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Biology AS and A Level at Thomas Whitham Sixth Form

Course description

Biology is the fastest growing area of research in the sciences.

You should study this subject if you are interested in how living things work. In the early 1950’s Watson and Crick described for the first time the structure of DNA and lay down the foundation for cell genetics. 60 years later genetic research has led to stem cell technologies¸ genetic fingerprinting, genetic engineering and the development of the new science of epigenetics.

Today Biology is able to create life; in 2010 Craig Venter unveiled the first reproducing, fully functioning artificial organism. If you study Biology you will learn more about this rapidly growing science and will have the opportunity in the future to contribute to further amazing discoveries through university study. It is interesting, demanding and, intellectually satisfying.

 

 

Course content

Unit One

Biology and disease

This unit deals with the digestive and gas exchange systems which are examples of how humans and other mammals exchange substances with their environment and the blood system which transports materials.

It includes an understanding of basic principles including; the role of enzymes as biological catalysts; and passive and active transport of substances across biological membranes; the affected of disease caused by microorganisms and other non-communicable diseases; and the use of drugs which help to limit the spread and effects of disease.  Practical and investigative skills are developed throughout this module.

Unit Two

Unit 2 BIOL2 The variety of living organisms

This unit builds on concepts developed in module 1.  It includes a study into; sources of variation caused by genetic and environmental factors; DNA; size and metabolic rate which have affected the evolution of specialized exchange surfaces and mass transport systems; classification systems and biodiversity of communities and ecosystems.

Unit Three

Internal Assessment Investigative and practical skills in AS Biology

There are two routes for internal assessment: i) centre marked assessment ii) AQA marked assessment.

Route T, centre marked, is developed from AQA’s GCSE Practical Skills Assessment/ Investigative Skills Assignment (PSA/ISA).

Route X, AQA marked, involves verification of candidates’ practical skills by the teacher in the Practical Skills Verification (PSV) and an Externally Marked Practical Assignment set and marked by AQA.

Unit Four

Populations and environment

This unit concentrated on ecology and the impact of human activities on the environment.  The unit includes topics such as genetics, cellular respiration and photosynthesis.  

Unit Five

Control in cells and in organisms

This unit covers mechanisms which control organisms through hormones and nervous communication.  Consideration is given to control within the cell through manipulation of DNA and genetic engineering also. 

Unit Six

Internal Assessment Investigative and practical skills in A2 Biology

There are two routes for internal assessment: i) centre marked assessment ii) AQA marked assessment.

Route T, centre marked, is developed from AQA’s GCSE Practical Skills Assessment/ Investigative Skills Assignment (PSA/ISA).

Route X, AQA marked, involves verification of candidates’ practical skills by the teacher in the Practical Skills Verification (PSV) and an Externally Marked Practical Assignment set and marked by AQA.

 

Entry requirements

You will be expected to have gained a grade B or above in GCSE Double Science as well as a grade C in English and Mathematics.

Assessment

Unit One:

 Examination paper (60 raw marks / 100 UMS) 5 – 7 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions (a short comprehension and a structured question requiring continuous prose).

1 hour 15 minutes

33.3% of the total AS marks

16.7% of the total A Level marks Available in January and June

 

Unit Two:

Examination paper (85 raw marks / 140 UMS) 7 – 9 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions (1 data handling and 1 assessing analysis and evaluation).

1 hour 45 minutes, 46.7% of the total AS marks

23.3% of the total A Level marks Available in January and June

Unit Three:

Either BIO3T, Centre Marked Route T (50 raw marks/60 UMS)

Practical Skills Assessment (PSA – 6 raw marks)

Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA – 44 raw marks)

Or BIO3X, Externally Marked Route X (50 raw marks/60 UMS)

Practical Skills Verification (PSV – teacher verification)

Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 50 raw marks)

20% of total AS marks

10% of total A Level marks Available in June only

Unit Four:

Examination paper (75 raw marks / 100 UMS) 6 – 9 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions involving continuous prose and ‘How Science Works’.

1 hour 30 minutes, 16.7% of the total A Level marks Available in January and June.

Unit Five:

Examination paper (100 raw marks / 140 UMS) 8 – 10 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions (a data-handling question and a synoptic essay - choice of 1 out of 2).

2 hours 15 minutes

23.3% of the total A Level marks Available in June only

Unit Six:

Either BIO6T, Centre Marked Route T (50 raw marks/60 UMS)

Practical Skills Assessment (PSA – 6 raw marks)

Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA – 44 raw marks)

Or BIO6X, Externally Marked Route X (50 raw marks/60 UMS)

Practical Skills Verification (PSV – teacher verification)

Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 50 raw marks)

10% of the total A Level marks Available in June only

Future opportunities

Biology leads to a wide range of different career pathways which helps to explain its increasing popularity as a science subject.

At A-Level it is an essential or useful qualification for many degree courses such as Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Pharmacy, Optometry, Sports Science, Veterinary Science, Biochemistry, medical sciences and environmental sciences.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Thomas Whitham Sixth Form directly.

Last updated date: 21 November 2016

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