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Biology A level at The Rodillian Academy

Course description

Year 12:
3.1 Biological molecules 

 

  • All life on Earth shares a common chemistry. This provides indirect evidence for evolution.
  • Despite their great variety, the cells of all living organisms contain only a few groups of carbonbased compounds that interact in similar ways.
  • Carbohydrates are commonly used by cells as respiratory substrates. They also form structural components in plasma membranes and cell walls.
  • Lipids have many uses, including the bilayer of plasma membranes, certain hormones and as respiratory substrates.
  • Proteins form many cell structures. They are also important as enzymes, chemical messengers and components of the blood.

3.2 Cells

  • All life on Earth exists as cells. These have basic features in common. Differences between cells are due to the addition of extra features. This provides indirect evidence for evolution.
  • All cells arise from other cells, by binary fission in prokaryotic cells and by mitosis and meiosis in eukaryotic cells.

3.3 Organisms exchange substances with their

  • Environment The internal environment of a cell or organism is different from its external environment. The exchange of substances between the internal and external environments takes place at exchange surfaces. To truly enter or leave an organism, most substances must cross cell plasma membranes.

4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

  • Biological diversity – biodiversity – is reflected in the vast number of species of organisms, in the variation of individual characteristics within a single species and in the variation of cell types within a single multicellular organism.
  • Differences between species reflect genetic differences. Differences between individuals within a species could be the result of genetic factors, of environmental factors, or a combination of both.

Year 13:
5 Energy transfers in and between organisms 

  • Life depends on continuous transfers of energy.
  • In photosynthesis, light is absorbed by chlorophyll and this is linked to the production of ATP.
  • In respiration, various substances are used as respiratory substrates. The hydrolysis of these respiratory substrates is linked to the production of ATP.
  • In both respiration and photosynthesis, ATP production occurs when protons diffuse down an electrochemical gradient through molecules of the enzyme ATP synthase, embedded in the membranes of cellular organelles.

6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments 

  • A stimulus is a change in the internal or external environment. A receptor detects a stimulus. A coordinator formulates a suitable response to a stimulus. An effector produces a response.
  • Receptors are specific to one type of stimulus.
  • Nerve cells pass electrical impulses along their length. A nerve impulse is specific to a target cell only because it releases a chemical messenger directly onto it, producing a response that is usually rapid, short-lived and localised.

7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems 

  • The theory of evolution underpins modern Biology. All new species arise from an existing species.This results in different species sharing a common ancestry, as represented in phylogenetic classification. Common ancestry can explain the similarities between all living organisms, such as common chemistry (eg all proteins made from the same 20 or so amino acids), physiological pathways (eg anaerobic respiration), cell structure, DNA as the genetic material and a ‘universal’ genetic code.

8 The control of gene expression 

  • Cells are able to control their metabolic activities by regulating the transcription and translation of their genome. Although the cells within an organism carry the same genetic code, they translate only part of it. In multicellular organisms, this control of translation enables cells to have specialised functions, forming tissues and organs.
  • There are many factors that control the expression of genes and, thus, the phenotype of organisms. Some are external, environmental factors, others are internal factors. The expression of genes is not as simple as once thought, with epigenetic regulation of transcription being increasingly recognised as important.

Course content

Year 12:
3.1 Biological molecules 

 

  • All life on Earth shares a common chemistry. This provides indirect evidence for evolution.
  • Despite their great variety, the cells of all living organisms contain only a few groups of carbonbased compounds that interact in similar ways.
  • Carbohydrates are commonly used by cells as respiratory substrates. They also form structural components in plasma membranes and cell walls.
  • Lipids have many uses, including the bilayer of plasma membranes, certain hormones and as respiratory substrates.
  • Proteins form many cell structures. They are also important as enzymes, chemical messengers and components of the blood.

3.2 Cells

  • All life on Earth exists as cells. These have basic features in common. Differences between cells are due to the addition of extra features. This provides indirect evidence for evolution.
  • All cells arise from other cells, by binary fission in prokaryotic cells and by mitosis and meiosis in eukaryotic cells.

3.3 Organisms exchange substances with their

  • Environment The internal environment of a cell or organism is different from its external environment. The exchange of substances between the internal and external environments takes place at exchange surfaces. To truly enter or leave an organism, most substances must cross cell plasma membranes.

4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

  • Biological diversity – biodiversity – is reflected in the vast number of species of organisms, in the variation of individual characteristics within a single species and in the variation of cell types within a single multicellular organism.
  • Differences between species reflect genetic differences. Differences between individuals within a species could be the result of genetic factors, of environmental factors, or a combination of both.

Year 13:
5 Energy transfers in and between organisms 

  • Life depends on continuous transfers of energy.
  • In photosynthesis, light is absorbed by chlorophyll and this is linked to the production of ATP.
  • In respiration, various substances are used as respiratory substrates. The hydrolysis of these respiratory substrates is linked to the production of ATP.
  • In both respiration and photosynthesis, ATP production occurs when protons diffuse down an electrochemical gradient through molecules of the enzyme ATP synthase, embedded in the membranes of cellular organelles.

6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments 

  • A stimulus is a change in the internal or external environment. A receptor detects a stimulus. A coordinator formulates a suitable response to a stimulus. An effector produces a response.
  • Receptors are specific to one type of stimulus.
  • Nerve cells pass electrical impulses along their length. A nerve impulse is specific to a target cell only because it releases a chemical messenger directly onto it, producing a response that is usually rapid, short-lived and localised.

7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems 

  • The theory of evolution underpins modern Biology. All new species arise from an existing species.This results in different species sharing a common ancestry, as represented in phylogenetic classification. Common ancestry can explain the similarities between all living organisms, such as common chemistry (eg all proteins made from the same 20 or so amino acids), physiological pathways (eg anaerobic respiration), cell structure, DNA as the genetic material and a ‘universal’ genetic code.

8 The control of gene expression 

  • Cells are able to control their metabolic activities by regulating the transcription and translation of their genome. Although the cells within an organism carry the same genetic code, they translate only part of it. In multicellular organisms, this control of translation enables cells to have specialised functions, forming tissues and organs.
  • There are many factors that control the expression of genes and, thus, the phenotype of organisms. Some are external, environmental factors, others are internal factors. The expression of genes is not as simple as once thought, with epigenetic regulation of transcription being increasingly recognised as important.

Entry requirements

Year 12: 
Students must have achieved a minimum of 5 GCSEs grade C or above from different subjects, including English, Maths and Double or Triple science.

Assessment

The course is assessed at the end of two years. This will take place through 3 two hour exams. There is no controlled assessment or coursework.

 

  • Exam 1 will consist of units 1 – 4 and practical skills. 
  • Exam will consist of units 5 – 8 and practical skills. 
  • Exam 3 will consist of units 1 – 8 and practical skills.

Future opportunities

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.  A wide range of employers recruit people for biology-related jobs including:

 

  • universities and clinical research organisations; 
  • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; 
  • private hospitals and NHS trusts; 
  • national and global health and environmental charities; 
  • scientific and technical consultancies; 
  • schools and colleges; 
  • outreach organisations such as museums, science centres and broadcast companies, etc. 

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 26 January 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years

Contact details

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