These will be assessed in school to give students the practical endorsement for biology. Lab books will need to be kept by students as evidence of completing these activities and of their mastery of practical skills.

This part of the course is assessed as pass or fail and does not affect their final A level grade.

Where it leads

Biology A-level provides an appropriate and relevant foundation of knowledge and skills for the study of biology in higher education. It is also useful to students planning to pursue medicine or dentistry at university and to follow any science related professions.

Please note: The following course is for current (September 2015) Year 13 students only

AQA (AS: 1411, A2: 2411) 

Who should study Biology? 

Those who enjoy applying practical skills alongside understanding of concepts and principles of the study of living things. 

The Course 

AS Biology

The AS specification has 3 units 

Unit 1 Biology and Disease

Assessment

Written Paper

Unit 2 The Variety of Living Organisms

Assessment

Written Paper

Unit 3 Practical and Investigative Skills

Assessment by AQA-set tasks

Practical skills assessment (PSA)

Investigative skills assignment (ISA)

A2 Biology 

The A2 specification has 3 units 

Unit 4 Populations and Environment

Assessment

Written Paper

Unit 5 Control in Cells and in Organisms Assessment

Assessment

Written Paper

Unit 6 Practical and Investigative Skills

Assessment

Internal Assessment

Practical skills assessment (PSA)

Investigative skills assignment (ISA)

Where it leads

Biology A-level provides an appropriate and relevant foundation of knowledge and skills for the study of biology in higher education. It is also useful to students planning to pursue medicine or dentistry at university and to follow any science related professions.