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Biology AS/A2 at Desborough College

Course description

We will be teaching the new specification A-level Biology from September 2015. This is most likely to be the EDEXCEL specification, the course content for which is highlighted below. Please note that as of September 2015, an AS exam sat will NOT contribute to a final A level grade. They will be regarded as separate qualifications and it is likely that students will take the AS exams as a progress test. Therefore in your second year, you will therefore be examined on ALL the topics from the two years of study.

Course Content

AS has 4 taught modules and 9 Core practicals that are completed during the course:

1. ‘Lifestyle, Health and Risk’. Biological molecules (monomers & polymers, carbohydrates, lipids, water) & Circulation and Health (The Heart & Blood Vessels, Blood clotting, CVD and risk factors).

2. ‘Genes and Health’. Exchange and Transport (transport across cell membranes, gas exchange in the lungs) & Genetics (DNA, genes & chromosomes, DNA replication & protein synthesis, enzyme action, genetic disease, inheritance).

3. ‘Voice of the Genome’. Cells (structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; the cell cycle and cell division, fertilisation, stem cells, epigenetics).

4. ‘Biodiversity and Natural Resources’. Biodiversity (classification & taxonomy, genetic diversity, conservation of biodiversity) & Plants (plant cell, plant resources, drug testing, plant antimicrobials).

A level has a further 4 taught modules and 9 more Core practicals that are completed during the second year:

5. ‘On the Wild Side’: Photosynthesis and Ecology (biochemistry of photosynthesis, chloroplasts, primary productivity, climate change evidence, carbon cycle, ecological study of a habitat, succession).

6. ‘Immunity, Infection and Forensics’. Disease and the Immune response (bacteria & virus structure, TB & HIV, non-specific responses, B and T cells, antibiotics, hospital acquired infections) Forensics (determination of time of death, use of PCR, DNA profiling).

7. ‘Run for your life’. Physiology of exercise (muscle contraction, biochemistry of respiration, control of heart rate, effects of exercise on breathing, homeostasis, over-exercise issues and treatments).

8. ‘Grey Matter’ The Nervous system (nerve cell structure, action potential, synapses, the mammal eye, the human brain, MRI & CT scanning, brain development, habituation, brain diseases), Responses in plants (IAA and tropisms, flowering and phytochrome), Using Genetics (genome sequencing & personalised medicine, drugs from GMOs, risks & benefits of GMOs).

Entry requirements

  • 5 A*-C including English and at least a B grade in GCSE Mathematics*
  • A minimum of a B grade in Dual Award Science

* Overall, a minimum of 10% of the Biology exam marks will be awarded for mathematics at Level 2 or above

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 25 March 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years