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A-level Biology

All living organisms are made of cells and if you are interested in how cells work and why living organisms are the way they are, then Biology is for you.

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Exam Board: AQA

Biology

We were all a single cell once and that cell had to gain energy, grow and divide; we share this with all other organisms. The study of Biology is relevant to our lives today and in the future. We are in a world which needs people with the skills that you acquire when you train as a biologist.

Entry Requirements

A good grounding in Biology is essential – preferably a grade 6 or 7 at GCSE. You will need to be competent in Mathematics and Chemistry. You need to have a good level of English, both written and spoken.

Course Content

AS Level (Year 12)

1. Biological molecules
2. Cells
3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms.

A-level (Year 13)

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.

Where does it lead?

Past students have gone on to study many different degree courses. These include Pharmacy, Medicine, Biomedical Science, Dental Technology, Dentistry, Law, Psychology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Accounting and Finance.

Assessment

AS (Year 12)
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Paper 1: any content from topics 1-4 including practical skills 75 marks – of which 65 are short answer, 10 comprehension (1 hour 30 minutes) 50% of AS
Paper 2: any content from topics 1-4 including practical skills 75 marks – of which 65 are short answer, 10 extended response (1 hour 30 minutes) 50% of AS

A-level (Year 13)
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Paper 1: any content from topics 1-4 including practical skills 91 marks – of which 76 are short and long answer, 15 extended response (2 hours) 35% of A-level
Paper 2: any content from topics 5-8 including practical skills 91 marks – of which 76 are short and long answers, 15 comprehension (2 hours) 35% of A-level
Paper 3: any content from topics 1-8 including practical skills 78 marks – of which 38 are structured, 15 critical analysis of data and 25 an essay (2 hours) 30% of A-level

Practical
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There is no internal assessment that leads to marks that contribute towards the AS (Year 12) or A-level (Year 13) grades. Instead, practical work is assessed in the written papers at the end of AS/A-level. A separate ‘endorsement’ of practical work is assessed by teachers which is not graded. A pass will be recorded on a candidate’s exam certificate.

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