A Level Biology (Reformed 2015)

 

What is Biology?

Biology explores and investigates living creatures and the processes that occur in nature. It aims to understand how organisms work and interact with each other by exploring the disciplines of biochemistry, physiology, genetics, health and ecology.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

Potential Biology students will need a solid grounding in basic scientific and mathematical theory and should have some experience in using basic laboratory equipment. The course is vital to students wishing to pursue careers in most scientific disciplines, such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Microbiology, Genetics, Sports Science and Environmental Science. The course aims to develop skills in observation, analysis and manipulation of data and in writing clearly and scientifically, but also seeks to improve knowledge and understanding of topical issues related to the subject.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS study

The MPW approach aims to give students a comprehensive grounding in the basic principles of each topic and then gives opportunities to develop a wider understanding of the subject by reading about relevant current affairs. This is backed up by setting regular homework and weekly timed assignments based on past exam questions. Many topics are directly reinforced by practical work carried out during class time.

AS specification

AQA 7401 

 

Topic 1 – Biological Molecules

  • Monomers and polymers
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Proteins
  • Nucleic acids
  • ATP
  • Water
  • Inorganic ions

Topic 2 – Cells

  • Cell structure
  • All cells arise from other cells
  • Transport across membranes
  • Cell recognition and the immune system

Topic 3 – Organisms exchange substances with their environment

  • Surface area to volume ratio
  • Gas exchange
  • Digestion and absorption
  • Mass transport

 Topic 4 – Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

  • DNA, genes and chromosomes
  • DNA and protein synthesis
  • Genetic diversity can arise as a result of mutation or during meiosis
  • Genetic diversity and adaptation
  • Species and taxonomy
  • Biodiversity within a community
  • Investigating diversity 

Assessment

Paper 1

  • 50% of the total AS marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Covers and content from topics 1-4, including relevant practical skills

 Paper 2

  • 50% of the total AS marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Covers and content from topics 1-4, including relevant practical skills

Reading list 

AuthorTitlePublisher
Toole and Toole AQA Biology AS/Year 1 Student Book Oxford University Press

A Level

MPW approach to A2 study

The A-level course aims to build on the knowledge and understanding developed during the AS course. The importance of wider reading is further emphasised in order to make links between areas of theory covered. Once again, this is backed up by setting regular homework and weekly timed assignments based on past exam questions. Emphasis is particularly placed on developing skills to effectively answer synoptic questions.

A2 Specification Number
AQA 7402 

 

Topic 5 - Energy transfers in and between organisms

  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Energy and Ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles

Topic 6 - Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

  • Stimuli
  • Nervous coordination
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Homeostasis

Topic 7 - Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

  • Inheritance
  • Populations
  • Evolutions may lead to speciation
  • Populations in ecosystems

Topic 8 - The control of gene expression

  • Alteration of the sequence of bases in DNA
  • Gene expression
  • Using genome projects
  • Gene technologies

Assessment

 

Paper 1

  • 35% of the total A-level marks
  • 2 hours
  • Covers any content from topics 1-4, including relevant practical skills

Paper 2

  • 35% of the total A-level marks
  • 2 hours
  • Covers any content from topics 5-8, including relevant practical skills

Paper 3

  • 30% of the total A-level marks
  • 2 hours
  • Covers any content from topics 1-8, including relevant practical skills

Reading list

AuthorTitlePublisher
Toole and Toole AQA Biology AS/ Year 2 Student Book Oxford University Press

 

Further details can be found at http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/biology-7401-7402