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Course Guide


(AQA 7402)

Biology is an exciting, cutting edge science. The understanding of cell and molecular biology, ecology, genetics and evolution is essential to the continuing progress of society.

What will you study?

The school follows the AQA specification. The course is split up into eight modules, which will allow clear progression pathways, from GCSE to A Level, through to higher education. Each module covers different key concepts of Biology.

Topics covered in Year 12 are:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Exchange of substances between organisms and their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Topics covered in Year 13 are:

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • The response of organisms to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression

Teaching of practical skills is integrated with the theoretical topics throughout the course.

How is it assessed?

The A Level is a two year linear course with all exams taken in the Summer of Year 13.  There are three exam papers:

  • Paper 1: assessing topics 1 to 4
  • Paper 2: assessing topics 5 to 8
  • Paper 3: assessing any topic, but will focus on a synoptic approach and in assessing evaluation and analysis skills.

Practical methods will be examined in the above papers, but there is also continual assessment of practical skills throughout the course:

  • Practical Endorsement: 12 teacher-assessed practical activities
Enrichment opportunities?

A key part of the A Level will be covered during a residential course at a UK field centre at the end of Year 12. Students will have the opportunity to study biology out in the real world gaining practical skills and developing a real understanding of how science works. Students also have the opportunity to attend off-site lectures delivered by internationally renowned biologists, to participate in national biology competitions, and to experience a university-led practical session.

Where might it lead you?

Although the course is complete and worthwhile in itself, it is also a suitable preparation for those intending to study Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science, and especially relevant to students wishing to pursue a degree course in one of the many Biological Sciences. An A level in Biology prepares you for a range of careers in the science and health sectors including, but not limited to, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, zoology, biomedicine, forensics, biochemistry and science teaching, and provides you with transferable skills opening up opportunities in research, further education and other career areas.

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