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Biology - AS / A level at Kesgrave High School

Course description

These qualifications have been developed for candidates who wish to continue with a study of biology after Level 2 study (for example GCSE).

The course builds on the knowledge gained in these courses, adding depth and breadth. It also offers the opportunity for candidates to devise and plan experimental and investigational activities and interpret, explain, evaluate and communicate the results of these.

This in-depth course has 4 units:

  • Biology & Disease, which looks at how lifestyle can affect Health and Immunity. It also covers Biochemistry, Enzymes and Cell Structure.
  • Variety of Living Organisms covers DNA, Evolution and Adaptation in Organisms and Biological Processes in Living Organisms.
  • Populations and the Environment looks at Ecological Relationships and Sampling Practices. It also covers more Biochemistry and Inheritance.
  • Control in Organisms covers recent DNA Developments and Technology, the Nervous System, Homeostasis and Negative Feedback Mechanisms.

Candidates will also gain an awareness of the ethical, technological and economic aspects of the subject.


Course content

Candidates take three compulsory units of assessment for the Advanced Subsidiary qualification, including aspects of biochemistry, transport and health and disease.

A further three units are studied for A2 if students are seeking an Advanced GCE award. There are optional units in the A2 specification, which give candidates the opportunity to explore an area of biology in depth. Some options deal with modern applications of biology, whilst others cover more traditional areas.

Advanced Subsidiary and A2 combined constitute the full Advanced GCE qualification.

The assessment of Experimental Skills is flexible, with coursework and practical examination alternatives in both Advanced Subsidiary and A2.

The specification also provides opportunities for the development of the Key Skills of Communication, Application of Number, Information Technology, Working With Others, Improving Own Learning and Performance and Problem solving.

Some candidates may wish to follow a biology course for only one year as an Advanced Subsidiary GCE, in order to broaden their curriculum. Others continue for a further year extending their course to Advanced GCE.

The specification has overlaps with the specifications for Chemistry, Physics A, Science, Geography A, Geography B, Geology and VCE Science, and hence students can explore new ideas in a variety of contexts, and reinforce their knowledge.

The course will be covered by two Biology specialist teachers. It will include many different teaching strategies, styles and resources with the focus on clear communicative dialogues developing between teacher and students. Regular assessments will be done throughout the course so that students and staff can track progress carefully.



Entry requirements

GCSE Grade C in Science from Year 10 or Year 11


The AS Biology is divided into three areas:

1: Biology and Disease (33.33%) written exam

2: The Variety of Living Organisms (46.67%) written exam

3: Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Biology (20%) coursework

The A2 Biology is also divided into three areas:

4: Populations and Environment (33.33%) written exam

5: Control in Cells and in Organisms (46.67%) written exam

6: Investigative and Practical Skills in A2 Biology (20%) coursework

The coursework element briefly involves a teacher assessment of practical skills evident throughout the course and, in addition, an Investigative Skills Assignment which is done in lessons and includes the collection of data, processing and interpretation of data.

Board : AQA

Future opportunities

Study of AS or Advanced GCE Biology should also be seen as making a contribution towards life-long learning.The biology course prepares candidates to progress into further or higher education, to follow courses in biology, one of the other sciences or related subjects, or to enter employment where a knowledge of biology would be useful.

Biology is one of the most popular A Level subjects in the country, attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects.  Many of these students enjoy the subject so much they eventually choose a biologically related degree course.  Others go on to careers in Law, Computing, Accounting or Teaching.  So, whatever field you will eventually work in, you will find Biology a very rewarding and challenging course, which will develop many of the skills essential for a successful career.

Study of AS or Advanced GCE Biology should also be seen as making a contribution towards life-long learning.


Further information

For more information, contact Mrs Suett.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Kesgrave High School directly.

Last updated date: 20 July 2015
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