A LEVEL BIOLOGY
- TEACHING STAFF
Mr R. Knee (Head of Biology)
Mrs E Ridler
Miss E Lee
Miss J Davies
Mrs J Barr
Miss R Carter
- COURSE STRUCTURE
Exam board: OCR
You will learn about all aspects of Biology during 5 hours of teaching time per week. This will include all the important foundation concepts of Biology and expand on your understanding of circulation, breathing, immunity, evolution and ecology.
Biology no longer includes a coursework element with your final AS and A2 grade being awarded solely on you end of year written exams.
During the course you will be expected to complete core practical tasks from 12 sections. You will need to complete one from each section to achieve a pass in the practical component of the course.
The topics you will study are as follows:
Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Biology
Module 2 – Foundations in Biology
- Cell Structure
- Biological Molecules
- Nucleotides and nucleic acids
- Biological membranes
- Cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation
Module 3 – Exchange and transport
- Exchange surfaces
- Transport in animals
- Transport in plants
Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease
- Communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system
- Classification and evolution
Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy
- Communication and homeostasis
- Excretion as an example of homeostatic control
- Neuronal communication
- Hormonal communication
- Plant and animal responses
Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems
- Genetics and evolution
- Cellular control
- Patterns of inheritance
- Manipulating genomes
- Cloning and biotechnology
- Populations and sustainability
- EXAMINATION STRUCTURE
END OF YEAR 1
Each student will sit the following exams at the end of year 1.
Breadth in Biology – 70 marks, 1hr 30mins
50% of total AS level
Depth in Biology – 70 marks, 1hr 30mins
50% of total AS level
Both are written papers and contain a mixture of knowledge from modules 1-4. The exams for these papers will be completed during June/July with internal assesments.
END OF YEAR 2
Only those students wishing to complete the full A level will continue into year 2.
Biological processes – 100 marks, 2hrs 15mins (modules 1, 2, 3 and 5)
37% of total A level
Biological diversity – 100 marks, 2hrs 15mins (modules 1, 2, 4 and 6)
37% of total A level
Unified biology – 70 marks, 1hr 30mins (1 to 6)
26% of total A level
Practical endorsement in biology – non-exam assessment which will be given a pass or fail at the end of the year
- READING LIST
The following revision guides, textbooks, workbooks and study support guides are available to purchase from the Biology department.
It is recommended that you purchase some of these publications to support your understanding of the new concepts you will be taught. Biology A level will give you a new set of topics and concepts to understand including new mathematical skills.
|Course Textbook||Head start to A Level Biology||Essential Maths Skills for biology|
|This will be provided||
Bridge the gap between GCSE and A Level biology.
This book is recommended for purchase and studying
during the summer prior to starting the course in September
Covers all the maths skills you require for the
AS and A level course
|CGP Revision and Practice question guide||CGP OCR Biology Textbook||A level Revision Guide|
A comprehensive revision guide with practice
questionsto prepare you for the exams
A CGP version of the AS course textbook.
This covers all the topics being taught in the first year.
A revision guide to help revise the whole A level course
In addition, for those students wishing to extend their knowledge and understanding or those who enjoy reading scientific literature we recommend the following books:
Magazines, Newspapers and journals
- New Scientist
- Scientific American
- Biological Sciences Review
- British Medical Journal
- The Selfish Gene
- The Blind Watchmaker
- Unweaving the Rainbow
- Climbing Mount Improbable
- The Ancestor’s Tale
- Y: The Descent of Men
- In the Blood: God, Genes and Destiny
- Almost Like a Whale: The 'Origin of Species' Updated
- The Language of the genes
- Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
- The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
- The Language of Genes
- Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code
- Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human
- DNA: The Secret of Life
- The Double Helix: Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
- The Violinists Thumb
Charles Darwin: The origin of species
Armand Marie Leroi: Mutants: On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body
David S. Goodsell: The Machinery of Life
Ernst Mayr: This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World
Edward O Wilson: The Diversity of Life
Richard Leaky: The Origin of Humankind
- Essential Maths Skills for A- Level Biology & Head Start to Biology. These two books may help a year 11 prepare for their A Level Biology studies. The Maths skills book is less important as it may scare some of them with the level of statistics they have to do. The more they can read the better they will be.
- Completing the exam papers they were given before they left school will help them refresh their understanding of GCSE Biology.
- I have attached some of the more difficult GCSE style exam questions for them to try. They are all based on GCSE topics that are revisited in year 12 but to a harder level.
- The Biology A level specification is also attached so they can have a look at the quantity and level of work they will be required to do. The exam board for Biology is OCR and they will be taught the A specification.