Biology

A Level

Biology is a great choice of subject for students who want a career in health and clinical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, medical research, nursing, zoology, microbiology or genetics, as well as a wide range of science careers.

An A level in Biology is also a great choice for anyone with an interest in the subject, who wishes to study it alongside a set of complementary or contrasting subjects.

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Course content

Exam Board

AQA

Course Details

Year 1 (Y12)

1 Biological molecules

Biochemistry: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins and DNA.

2 Cells

Cell structure, Cell Division Processes, the Immune System.

3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment

Gas Exchange in a Variety of Organisms, the Circulatory System, Digestion

4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Genes, Protein Synthesis, Taxonomy and Diversity.

 

Year 2 (Y13)

5 Energy transfers in and between organisms

Photosynthesis, Respiration, Ecosystems and Nutrient Cycles.

6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

Nerves, Muscles and Homeostasis

7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

Inheritance, Populations and Evolution

8 The Control of Gene Expression

Mutations, Gene Technology and Control of Gene Expression.

 

How is this course delivered?

A Level content is assessed through two 120-minute exams covering topics 1-4 (Y12) and 5-8 (Y13), plus the associated practical skills from the 12 required practical lessons in the course. The third exam covers data analysis and extended writing, featuring a choice of two essays.

The complete specification, together with past exam papers, can be seen on the AQA website: www.aqa.org.uk

Departmental Enrichment

The department offers lunchtime exam clinics and holiday intensive revision days as well as lots of additional help in-between lessons and by email.

There is an annual Ecology trip to a rocky shore and other residential trips are offered on a regular basis. Previous trips include a trip to London Zoo and the Science Museum as well as a trip to study Mediterranean Ecology in Barcelona.

The Biology Department at Wyke Sixth Form College

The department uses three specialist laboratories that are equipped to the highest standards. In addition, there is an open access computer area adjacent to the laboratories.

All students receive relevant textbooks along with printed module notes, past paper booklets and a wide range of handout materials.

The department makes wide ranging use of interactive online resources to facilitate independent learning.

Practical skills are an essential part of the course and our newly built, well equipped laboratories supported by our experienced teachers and skilled technicians, ensure opportunities are available to enhance learning, develop skills and confidence in this area.

Many of the teaching staff are, or have been, external examiners for A Level Biology.

Where can this course take me?

Last year, a fantastic 557 students from Wyke Sixth Form College progressed onto University. Of these, 139 secured places at Russell Group Universities and 8 went to Oxbridge. Many of our former Biology students progressed on to study Health, Clinical and Science related courses at University. A record number of students on this course also progressed onto Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science. A Level Biology at Wyke can also open the door to Higher Apprenticeships and Employment. Many of our students now work at leading organisations including; the NHS, Reckitt Benckiser, Smith & Nephew and The Royal Navy.

What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

The start of the A-level course is always challenging, but you will find these tasks aid the transition from GCSE.

To do these tasks you need to download the notes from the Wyke Start Summer Work section of the Wyke Sixth Form College website.

  1. Read (Biological Molecules)
  • Learn the four main biochemical groups and the elements that make them up
  • Learn the differences between the two kinds of chemical bond in biology
  1. Read (Carbohydrates)
  • Learn the chemical and structural formulae of glucose
  • Learn the names of the two other monosaccharides
  • Learn the names and components of the three disaccharides
  1. Read (Eukaryotic Cells)
  • Draw up a large table of the 14 organelles. For each organelle give its name, a simple diagram, and describe its structure
  • Describe its main function in as few words as possible within the table.

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