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A Level Biology at JCoSS

Course description

When scarcely a day goes by without a new scientific breakthrough, we realise that the gap between what we know and what remains to be discovered is a fantastic journey we are embarked upon. Science surrounds us and we utilise it in numerous ways to our advantage every day. Science students will be inspired, stimulated and motivated to question scientific progress and be reasoned in their responses to scientific breakthroughs and reported events. They will continue to build on their data handling, experimental and evaluative skills, their scientific knowledge and understanding, and will apply them to show themselves as effective problem solvers, communicators and creative thinkers.

Course content

1. Biological molecules
2. Cells
3. Organisms exchanges substances with their environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
5. Energy transfers in and between organisms
6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
8. The control of gene expression

Biology is an A level and AS Level course that is both academic and practical. The academic side of the course is very wide ranging, designed to incorporate all aspects of biology, from the traditional Zoology through to the very current Genetics. The course has a strong focus on the modern world of Science and Medicine, using many case studies from recent medical advances and scientific development. There is also a strong focus on Practical Biology, meaning that students will perform many experiments. These are challenging student’s prior experience of practical work, and along with the academic content, will provide a new and exciting challenge, as well as developing many skills such as experimental technique, logical and lateral thinking, analysis and evaluation.

Students explore the physiology of different systems e.g. digestion including the role of enzymes and the passive and active transport of substances across biological membranes. They study the effects of diseases of various causes on these systems. Knowledge of basic physiology will allow students to explain symptoms and also to interpret data relating to risk factors. The variety of living organisms is studied by looking at similarities and differences in biochemistry and cellular organisation. This includes the role of DNA, genetic and environmental factors and adaptations. The system of classifying organisms is investigated including recent approaches which draw on a wider range of evidence.

Humans are part of the ecological balance and their activities affect it both directly and indirectly. Consideration of these effects underpins the teaching of this section: it leads to an understanding that sustainability of resources depends on effectively managing the conflict between human needs and conservation. During the course students are expected to undertake a field trip. Students will develop an understanding of the ways in which organisms and cells control their activities. This leads to an appreciation of common ailments resulting from a breakdown of these control mechanisms and the use of DNA technology in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

Entry requirements

Minimum of B grade (A grades are highly recommended due to the demanding nature of this course) in any of the following GCSEs that have been taken: GCSE Science A, GCSE Additional Science, GCSE Further Additional Science, GCSE Biology, GCSE Mathematics, GCSE English Language.

Assessment

For the AS exam there are 2 papers, worth 50% each. For A Level, there are 3 exams with a combination of theory and practical papers.
The AS-Level in Biology is a standalone qualification from the A-Level. Attaining a good grade in the AS-Level is an indicator of strong performance in the A-Level, however marks accrued in Year 12 do not count towards the A-Level taken in Year 13.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact JCoSS directly.

Last updated date: 27 April 2015
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