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Fast Track A Level Biology

Examining Board: Edexcel
Next Examination Period: May / June 2019
Exam Specification Code: 9BIO
Coursework Element: None
Practical Element: Yes
Course Fee Includes: Online course materials and tutor support. Additional materials available at extra cost.
Standard Option: A Level Biology

Edexcel A Levels are available for study anywhere in the world. Examinations can be taken at any registered examination centre in the world. It is recommended students check with examining centres that the chosen exam is available.

Introduction

Biology is essentially the science of life – the very thing that keeps us alive and keeps alive all the wonderful creatures with whom we share our planet.

Biology’s broadness is also really quite magnificent – encompassing ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, botany, zoology & anatomy. It is not surprising then that Biology is one of the most popular A-Level courses in the UK.

Biology is of course essential study for anyone interested in a career in medicine, microbiology, veterinary sciences and many other very popular fields of work. Equally, though, its standing as a strongly academic subject commands great respect from any university admissions tutor and it will no doubt boost your chances of a place at many further education institutions both in the UK and globally.

biology A Level

Fast Track A Level Biology Entry Requirements

Although the Fast Track A Level Biology programmes build on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking an A-Level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literacy and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE. Please note that full tutor support is still provided throughout your course duration.

All students must be 16 years of age or above.

Fast Track A Level Biology Course Duration

1 year.

Study Hours Required

Approximately 350 hours.

Awarding Body

Pearson Edexcel

Edexcel A Levels are available for study anywhere in the world. Examinations can be taken at any registered examination centre in the world. It is recommended students check with examining centres that the chosen exam is available.

Examination Information

Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.

All examinations are held during the May / June exam period of every year.

 

Fast Track A Level Biology Course Content

The full A-Level consists of ten different units:

Unit 1 Biological Molecules
Unit 2 Cells, viruses and Reproduction of Living Things
Unit 3 Classification & Biodiversity
Unit 4 Exchange & Transport!
Unit 5 Energy for Biological Processes
Unit 6 Microbiology and Pathogens
Unit 7 Modern Genetics
Unit 8 Origins of Genetic Variation
Unit 9 Control Systems
Unit 10 Ecosystems

Fast Track A Level Biology Unit Summaries

Biological Molecules – The first unit of the course is focused on the “chemistry of life” and the various chemical building blocks on which life is built. Organic molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins and their functions within living cells are covered as well as the synthesis of DNA and proteins; incredibly important functions that literally are the underlying “code” for the natural world. The unit also delves into the function and action of enzymes, natural catalysts of biological and cellular chemical reactions as well as how inorganic ions such as nitrates and calcium play their part in living systems before rounding off on why the characteristics and properties of water make it so incredibly important.

Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things – This unit goes deep within the cell to discover the difference in structures of eukaryotes, prokaryotes and viruses. Here you will also discover the various forms of cell division and how these work together within organisms to sustain life and promote growth as well as their role in the reproduction of plants and animals. This unit also takes a look at the microscope and how we can use them to observe at the cellular and intracellular level.

Classification and Biodiversity – This unit looks at the various models for classifying organisms according to their characteristics and considers the evidence used in the creation of these models. The important idea of natural selection is also discovered and why it can lead to the appearance of completely new species.

Exchange and Transport – In this unit we discover the various transport mechanisms found within the cells of living organisms that allows the movement of vital substances and waste products around the body and into and out of cells. These include the circulatory system, and how it functions and is controlled as well as the vascular system found in plants.

Assessment

The whole A Level course is assessed in three exams: –

Paper 1: Advanced Biochemistry, Microbiology & Genetics Code: 9BIO/01

90 marks – 1 hour 45 minutes – 30% of total qualification
Question types: Multiple-choice, short open questions, open-response, calculations and extended writing question
Units examined:
Unit 1: Biological Molecules
Unit 2: Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things
Unit 3: Classification and Biodiversity
Unit 4: Exchange and Transport
Unit 5: Energy for Biological Processes
Unit 6: Microbiology and Pathogens
Unit 7: Modern Genetics.

Paper 2: Advanced Physiology, Evolution & Ecology: 9BIO/02

90 marks – 1 hour 45 minutes – 30% of total qualification
Question types: Multiple-choice, short open questions, open-response, calculations and extended writing question
Units examined:
Unit 1: Biological Molecules
Unit 2: Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things
Unit 3: Classification and Biodiversity
Unit 4: Exchange and Transport
Unit 8: Origins of Genetic Variation
Unit 9: Control Systems
Unit  10: Ecosystems

Paper 3: General and Practical Principles in Biology: 9BIO/03

120 marks – 2 hours 30 minutes – 40% of total qualification
Question types: Multiple-choice, short open questions, open-response, calculations and extended writing question as well as synoptic which can draw on a number of units and encourage you to apply your knowledge to unfamiliar problems.
Units examined: This particular exam examines across all ten units.

Practical Endorsement : 9BIO/04

The new A-Level gives students the opportunity to try out various techniques and apparatus in the practical investigation of biological concepts.

Throughout the course there are 16 core practicals of which at least 12 must be completed and successfully assessed in order to receive the practical endorsement, a measure of competency in practical skills. The A-Level can now be reported as a “Grade with practical endorsement” or a “Grade without practical endorsement.”

This part of the course DOES NOT impact on the final A-Level grade, but omitting this element may lead to being rejected by universities – students will have to check with their chosen or desired universities the ramifications of an A-Level without practical endorsement.

 

Further Reading

My Revision Notes on Amazon.co.uk – New A-Level Biology: Edexcel B.
Fullick, Ann – Edexcel AS/A Level Biology B Student Book 1 + Activebook (Edexcel A Level Science (2015)) – Pearson 2015 – ISBN: 978-1447991144 AS Textbook.

Progression

Our Fast Track A Level Biology programmes are eligible for UCAS points, making them a great choice for students aiming to progress to University. UCAS points are awarded according to the grade earned, please see below for details.

A levels are also widely recognised by employers and are useful for students looking to progress their careers or meet requirements for promotion.

UCAS Points Table

A* = 56
A = 48
B = 40
C = 32
D = 24
E = 16

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