Examining Board – AQA
Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths. Biology is never far from the headlines either… The human genome has been sequenced and we know the complete arrangement of the three thousand million bases that make up human DNA. In Kenya 350 people die every day from AIDS and in South East Asia the skies are dark with smoke as the last Bornean rainforests are burned to grow oil palms. Biologists are concerned with all these issues. They work in the fields of cell biology, medicine, food production and ecology…and the work they do is vital to us.
Methods of Study
This course will allow you to develop a number of skills:
- How to collect data and evaluate it
- How to investigate facts and use deduction
- How to put over your point of view effectively
- How to take responsibility for your own learning
You will be given the opportunity to work individually and as part of a team on a variety of tasks. You will further develop your communication skills and both teach and be taught by your peers. ICT skills are an integral part of the course and we would expect you to use it for both presentation and research.
Methods of Assessment
Unit 1: Biology and Disease: 33% AS / 16% A-Level
You will discover how digestive and gas exchange systems may be affected by communicable and non-communicable diseases. You will also understand the symptoms of disease and interpret data relating to risk factors.
Unit 2: The variety of living organisms: 46% AS / 23% A-Level
You will discover the influence of genetic and environmental factors on intraspecific variation. You will also learn how the variety of life is reflected in similarities and differences in its biochemical basis and cellular organisation. Finally you will understand how size and metabolic rate affect an organism’s requirements and give rise to adaptations.
AS Unit 3: & A2 Unit 6: Investigative and Practical Skills:
Throughout the course you will be undertaking a number of practical investigations. These activities will deepen and extend your subject knowledge while honing your investigative skills for units 3 and 6. The assessment of these units is through two methods, both of which are assessed by your teacher:
- Practical Skills Assessment (PSA) – an assessment of your practical and collaborative skills
- Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA) – an assessment of your data collection and interpretation skills with an examination testing your understanding of scientific investigation, analysis and evaluation.
Unit 4: Populations and environment: 16% A-Level
You will learn how living organisms form ecosystems through which energy is transferred and chemical elements cycled. You will also discover how human activity affects ecological balance in a number of ways. Finally you will understand how genetic variation and isolation may lead to the formation of new species.
Unit 5: Control in cells and in organisms: 23% A-Level
You will be studying the biology of the nervous and endocrine systems. You will also learn about homeostasis and the maintenance of a constant internal environment. Finally you will look at genes and genetic expression.
A genuine interest in Biology with usually grade B’s in Science or a B in Biology at GCSE.