Biology

BIOLOGY GCSE (AQA)

There are 4 Biology Units - Biology 1, Biology 2, Biology 3 and Biology 4 (Controlled Assessment).  100% of the assessment is at the end of the course – from Summer 2014 onwards. 

UNIT 1:  Biology 1 (25% of final mark tested by a 1 hour exam)

The unit is assessed by a 1 hour examination.  It will be a "Structured Questions" examination with one longer response assessing "Quality of Written Communication" worth 6 marks.  The paper is marked out of 60.

The unit comprises: Keeping Healthy, Nerves and Hormones, The Use and Abuse of Drugs, Interdependence and Adaptation, Energy and Biomass in Food Chains, Waste Materials from Plant and Animals, Genetic Variation and its Control, Evolution.

UNIT 2: Biology 2 (25% of final mark tested by a 1 hour exam)

The unit is assessed by a 1 hour examination.  It will be a "Structured Questions" examination with one longer response assessing "Quality of Written Communication" worth 6 marks.  The paper is marked out of 60.

The unit comprises: Cells and Simple Cell Transport, Tissues, Organs and Organ Systems, Photosynthesis, Organisms and their Environment, Proteins – their Functions and Uses, Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration, Cell Division and Inheritance, Speciation. 

UNIT 3: Biology 3 (25% of final mark tested by a 1 hour exam)

The unit is assessed by a 1 hour examination.  It will be a "Structured Questions" examination with one longer response assessing "Quality of Written Communication" worth 6 marks.  The paper is marked out of 60.

The unit comprises: Movement of Molecules in and out of Cells, Transport Systems in Plants and Animals, Homeostatis, Humans and their Environment. 

UNIT 4: Biology 4 (25% of final mark)

This is the controlled assessment for Biology.  The assessment consists of two written assessments along with a practical assessment and data processing.  This is known as an ISA.

Students are given a practical topic to research and they use this research to plan an experiment.  They can use teacher's/parent's knowledge, text books and the internet as long as these "sources" are fully documented and credited.  The students are given a "planning sheet" to enable them to get all the information they need.  They then sit a "controlled assessment exam" where they use their prepared "plan" to answer questions.  A short time after this the students will be given a practical based on the same topic they researched.  They will complete the practical tasks set in groups but they will record results and plot a graph independently.  A written examination then tests their understanding of the scientific terminology relating to their experiment and a second section tests their general understanding of practical aspects of Biology more loosely related to the topic they have researched.

AQA A LEVEL BIOLOGY

Outline of Course - AS Exams 2015 - A2 Exams 2016

At AS, this new course introduces new topics as well as building on previous studies in Biology.  At A2, the course enables students to develop a deeper understanding from more advanced study.  The course is QCA approved and has been designed to enable students to: 

  • build on concepts and skills that will have been developed in the new GCSE Science specifications, presenting biology as exciting, relevant and challenging
  • present essential principles in contexts that students find interesting, stimulating the enthusiasm of students and teachers from the start. 

The first year of the course leads to a stand alone  “AS” qualification:  

AS outline

At AS, the specification will emphasises the way in which biologists work and the contributions of biology to society in a way that underpins the specification but is not intrusive. 

  • Unit 1 Biology and Disease  How digestive and gas exchange systems may be affected by communicable and non-communicable diseases.   How a  knowledge of basic biology allows us to understand the symptoms of disease and interpret data relating to risk factors. 
  • Unit 2 The Variety of Living Organisms. The influence of genetic and environmental factors on intraspecific variation.  How the variety of life is reflected in similarities and differences in its biochemical basis and cellular organisation. How size and metabolic rate affect an organism's requirements and give rise to adaptations. 
  • Unit 3 Practical and Investigative Skills Practical work in the contexts of Units 1 and 2. Assessment of implementing skills on practical work as a whole.  Assessment by AQA-set tasks. 

A2 outline

At A2, this specification continues the approach taken at AS. There are additional sections summarising biological principles and establishing contexts for How Science Works. 

  • Unit 4 Populations and Environment - How living organisms form ecosystems through which energy is transferred and chemical elements cycled. How human activity affects ecological balance in a variety of ways. How genetic variation and isolation may lead to the formation of new species. 
  • Unit 5 Control in Cells and in Organisms - Stimulus and responses - the biology of the nervous and endocrine systems.  Homeostasis and the maintenance of a constant internal environment.  Genes and genetic expression. 
  • Unit 6 Practical and Investigative Skills - Practical work in the contexts of Units 4 and 5.  Assessment of implementing skills on practical work as a whole.  Assessment by AQA-set tasks, to reduce the burden on teachers and students. 

ASSESSMENT METHODS: 

AS: Exams  June.   Pass Grades A B C D E  

  • Unit 1: Written paper – 1 hour 15 minutes – 33% of total AS marks and 16% of total A level marks. 
  • Unit 2: Written paper – 1 hour 45 minutes – 46% of total AS marks and 23% of total A level marks. 
  • Unit 3: Internal Assessment – 20% of total AS marks and 10% of total A Level Marks. 
  • Unit 4: Written paper – 1 hour 30 minutes - 16% of total A level marks. 
  • Unit 5: Written paper – 2 hours 15 minutes – 23% of total A level marks. 
  • Unit 6: Internal Assessment - 10% of total A Level Marks.