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HOME | SIXTH FORM | ACADEMIC | Biology

Biology

Examination Board AQA

Biology can be studied at both AS and A2 Level 

There are many reasons why you may wish to study Biology at A-level, paramount amongst which might be your curiosity about the natural world and the enjoyment of experimental and investigative work.

During the course you will develop an understanding of biological principles and learn to appreciate the development and significance of Biology in personal, social, environmental, economic and technological contexts. You will furthermore study the importance of experimental and investigative skills and how to apply simple statistical tests to assess the significance of your findings. It is important in Biology that you allow the experimental results to speak for themselves rather than trying to fit them into a pre-ordained pattern. Living things don’t always follow the rules.

In order to be successful and enjoy A-level Biology we expect you to have at least an A grade at GCSE. An aptitude for Chemistry is also important, as there is a significant Biochemistry content to the course. As with all Science subjects you must be a good investigator. It is also an advantage
to be a capable mathematician and be able to handle simple statistics.

An A-level in Biology can lead to many things. For example, you could go to University to study for a degree in Biological or Environmental Sciences. This is a very wide field and covers all the traditional branches of Biology and Ecology as well as courses leading to careers in the ever expanding field of Biotechnology. If you are contemplating a career in Medicine or Veterinary Science then Biology is now regarded by many Universities as a pre-requisite. Using your A-level Biology you could also consider many other areas of the medical profession, for example Physiotherapy, Nursing or Psychology.

After completing Year 12 Biology, pupils must participate in a compulsory residential trip in June. The trip lasts three days and we travel to a UK FSC to explore various ecological habitats and carry out
investigations into factors affecting species abundance and diversity in a variety of ecosystems. We stay in a dedicated field studies centre and the girls are taught and coached by experts in environmental field work.

 

AS (Year 1)

Paper 1
What’s assessed?

Any content from topics 1– 4, including relevant practical skills
Assessed
Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
75 marks
50% of AS
Questions
65 marks: Short answer questions
10 marks: Comprehension question

Paper 2
What’s assessed?

Any content from topics 1– 4, including relevant practical skills
Assessed
Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
75 marks
50% of AS
Questions
65 marks: short answer questions
10 marks: extended response questions

AS (Year 2)

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

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

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

Practical Assessment throughout the two years with 12 required practicals to be undertaken as outlined below:

1. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of an enzyme controlled reaction

2. Preparation of stained squashes of cells from plant root tips; setup and use of an optical microscope to identify the stages of mitosis in these stained squashes and calculation of a mitotic index

3. Production of a dilution series of a solute to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the water potential of plant tissue

4. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the permeability of cell surface membranes

5. Dissection of animal or plant gas exchange or mass transport system or of organ within such a system

6. Use of aseptic techniques to investigate the effect of antimicrobial substances on microbial growth

7. Use of chromatography to investigate the pigments isolated from leaves of different plants, e.g. leaves from shadetolerantand shade-intolerant plants or leaves of different colours

8. Investigation into the effect of a named factor on the rate of dehydrogenase activity in extracts of chloroplasts

9. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of respiration of cultures of single-celled organisms

10. Investigation into the effect of an environmental variable on the movement of an animal using either a choice chamber or a maze

11. Production of a dilution series of a glucose solution and use of colorimetric techniques to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the concentration of glucose in an unknown ‘urine’ sample

12. Investigation into the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species

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HOME | SIXTH FORM | ACADEMIC | Biology

Biology

Examination Board AQA

Biology can be studied at both AS and A2 Level 

There are many reasons why you may wish to study Biology at A-level, paramount amongst which might be your curiosity about the natural world and the enjoyment of experimental and investigative work.

During the course you will develop an understanding of biological principles and learn to appreciate the development and significance of Biology in personal, social, environmental, economic and technological contexts. You will furthermore study the importance of experimental and investigative skills and how to apply simple statistical tests to assess the significance of your findings. It is important in Biology that you allow the experimental results to speak for themselves rather than trying to fit them into a pre-ordained pattern. Living things don’t always follow the rules.

In order to be successful and enjoy A-level Biology we expect you to have at least an A grade at GCSE. An aptitude for Chemistry is also important, as there is a significant Biochemistry content to the course. As with all Science subjects you must be a good investigator. It is also an advantage
to be a capable mathematician and be able to handle simple statistics.

An A-level in Biology can lead to many things. For example, you could go to University to study for a degree in Biological or Environmental Sciences. This is a very wide field and covers all the traditional branches of Biology and Ecology as well as courses leading to careers in the ever expanding field of Biotechnology. If you are contemplating a career in Medicine or Veterinary Science then Biology is now regarded by many Universities as a pre-requisite. Using your A-level Biology you could also consider many other areas of the medical profession, for example Physiotherapy, Nursing or Psychology.

After completing Year 12 Biology, pupils must participate in a compulsory residential trip in June. The trip lasts three days and we travel to a UK FSC to explore various ecological habitats and carry out
investigations into factors affecting species abundance and diversity in a variety of ecosystems. We stay in a dedicated field studies centre and the girls are taught and coached by experts in environmental field work.

 

AS (Year 1)

Paper 1
What’s assessed?

Any content from topics 1– 4, including relevant practical skills
Assessed
Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
75 marks
50% of AS
Questions
65 marks: Short answer questions
10 marks: Comprehension question

Paper 2
What’s assessed?

Any content from topics 1– 4, including relevant practical skills
Assessed
Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
75 marks
50% of AS
Questions
65 marks: short answer questions
10 marks: extended response questions

AS (Year 2)

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

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

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

Practical Assessment throughout the two years with 12 required practicals to be undertaken as outlined below:

1. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of an enzyme controlled reaction

2. Preparation of stained squashes of cells from plant root tips; setup and use of an optical microscope to identify the stages of mitosis in these stained squashes and calculation of a mitotic index

3. Production of a dilution series of a solute to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the water potential of plant tissue

4. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the permeability of cell surface membranes

5. Dissection of animal or plant gas exchange or mass transport system or of organ within such a system

6. Use of aseptic techniques to investigate the effect of antimicrobial substances on microbial growth

7. Use of chromatography to investigate the pigments isolated from leaves of different plants, e.g. leaves from shadetolerantand shade-intolerant plants or leaves of different colours

8. Investigation into the effect of a named factor on the rate of dehydrogenase activity in extracts of chloroplasts

9. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of respiration of cultures of single-celled organisms

10. Investigation into the effect of an environmental variable on the movement of an animal using either a choice chamber or a maze

11. Production of a dilution series of a glucose solution and use of colorimetric techniques to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the concentration of glucose in an unknown ‘urine’ sample

12. Investigation into the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species

back to top