Biology

Saving threatened species, feeding people, GM organisms, curing diseases…the twenty-first century offers many challenges to a biologist.

Content

New knowledge in areas such as genetics, molecular biology, biodiversity and ecology affects human society and the environment all over the planet. The world moves quickly – in order to move with it, and participate fully, people need to be ‘in the know’. The study of Biology gives the skills and opportunities to advance human knowledge and understanding in today’s world, in order to make a difference to tomorrow’s world.

Whether you decide to work in a laboratory, a field, an ocean, a zoo, a classroom, a TV studio or an industry (to name but a few), you can make a contribution as a Bioscientist. A background in Biology gives you transferable skills and increases your career options so that you can adapt to the world that is changing around you.

Special Features

AS and A Level in Biology encourages students to:

– recognise the value and responsible use of Biology in society;
– be aware of advances in technology, including information technology, relevant to Biology;
– develop an understanding of scientific method;
– develop essential knowledge and understanding of concepts of Biology, and the skills needed for the use of these in new and changing situations;
– show knowledge and understanding of facts, principles and concepts from different areas of Biology and to make and use connections between them;
– sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, Biology.

Entry

You will need at least 5 A*-C GCSEs to get into the Sixth Form, but you MUST have a Grade B or higher in either GCSE Biology or Core and Additional Science to gain entry to this course.

Attendance

One year to AS plus one further year to complete the full A Level.

Assessment

TOPIC TOPIC TITLE MODE OF ASSESSMENT BRIEF OUTLINE OF MODULE

1

 

Biological molecules

2 x 1 hour 30 minutes written exam covering any content from topics 1-4 including practical skills

 

75 marks each paper

 

Paper one: 65 marks short answers, 10 marks comprehension

 

Paper two: 65 marks short answers, 10 marks extended response

 

6 required practicals, linked to the course content, which must be carried out and written as lab reports.

There are loads of different types of biological molecules that make up all cells and organisms, such as carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins and lipids, etc. This topic is all about these biological molecules.

2

 

Cells This topic explores eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell structure, cell division, the movement of substances across cell membranes and the immune system.

3

 

Organisms exchange substances with their environment Every organism has substances it needs to take in and others it needs to remove in order to survive. In this topic you will learn about a range of exchange and transport systems, from looking at gas exchange in humans to transport in plants.

4

 

Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms What actually is DNA? How does it code for characteristics? How does genetic variation come about? This topic will answer a lot of the big questions linked to genetics and build on your GCSE knowledge.
A level Only
5 Energy Transfers in and between organisms

3 x 2 hour written exams

Paper one:  Content from topics 1-4

91 marks, 35% of A level, 76 marks short and long answers, 15 marks extended response.

 

Paper two: Content from 5 – 8

91 marks, 35% of A level, 76 marks short and long answers, 15 marks comprehension question

 

Paper three:  Content from topics 1 – 8

78 marks, 30% of A level, 38 marks structured questions including practical techniques

15 marks critical analysis of experimental data

25 marks essay from a choice of two titles

 

12 (including the 6 from AS) required practicals, linked to the course content which must be carried out and written as lab reports.

This will include learning about the biochemical processes in photosynthesis and respiration.  You will investigate the efficiency of energy transfer and the organisms and processes involved in this transfer.

 

6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

You will study the nervous system and how it works.  You will investigate the role of hormones in plants and animals and how these produce an effect.  This topic also expands on the GCSE themes of homeostasis from B1 and B3.

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7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems You will study the concepts of species and what factors affect variation.  You will extend your knowledge of natural selection and speciation.  This topic also investigates how communities of organisms are affected by competition.
8 The control of gene expression

This topic looks at how cells are able to control their metabolic activities by regulating the transcription and translation of their genome and how tissues and organs are formed. You will look at the factors that affect the expression of genes and the implications for medicine in diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

 

Moving on

Biology leads on to a wide range of courses and careers, including:
– an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences, Medicine, Environmental Science, Forensic Science and related courses or a BTEC Higher National (HNC or HND);
– employment, for example in the areas of Biological Testing, Biotechnology, independent research and the food industry.