OVERVIEW This course provides a foundation in fundamental biological principles whilst exploring modern applications of Biology. You will, therefore, extend the traditional areas of Biology introduced at GCSE but will also gain an up-to-date insight into technological, social, ethical and environmental implications of the subject.
The A Level Course The topic areas studied in the Sixth Form build upon and extend the material covered in IGCSE Biology. The four topics taught in the L6 cover many of the fundamental principles, with the U6 work building on these and using them in context. 1. Biological Molecules This topic includes the study of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and water and looks at the roles these essential molecules of life play within organisms. 2. Cells We study the ultrastructure of cells, the ways in which substances move into and out of cells, how cells divide and how cells of the immune system interact. 3. The exchange of substances between organisms and their environment We study specialised exchange surfaces such as gills, insect tracheae, lungs as well as gas exchange in leaves. This topic continues with the study of the circulatory system and plant xylem and phloem. 4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms We look at how the genetic code is read and the causes of variation. This leads into studying adaptations, natural selection and classification and environmental influences on diversity. 5. Energy transfer in and between organisms Photosynthesis and Respiration within organisms are studied. This leads onto energy transfers between organisms in feeding relationships, followed by the cycling of nutrients in ecosystems. 6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments Stimuli and receptors, nervous coordination involving muscle contraction and hormones are all studied in this topic. 7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems Populations in ecosystems are studied, with some associated field-work. This is followed by genetic inheritance and how evolution leads to speciation. 8. DNA technology and control of gene expression We look at how different features control whether, and when, genes are expressed. This is followed by techniques of gene technology such as genetic engineering, screening and DNA fingerprinting.
Assessment There are three examination papers at A Level at the end of the second year. Paper 1 and 2 will test content and practical skills from topics taught in the first and second years respectively. Paper 3 will test the full course material, with questions of a synoptic nature (assessment papers are 2 hours). There will also be a teacher-assessed practical endorsement based on pupils completing a minimum of 12 core practicals undertaken throughout the course. ENTRY / APTITUDE REQUIREMENTS Minimum GCSE Biology grade 6 (with similar Chemistry grade) or 6,6 in Dual Award Science. A grade 6 in GCSE Maths is strongly recommended. A certain amount of organisation and ability to learn factual information is necessary, but an aptitude for applying knowledge to new contexts is essential for success in the exams. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Career information: a broad range of career areas are open to graduates in biological sciences: Agriculture, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Dentistry, Ecology and Conservation, Forestry, Genetics, Horticulture, Marine Biology, Medicine, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Veterinary Science, Zoology. It also keeps the door firmly open for more general careers in business and finance. Exam Board: AQA For further information please contact Mrs Metcalf Specification Name: 7402 14