Curriculum - Science

GCSE BIOLOGY


What will I learn ?

Cell biology, organisation, infection and response, bioenergetics, homeostasis and response, inheritance, variation and evolution, ecology

How will I be assessed?

Two papers: each paper will assess knowledge and understanding from different topics.

Paper 1 – Cell biology; Organisation; Infection and response and Bioenergetics.

Paper 2 – Homeostasis and response, Inheritance, variation and evolution and Ecology.

Duration: both papers are 1 hour 45 minutes.

Tier: Foundation and Higher.

Weighting: the papers are equally weighted. Each is worth 50% of the grade and has 100 marks available.

Question types: multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response

 

GCE A Level Biology


A Level Biology is a challenging, rewarding course that helps students develop skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career. It offers teachers and students freedom, creativity and opportunity for independent progression from GCSE Science or Biology. A Level Biology builds on the concepts and skills developed in the GCSE. Students who study A Level Biology may go on to a Biology-related degree course. Biology at Sacred Heart is a popular choice. The department has very good facilities and enjoys good links with local universities.

The course is designed to encourage candidates to develop essential knowledge and understanding of concepts of biology and to understand scientific methods and awareness of advances in technology through a variety of theoretical and practical models.the following topics are studied across the two years

Year 12

  1. Biological Molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchanging substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Year 13

  1. Energy transfers in and between organisms
  2. Organisms responding to changes in their internal and external environments
  3. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  4. The control of gene expression

Entrance requirements

AQA ( the examining body) assumes that candidates have achieved grade 5 or better in GCSE Biology or Grade 5 5 in GCSE trilogy Science. However, the department policy is to require students to obtain grade 6 or better in GCSE Biology or grade 6 6 or better in GCSE trilogy Science. It is essential to have a good working knowledge of chemistry and physics to understand aspects of the course and a degree of mathematical knowledge is required.

How will I be assessed?

A Level Paper 1

  • Biological Molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchanging substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Relevant practical skills

Written exam: 2 hours. 91 marks, 35% of A Level.

A Level Paper 2

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms responding to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression
  • Relevant practical skills

Written exam: 2 hours. 91 marks, 35% of A Level.

A Level Paper 3

  • Biological Molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchanging substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms responding to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression
  • Relevant practical skills

Written exam: 2 hours. 78 marks, 30% of A Level.

Is there anything else I should know?

Biology is a practical based science so students need to be aware of the importance of all experiments and research work that are completed across the two years. There is a great emphasis on practical skills Overall, at least 15% of the marks for an A-level Biology qualification will require the assessment of practical skills. A separate endorsement of practical skills will be taken alongside the A-level. This will be assessed by teachers and will be based on direct observation of students’ competency in a range of skills that are not assessable in written exams.

There are 12 required practicals which must be carried out by all students taking this course. Written papers will assess knowledge and understanding of these, and the skills exemplified within each practical.

  1. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of an enzyme-controlled reaction
  2. Preparation of stained squashes of cells from plant root tips; set-up and use of an optical microscope to identify the stages of mitosis in these stained squashes and calculation of a mitotic index
  3. Production of a dilution series of a solute to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the water potential of plant tissue
  4. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the permeability of cell-surface membranes
  5. Dissection of animal or plant gas exchange or mass transport system or of organ within such a system
  6. Use of aseptic techniques to investigate the effect of antimicrobial substances on microbial growth
  7. Use of chromatography to investigate the pigments isolated from leaves of different plants, eg leaves from shade-tolerant and shade-intolerant plants or leaves of different colours
  8. Investigation into the effect of a named factor on the rate of dehydrogenase activity in extracts of chloroplasts
  9. Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of respiration of cultures of single-celled organisms
  10. Investigation into the effect of an environmental variable on the movement of an animal using either a choice chamber or a maze
  11. Production of a dilution series of a glucose solution and use of colorimetric techniques to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the concentration of glucose in an unknown ‘urine’ sample
  12. Investigation into the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species

Links with universities help support revision of the course content. Success at A Level could result in admission to any of the following courses / careers: Biochemistry – offering opportunities for employment in the pharmaceutical industry, specialised areas such as marine biology, freshwater biology or ecology. Cellular Biology, Microbiology or Biomedical Sciences – offering careers in the rapidly developing field of Biotechnology. There are the more traditional courses in which A Level Biology is important, e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Environmental Health Care, Pharmacy, Pharmacology, Physiotherapy and Nursing.