Biology will enable you to gain a detailed understanding of how living organisms work and interact. It will help you to develop high-level research skills (both practical and written) and will aid development of information assimilation. These skills are relevant for a large number of careers. The skills acquired are highly valued by employers and are usefully applied on many university courses.
The course is split into two parts - AS and A level. The AS part of the course consists of two exams each worth 50% of the overall mark.
The full A-level is awarded based on 3 further papers in Y13. N.B the marks achieved in AS exams do not count towards the A-level marks.
Practical skills will be assessed through a number of core practials and endorsed seperately
The main areas covered in the course are:
- Biological molecules
- Cells, Viruses and reproduction of living things
- Classification and biodiversity
- Exchange and transport
- Energy for biological processes
- Microbiology and pathogens
- Modern genetics
- Origins of genetic variation
- Control systems
- Experimental methods
Topic 1: Biological Molecules
This topic introduces the chemicals of life: the organic and inorganic molecules and ions that are fundamental to the structure and physiology of living organisms. The role of monomers in the synthesis of polymers and how the structure and properties of these relate to their functions are considered. An understanding of scientific method is developed in the practical investigation of enzyme action
Topic 2: Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things
This topic considers the ultrastructure of prokaryotes, eukaryotes and viruses. Details of the types of nuclear division are included and how these are involved in animal and plant reproduction. Microscopy and observational skills are developed through the preparation of stained plant tissue
Topic 3: Classification and Biodiversity
This topic considers the evidence used in the development of models for the classification of organisms. It also considers the limitations of these models. The topic includes the principles underlying natural selection and how this can lead to speciation
Topic 4: Exchange and Transport
This topic considers the requirements for transport mechanisms in cells and mass flow systems in organisms. The roles of the components of the mammalian circulatory system and the vascular system in plants are studied. Practical skills are developed through the investigation of factors that affect membrane permeability and water potential of planet tissues
Biology is an interesting and rewarding topic that will allow you to progress to a variety of careers in a wide variety of fields including:
medicine, nursing, pharmaceuticals, environmental consultancy, horticulture, agriculture, animal care, laboratory work, forensics.